Phil Spector may have invented the “wall of sound” concept, but it took Simon Schiessl and Felix Hardmood to make it into a literal wall. Their interactive installation, Soxels uses a matrix of 1,000 tiny speakers (or “sound pixels”) to create a dynamic sound-image that moves around the wall like a video projection. They premiered Soxels at DMY Berlin last year:
“Imagine every speaker playing an instrument of an orchestra. Now imagine every musician starting to move around while playing ?- that’s Soxels,” they write. Each of the thousand speakers is driven by its own amplifier and becomes a single node in a network controlled by DSP software.
The Soxels array is fully scalable, which means that it can control “an endless number” of speakers and audio channels in real time, according to Schiessl and Hardmood. The system can mix any or all of those soundstreams on the fly, “moving” them around the grid, transforming them or distorting them at will. The system even accepts video input, if you prefer to match actual pixels with your Soxels. But the world has enough screens at this point — much more interesting to just stick to the wall of sound.