USF professor Miles Fulwider immersed in recording projects while guiding students

November 23, 2021

University of Saint Francis professor Miles Fulwider loves the sound of a challenge.

So, when the Suzuki Association of Utah (SAU) invited him to travel to Salt Lake City and record more than 400 student violinists—at once—he jumped at the chance.

Logistical issues hit him shortly after saying yes. Fulwider, who directs the USF Music Technology program, had a fair amount of recording gear to haul, or at least enough to make air travel problematic. His alternative: driving for 22 hours. He chose the road trip, solo. Obviously, he relishes all sorts of challenges.

Fulwider left Fort Wayne on Wednesday, Oct. 6 and arrived in Salt Lake City the next day. A native of Utah, he coordinated the recording plan that Friday while catching up with family, and then recorded the massive gathering of violinists on Saturday. Exhausting? Fulwider then drove straight back to Fort Wayne, stopping only for gas and essentials, to handle a Monday morning virtual reality audio project.

Sounds daunting? For Fulwider, the sweet sounds overrode the sour schedule.

“I told some people I was going to record over 400 violinists, and they were like ‘Good luck…but I want to hear the sound of them all tuning up at once,’” Fulwider said. “It was a fun day. We had some great audience interaction.”

The event at Abravanel Hall, home of the Utah Symphony, featured guest artist Rob Landes, whose YouTube Channel has 3.62 million subscribers. “They invited him to come and perform and he has a fun and engaging part of the show,” Fulwider said.

Fulwider’s inner drive to make the trip, and do the work, emanated from his passion for immersive audio. He is a Tonmeister (sound master) and has co-authored an upcoming book, “Surround Mixing and Immersive Audio Featuring Dolby Atmos.” Fulwider also belongs to the DPA Masters Club, a highly skilled, actively working community of elite engineers and producers who use DPA Microphones’ solutions in their daily work. The entire production was recorded with DPA Microphones, some of which were supplied by DPA for the SAU performance recording.

Fulwider developed a new USF course, “Multichannel and Immersive Audio,” to better prepare students for an expanding area of sound.

“With my Tonmeister research, I was dealing with immersive audio,” Fulwider said. “I’ve been working in the multichannel and immersive audio space for a long time and now consumers are finally able to listen and experience it. Truly, over the last year to two years, that’s become much more accessible to the consumer in a more manageable way. Previously, it was only in the theater or a movie productions that took full advantage of the technology. Now, streaming services are playing music in these formats.”

Capturing the SAU violinists with the breadth of immersive audio served as an impetus for Fulwider to make the long drive and quick turnaround to record the audio.

“There was a certain amount of intensity there that I wanted to accurately capture,” Fulwider said. “It ran smoothly, and we had a great live sound in the hall, with a wonderful performance.”

Fulwider can’t contain his enthusiasm for these types of projects.

“I’ll talk about immersive audio,” he said, “with anyone who will listen.”