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Open Air Triumphs for TiMax2 SoundHub and TiMax Tracker

TiMax Tracker and TiMax2 SoundHub audio showcontrol systems from UK developer, Out Board, have been in constant demand for the outdoor theatrical events becoming ever more popular across Europe.

Two such events in the 2010 season were Anna’s Carnifex – the story of Switzerland’s last witchhunt of Anna Goldi the witch by Carnifex the witchhunter – and Dallebach Kari: a musical of the classic film which signalled the beginning of German-speaking new Swiss cinema.

Tom Strebel and his Basel-based sound design and consulting company audiopool were behind both events. Strebel, who won an Opus award at Frankfurt in 2009 for sound design, has become something of a TiMax connoisseur, increasingly aligning his repertoire of design techniques to the products’ main specialities of seamless dynamic delay localisation and industry-leading performer tracking automation.

The Dallebach Kari opus was staged at Thunersee, where every year a huge stage is built upon the beautiful lake of this, one of Switzerland’s largest cities. The summer performances pull people from all over Switzerland to visit.

Strebel employed the TiMax SoundHub not only to apply its delay-matrix localisation capabilities to the radio mics, but also for full system management including EQ and zone control across 16 channels of distributed sound reinforcement.

A further six channels were occupied by spot-effects and reverb on stage and the same again for surround loudspeakers. Thirteen of the inputs – the principal vocalists – were motion-tracked via the MIDI-linked TiMax Tracker UWB 3D performer tracking system.
The speaker system comprised four pairs of d&b Q7s at the lip of the stage as front-fills, with four more delayed pairs mounted about half way up the seating arrangement, on poles. The paired arrangement enabled TiMax SoundHub to create what Out Board MD, Robin Whittaker describes as, “‘image-pulling stereo pairs’.
 “It consists of zoning up the audience area and giving each one a left and a right loudspeaker source,” he explains. “By careful setup of the level-delay relationships to the speakers that TiMax employs we are able to deliver directionality but no given loudspeaker is prominent. Wherever you sit, you are unaware of the sound coming at you from any given speaker source. It appears to come from the mouths of the actors or from the orchestra pit. And of course TiMax Tracker makes it follow the action”

The slightly smaller-scale performance of Anna Carnifex took up residence in a purpose-built arena at a street corner of the Swiss town of Mollis. The 400-person audience were convened on two tiers of seating which were almost wrapped around the performance stage.

The primary challenge Strebel had to address was that significant parts of the audio action happened at differing heights of a large vertical wall as well as across the lower-tier flat stage area. To accommodate this, five speakers were arranged along the wall itself, with a further five along the opposite side of the audience area. A single sub-bass unit added depth for music and effects.

A total of 20 actors were tracked using TiMax Tracker – including five different actors each taking the title role at different parts of the show. As these bedraggled witch characters spontaneously punctuated the stage action with random tortured cries and angry hissing sounds, the TiMax audio localisation and its automated TiMax Tracker positioning were considered vital to the maximise the audiences’ comprehension and immersion in the plot.

“The shape of this site is so strange and the action so spread out that having TiMax and Tracker are really essential to pull the sound into focus for the audience” observed Tom Strebel.





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