Sound Matrix or TSM is a truly versatile and powerful 3200 watt RMS, 64
channel sound diffusion system which utilizes the real time wave
pattern of the wind digitally recorded by Heimbecker’s 64 channel wind
sensor network, the Wind Array Cascade Machine (2003). The TSM
uses 8 custom made, slightly concaved, free standing speaker columns
that stand nearly 11 feet tall, 36 inches wide, and 42 inches
deep. Each speaker column carries vertically, 8 discrete channels
of sound through custom built speaker cabinets using 6.5 inch, 4 ohm,
high power, full frequency coaxial speakers. Mounted at the base
of each of the 8 speaker columns is a single Phoenix Gold / Rodin Audio, 12 channel ( 4 channels unused)
power amplifier the PG-MX1230. These amplifiers are connected
to the Mac G5 and Motu digital audio hardware with 8 - 100 foot Digiflex 8 channel audio snakes from SF Marketing Inc. and the Ebtech LLS-8
line leveller system supplied by EFKAY
Music Instruments Ltd. The length of the Digiflex cables allows
great flexibility to adjust the installation diameter of the TSM.
The digital hardware of the TSM begins with a Mac G5
(2.3 dual with 8 gig of ram), using the Moto PCI 24 i/o system with a
total of 72 i/o. The diffusion software operates with a 128 kbps
minimum buffer size. Other sound production sources such as a second
multi-channel DAW, or a live audio mixing console, can be implemented
for both concert and interactive sound installation scenarios.
The recorded wind data of the WACM, using Max MSP software, is the
interface platform for the implementation of the layered sound
diffusion matrix. This wind data is integrated in the diffusion
software, controlling the range of the sound pressure levels
dynamically at each speaker. This means that any sound input into
the TSM system will be diffused through the 64 immersive channels of
the TSM by the silent wave patterns of the wind, creating an example of
what Heimbecker calls “wind space architecture”.
In 2003, Steve
began the construction of a 64 channel sound generation and diffusion
system that uses the data produced by his Wind
Array Cascade Machine
(2003) or WACM. WACM is a 64 channel sensor network that
captures, streams or records in amplitude dynamics, the wave patterns
and movement of the wind across a horizontal surface. This system
was inspired by the wave patterns of the wind seen in fields of tall
grass or grain as the wind blows across them, and exists for Heimbecker
metaphor for the vibrational sound / sine wave.
The TSM 64 channel speaker matrix is also unique
other respects. It is reasonably portable, it is entirely artist
owned and operated, it’s software is custom made, and unlike many multi
channel sound diffusion systems, the TSM can spatialize sound
horizontally and vertically, meaning it moves sound in all directions
as naturally as the wind.
the summer of 2006, to critical
the sound diffusion installation Montréal
Sound Matter at Fonderie Darling, Montréal,
one quarter or 16 speakers of the TSM system,
in an octaphonic arrangement (in 8 ohm dual mode), were
used as the multi channel sound diffusion system.
WACM data has
previously been used in other new
media installations Heimbecker has created prior to TSM. POD (2003) won
an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica 2005, Linz, Austria, and
PARAVENT (2006) was featured at the
international exhibition, WAVES:
Everything Flows, produced by the RIXC in Riga, Latvia.
For the 2008 world premiere of the TSM at Elektra,
Montréal, and for installation presentations requiring
continuous play for hours or weeks, the composition Signe 2008 was created by Heimbecker.
Signe is created with 3 distinct layers of sound (wind generated sine
waves, a 1946 Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriter, a grand piano), all
augmented by the flowing wave patterns of the wind. Signe fully engages
the sound potential of the Turbulence Sound Matrix, creating an audio
art composition that is in constant motion, morphing itself through
time and space at very high resolution, riding the waves of the air and
the wind. Signe completely immerses us, creating a mesmerizing and
completely hypnotic and immersive fabric of sound.
On the occassion of the world premiere of the TSM
and Signe at the Elecktra
Festival #9 (2008), Montreal, québécois journalist Patrick White wrote: L’Usine C accueillera aussi le dernier
projet de Steve Heimbecker. Turbulence Sound Matrix (TSM) est un
système de diffusion sonore à 64 canaux / 3200 watts
à la fois très puissant, polyvalent et visuellement
impressionnant. TSM est présenté en Première
mondiale à Elektra cette année et diffusera pour
l’occasion, en grande première également, la pièce
sonore signe, une composition spécialement crée pour ce
système multi-canaux. Le résultat est une installation
proposant une immersion sonique, totale et hypnotique.
• The Turbulence Sound Matrix and the compositon Signe were conceived,
designed, and created by
Steve Heimbecker. Max MSP Programming: Etienne Grenier & Simon
• The TSM was produced with the assistance of the Media Art Sections
of: Le Conseil
des arts et des lettres du Québec, The Canada Council for the
fondation Daniel Langlois, Videographe
- Le Parc (residency),
and the Qube Assemblage
for Art in Motion.
This diagram shows the installation floor
Sound Matrix (view from above), in 360 degree circular
Production photos of the
Turbulence Sound Matrix at Qube Assemblage studio in 2007 and 2008.
rear view detail photo series from (right to left - top, mid, bottom)
from the Qube
Assemblage studio, Montreal, showing the aluminium
frame, speakers and multi channel amplifier
of the first completed TSM speaker column.
On the left, a view of
the Qube Assemblage studio with the
TSM installed (April, 2008). Max MSP specialists Etienne Grenier
and Simon Laroche work in the back ground. On the right,
Heimbecker, with the help of Jim Kennedy, raise a speaker column after
assembled horizontally on the floor.
At the Qube Assemblage speaker
factory. On the right, speaker boxes await painting and assembly.
In the centre the speaker
cabinets are painted, and on the right,
the crew (Laure, Steve, and Xavier) dance to celebrate
the completion of the painting work.
Steve Heimbecker in May 2008, framed by two speaker columns of the
TSM. photo: Camil Scoteanu, Conception
Lévy - Elektra - 2008.
On the left, Steve
Heimbecker in his studio in January 2007 with a speaker
assembly for the Turbulence Sound
Matrix. photo: Dave Sidaway, the Montreal Gazette.
On the right,
Heimbecker at La Chambre
Blanche, Quebec City in 1995, as artist in residence (Spin Cycle,
1995 - Enormouslessness of Cloud Machines CD - 1998). This
Heimbecker standing in front of an octaphonic speaker system that he
designed and built, using 6"
inch, 4 ohm, high powered coaxial speakers (this system is still
being used in
his studio after 15 years of national and regional
tours and installations). The sound quality and durability of
speaker design is
the basis for speaker design of
the Turbulence Sound Matrix