There are many approaches to working with 4DSOUND. Different contexts, locations, and artistic purposes each require technical considerations. As a platform, 4DSOUND caters to be embedded in a wide variety of ways, within an existing familiar workflow or by creating a completely new one. Here we provide an overview of what can be regarded as the general workflow. We discuss the basic setup and principles among the different softwares. More in depth information can be found at their dedicated pages on this wiki.

Location, Context and Speaker Configuration

Location (e.g. large or small, reverberant or dry), context (e.g. live venue, museum installation, quiet or noisy surroundings), and speaker configuration (e.g. kind and amount of speakers, equal spaced or asymmetrical setup, radiation and frequency characteristics) are key in the properties and possibilities of 4DSOUND as an instrument. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly consider the environmental and hardware properties in developing a project.

4DSOUND spatialisations, however, are transferable. This means that a spatialisation can be reproduced on any speaker configuration. But as with any instrument the relation with the actual space is of big influence on the sounding result.

Permanent setups at 4DSOUND facilities like the Spatial Sound Institute and MONOM provide very controlled environments and balanced systems. Here, the technology is nearly not present at all, ensuring as much control as possible in projecting virtual sound images.

Composition or Live Performance

Essentially, there is not much difference between a 4DSOUND setup for detailed production versus one for live performance. The core, the Engine, in both cases runs as a passive processor. The main difference lies in the means of controlling the spatial parameters. For a playback composition this could be done using detailed sequencing and automation within Ableton Live. For live performance a wide variety of interactive tools can be used, like 4D Pad, motion sensors, hardware controllers, custom electronics, etc.

Note that both the 4D Engine and 4D Max for Live provide secondary OSC outputs to bridge spatial data to other applications like light and video.

CPU Setup

4DSOUND can run on one computer when an audio driver is used that enables signal routing between software applications (e.g. Soundflower, Jack Pilot, Loopback). Then the 4D Engine is able to receive audio internally (e.g. from Ableton Live), and outputs to a hardware interface.

At 4DSOUND facilities and large public events 4DSOUND usually runs on two computers. A server computer that runs the 4D Engine (usually located at F.O.H. for monitoring and control). And a performance computer that runs Ableton Live with our dedicated 4D Max for Live devices, or (in combination with) any other audio source and 4D OSC interface.

Multiple performance computers or other audio sources are of course also possible, limited to the available hardware.

For more info see Data & Signal Flow.

Engine and Grid Setup

The 4D Engine can be instantiated with an X amount of sources. This is adjustable in order to fit the performance power of the CPU. Another important setting is the amount of cores. We advice to set this to the amount of cores you have available minus 1.

Another crucial setting is the Grid Setup. This is a JSON file that describes the speaker configuration in a specific format. (Defining speaker configurations is currently handled in the backend, for specific requests please get in contact).

Important: Only edit settings.xml when the Engine is closed. Every time the Engine quits it saves its current settings this file (like I/O audio drivers etc.), so if you edit the file when the Engine is running then it will be overwritten once the Engine shuts down.

For more info see 4D Engine.

Monitor Setup

Ableton Live Setup

4D Pad Setup


Position, Dimensions & Orientation

Movement : Paths and Modulations


Spatial Delay