This article describes a quest for the GRAIL (Giant Radial Array for Immersive Listening), a large-scale loudspeaker system with related hardware and software control equipment. The GRAIL was developed at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University, evolving from the need for optimal sound quality in our multichannel concerts. It is also used for teaching and research.
The current GRAIL is one step in an ongoing evolutionary process, characterized by the use of off-the-shelf hardware components and custom software–based on free software languages and libraries. While developing our software, we have, as much as possible, aimed to take advantage of existing programs and utilities.