Low-Frequency Track for Logos

An ongoing experiment in low frequency for intergration with Logos.

My aim is to produce a low-frequency sound that does not interfere with other sounds by reducing the detail of content but keeping it rich in texture.

A prime concern is to create a physical response without discomfort. It is very easy to produce nausea with low frequencies as it can disturb the balance organs in the ears. This ethical consideration is part of the installation’s risk assessment

The track is twenty three-and-a-half minutes long and looped. The following are brief samples taken from the same area of the track demonstrating some of the steps taken to reach the final mix.

I started with a basic sound generated with the voice projected into one of the sculpture’s (Logos) forms. The file was stretched, lowered the pitch and reverbed trying not to lose texture.

A lot of parameters and steps are involved in this process and experimenting with respective levels of gain is an important aspect of the work.

Original mastered track

I then produced a duplicate track and reduced the pitch to around 68 Hz.

Track with pitch shift to 68 Hz

I also applied a 3 Hz shift between the left and the right channels to create an almost imperceptible pulse.

I tried one at 20Hz but the level of discomfort was far too noticeable. It also did not create the relatively smooth texture I was looking for.

Track with pitch shift to 20Hz

The plan is to send the left and right channels each to one of two subwoofers so that they subtlely interact with one another.

The idea is for the sound to increase as the viewer approaches the work, not too much so as to create alarm or discomfort, but enough to act as a form of membrane barrier working against the softer sounds emanating from the sculpture itself.

I mixed duplicate tracks, balanced the levels of the original so that they are barely audible but add texture to the sound.

I compressed the files quite heavily to even out natural fluctuation in the voice and render smooth the proximity sensor-activated volume changes. The tracks were normalised to -3 dB

Final mix down

This final sample simulates a visitor approaching the sculpture, moving away a little return again before leaving the sensor field.

Exhibition simulation

Finally, the track is put onto a media player hooked up to the Arduino coupled with the sensor. I explored doing this during Unit 1 last year.