Engineering and arts join forces at Moogfest

>October 1, 2018

Engineering and arts join forces at Moogfest

Engineering and arts join forces at Moogfest

It’s not often an engineer is featured on the lineup schedule for a music festival, but Mike Roan, a professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering has done it as part of Moogfest, a community of futurists who explore emerging sound technologies in Durham, North Carolina.

This year, Roan, who works in areas of immersive audio, psychoacoustics, and digital signal processing, joined with Tanner Upthegrove, media engineer with the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, to provide the festival with a first-ever event – a large scale immersive audio experience.

From left: Steve Ellison, Meyer Sound's application director, digital products; Professor Mike Roan; Martin Carrillo, a sound designer and composer; Jacqueline Gordon, a sonic artist; and Mileece L'anson, sonic artist, composer, interactive ecology designer, and clean energy ambassador, talk to festival goers as part of a panel discussion called "Spatial Sound: From Inspiration to Reality."
From left: Steve Ellison, Meyer Sound's application director, digital products; Professor Mike Roan; Martin Carrillo, a sound designer and composer; Jacqueline Gordon, a sonic artist; and Mileece L'anson, sonic artist, composer, interactive ecology designer, and clean energy ambassador, talk to festival goers as part of a panel discussion called "Spatial Sound: From Inspiration to Reality."

Working with Meyer Sound, a designer and manufacturer of innovative sound solutions, Roan and Upthegrove transferred a project originally designed in the Cube, a four-story-high, state-of-the-art theatre and high tech laboratory that serves multiple platforms of creative practice, to another live music venue. The results, according to Roan, could change the way artists view sound during a live performance.

“When we think of live concerts we think of a large array of speakers facing the audience, and for decades, that has been the template for live performance,” said Roan. “Working with Tanner in the Cube in the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at the Moss Arts Center, we have really upped the ante for what is possible with immersive sound technology, and in 2017 we put some of that on display at Moogfest.”

It was during the 2017 iteration of the festival that Meyer Sound got involved. Company representative Steve Ellison saw what Roan and Upthegrove were doing with their scaled down version of an immersive audio system and told the pair the company would be interested in working together in the future. The future came in 2018 as Meyer Sound pulled up a semi with more than $100,000 worth of equipment to the Armory in Durham.

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