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TiMax StageSpace creates world-first immersive festival experience

Neumann & Müller sound designer and engineer, Omar Samhoun, applied TiMax SpageSpace to the Waldbühne amphitheater, enabling object-based immersive spatialisation like never before

TiMax StageSpace allowed for an object-based immersive spatialisation for the operatic show, including tenor Jonas Kaufmann and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, that was a part of the ZDF series’ Summer Night Music classical concert.

The concert took place at the 70,000 square metre Berlin Waldbühne amphitheater, and the TiMax StageSpace was applied to the venue by Neumann & Müller sound designer and engineer, Omar Samhoun. Samhoun has worked extensively in the classical arena, including for Jose Carreras, Anna Netrebko, Placido Domingo, having previously used N&M’s TiMax SoundHub and Tracker systems for large-scale opera and orchestral productions.

Impressively, the venue’s immersive TiMax spatialisation – for Waldbühne’s audience of over twenty thousand – was achieved on a conventional festival arena PA system configuration, which was unchanged from the sold-out Nick Cave show of that very same day. 

Comprising the system were main left and right hangs of L-Acoustics line array, featuring 32 K1 cabinets and eight K2s, eight K2s provided left and right outfills, and a further eight in place for left and right infill. Six Karas reinforced the central space, plus a further twelve providing left and right nearfill. Four delay towers served the other reaches with four Kara cabinets apiece.

The new platform provides extended delay-matrix memory, allowing every orchestra and vocal mic channel to be fed directly from the console via TiMax to allow successful resolution in the multipoint panoramic spatialisation. It also features new hybrid micro- and macro- dynamic delay algorithms for transparent reproduction of moving performers, driven by flexible cue-ing or performer-tracking systems.

Samhoun explained: “We created 78 imaging zones across the whole stage and positioned the sound from all the component parts of the orchestra among those zones. By doing this we created a wide and deep imaging which gave us flexible positioning, so the audience heard the fullest sound of the classical orchestra.”

Samhoun was able to achieve fast and precise spatial audio for the whole audience, using the new TiMax StageSpace object-based auto-rendering tool. By loading a dimensioned map of the speaker, stage and audience layout into the software, TiMax instantly auto-calculated and programmed all the multi-dimensional level/delay spatialisation object settings. 

Auditioning the efficiency of the new StageSpace auto-calculation algorithms from a series of challenging seating positions in the fan-shaped auditorium, Samhoun commented: “The sound and imaging was perfectly clear everywhere, without any phasing effects, and it felt very wide and deep. It was a new experience for me.”

The main advantage of the StageSpace AutoCalc at the venue was that its single keystroke multi-channel spatialisation automatically compensated for the relative distances and angles of audience members from speakers and stage spatialisation zones. This made it possible to pull off this global first for live arena immersive spatial audio.