livenews UNITED KINGDOM Localisation fit for the Pharaohs
TiMax adds to the drama in Royal Albert Hall production of Verdi’s Aida, writes Dave Robinson
THE ROYAL Albert Hall’s 2012 opera-in-the-round production of Verdi’s famous 1871 work set in Ancient Egypt, Aida, saw impresario Raymond Gubbay’s most high-tech staging yet at the central London venue. To complement director Stephen Metcalf’s digital scenography and expansive sets with continuously localised vocal amplification, a state-of-the-art source-oriented reinforcement (SOR) system was created by sound designer Bobby Aitken. This was based on a TiMax SoundHub audio showcontrol delay matrix controlled by a
TiMax Tracker automation system from Out Board UK. This was the 12th year TiMax audio localisation had featured in Aitken’s RAH designs and as before the system was installed by Autograph under the supervision of Jim Douglas, with opera veteran Richard Sharrat at the mix position. The TiMax2 Soundub 32 x 32 matrix and TiMax Tracker system were rented from developer Out Board, with pre-production and on-site support from the company’s Robin Whittaker. Drops of Meyer UPJs, d&b
E0 frontfills, a Martin Audio Longbow main array and
Kling & Freitag iin tune with sound engineers n t une with sound engineers
further fill speakers (and delays driven by XTA processors) were fed by a total of 26 TiMax2 SoundHub outputs for the show. A DiGiCo D5T console piloted the seven principals’ radio mics from channel direct-outs to TiMax SoundHub analogue inputs, plus two chorus groups. Seven TiMax Tracker TT Sensors were mounted around the balcony hardrails to fully map the oval stage, stalls stairways and upstage areas in three dimensions, extending the performer tracking to allow automatic pre-cueing of the show’s several offstage entrances. The Sensors received sequenced pulses of UWB 6-8GHz signal from TT Tags worn by the principals. From this, the TiMax Tracker location
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“Properly unobtrusive” amplification for Aida
server then applied vector (AOA) and time (TDOA) analysis to track the actors in real-time and continuously adjust the delay settings in TiMax SoundHub to maintain seamless audio localisation simultaneously for the individual radio mic feeds. The two chorus groups were not tracked so remained statically localised for the whole show.
Out Board’s Dave Haydon said
of the event: “This was one of our best [projects] yet in this venue, and the fact that the more savvy opera critics used terms like ‘flawless’ and ‘properly unobtrusive’ to describe the amplification demonstrates unequivocally that TiMax is at the forefront of SOR audio localisation in both technology and technique.” www.outboard.co.uk
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