As Switzerland’s Basel Tattoo celebrated its twelfth anniversary this year, it also marked the twelfth time that the production has used TiMax object-based spatial audio and showcontrol to maintain localisation and musical timing between the marching players and the distributed spatial reinforcement sound system.
An import of the legendary Edinburgh Military Tattoo which also uses TiMax, the Basel production is staged outdoors in front of the 18th century Kaserne Hof barracks on the Rhine. A dozen or so acts of marching bands, dancers and sometimes animals perform across a 70m by 25m parade arena surrounded by audience seating on three sides.
Award-winning Swiss sound designer, Thomas Strebel, specified a TiMax SoundHub-S48 spatial processor which received, via MADI, ten arena ambient mic feeds plus five groups from a Digico SD7 console, comprising submixes of performer radio mics plus Ableton music playback for various dance troupes. This year also featured an immersive spatial sound effect of a helicopter, rendered and played back by TiMax under remote MIDI control, which flew across the arena and landed for an abseiling Swiss Army band act.
Out Board’s Dave Haydon provided on-site TiMax setup and programming support to Strebel’s audiopool GmbH crew, with Roman Huber running the Digico at front-of-house and Jeroen Van Vulpen in charge of TiMax. This year saw a new approach to live mixing the ten ambient mics being controlled by TiMax Groups. Previously a bespoke TiMax Portal iPad page was used to allow the TiMax operater to crossfade the ambient mics live as band sections marched under them, but for this year Joeroen Van Vulpen built a MaxMSP MIDI patch to allow range-limited control by an Alias8 hardware fader remote hooked up to TiMax; easier to use while keeping an eye on the action. Performers’ radio mic groups from the Digico were moved around in the TiMax PanSpace, between delay-matrix objects relating to twenty-four Image Definition localisation and timing zones distributed across a plan of the arena.
As well as its object-based dynamic delay-matrix localisation and timing functions, TiMax was used for equalisation and zone level control across a dozen d&b clusters on poles in front of the side-seating audience plus five separate divergent channels of d&b line array stacks on the ground in front of the main VIP stadium seating.
In addition, eleven L’Acoustics sub channels were spread out under the seating areas, all driven from separate from TiMax channels and aligned back to the Image Definition across the arena, plus additional stage band plus choir and trumpet balcony Image Definitions. This sub-bass alignment was particularly important for several acts who integrated a amplified electric bands and drummers into their sets. The TiMax SoundHub processor was supplied by Out Board via audiopool and hooked up to the PA by Winkler using a site-wide Optocore backbone.
Joining the usual multinational horde of Massed Pipers were military musical ensembles from as far and wide as Australia, USA, Norway, France, UK, Switzerland, and troupes of dancers from Russia, New Zealand and Australia. Sound designer and audiopool founder Thomas Strebel remarked: “The sound as always was excellent with TiMax, this year was the best premier ever with a standing ovation, the producer was very happy”.
Meanwhile this year’s Edinburgh Tattoo also used the TiMax2 SoundHub spatial audio platform, supplied by Out Board as a rental to sound contractors Wigwam Acoustics, specified and programmed by the Edinburgh event’s sound designer Seb Frost.