am working on multichannel sound design and am trying to figure out how to make it work in a home environment. I don’t have any equipment at the moment. Briefly looked at the so called 7.1 headphones and was starting to look into ambisonic decoders (to reduce multichannel to stereo). Both these options seem very hacky, so my question is twofold:
are the multichannel headphones or decoding multichannel to stereo good “better than nothing” options?
what would be a proper home setup for this case (talking about the necessities like sound card and speakers, not so much creating a full home studio with echo chambers and soundproofing etc)?
As a bonus question would be very interested to see what setup some of you are using at home.
I use 8 Genelec 4010A speakers which were around $100/ea on Ebay together with a Sub.
for soundcard I use RME Digiface (I already had 8 channels lightpipe to balanced audio in a Clarett Mic Pre I had lying around).
For in home use you want small speaker and a sub for sure! And relatively narrow pattern speakers with waveguides will help. It can be tricky getting the speakers arranged appropriately so you want to think about stands, the Genelecs can be screwed directly to certain stands so it was easy to setup - Ideally you want to monitor for film or TV in a circle - if you are making installations obviously who knows!
Before investing in any equipment, it might be worth thinking about coding your setup in such a way that it will output the required amount of channels by changing a global variable. The way I do it is to have something like
~numSpeakers = 2;
and then, in all my synthdefs, I have this:
sig = PanAz.ar(~numSpeakers, sig, \pan.kr(0), width: \width.kr(2));
Obviously not an ideal setup, but it’s very flexible, and has allowed me to keep performing in all kinds of speaker setups with minimal hassle.