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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone here use surround sound as a special effect for their Halloween yard haunts? If so, what's your technical implementation look (and sound) like? What patterns do you use, e.g. you have sound travel from speaker to speaker in a sequential fashion? Or have one speaker "talk" to another across the yard? etc. Doesn't have to be something you've actually implemented. You can Blue Sky here and brainstorm of something you might like to do.

Guess folks could also discuss using surround sound for a haunted attraction / home haunt. But I'm specifically interested in ideas for implementing surround sound for a yard haunt potentially for this Halloween.

From another thread, I think the gargoyles speaking to each other in the Haunted Mansion stretch room, and their massive use of surround sound in general in the Haunted Mansion's stretch room, is highly effective.
 

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I haven't used full (true) surround sound for Halloween yet. I've done left and right stereo and it works great. There is surround sounding editing software out there, I myself haven't played with it yet. Set up properly, fading from channel to channel just right, and you could get the HM stretching room sound really well. Line the channels up though a grave yard or near the fence, and you could make it sound like someone is walking by. Again I haven't done this, but there is no reason it isn't possible with a little trial and error.
 

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I haven't used full (true) surround sound for Halloween yet. I've done left and right stereo and it works great. There is surround sounding editing software out there, I myself haven't played with it yet. Set up properly, fading from channel to channel just right, and you could get the HM stretching room sound really well. Line the channels up though a grave yard or near the fence, and you could make it sound like someone is walking by. Again I haven't done this, but there is no reason it isn't possible with a little trial and error.
Thanks, sounds good Icepick. One thing I'd love to do along those lines is combine my ghostly footsteps / ghostly footprints with sounds. A right to left fade like you mentioned should work perfectly because my footstep projection path isn't very long. At least that's one potential application of "dimensional" sound for a yard haunt. May redeploy the projected footsteps this year--didn't do it last year--since it looked so cool. And having synced footstep audio would "plus" the effect.

Obligatory repost of projected ghostly footprints. You can see the path is pretty short. May have to elongate it if I want to have good audio sync. Would add reverb to each step; although that may not quite fit an outdoor setting, it sure would sound cool:

Another video of the entire yard haunt for that particular year for context. I could possibly put stereo speakers behind the bushes along the concrete walkway?

May try to create a new footstep path using the Ghost Steps app--another thread for that out there somewhere. Would be nice if it was upgraded to include footstep sound effects.
 

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I had surround sound in my backyard one year and it was cool but it was for my party and wasn't really appreciated for the amount of work it was. I used a video game that you can create soundscapes in so I had crickets out of all speaker and church bells out of just one speaker then ghost sounds that would randomly play all around. I can't remember the name of the game:(
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I had surround sound in my backyard one year and it was cool but it was for my party and wasn't really appreciated for the amount of work it was. I used a video game that you can create soundscapes in so I had crickets out of all speaker and church bells out of just one speaker then ghost sounds that would randomly play all around. I can't remember the name of the game:(
Thanks for sharing your experience. Not fun when you don't get the expected impact for the effort expended. I know exactly how you feel--same way when I'd set up a green laser vortex in a room at the first floor of my house. In a window you'd see when trick-or-treaters walked by. Hardly anyone noticed it. :-( But it sure did look cool--and half the fun, for me, is figuring out various ways of creating, then setting up, various effects.
 

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Thanks, sounds good Icepick. One thing I'd love to do along those lines is combine my ghostly footsteps / ghostly footprints with sounds. A right to left fade like you mentioned should work perfectly because my footstep projection path isn't very long. At least that's one potential application of "dimensional" sound for a yard haunt. May redeploy the projected footsteps this year--didn't do it last year--since it looked so cool. And having synced footstep audio would "plus" the effect.

Obligatory repost of projected ghostly footprints. You can see the path is pretty short. May have to elongate it if I want to have good audio sync. Would add reverb to each step; although that may not quite fit an outdoor setting, it sure would sound cool:

Another video of the entire yard haunt for that particular year for context. I could possibly put stereo speakers behind the bushes along the concrete walkway?

May try to create a new footstep path using the Ghost Steps app--another thread for that out there somewhere. Would be nice if it was upgraded to include footstep sound effects.
Just out of curiosity how do you make the ghost path/walking footsteps?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just out of curiosity how do you make the ghost path/walking footsteps?
Used Windows Movie Maker and an image editor. Pretty low tech. There's a much better tool out there--the Ghost Steps app--which is free; and would allow you to create your own footstep paths and videos.
 

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I cheated with a fake surround sound set up...I used two portable cd players each running the same cd and sound of someone walking...with a five second gap of silence between steps and played both cds near the same amount of time..as one set of footsteps stopped walking the other started....so it seemed like one person walking a long the length of where I had the ghost footsteps..hid the cd players in fake tombstones.. and set them both on loop...scared the adults and the kids..and my girlfriend..lolo
 

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I cheated with a fake surround sound set up...I used two portable cd players each running the same cd and sound of someone walking...with a five second gap of silence between steps and played both cds near the same amount of time..as one set of footsteps stopped walking the other started....so it seemed like one person walking a long the length of where I had the ghost footsteps..hid the cd players in fake tombstones.. and set them both on loop...scared the adults and the kids..and my girlfriend..lolo
Love it. Great implementation! :)
 

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I built a circuit board that would take the stereo input from an audio source (MP3 player, etc.) and then, using the "key-banging" method, output it to 8 different pairs of speakers that were spread around. Program it once and then it would repeat the sequence every time it was triggered (like following you down a hallway). I also built in the ability for it to just do it randomly. Great for spreading an audio clip from a single source all around my haunted area...
 

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I built a circuit board that would take the stereo input from an audio source (MP3 player, etc.) and then, using the "key-banging" method, output it to 8 different pairs of speakers that were spread around. Program it once and then it would repeat the sequence every time it was triggered (like following you down a hallway). I also built in the ability for it to just do it randomly. Great for spreading an audio clip from a single source all around my haunted area...
Atom, sounds very cool. Unfortunately beyond my technical ability to build. What's the "key-banging" method that got you from two channels (L/R stereo) to 8 control signals?
 

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Mikeerdas - The method of operation is this: The board has one stereo input and 8 stereo outputs and 8 buttons with which to select the desired output. Press button 1 and the stereo signal goes out output 1, etc. The output is active as long as you press the button. The board, when put in record mode, will record up to 10 minutes (I think) of button-pressing. Then later, when the board is triggered by a dry contact closure, it will replay the sequence. A usage example would be that you have a haunted room with 8 props spread around. Each prop would have it's own set of speakers. You can then bounce your audio around to each of the 8 props from one audio source. Hope that all made sense...
 

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Atom058 I'd like to hear (pardon the pun) more about that sound board. Anything you would care to share ? I'm a retired EE so you can go into any level of details you wish.

Mikeerdas Glad you found the RF transmitter information helpful.
I took a look at trying to implement something a bit different. I wanted to try to focus the sound so only one person in a group could hear it. I saw the technology to do this at Transworld in 2012. The one at TW worked lateral as well, so as you passed the 2ft wide sweet spot was the only time you could hear the sound track. In this case the speaker was on a waist high table about 6 ft away. This is a similar product http://www.holosonics.com/ but they were all well out of my price range. I tried a 2ft dia clear lexan hemispherical dome, but was not happy with the results. I may try again sometime with a parabolic.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Atom and Bobby. @Bobby, the focused audio sounds great. Would love to know what results you get when you do more testing.

How about authoring 5.1 or 7.1 audio for a DVD, then using the DVD to split / output the sound? Are there any free or cheap Windows platform programs that would let me author multi-channel audio for a DVD?

I have Audacity, which is free and open source. Not sure if it can author more than a L/R stereo track.

Atom058 I'd like to hear (pardon the pun) more about that sound board. Anything you would care to share ? I'm a retired EE so you can go into any level of details you wish.

Mikeerdas Glad you found the RF transmitter information helpful.
I took a look at trying to implement something a bit different. I wanted to try to focus the sound so only one person in a group could hear it. I saw the technology to do this at Transworld in 2012. The one at TW worked lateral as well, so as you passed the 2ft wide sweet spot was the only time you could hear the sound track. In this case the speaker was on a waist high table about 6 ft away. This is a similar product http://www.holosonics.com/ but they were all well out of my price range. I tried a 2ft dia clear lexan hemispherical dome, but was not happy with the results. I may try again sometime with a parabolic.
 
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