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TiMax holds court for the Royal Shakespeare Company

A TiMax2 SoundHub serves double duty at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Courtyard Theatre, providing signal distribution and speaker system management as well as delay-matrix processing to apply variable upstage/downstage vocal localisations and band imaging.

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) main theatre and the smaller adjacent Swan Theatre were re-opened in late 2010 following extensive re-modelling, accompanied by a substantial and ongoing investment in new production technologies. Just prior to the re-build the Courtyard Theatre was created as a temporary home for the RSC’s productions. A recent purchase for the Courtyard’s audio infrastructure has been a 48×48 TiMax2 SoundHub matrix with MADI option, used in part to get MADI to and from the theatre’s DiGiCo SD9 and provide onward signal distribution to the delay system, comprising multiple Meyer UPM-1P balcony delays, UPJ-1P’s either side of the proscenium and a central UPM-1 cluster above the thrust stage. As well as signal distribution and speaker system management, the SoundHub provides delay-matrix processing to apply variable upstage/downstage vocal localisations and band imaging. “We were initially going to go with gear our crew are all familiar with, to avoid them having to learn a new bit of software. But it was always going to be a bit of a science project involving a number of separate boxes and interfaces feeding into each other,” said head of sound Jeremy Dunn. The Courtyard setup exploits the diverse “hub” capabilities of its new acquisition. The TiMax SoundHub unit supplied comprises 32 analogue and 16 AES analogue inputs, with 48 analogue outputs and 16 AES outputs. The built-in MADI interface takes vocal mic direct outs, mix busses and aux sends from the SD9 as inputs to TiMax; then MADI out from the TiMax goes via an RME MADI card into a Mac Powerbook, allowing mic signals to be sent via TiMax to Altiverb reverb plug-ins hosted by Plogue Bidule on the Mac. MADI out of the Mac goes back to the desk to deliver Altiverb reverb returns and QLab sound effects to the console. Dunn has also shown interest in TiMax Tracker performer tracking automation, taking time out to experience it first hand at Raymond Gubbay’s Royal Albert Hall in-the-round production of Carmen. “I’d always assumed there’d be phasing artifacts unless a real person was judging and managing the transitions, but in Carmen you really couldn’t hear the join, so I’m definitely looking into opportunities to use it at the RSC.”