Compiling and Running the SSR

The following sections describe how to build and/or install the SSR on your computer. The SSR can be used on GNU/Linux and Mac OS X. The MS Windows version of SSR is experimental at this stage.

Choosing the Operating System

Well, first you’ll need a proper operating system. We recommend Debian GNU/Linux ( or something Debian-based like Ubuntu ( The SSR should work on most modern Linux-distributions, though. You can also try Arch Linux (, if you want. If you are reluctant to install a new operating system on your computer, you can also install any of the above-mentioned operating systems virtually, for example using

If you happen to have Mac OS X installed on your computer, that’s OK, too.

The Debian Package

Thanks to IOhannes m zmoelnig, the SSR is available as a Debian package!


The Debian distribution comes in several flavors, such as stable, testing and sid (meaning “still in development”). At the time of writing, the soundscaperenderer package is part of “testing”, so if you have Debian “stable” installed, you will have to add the package sources for “testing” (you can try the Debian Sources List Generator). If it still doesn’t work, you should consider upgrading your whole system to “testing” or, if that’s not feasible, you can still compile and install the SSR from its source (see below for instructions).

You can install the soundscaperenderer package using your favorite package manager (apt-get, aptitude, synaptic, …), all dependencies should be installed automatically.

The package may or may not work on other Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu. Feel free to try it and report back to us.

Once the SSR is installed, move on to the section Running the SSR.

Getting the Source

If you didn’t receive this manual with the source code of the SSR, you have to download it from the SSR website or from the git repository. Refer to Section Compiling and Installing from the Git Repository in the latter case. Otherwise, continue reading this section.

Once you downloaded the tarball (the file that ends in .tar.gz), unpack it and change to the newly created directory:

tar xvzf ssr-x.y.z.tar.gz
cd ssr-x.y.z/

Of course, x, y and z should have been replaced by the actual version number. If you are new to Unix-like operating systems, you should try shell completion: just start typing the beginning of the command (e.g. tar xvzf ssr) and hit the Tab-key. Wow, the whole file name gets completed!

Configuring and Compiling

To build the SSR from source you have to configure first. Open a shell and cd to the directory containing the source code of the package and type:


This script will check your system for dependencies and prepare the Makefile required for compilation. Section Dependencies lists the dependencies that must be installed on your system. The configure script will signal if dependencies are missing. At successful termination of the configure script a summary will show up and you are ready to compile. If dependencies for certain modules of SSR are missing that you are not going to use then you can simply disable the according module by adding the appropriate argument to the call to the `` configure`` script so that you do not need to bother with the dependencies. Examples are

./configure --disable-ip-interface
./configure --disable-gui

See Section Hints on Configuration for details.

If everything went smoothly, you can continue with the next step:


This will take some time (maybe a few minutes). If you have a multi-core or multi-processor computer you can speed up things by specifying the number of processes you want to use with make -j8 (or any other number that you choose).


The following list is a list of packages which you should install with the package manager of your choice (apt-get, aptitude, synaptic, …). However, if you prefer, you can of course also download everything as source code and compile each program yourself.

  • make
  • g++ (at least version 4.7.3) or clang
  • libasio-dev
  • qtbase5-dev and libqt5opengl5-dev (To build the GUI)
  • libecasoundc2.2-dev or libecasoundc-dev
  • ecasound
  • libxml2-dev
  • libfftw3-dev
  • libsndfile1-dev
  • libjack-dev or libjack-jackd2-dev
  • jackd or jackd1 or jackd2
  • pkg-config

Extra dependencies for installing from the Git repository:

  • libtool
  • automake

Note that there are additional dependencies for some of the tracking systems that SSR supports. Refer to Section Head Tracking for further information.

To use a different compiler, you can specify it with CXX:

./configure CXX=clang++

Hints on Configuration

If you encounter problems configuring the SSR these hints could help:

  • Ensure that you really installed all libraries (lib) with devel-package (devel or dev, where available) mentioned in Section Dependencies.
  • If your QT5 library cannot be found during configuration, try running export QT_SELECT=qt5. If there are problems with qt5’s moc during the build, you might need to add the corresponding folder (like /usr/local/opt/qt/bin) to your PATH.
  • It may be necessary to run ldconfig after installing new libraries.
  • Ensure that /etc/ or LD_LIBRARY_PATH are set properly, and run ldconfig after changes.
  • If a header is not installed in the standard paths of your system you can pass its location to the configure script using ./configure CPPFLAGS=-Iyourpath.

Note that with ./configure --help all configure-options are displayed, e.g. in Section “Optional Features” you will find how to disable compilation of the head trackers and many other things. Setting the influential environment variables with ./configure VARNAME=value can be useful for debugging dependencies.


Until now, everything was happening in the source directory (something like ssr -x.x.x/). To be really useful, the SSR should be installed on the system with the command

make install

On some systems you need root privileges for this step. However, it’s easier if you set up your system to be able to do it as a normal user. On Debian, it’s enough to add your username to the staff group. Just run this command (as root or using sudo): adduser myuser staff (replacing myuser by your actual user name). On other systems you may try something like this ( again, as root or using sudo): chown myuser:myuser /usr/local -R ( again, replacing myuser by your user name).


If the SSR didn’t meet your expectations, we are very sorry, and of course you can easily remove it from your system with

make uninstall

Compiling and Installing from the Git Repository

In short, in order to install on your machine, open a terminal, create a folder that will host the source code, cd to that folder, and type

git clone

to download the source code. Then execute

make install

inside the folder in which SSR resides. You’ll probably have to have root privileges for the installation. Of course, all dependencies of the compilation process apply. See Section Dependencies.

Running the SSR

Before you start the SSR, start JACK, e.g. by typing jackd -d alsa -r 44100 in a shell or using the graphical user interface “qjackctl”. Now, the easiest way to get a signal out of the SSR is by passing a sound-file directly:


By default, the SSR starts with the binaural renderer; please use headphones for listening with this renderer. Type ssr --help to get an overview of the command line options and various renderers:

USAGE: ssr [OPTIONS] <scene-file>

The SoundScape Renderer (SSR) is a tool for real-time spatial audio
reproduction providing a variety of rendering algorithms.


Choose a rendering algorithm:
    --binaural         Binaural (using HRIRs)
    --brs              Binaural Room Synthesis (using BRIRs)
    --wfs              Wave Field Synthesis
    --aap              Ambisonics Amplitude Panning
    --dca              Distance-coded Ambisonics (experimental!)
    --vbap             Stereophonic (Vector Base Amplitude Panning)
    --generic          Generic Renderer

Renderer-specific options:
    --hrirs=FILE       Load the HRIRs for binaural renderer from FILE
    --hrir-size=VALUE  Maximum IR length (binaural and BRS renderer)
    --prefilter=FILE   Load WFS prefilter from FILE
-o, --ambisonics-order=VALUE Ambisonics order to use (default: maximum)
    --in-phase-rendering     Use in-phase rendering for Ambisonics

JACK options:
-n, --name=NAME        Set JACK client name to NAME
    --input-prefix=PREFIX    Input  port prefix (default: "system:capture_")
    --output-prefix=PREFIX   Output port prefix (default: "system:playback_")
-f, --freewheel        Use JACK in freewheeling mode

General options:
-c, --config=FILE      Read configuration from FILE
-s, --setup=FILE       Load reproduction setup from FILE
    --threads=N        Number of audio threads (default N=1)
-r, --record=FILE      Record the audio output of the renderer to FILE
    --loop             Loop all audio files
                       Correction of the master volume in dB (default: 0 dB)
    --auto-rotation    Auto-rotate sound sources' orientation toward the reference
    --no-auto-rotation Don't auto-rotate sound sources' orientation toward the reference
-i, --ip-server[=PORT] Start IP server (default on)
                       A port can be specified: --ip-server=5555
-I, --no-ip-server     Don't start IP server
                       ASCII code for character to end messages with
                       (default 0 = binary zero)
-g, --gui              Start GUI (default)
-G, --no-gui           Don't start GUI
-t, --tracker=TYPE     Start tracker, possible value(s):
                       fastrak patriot vrpn razor
                       A serial port can be specified, e.g. /dev/ttyS1
-T, --no-tracker       Don't start tracker

-h, --help             Show this very help information. You just typed that!
-v, --verbose          Increase verbosity level (up to -vvv)
-V, --version          Show version information and exit

Choose the appropriate arguments and make sure that your amplifiers are not turned too loud…

To stop the SSR use either the options provided by the GUI (Section GUI) or type Crtl+c in the shell in which you started the SSR.

Keyboard actions in non-GUI mode

If you start SSR without GUI (option --no-gui), it starts automatically replaying the scene that you have loaded. You can have some interaction via the shell. Currently implemented actions are (all followed by Return):

  • c: calibrate tracker (if available)
  • p: start playback
  • q: quit application
  • r: “rewind”; go back to the beginning of the current scene
  • s: stop (pause) playback

Note that in non-GUI mode, audio processing is always taking place. Live inputs are processed even if you pause playback.

Recording the SSR output

You can record the audio output of the SSR using the --record=FILE command line option. All output signals (i.e. the loudspeaker signals) will be recorded to a multichannel wav-file named FILE. The order of channels corresponds to the order of loudspeakers specifed in the reproduction setup (see Sections Reproduction Setups and ASDF). The recording can then be used to analyze the SSR output or to replay it without the SSR using a software player like “ecaplay” (

Configuration Files

The general configuration of the SSR (whether GUI is enabled, which tracker to use, and most other command line arguments) can be specified in a configuration file (e.g. ssr.conf). By specifying your settings in such a file, you avoid having to give explicit command line options every time you start the SSR. We have added the example data/ssr.conf.example, which mentions all possible parameters. Take a look inside, it is rather self-explanatory. There are three possibilities to specify a configuration file:

Configuration files are loaded in the following order, if certain options are specified more than once, the last occurrence counts. This means that it is not the last file that is loaded that counts but rather the last occurrence at which a given setting is specified.

  1. /Library/SoundScapeRenderer/ssr.conf
  2. /etc/ssr.conf
  3. $HOME/Library/SoundScapeRenderer/ssr.conf
  4. $HOME/.ssr/ssr.conf
  5. the path(s) specified with the --config/-c option(s) (e.g., ssr -c my_config.file)

We explicitly mention one parameter here that might be of immediate interest for you: MASTER_VOLUME_CORRECTION. This a correction in dB (!) that is applied – as you might guess – to the master volume. The motivation is to have means to adopt the general perceived loudness of the reproduction of a given system. Factors like the distance of the loudspeakers to the listener or the typical distance of virtual sound sources influence the resulting loudness, which can be adjusted to the desired level by means of the MASTER_VOLUME_CORRECTION. Of course, there’s also a command line alternative (--master-volume-correction).

Head Tracking

We provide integration of the InterSense InertiaCube3 tracking sensor, the Polhemus Fastrak and the Polhemus Patriot. They are used to update the orientation of the reference (in binaural reproduction this is the listener) in real-time. Please read Sections Preparing Intersense and Preparing Polhemus if you want to compile the SSR with the support for these trackers.

Note that on startup, the SSR tries to find the tracker. If it fails, it continues without it. If you use a tracker, make sure that you have the appropriate rights to read from the respective port.

You can calibrate the tracker while the SSR is running by pressing Return. The instantaneous orientation will then be interpreted as straight forward, i.e. upwards on the screen (\(\alpha = 90^\circ\)).

Preparing InterSense InertiaCube3

If you want to compile the SSR with support for the InterSense InertiaCube3 tracking sensor, please download the InterSense Software Development Kit (SDK) from the InterSense website (; Support → Downloads → Development and Troubleshooting Tools). Unpack the archive and place the files

  • isense.h and types.h to /usr/local/include, and
  • (the version appropriate for your processor type) to usr/local/lib.

The SSR configuration script will automatically detect the presence of the files described above and if they are found, enable the compilation for the support of this tracker. To disable this tracker, use ./configure --disable-intersense and recompile.

If you encounter an error-message similar to cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory, but the file is placed correctly, run ldconfig.

Make sure that you have the required access rights to the tracker before starting SSR. For you are using the USB connection type

sudo chmod a+rw /dev/ttyUSBX

whereby X can be any digit or number. If you are not sure which port is the tracker then unplug the tracker, type

ls /dev/ttyUSB*

replug the tracker, execute above command again and see which port was added. That one is the tracker. It’s likely that it is the one whose name contains the highest number.

Preparing Polhemus Fastrak/Patriot

For incorporation of the Polhemus Fastrak/Patriot with serial connection, no additional libraries are required. Make sure that you have the required access rights to the tracker before starting SSR by typing something like

sudo chmod a+rw /dev/ttyS0


sudo chmod a+rw /dev/ttyS1

or so.

If you want to disable this tracker, use ./configure --disable-polhemus and recompile.

Preparing VRPN

In order to use Virtual Reality Peripheral Network (VRPN) compatible trackers create a config file vrpn.cfg with one of the following lines (or similar)

vrpn_Tracker_Fastrak MyFastrak /dev/ttyUSB0 115200
vrpn_Tracker_Fastrak MyOtherFastrak COM1 115200
vrpn_Tracker_Liberty MyPatriot /dev/ttyUSB1 115200

… and start vrpn_server. You can choose the name of the Tracker arbitrarily. Then, start the SSR with the given Tracker name, e.g.:

ssr-binaural --tracker=vrpn --tracker-port=MyFastrak@localhost

If the tracker runs on a different computer, use its hostname (or IP address) instead of localhost. You can of course select your head tracker settings by means of Configuration Files.

Using the SSR with different audio clients

This page contains some short description how to connect your own audio files with the SSR using different audio players.

VLC Media Player

How to connect the SSR in binaural playback mode with the own audio library using Jack and VLC Media Player:

After installing Jack and the SSR (with all needed components: see :ref:` Configuring and Compiling <configuring>`) it is necessary to install the VLC Media Player with its Jack plugin (for example UBUNTU):

  1. sudo apt-get install vlc vlc-plugin-jack

    (or use the packet manager of your choice instead of the command line and install: vlc and vlc-plugin-jack)

2. After installing open VLC Media Player and navigate to Tools->Preferences Select “All” on the bottom left corner In the appearing menu on the left navigate to “Audio”->”Output Module” and extend it by using “+”

3. In the submenu of “Output Module” select “JACK” and replace “system” by ” Binaural-Renderer” in the “Connect to clients matching”-box. Do not forget to enable “Automatically connect to writable clients” above. (Otherwise you have to connect the audio output of vlc with the SSR input after every played audio file using jack.)

(Note: If you want to use another Renderer, e.g. for WFS, you have to enter “WFS-Renderer” in the box)

  1. Save your changes.

  2. Start everything together using the command line:

    qjackctl -s & vlc & ssr --gui /"path_of_your_scene_file(s)"/stereo.asd &
    This will start jack, vlc and the ssr with the GUI and a provided stereo
    scene (TODO: LINK) (stereo.asd)
  3. Open an audio file in vlc and press play





Mac OS X

JACK on Mac OS X

Tested with version 0.87 (64 bit) which includes:

  • Jackdmp 1.9.6
  • JackRouter 0.9.3
  • JackPilot 1.7.0

Note that the site is outdated. The latest version of JACK is available from

Or, you can install JACK using Homebrew.

If you are using OS X El Capitan or newer, make sure that you are installing the version “jackOSX 0.92_b3” from JACK versions installed from other sources tend not to work on these versions of OS X.

Application Bundle

This assumes that you are using the precompiled SSR application bundle for Mac OS X. If you want to build the SSR yourself, have a look at Building from Source.

You can download the application bundle from You will need JACK as prerequisite. Refer to JACK on Mac OS X for instructions how to obtain and install it.

The installation should be straightforward. Just double-click on the .dmg file and drag the SoundScapeRenderer-x.x.x folder to your Applications folder. Done. When double-clicking the SSR application bundle, it will indicate to you that you should download and install JACK (that’s what this JACK.webloc thingy wants). If JACK is installed on your computer, then simply ignore this step and drag the SSR folder to your Applications folder.

The application bundle can be placed anywhere, but spaces in path names might cause trouble, so it’s better to avoid them. Another thing is that Mac OS X sort of adds applications placed in the /Applications folder to the environment, so lets assume you put the SSR there (This also works for $HOME/Applications).

Under new versions of Mac OS (Sierra and up) the SoundScapeRenderer executable might be stuck in quarantine resulting in files not being loaded properly. The corresponding error message might look like this:

/private/var/folders/_t/67rf88lx507btn91x6g_vfk40000gp/T/AppTranslocation/42F7F94E-AED9-4F39-8647-41D898CCE032/d/ line 48: 36804 Abort trap: 6           $SSR_EXECUTABLE "${OPTIONS[@]}"

You can allow the SoundScapeRender to run from its original location by running:

xattr -d

The following warning can occur on High Sierra when using the file dialog:

objc[50474]: Class FIFinderSyncExtensionHost is implemented in both /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/FinderKit.framework/Versions/A/FinderKit (0x7fffa1883c90) and /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/FileProvider.framework/OverrideBundles/FinderSyncCollaborationFileProviderOverride.bundle/Contents/MacOS/FinderSyncCollaborationFileProviderOverride (0x11f84ccd8). One of the two will be used. Which one is undefined.

It is a bug outside of SSR.

Building from Source

The following is an overview on how to set up the build environment for SSR on Mac OS X.

What to install first?

You can make your life much easier with a decent package manager, name Homebrew ( or MacPorts ( Both greatly simplify the process of installing and managing dependencies.

MacPorts ports

These ports have to be installed (dependencies are installed automatically)

  • gcc49 (or some other version of GCC, but at least gcc47)
  • pkgconfig
  • libsndfile
  • libsamplerate
  • fftw-3-single
  • qt5-mac
  • libxml2

If you want, you can also use clang instead of GCC to compile the SSR.

If you want to install the newest SSR development version directly from the Git repository, you’ll need those as well:

  • autoconf
  • automake
  • help2man

Ports are installed using

sudo port install <portname>

Because ports are compiled locally, it may take a long time to install all ports. Issuing one command to install all ports might be more convenient:

sudo sh -c "port install gcc49 && port install pkgconfig && port install libsndfile && port install libsamplerate && port install fftw-3-single && port install qt5-mac && port install libxml2"

Lastly, you need to install the asio library if you want to compile with the network interface. You can download it from:


Tested with version 2.7.2

If you don’t want to get Ecasound from Homebrew, then download the source code from (If you choose to use Homebrew and you’re experiencing problems, then you might want to take a look at Ecasound cannot open a JACK port).

It didn’t work with 2.9.0 for us, older versions can be found there:

In Terminal go into the unpacked ecasound folder and do:

./configure CPPFLAGS=-I/opt/local/include LIBS=-L/opt/local/lib

If JACK cannot be found, you can also try this:

./configure CPPFLAGS="-I/opt/local/include -I/usr/local/include" LIBS=-L/opt/local/lib

When the configure script is finished, check if libsndfile, libsamplerate and JACK are enabled. It should look something like that:

Following features were selected:
Libsndfile:             yes
JACK support:           yes
Libsamplerate support   yes

If not, check that JACK and all MacPort packages mentioned above are installed. If everything looks OK, continue with:

make install

For the last step you need write access to /usr/local. If it doesn’t work, use this instead:

sudo make install
Ecasound – git version

Note: if you successfully installed Ecasound 2.7.2, you don’t need this!

If you want to use the newest Ecasound version from their git repository ( with OS X 10.9 (Mavericks), you can try this:

./configure CXX="clang++ -stdlib=libc++" CPPFLAGS=-D_DARWIN_C_SOURCE

Note, however, that you will have to use the same -stdlib options when configuring the SSR.

Standard build

Get the SSR Source tarball and unpack it where ever you wish, then open a Terminal window and cd into the newly created folder.

First of all, you have to issue this command in order for pkg-config to find the installed JACK version:

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig

You now have two options:

1) If you want to build a clickable application bundle and wrap it into a .dmg image, you can build the SSR in Mac OS X style:

./configure --enable-app-bundle
make dmg

You can also name the .dmg:

make dmg

The resulting .dmg is output to the SSR source folder. The application bundle inside contains all non-system dynamic libraries needed by the SSR, except the JACK libs. So it should run on every Mac OS X 10.6.x with JACK installed.

2) If you want to build and install in Linux style:

make install

For the last step you need write access in /usr/local. If it doesn’t work, use this instead:

sudo make install

The binaries do not get wrapped in an application bundle but they will be installed in /usr/local/bin and some files will be installed in /usr/ local/share/ssr. If you want to remove all these file again, just do:

make uninstall

or (if you used sudo before):

sudo make uninstall

You can start the SSR and pass arguments to the SSR the same way you would do it on Linux.

Build with InterSense tracker support

Tested with IntertiaCube3, software version 4.17

Get the SDK from It should contain a dynamic library called libisense.dylib and two header files called isense.h and types.h, respectively.

Put libisense.dylib into /usr/local/lib and the header files into / usr/local/include/intersense.

Then build like described above, but add CPPFLAGS=-I/usr/local/include/ intersense to the configure parameters:

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig
./configure CPPFLAGS=-I/usr/local/include/intersense

For some strange reason the full path of libisense.dylib is not written to the header of the binary. So if you configure with --enable-app-bundle and then do make dmg to build an application bundle, a tool called dylibbundler will ask you to enter its path (/usr/local/lib) several times.

Using the GUI

  1. Run the JackPilot and hit start.
  2. Double-click the SoundScape Renderer icon icon, select the renderer type, and off you go!

When the SSR is started, a Terminal window displaying the standard SSR output is automatically opened. If the SSR closes with an error, it remains open for you to inspect the error messages.

The SSR and JACK must have the same sampling rate, otherwise error will be generated.

More options can be specified by using the config file. The details of using the config file is described on the Section Configuration Files.

Running via the Command Line (Terminal)

The application bundle is more convenient, but brings limitations when using the command line. The included start script changes the working directory to the directory that includes the SSR application bundle, so only absolute paths should be used on the command line.

What can be done using configuration files, should be done using configuration files.

Both JACK and the SSR can be started on the command line by using:

open -a JackPilot
open -a SoundScapeRenderer

If the SSR is placed in /Applications (or $HOME/Applications) and was run several times already, OS X should find it. If not, you would have to specify the full path, i.e.

open /Applications/SoundScapeRenderer-0.4.0/

The SSR starts with a prompt for renderer selection, with the default renderer set on the Binaural renderer. As mentioned above in Section Configuration Files, more options at the start up can be specified using the configuration file.

To start the SSR using a different renderer module and skip the prompt for the selection do:

open -a SoundScapeRenderer --args --binaural

Of course, instead of --binaural, you can also use any of the other available renderers (e.g. --wfs for Wave Field Synthesis). To see all available command line arguments (specifying a renderer skips the prompt for renderer selection):

open -a SoundScapeRenderer --args --binaural "--help"


The arguments other than the renderer selection have to be enclosed in quotation marks ("")!

To load a scene do:

open -a SoundScapeRenderer --args --binaural "/absolute/path/to/scene.asd"


Paths have to be absolute!

To load a scene that has spaces in its path name do:

open -a SoundScapeRenderer --args --binaural "/path/to/file\ with\ spaces.asd"


Spaces have to be escaped using backslashes!

In addition to the config files in standard locations mentioned above, you can also specify a config file on the command line:

open -a SoundScapeRenderer --args --binaural "--config=my_config_file.conf"

When you want to record the output of the SSR and play it back again, you should always provide the .wav extension of the file name, along with the absolute path of your desired destination location for the file. As an example, if you want to run the SSR and record the output to a file name output.wav, you would need the command given below:

open -a SoundScapeRenderer --args --binaural "--record=/tmp/output.wav"

But if you use a relative path instead of the absolute path, the file that contains the output of the SSR will be saved inside the directory of the SoundScape Renderer in the Applications folder.

If you want to start more than one instance of SSR, then add the -n option to the call of open for all instances other than the first one:

open -n -a SoundScapeRenderer --binaural

Using a Head-Tracker

Running with InterSense tracker support

Due to copyright reasons, the SSR does not come with a built-in InterSense tracker support. So first you have to build the SSR with InterSense tracker support yourself or ask someone to do it for you.

If you are using a USB-to-Serial interface with your tracker, you need to install drivers for that. This seems to work fine for the interface made by InterSense:

To check if the system sees the tracker do:

ls -l /dev/tty.usb*

On the MacBooks tested, the serial ports were called /dev/tty.usbserial- 00001004 or /dev/tty.usbserial-00002006 depending on which USB port was used.

To make the SSR use the InterSense tracker with these ports, you have two options:

Using the command line (only one port can be specified):

open -a SoundScapeRenderer --args --binaural "--tracker=intersense

… or using config files:

Add these lines to a config file (multiple ports can be specified):

TRACKER = intersense
TRACKER_PORTS = /dev/tty.usbserial-XXXXXXXX /dev/tty.usbserial-YYYYYYYY

It’s recommended to use the config file approach - best use a global :ref:` config file<ssr_configuration_file>`.

Running with Razor AHRS tracker support

If you happen not to own a Polhemus or InterSense tracker to do your head- tracking, an alternative would be to use our DIY low-cost Razor AHRS tracker.

If you have Arduino installed on you machine, FTDI drivers will be there too. Otherwise get the driver from .

To check if the system sees the tracker do:

ls -l /dev/tty.usb*

This should give you something like /dev/tty.usbserial-A700eEhN.

To make the SSR use this Razor AHRS tracker, you have two options:

Using the command line:

open -a SoundScapeRenderer --args --binaural "--tracker=razor

… or using config files:

Add these lines to a config file:

TRACKER = intersense
TRACKER_PORTS = /dev/tty.usbserial-XXXXXXXX

It’s recommended to use the config file approach - best use a global config file.

MS Windows

The MS Windows version of SSR is experimental at this stage. Find the pre-release of the executables at Note that this SSR version only works with live inputs currently (it cannot play audio files). It has no limitation otherwise.

Using the SSR with DAWs

As stated before, the SSR is currently not able to dynamically replay audio files (refer to Section ASDF). If your audio scenes are complex, you might want to consider using the SSR together with a digital audio work station (DAW). To do so, you simply have to create as many sources in the SSR as you have audio tracks in your respective DAW project and assign live inputs to the sources. Amongst the ASDF examples we provide on SSR website you’ll find an scene description that does exactly this.

DAWs like Ardour ( support JACK and their use is therefore straightforward. DAWs which do not run on Linux or do not support JACK can be connected via the input of the sound card.

In the future we will provide a VST plug-in which will allow you to dynamically operate all virtual source’s properties (like e.g. a source’s position or level etc.). You will then be able to have the full SSR functionality controlled from your DAW.

Known Issues (Linux & Mac OS X)

Also visit for updated known issues.

SSR crashes with a segmentation fault on Max OS X

If this happens whenever you are opening an audio file or loading a scene that involves opening an audio file, then this might be due to Ecasound. We’ve seen this with the app bundle. Try the following:

Download the Ecasound source code from Cd into the folder and compile Ecasound with:


Refer also to Ecasound for instructions on how to compile Ecasound. The executable ecasound/ecasound will be created.

Finally, replace the Ecasound executable in the SSR bundle with something like this:

sudo cp ecasound/ecasound /Applications/SoundScapeRenderer-0.4.2-74-gb99f8b2/

You might have to modify the name of the SSR folder in the above command as you’re likely to use a different version.

A file that can’t be loaded results in a connection to a live input

If there is an error in loading a specified audio file, the corresponding source is still created and (unexpectedly) connected to the first soundcard input channel.

We believe this is a bug in the JACK system related to the API function jack_connect()_: If the destination_port argument is an empty string, the function returns (correctly) with an error. However, if the source_port argument is an empty string, the port is connected to the first “system” port ( or the first port at all, or who knows …). And this is the case if the SSR cannot open a specified audio file.

If you also think that’s a bug, feel free to report it to the JACK developers.

Conflicting JACK and Ecasound versions

There is a problem due to a special combination of ecasound and JACK versions on 64 bit systems leading to an error (terminating the SSR) similar to this:

 (ecasoundc_sa) Error='read() error', cmd='cs-connect' last_error='' cmd_cnt=6

We experienced this error on 64 bit systems with ecasound version and 2 .7.0 in combination with JACK version 0.118.0. A similar error occured on Mac OS X with ecasound version 2.7.2 and JackOSX version 0.89 (with Jackdmp 1.9.8).

Please try to update to the newest ecasound and JACK versions.

Annoying Ecasound message

You may have seen this message:

* Message from libecasoundc:
* 'ECASOUND' environment variable not set. Using the default value
* value 'ECASOUND=ecasound'.

You can totally ignore this, but if it bothers you, you can disable it easily by specifying the following line in /etc/bash.bashrc (system-wide setting) or, if you prefer, you can put it into your $HOME/.bashrc (just for your user account):

export ECASOUND=ecasound

Ecasound cannot open a JACK port

Sometimes, when Ecasound is installed via Homebrew, it can have trouble finding JACK. As a result SSR displays the sound source symbols in the GUI, but they don’t play audio, and an according error message is posted in the SSR terminal.

Type ecasound -c in a terminal to start Ecasound in interactive mode. Then type aio-register to list all available outputs that Ecasound has recognized. If JACK is not listed, then download the Ecasound source code from, and

./configure --enable-jack
make install

The last line might have to be

sudo make install

Refer also to Ecasound for instructions on how to compile Ecasound.

Using SSR on Mac OS X El Capitan

SSR works well on El Capitan. JACK is what can cause headache. See JACK on Mac OS X .

Long paths to audio files on Mac OS X

It can happen that SSR displays this error message when loading audio files directily:

Error: AudioPlayer::Soundfile: ERROR:  Connecting chainsetup failed: "Enabling chainsetup: AUDIOIO-JACK: Unable to open JACK-client" (audioplayer.cpp:310)
Warning: AudioPlayer: Initialization of soundfile '/Users/YOUR_USERNAME/Documents/audio/YOUR_AUDIO_FILE.wav' failed! (audioplayer.cpp:87)

Opening such a file would result in a JACK port name that is too long. You can resolve this limitation by moving the audio file to a location that produces a shorter (full) path name or by wrapping the audio file in an asd-file.

Segmentation Fault when Opening a Scene

This problem occured on some old SuSE systems.

When you start the SSR with GUI, everything is alright at first. As soon as you open a scene, a segmentation fault arises. This is a problem in the interaction between Qt and OpenGL. As a workaround, comment the line

renderText(0.18f * scale, 0.13f * scale, 0.0f, source->name.c_str(), f);

in the file src/gui/qopenglrenderer.cpp and recompile the code. The consequence is that the names of the sound sources will not be displayed anymore.

Choppy Sound on Cheap (On-Board) Sound Cards

Sometimes JACK doesn’t play well with those on-board sound cards. One possibility to improve this, is to increase the frames/period setting from the default 2 to a more generous 3. This can be done in the Settings dialog of qjackctl or with the command line option -n:

jackd -n 3

dylibbundler doesn’t grok Qt Frameworks

If make dmg doesn’t copy the Qt .dylib files into the application bundle (to Contents/Libraries), you might try the following commands (or similar, depending on the exact Qt installation).

install_name_tool -id /opt/local/lib/libQtCore.dylib /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/QtCore.framework/QtCore
install_name_tool -id /opt/local/lib/libQtGui.dylib /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/QtGui.framework/QtGui
install_name_tool -change /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/QtCore.framework/Versions/5/QtCore /opt/local/lib/libQtCore.dylib /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/QtGui.framework/QtGui
install_name_tool -id /opt/local/lib/libQtOpenGL.dylib /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/QtOpenGL.framework/QtOpenGL
install_name_tool -change /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/QtCore.framework/Versions/5/QtCore /opt/local/lib/libQtCore.dylib /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/QtOpenGL.framework/QtOpenGL
install_name_tool -change /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/QtGui.framework/Versions/5/QtGui /opt/local/lib/libQtGui.dylib /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/QtOpenGL.framework/QtOpenGL

You need the appropriate rights to change the library files, so you probably need to use sudo before the commands.

WARNING: You can totally ruin your Qt installation with this stuff!

To get some information about a library, you can try something like those:

otool -L /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/QtOpenGL.framework/QtOpenGL
otool -l /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/QtOpenGL.framework/QtOpenGL
otool -D /opt/local/Library/Frameworks/QtOpenGL.framework/QtOpenGL

SSR for Mac OS X: qt_menu.nib not found

This was fixed in MacPorts, see Thanks to Chris Pike! Since version 0.5 (switching to qt5), qt_menu.nib is not needed any more.

Compilation Error on Ubuntu and Archlinux

This issue was resolved in version 0.3.4. Some newer distributions got more picky about the necessary #include commands. If the SSR refuses to compile, add this to the file src/gui/qopenglplotter.h (somewhere at the beginning):

#include <GL/glu.h>

On Mac OS X you’ll need this instead:

#include <OpenGL/glu.h>

Polhemus tracker does not work with SSR

This issue was resolved in version 0.3.3, where we changed the tracker selection. Use --tracker=fastrak, --tracker=patriot and --tracker=intersense, respectively. The serial port can be specified with --tracker-port=/dev/ ttyUSB0 (or similar).

This can happen when both the Intersense tracker as well as the Polhemus tracker are compiled and the file isports.ini is present. The latter tells the Intersense tracker which port to use instead of the standard serial port /dev/ttyS0. If the isports.ini file lists the port to which the Polhemus tracker is connected, it can happen that something that we have not fully understood goes wrong and the Pohlemus data can not be read. In this case you can either rename the file isports.ini or change its content.

It might be necessary to execute echo C > /dev/ttyS0 several times in order to make Polhemus Fastrak operational again. Use echo -e "C\r" > /dev/ttyS0 for Polhemus Patriot. You can check with cat /dev/ttyS0 if it delivers data.

Missing GUI Buttons and Timeline

This issue was resolved in version 0.3.2, the default setting for --enable-floating-control-panel is chosen depending on the installed Qt version. As of version 0.5 (switching to qt5), the floating control panel is always enabled.

Different versions of Qt show different behaviour regarding OpenGL Overlays and as a result, the GUI buttons are not shown in newer Qt versions.

To overcome this limitation, we provide two GUI variants:

  • Traditional GUI, can be used up to Qt 4.6.x
  • Floating control panel, which is used with Qt 4.7 and above

The floating control panel is the default setting on Mac OS X, for Linux it can be activated with:

./configure --enable-floating-control-panel

OpenGL Linker Error

This issue was resolved in version 0.3.2.

On some systems, after running make, you’ll get an error mentioning ” glSelectBuffer”.

For now, this is the solution (see also the issue below):

./configure LIBS=-lGL

IP interface isn’t selected although boost libraries are installed

This issue was resolved with dropping boost::asio for asio in version 0.5.0.

For older builds, you might need to add the -lpthread flag:

./configure LIBS=-lpthread

Second instance of SSR crashes

This happens when two or more instances of the SSR are started with the IP server enabled. Start all (or at least all instances higher than 1) with the -I flag to disable the IP interface.

Audio files with spaces

This issue was resolved in version 0.3.2.

Please do not use audio files with spaces for scenes. Neither the filename nor the directory referenced in the scene (asd-file) should contain spaces.

Error ValueError: unknown locale: UTF-8 when building the manual

This can happen on non-US Macs. Go to your home folder /Users/YOUR_USER_NAME, open (or create) the file .bash_profile and add the following to this file:

export LC_ALL=en_US.UFT-8
export LANG=en_US.UTF-8
export LANGUAGE=en_US.UTF-8
export LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8

You might have to re-open the terminal or log out and in again to see the effect.