Zirkonium was developed at the ZKM and serves to control the Sound Dome. The software consists of a set of free macOS tools which aid in the composition of spatial music.

Developed by the ZKM | Hertz Lab, Zirkonium has supported the creation of spatialized works for the Sound Dome in the ZKM Kubus as well as loudspeaker systems at other institutions and performance spaces.


The latest version for download

Zirkonium MK1 (2006–2012)

Beginning in 2006 with the release of Zirkonium MK1, composers and artists were introduced to mathematical event-based sound movements, rotations, and timing via a simple interface which controlled a spatialization system which allowed for playback on any number of configurable loudspeaker setups. One of the first GUI driven, easy-to-use free software available, it intended to provide a performance tool to composers addressing scalable speaker setups and a precise reproduction of the choreography of n-channel sounds.

Features MK1

Zirkonium MK2 (2012–2015)

The following Zirkonium MK2 was released in 2012 as an extensible modular system expressly designed for use with external software tools and included a basic sound path editor. Designed around a Max MSP-based DSP server and various client control and compositon tools, MK2 allowed for greater integration with creative programming environments.

Features MK2

Zirkonium MK3

The current Zirkonium MK3, available since 2015, builds upon the MK1 spatialization and MK2 editor, allowing composers to design and arrange multiple spatial trajectories over time through an intuitive GUI. According to the provided trajectory information, the actual audio signals can then be rendered in real-time for 2-D or 3-D loudspeaker systems. Similar to MK2, the MK3 DSP server is built using Pure Data, an open-source creative programming environment.

With Zirkonium MK3, developers have focused on improving usability, visualization, and compatibility over previous MK1 and MK2 versions. Consequently, the software structure and the GUI were drastically redesigned, and a number of functionalities have been implemented, such as parametric trajectory creation, automatic interpolation, and event-filtering.

Furthermore, additional tools are included for working with Zirkonium MK3:

  • SpeakerSetup: tool for creating 2D or 3D loudspeaker setup files for use with Zirkonium MK3
  • ZirkPad: live remote control iPad app for Zirkonium 3.1+, available in the Apple app store
  • ZirkVideoPlayer: video player which can be synchronized using OSC or MIDI, included with Zirkonium 3.4+

Features MK3

Download Zirkonium

Zirkonium Remote Control

Zirkonium is used to control the sound dome

About the Sound Dome

A large room with a piano on a pedestal

Join the Zirkonium community discussion list to ask questions, report bugs, share tips, and receive release announcements: zirkonium-list