London fringe venue the Space pushed the boundaries of sound design on its most recent theatre production using a TiMax SoundHub spatial audio matrix.
Space Productions sound designer Keri Chesser was recently involved in the theatre’s minimalistic adaptation of Howard Baker’s The Castle, staged at the Millwall venue’s intimate site.
Chesser said: “I love to use TiMax. It makes me braver with my sound design. It makes me want to discover new ways of manipulating the audio rather than just sticking to the limitations of the speakers I have.”
The invisible loudspeaker set up comprised seven cabinets: two compact speakers at floor level in the audience, pointed at the walls for diffuse surround, two monitors on the stage mezzanine and a further two hidden PA speakers positioned upstage along with a sub.
Seven outputs from TiMax drive the loudspeakers directly, and sound effects from Q-Lab on a Macbook Pro go to TiMax via Dante, which Chesser used or the first time for this production.
She added: “Working with Dante was a lot easier than I thought. I’d been putting it off as I’d had no training but, with help from Dave Haydon from OutBoard, it actually made my life so much easier and there were less wires.”
The script requires various spot effects in specific locations, such as bodies falling and landing from the battlements.
“TiMax offers so much more spatially than Q-Lab and enabled me to anchor sound effects very efficiently,” she added. “I just created the image objects and told TiMax how the imaging and movement needed to happen.”
“I could have just used Q-Lab to statically pin the effects but it would not have worked nearly as well – particularly sounds coming from beyond the audience. The atmospheric sounds would definitely not have been as immersive as I wanted it either. The Castle is a brilliant play but it is difficult to play with: there are a lot of devices to bring you straight back into the action of conflict and rule – and with TiMax I pulled it off brilliantly.”