Auditory Masquing : Wearable Sound Systems for Diegetic Character Voices

Stahl, Alex and Clemens, Patricia

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Maintaining a sense of personal connection between increasingly synthetic performers and increasingly diffuse audiences is vital to storytelling and entertainment. Sonic intimacy is important, because voice is one of the highestbandwidth channels for expressing our real and imagined selves.New tools for highly focused spatialization could help improve acoustical clarity, encourage audience engagement, reduce noise pollution and inspire creative expression. We have a particular interest in embodied, embedded systems for vocal performance enhancement and transformation. This short paper describes work in progress on a toolkit for high-quality wearable sound suits. Design goals include tailored directionality and resonance, full bandwidth, and sensible ergonomics. Engineering details to accompany a demonstration of recent prototypes are presented, highlighting a novel magnetostrictive flextensional transducer. Based on initial observations we suggest that vocal acoustic output from the torso, and spatial perception of situated low frequency sources, are two areas deserving greater attention and further study.