Soundstack

Interactive Sound Installation

soundstack installed at OMSI

Contributions

  • Hardware specification
  • Systems design
  • Software development
The Soundstack is an interactive sound installation made in collaboration with PlusAndGreaterThan, located as a permanent exhibit in the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s Turbine Hall in Portland, Oregon.
Standing at 18-feet tall, the custom-built instrument is essentially an all-in-one guitar + percussion instrument + synthesizer. With a unique interface housed within a specially designed cabinet, 25 stringed necks (complete with foot pedals), and controllable lighting, the Soundstack can be plucked, strummed, and modulated. Embedded within the instrument’s structure, hidden hardware allows each string to be amplified with an acoustic pickup while a digital interpretive layer communicates with the interface’s custom software, allowing the giant strings to produce a variety of instrumental and percussive voicings that the visitors can choose from. The wall-mounted cabinet acts as a control panel, displaying a touch screen alongside physical buttons and knobs, keeping screen use to a minimum while allowing visitors to toggle through an assortment of sounds and light settings in a full sensory experience.
To account for the physical parameters set by the Soundstack’s sheer size and framework, Glowbox was able to create and install a custom digital system that expanded on the instrument’s architecture. We were able to develop a 25-channel audio system that allowed for amplification and modulation using MAX4Live, transforming the Soundstack into a giant MIDI instrument, where digital and analog components work in harmony.
Enjoy the Soundstack at OMSI in Portland, OR— open daily.
strings and pickup assemblies
strings and pickup assemblies
OMSI visitors exploring soundstack
OMSI visitors exploring soundstack
?soundstack and control interface
soundstack and control interface
the view from outside soundstack
the view from outside soundstack

Tools & Technologies

  • Ableton live
  • Max 4
  • livenode.js
  • Electron
  • Html