Info

AudioCube User Guide: 2021.1

Welcome to the AudioCube User Guide. Thanks for your support!
This user guide will help you to get the most out of AudioCube and explain in detail how the different systems work.

Note: Saving sessions is yet to be implemented, so anything you build will be lost upon exit.
Mac & Windows versions ready. Mobile in development. Be careful will loud sounds, don’t damage your speakers or ears.

_______________________________________________________________________

CONTENTS:

1. Engine Overview
2. Camera
3. Playback Rate
4. Devices: SamplersBeater
5. File Import & Sequencing
6. Other Panels: MixAddViewRecordGo To

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

1. ENGINE OVERVIEW:

AudioCube is a 3D sound design engine. It can be used to create and manipulate sounds in a 3D space. 

Sound are triggered by physics based object collision, or manual sequencing. This means sounds are created when an object hits the floor or another object. Certain types are velocity sensitive – the harder they are hit, the louder the sound. 

Sound is spatialised using the Oculus HRTF algorithm to provide a realistic 3D acoustic response within the engine. This simulates sound placement around the head. 

OBJECT INTERACTION:
Most objects are controlled with the mouse, with additional actions triggered by the keyboard.

– Move Object = [Click and drag]
Click objects to move them around the scene, they should be highlighted in green. Click to let go.
– Freeze Object = [F]
Pressing F with the mouse over an object will freeze it. This deactivates its physics, stopping it from moving. It will still produce sound when hit. 
– Clone Object = [C]
This creates an identical copy of the object.
– Destroy Object = [Backspace]
Press backspace to delete the highlighted (mouse over) object. This is permanent and cannot be undone. 

MICROPHONES (Listening Point)
(Buttons at top right of screen.)

There are 2 listening points to switch between. This is where the 3D listening point is simulated in the scene. 

CAM: The virtual microphone attached to the moving camera.

MIC: The virtual microphone attached to the microphone model.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

2. CAMERA: 

The camera has been designed to be flexible and easy to operate, allowing viewing from any angle. 

CAMERA ANGLES:
Switch between the 4 viewing positions with top menu buttons, or use the keyboard shortcuts: 

Shift +
1 = TOP: Birds Eye View 
2 = SIDE: Exact parallel to floor
3 = MID: A slight downward angle/natural standing angle. 
4 = LOCK: is locked to always view the microphone model.

CAMERA MOVEMENT:

HORIZONTAL =  [Right Click]
Hold right click and move mouse.
W = Forward
S = Backward
A = Left
D = Right

VERTICAL=  [Mouse Scroll] 
T = Move Up
G = Move Down

ROTATION:
Q/E =  Rotate the camera Left/Right
Z/X = Rotate the camera Up/Down. (Also click in the mouse wheel and move mouse)



Tip:  It’s easier and more accurate to move held objects using camera movement keys rather than moving the mouse. 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. PLAYBACK RATE:

AudioCube has playback rate controls mimicking a tape machine. This can be used to manipulate the speed and pitch of sound. This effects bouncy instruments and beaters. Most sounds will be rewound.

Use the buttons in the top menu, from left to right:    [keyboard shortcut]
REWIND: Sets the speed to -1, creating a rewind effect.  = [ i ] like inverse 
PAUSE: Sets the sound to 0, pausing playback = [ o ] like stOp 
PLAY: sets the speed to 1, normal playback speed = [ p ]
SLOWER: Reduces speed by 0.1 = [ ] (minus key)
FASTER: Increase speed by 0.1 = [ + ] (plus key)
RECORD: open the record panel (more info)

The RATE display shows the current playback speed.
Slower speeds will be below 1
1 = Normal speed.
0.5 = Half speed (slow).
2 = Double speed (fast).

 Tip: keep tapping minus until you enter slow rewind mode. Rewind speed can be changed.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

4. DEVICES:

AudioCube has 3D devices (tools) for producing and controlling audio.

There Currently 3 Types: Phynstruments, Samplers, and Beaters.

PHYNSTRUMENTS:


These are a selection of pre-made models of instruments, with multi-velocity samples. 
They are affected by physics and gravity. 
Each set of sounds is custom recorded and edited for the engine. 
When they collide with another object they produce a sound, they are louder when hit with more force.
They have a fairly realistic volume response, with a natural dynamic range.
They can be moved, cloned, frozen, deleted. 
Use the ADD ITEM PANEL (Pg x) to add phyntruments to the scene.  

Note: out of the different Phynstrument categories, Acoustic Drum Kit and Percussion are the most developed. Others still need refining.

SAMPLERS

These are 3D static devices. Loaded with samples (and your own sound files), that are triggered on collision. (Not yet velocity)
Built to work in a traditional sampler style. 1 voice. They come loaded with a piano sound to test. 

= CONTROLS: (Label In picture)

1. WAVEFORM: This visualises the samplers current sound output.
2. CHANNEL NAME: This displays the sampler number, followed by the name of its loaded sound file. 
3. PITCH: Controls: Has quick access for + or – Octave, Tone, Semitone. Click the pitch display to open the note bar. 
4. VOL: Control: Click Up/Down to change the Sampler’s output volume level (0.1 increments)
5. PHYSX: Activates the physics node, an attached object that is physics/gravity based and triggers the sampler on hit.
6. FX: Open/Close the FX bar.
7. STOP/PLAY/PAUSE: Overide controls for the sampler playback
8. CLONE: Create a copy of this sampler (same as pressing C.)
9. SWAP: Replace the currently loaded sample with the sample selected in the file browser (pg X)
10. ASSIGN: Selects this sampler to be assigned to a timeline (pg x for more)

BEATERS:

These are spinning tools for rhythmically sequencing and triggering sounds. 
1. PWR: On/Off switch to control spinning
2. Rate Display: Shows the current beater speed in Hz.
3. Time Input Grid: Change the beater spin speed.
4. Reset: Set the speed to 1
5. Move Block: Mouse here for standard commands (move, clone, delete)

Tip: These tend to be more accurate at slower speeds. Too fast and the collisions won’t get detected properly, so sound may not be triggered. 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

5. FILE IMPORT & SEQUENCING:

FILE IMPORT

Any .WAV file can be imported into AudioCube and spatialised through the engine. 
– Once the import window is open, click the icon in the folder bar to open the folder browser. 
– Once you have navigated to a folder containing .wav files, the File Sample dropdown will turn green.
– Open the dropdown to select a .WAV file.
– The sound is now loaded in the Preview Section. 

Use PLAY to preview the sound. (This sample will be loaded into a Sampler device when using the SWAP button). STOP will stop the preview. 

3D >. This creates a new 3D Sampler device in the scene loaded with the selected preview sample.

SEQUENCING:


Sampler devices can be sequenced with the Timeline Panel.
1. Click the “ASSIGN” button on a 3D Sampler Device.
2. Create a new Timeline Track
3. Click the > Assign Arrow on the timeline track
4. Set the trigger beat. When the master clock reaches this count, the sampler is played.
5. Play the master timeline 


TIMELINE PANEL:


(Master Timeline)
BPM: Sets the speed in BPM
BEATS: How many beats ( until the sequence restarts)
MASTER LINE: This displays the current position in the bar loop. The present moment.
Add Line: Creates a new empty timeline

(Sub Timeline)
CHANEL NAME = This corresponds to the channel name of the timelines assigned Sampler.
ASSIGN = Assign the selected sampler to the timeline
TIME CONTROLS = Red is minus, Green is add, the time time value. Values can be typed in the black text box.
CLEAR = Unassigns the sampler from the timeline
DELETE = Removes the timeline (not any assigned samplers)
COLOUR = Change the hue, saturation, and valiance (brightness) of a timeline+
CLONE = this duplicates the timeline and it’s assigned 3D Sampler for making beats quick.
UP / DOWN = Moves the timeline Up/Down in its organisation, to get your timelines in the right order.

Tip: Click anywhere on the timeline to set the time.
Note: Samples are scheduled ahead of time from Bar 0 Beat 0. So you won’t hear any time changes till after 1 full bar. 
The loop starts on beat 0. So a 4 beat loop is counted 0, 1, 2, 3. 
When it reaches beat 4, it instantly goes back to beat 0. If you but sounds on beat 0 and 4 they are triggered nearly at the same time. Experiment for swing. 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

6. OTHER PANELS

AudioCube’s other features are located accross a number of panels.

MIX:

 A mixer for controlling the volume levels. Broken down into a few sections

– Main: Top level busses, Master Vol, Drum Buss (Phynstruments) 3D Samplers, 2D Samplers (StringPanel, old)
– FX: A Variety of FX. The pitch shift has a reset button to go back to the original pitch.
– Drums: Individual levels over the different drum Phynstruments.
Comp: A Master Buss Compressor: Warning – Can go loud, be careful not to damage speakers or ears. 

ADD:

A panel to browse the Phynstrument library and add to scene. Also contains early AudioCube Prototypes. 
Simply click the “ADD” button to create the item in the scene.
Categories include:
+ Accoustic Drum Kit
+ Percussion
+ Keyboards & Synthesizers
+ Basses

VIEW:

Visual settings and graphics quality.

Post Processing Filter: This is a fancy visual enhancement filter, change colour correction, focus depth, glow etc. GPU intensive.
Quality: Sets the graphics quality. Higher settings increases demand on GPU (and CPU?) so can make the audio stutter, and makes the overall engine lag. Low quality gives smoother performance. Don’t go too high if your computer is old, it might crash.


Radar Indicators: These are indicators pinned to objects to help you locate them, they also direct to offscreen objects. 
Turn On/Off with keyboard shortcut [N]


RECORD:

Use this panel to record the sounds of AudioCube to a .WAV file. This is a great way to capture sounds to share, or use in other music software. 
INT Record: This records the Engines sound (what you are hearing from AudioCube)
– EXT Record: This records from an external microphone plugged into your computer, or laptop mic (Experimental, doesn’t work?)
– File Location: Files are recorded to the below folders
WINDOWS: C:/Users/UserName/AppData/LocalLow/Ark Audio/AudioCube
MAC: /Users/UserName/Library/Application Support/Ark Audio/AudioCube

It’s recommended you make a shortcut to this folder for easy access.

GO TO:

This is the panel for navigating AudioCube’s scenes.
 – Scenes: This page contains the different Scenes/levels to switch between
– Reset: This will reload the current scene in a new empty state.
– News: Opens the news window displaying the latest AC news in text format.
– Quit: Closes the AudioCube the application and returns to your desktop.


STRING:

This is an experimental prototype for string based audio sequencing. Still in the works but you get the idea.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Any feedback or bugs appreciated! Many more features planned in future updates. 
noahfeaseykemp@googlemail.com

CREDITS:
Created in C# and Unity by Noah Feasey-Kemp (2020).
Some models provided by Google Poly.