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Soundscapes

May 13, 2013 4:05 PM, By Alan Hardiman

How an exhibit came to life with immersive audio.


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“The learning curve on the TiMax was actually pretty darned simple,” Hardesty noted. “It’s very intuitive, very simple to use, and very friendly. I liked that the timeline editor is almost Cubase-like or ProTools-like in terms of dragging and dropping sounds on tracks and being able to do a lot of editing of your tracks right in the TiMax domain, so you don’t have to worry about bringing fully finished pieces into it.

“And being able to layer cues was great. In my case, due to the budget, I was limited to 16 outputs, although I could have used 32. So what I did was, on a given track, I put in a number of different cues in which I changed the routing of the sound completely. Having the ability to assign routing multiple times certainly gives you a lot of flexibility. I think those two features combined are very powerful. Plus the fact that you can do a ton of EQ on the input and the output, and mix multiple input sources on any input channel is very flexible,” he says.

In the event of a power failure in the facility, Hardesty programmed the Soundhub to restart at the beginning of the loop on power-up. “I told them just to leave everything running, and if power should ever fail to the server, the TiMax will just reboot and start at the top of the show, and they never need to worry about it.”

“It’s just been going and running perfectly,” Pollard confirmed, adding, “We looked at LCS and some of the other equipment that’s available, and we found TiMax to be the most cost effective and most fully featured. The cost is about the same as you would pay just for loudspeaker DSP, so all the playback, input-output matrixing, and show control is basically free.”

As for the Soundhub’s show control capability, Hardesty says, “I’m working on that right now. As soon as we get this show to another venue, I believe they’ll have the additional budget to do more, and at that point I’ll certainly be injecting more effects and more controls for triggering cues.”

Train confirmed that he has constructed loudspeaker mounts in the back of the dinosaurs’ mouths. For the next iteration of the show, it’s just a matter of programming the Soundhub to react to the presence of an unsuspecting visitor via motion sensors in order to take the show’s interactivity to the next engaging—and perhaps not just a little frightening—level.

“Having done sound design for many large events over the years, it was certainly a pleasure to be included in this project,” Hardesty concludes. “I will continue to use TiMax in all my designs, and there are some very high profile productions coming up in the next couple of years that will involve myself—and TiMax.”

Veteran sound designer Alan Hardiman is president of Sound Design Devices, providing technology and design services to the exhibit industry. He recently employed the TiMax Soundhub on the four-day immersive theater production, The Wharf at York, staged at Toronto’s Harbour Square Park.



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