Tank-FX lets you process and record audio files online via a simple interface that passes your audio files through a physical acoustic space situated in Oberhausen, Germany. Sound files can be uploaded, normalised, mixed, processed and converted for saving as mp3, ogg or flac formats. The process adds reverberation to the input signal.
The Tank-FX website is in German and you may want to use an online translation tool like WorldLingo.com
The acoustic space
The reverb source is a reinforced concrete water tank housed in a tower. The tower is a protected building forming part of a railway station built in 1932. Originally used for filling steam locomotives the upright cylindrical tank measures 11 meters high with a diameter of 7 meters.
A matched pair of Rode NT5 microphones are suspended inside the tank about 5-6 meters above a pair of JBL Control One loudspeakers mounted at the base of the tank. Interconnections are passed through a discharge outlet in the tank to a Yamaha Natural Sound amplifier, 2 x ART Tube MP Studio Microphone Preamps and a Unix server, in a room directly below the tank. Some experimentation was necessary in positioning the mics to avoid phase problems associated with spherical spaces.
The quality of the reverb is quite smooth without obvious direct reflections. It has a tunnel like character that is not overly hollow or harsh. The reverb decay time is around 4-5 seconds. The dry/wet ratio is controlled by a continuously variable slider and a link is provided to a separate interface form for direct selection of parameters. Using a mix level of 25% delivers a subtle ambience, at 100% only the tank signal is heard. Using the normalise function is recommended to avoid clipping. Your audio input (arbitrary format) can be up to a minute long and is resampled to 44.1Khz 16 bits stereo. Overall the effect is suitable for a wide range of sound sources including vocals and percussion. The sound/EQ of the input signal is instrumental in the final result bearing in mind the way in which the tank setup modifies the signal path. Tank-FX sounds are shared in the forums which is a source of new sound samples.
Architecture and acoustics projects:
- Silophone … "makes use of the incredible acoustics of Silo #5 by introducing sounds, collected from around the world using various communication technologies, into a physical space to create an instrument which blurs the boundaries between music, architecture and net art. Sounds arrive inside Silo #5 by telephone or internet. They are then broadcast into the vast concrete grain storage chambers inside the Silo. They are transformed, reverberated, and coloured by the remarkable acoustics of the structure, yielding a stunningly beautiful echo. This sound is captured by microphones and rebroadcast back to its sender, to other listeners and to a sound installation outside the building. Anyone may contribute material of their own, filling the instrument with increasingly varied sounds."
- Noisevault community for sharing Impulse Response files.(Reverberation patterns that can be loaded into audio software hosts).