Computer Music Journal Volume 15, Number 3 Fall 1991 MIT Press, 55 Hayward Street, Cambridge, Mass 02142 copyright 1991 MIT ISSN 0148-9267 428w

Good Sound Foundation Demonstration

The Good Sound Foundation (GSF) was formed (in the words of its own brochure) " to revitalize the experience of live performance." It is a not-for-profit service organization that is an alliance of artists, audio designers, engineers, architects, acousticians, and computer scientists dedicated to the application of powerful and innovative audio technologies to the acoustic problems of live performance. The goal of GSF is to enhance communication between artists and their audiences by providing superior-quality audio environments that can be finely tuned with ease.

GSF provided an impressive demonstration of technology last March at the Life on the Water Theater, a 250-seat performance space in the Fort Mason Center at the port of San Francisco. The event was a concert by harpsichordist Margaret Fabrizio and soprano Renee Grant-Williams performing a potpourri of classic-romantic music with a sound projection system designed and implemented by GSF members.

In their own words, "the goal was twofold: that the performer can hear on stage what the audience is hearing so that the performer has the information needed to control their performance; and that the audience can hear exactly what the performer is projecting into the hall, in full detail and clarity and free from distortion. In the 'simulated' hall, the audience's perception of the sound changes in a smooth continuum from the performer's position on stage to the back of the hall as it does in a 'real' hall."

The system they installed in Life on the Water consists of two components: the audience surround system and the electroacoustic stage shell. The audience surround system consisted of three front, two side, and two rear channels. The stage shell involved the placement of four monitor speakers that are acoustically coupled to custom-designed acoustical diffusion modules in the ceiling above the stage. The GSF system utilizes a wide variety of professional audio microphones, amplifiers, signal processors, equalizers, and loudspeakers.

The installation at Life on the Water is only one of GSF's activities, others of which are similar installations at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (a smaller space that is primarily used for repertory theater) and the Performing Arts Center of the Grossmount-Cuyamaca Community College District in El Cajon, California (a 1200-seat theater that is to be used for a wide range of performances). For more information, contact the Good Sound Foundation, 1960 Hayes Street, #5, San Francisco, California 94117, USA, telephone (415) 512-8225.

Typed by Cheryl Vega 4-28-95