24-channel Audio System

leamon sound device

roy leamon just wasn’t satisfied with 5.1 discrete audio channels, so he went to work hacking together a 24 channel sound system that he calls the lsd (laemon sound device).  the 24 seperate speakers are controlled over firewire by a mac g5.

it’s a bit difficult to imagine what is possible with this system.  you could realistically have a seperate sound source for each instrument in your recording.  you could move a single source around the room in a way that a 5.1 system can only attempt to imitate.  there are a lot of possibilities.

this one is not for the faint of heart or light of wallet.  though it’s constructed from off the shelf components, roy estimates that it would take $12-15k to reproduce his system.  that figure just shattered any hopes that i had of being a true audiophile.  this is probably ok — i don’t have the skillz to juggle 12 turntables anyway.

11 thoughts on “24-channel Audio System

  1. i’ve wanted to do something similar to this for a while but don’t think i’ll have the funds until i sell out, start writing catchy music for 12 year olds, and bleach the tips of my hair.

  2. Being a self proclaimed audiophile…..I cant imagine this would sound any good. Its hard enough to place two speakers, let alone 24??? this is jsut overkill to an extreme.

    I applaud his effort and all thinking required to this….its way above my head, but I’m gonna stick to my 2 speaker system.

    This doesn’t mean I dont want to hear it…once.


  3. there’s an exhibition/performance called ‘The Dark’ currently touring which uses a similar setup.

    it’s a pitch black marquee surrounded by speakers mounted on the outside – i think 12 monitors and 4 subwoofers around the sides and another 4 monitors above the ceiling, making 20 channels in total.

    like this guy’s setup, everything’s controlled by a g5. an infrared camera and motion tracking adds some interesting interactivity.

    it was free entry when i visited in london, go check it out if you can. there’s an accompanying (2 channel) version on the website.


  4. I attended the open house of the LSD here in Austin and was amazed. I have always thirsted for clear compelling audio and this was one of the broadest, most creative doses ever.

  5. If you’re in San Francisco, check out the Audium:


    “Audium is the only theatre of its kind in the world, pioneering the exploration of space in music. The theatre’s 169 speakers bathe listeners in sounds that move past, over, and under them. ‘Sound sculptures’ are performed in darkness in the 49-seat theatre.”

    It’s also a very interesting example of 60’s pod-like architecture (for lack of a better term).

  6. Well, a quick search for the parts and software he used gives me the total of $15,593.00 That doesn’t include any taxes or shipping and doesn’t include the instruments, microphones, or preamp. Of course I suppose there is a chance of finding better pricing if one were to actually take the time to look. I also couldn’t find the original MOTU828, all I could find was the MOTU828MKII which may be more expensive.

  7. It’s possible to do t this for less. I have a firewire by M-audio that runs about $300, and has 8 channel out. x 4 is $1200 (and they are designed to do this) and getting powered speakers can be as cheapr or expensive as you’d like. But certainly not $10K.

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