TiMax and omnidirectional sound design for Hamlet

Friday, 3 June 2011
TiMax and omnidirectional sound design for HamletHamlet staged in-the-round in the De Paardenkathedraal theatre
The Netherlands - The award for fastest TiMax system sale ever made has gone to Martijn Verkerk of Dutch distributor TM Audio, for a four-day turnaround from initial enquiry to curtain-up of a complete TiMax Tracker and TiMax2 SoundHub system for Dutch theatre group De Utrechtse Spelen.

Faced with a fast-paced contemporary performance of Hamlet staged in-the-round at the company's very own De Paardenkathedraal theatre space, sound designer and engineer Danny Hoogveld realised he needed help with panning the cavorting and battling actors voices across his highly original omnidirectional sound system design, comprising four Bloomline Omniwave speakers suspended over an oval stage located between the two opposite ranks of tiered audience seating.

Conceived by Dutch composer and producer Leo De Klerk, the Omniwaves were originally aimed at high-end hi-fi. Danny Hoogveld noticed that, due to the stage and seating geometry, if he mounted four of them in the theatre's peaked roof then the actors' voices would remain acoustically precedent to their amplified mics. This would ensure the necessary vocal localisation to maintain authenticity and intelligibility, as long as he kept level-panning the mics across the speakers to provide a moving anchor corresponding to the actors' positions on-stage below.

It didn't take long trying to track the actors manually with pan-pots on the Midas Venice desk before Hoogveld realised he needed help, which is when he contacted Martijn Verkerk at TM Audio for a Friday afternoon chat. Dave Haydon from TiMax developers Out Board quickly prepared a four-sensor TiMax Tracker performer tracking system and a TiMax SoundHub R16 matrix processor to dynamically process the mic signals. Courtesy of EasyJet excess baggage, he and Martijn Verkerk had it all installed and commissioned ready for the show's opening night on the Wednesday following.

The TiMax Tracker system remains permanently installed as an integral contributor to the De Utrechtse Spelen company's high production values.

(Jim Evans)

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