Macs are driving a cutting-edge research unit that's experimenting with music and audio.

The Sonic Laboratory at Belfast's Queen's University's Sonic Arts Research Centre has deployed a seriously advanced Mac-controlled experimental sound room

The centre is training "a new generation of tech-savvy acoustic researchers, recording engineers, sound designers, audiophile computer programmers, electronic composers and performers," the report explains.

"We try to expose them to as many extreme, radical, weird and wacky things as we can think of in the short space of three years", a lecturer explains.

"We use Mac because - well, I've never used anything else. The fact is, because of its intuitive appeal to the creative mind, the great majority of sophisticated music and acoustic design applications were developed around the Mac".

The centre features 48 independently-controlled channels of audio which can be projected from over 60 state-of-the-art speakers positioned anywhere within the cubic research chamber.

"Even the reverberation of the space can be fine-tuned to vary from 0.4-2.3 seconds," it explains.

"This new generation of students is reaching an enviable position where a musician can use Macs and PowerBooks to make music not just extrapolated from existing forms, using existing instrumental sounds, but to develop it purely from their imaginations, to invent it anew every time", it adds.