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Immersive Art Experience in Paris Features Amadeus Audio Technology

FOH Staff • International News • January 8, 2021

PARIS – A unique sonic technology made in France by Amadeus was revealed by French president Emmanuel Macron in a monumental new artistic work celebrating the renowned French author Maurice Genevoix at the city’s famed Panthéon secular temple. This marks the first public commission for the Panthéon since 1923.

More details from Amadeus (www.amadeuslab.com):

Dusapin’s creation, “In Nomine Lucis,” is a piece for a musical ensemble of singers, recorded by the French chamber choir, Accentus, at the Philharmonie de Paris concert hall. To bring a more intimate human connection with the Great War into the Panthéon, nearly 15,000 representative names of soldiers who died for France have also been read and recorded by the French actors Florence Darel and Xavier Gallais. Visitors to the Panthéon will hear names spoken as they walk through different parts of the expansive building.

“I wanted to make the stones of the Pantheon sing, to create a huge ‘vocal lung’ where everyone will hear different echoes of its past, and of its history,” said composer Pascal Dusapin.

To support the great new musical work, a bespoke and unique sound system was designed and installed within the Panthéon. A total of 70 loudspeakers, designed and manufactured by French audio company Amadeus, are mounted around the transepts and at the dome-ground, which reaches more than 35-meters in height. The speaker enclosures, being coated in natural stone, have been made invisible, becoming an integral part of the monument.

The electroacoustic system is controlled by a sound spatialization processor called HOLOPHONIX. The HOLOPHONIX processor creates an advanced platform that can mix, reverberate and spatialize sound.

“Amadeus became a space where technological innovations with arts and crafts, combine and complement each other,” said Gaetan Byk, marketing manager at Amadeus. “We take real pleasure in constantly surpassing and renewing ourselves, in exploring materials and technologies in all their forms, without limit. These 80 stone-finished speakers, forming part of the monument, are the purest expression of our know-how and the values we defend.”

“The HOLOPHONIX processor enables the sound spatialization of the different choirs through its various onboard algorithms, in two or three dimensions,” stated Thierry Coduys, Director of Technologies for the project, and a technical collaborator of Pascal Dusapin for many years.

The dome of the Pantheon, Paris

“The spatial programming, the position of the choirs, their trajectory, as well as the other events that compose this ‘electroacoustic score’ are managed through a graphic computer sequencer, called IanniX. The HOLOPHONIX processor receives, interprets and translates these millions of temporal and spatial messages to make them perceptive,” added Coduys, describing the new immersive audio experience at the Panthéon.

Designed by the Amadeus company, in collaboration with IRCAM Institute, the HOLOPHONIX immersive sound system has also been selected by several performance venues, many among the most famous and prestigious in France, including Comédie-Française, Chaillot National Theater, and La Scala (Paris). The HOLOPHONIX processor includes algorithms and technological designs from the STMS (Sciences et Technologies de la Musique et du Son), a laboratory founded in 1995, affiliating the CNRS, Sorbonne Université, French Ministry of Culture, and IRCAM Institute.

Designed for live sound spatialization and immersive experiences, the HOLOPHONIX processor brings together several different dimensional audio techniques, including Wave Field Synthesis, High-Order Ambisonics, Distance-Based Amplitude Panning, and more, enabling intuitive placement and movement of sources in a 2D and/or 3D space.

“I mainly designed tools allowing the spatial writing of ‘In Nomine Lucis’ creation. Pascal Dusapin and Thierry Coduys wished to create a unique and living experience for the listener. By adding a motion dimension to the choirs, visitors are invited to explore the monument in a different way,” stated Adrien Zanni, who recently joined the HOLOPHONIX technical team. “A melody can appear near us and disappear in the long resonance of an adjacent transept that we do not yet distinguish; inviting us to discover it,” noted Zanni.

Some 54 Amadeus C12 model speakers are installed 16 meters high on the building’s columns. The speakers feature a 60° x 60° (HxV) conical waveguide to optimize the HF directivity in this reverberant space. Another eight Amadeus C15 model speakers were installed at the dome-ground at a height of 35-meters. These speakers also feature a 60° x 60° conical waveguide. They are used in an ‘indirect’ configuration, aimed toward the glass windows of the dome, to maximize the diffraction effect. This is an artistic choice.

“The composer Pascal Dusapin wanted something ‘angelic coming from the sky’, with precision in the mid-high frequencies, but not allowing people to precisely locate the sound sources,” explained Zanni.

Both the 54 C12 and eight C15 speaker cabinet enclosures are stone-covered. Amadeus worked closely with French specialists and architectural conservators on researching shades and materials and nuances to determine the correct finish. The speaker cabinets are made of birch plywood but are covered by a micro-coating, made of lime, natural stone powder, and resins with various additives.

An additional eight Amadeus C6 model speakers are installed 4-meters above the ground, and are dedicated to playing the audio of the spoken names of 15,000 representative soldiers who died for France which were read and recorded by the French actors Florence Darel and Xavier Gallais.

— Equipment used in the Panthéon install includes:

8 Amadeus C15 speakers

54 Amadeus C12 speakers

8 Amadeus C6 speakers

10 Powersoft Ottocanali 4K4 DSP+DANTE amplifiers

SoundPad 128-track recording/playback software

IanniX software for audio trajectory spatial designs

5,500 meters of speaker cable

800 meters of optical fiber OS2

For more info about Amadeus and HOLOPHONIX, visit: amadeuslab.com

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