Neumann & Müller have been busy with some huge outdoor musical productions, supported by their TiMax SoundHub spatial reinforcement processors and TiMax Tracker stage-tracking automation. N&M, one of Germany’s largest audio production companies, perennially services two of the grandest outdoor performances in the country: Erfurt DomStufen‑Festspiele, where this year the opera Der Troubadour played through August; and Schlossfestspiele Schwerin which hosted West Side Story for a mid-summer run.
Staged in the ‘Old Garden’ of Schwerin Castle for two months, the Schlossfestspiele has been dramatically transformed from an insider opera lovers’ secret pleasure that it started as a quarter of a century ago, into the technically complex large-scale premier outdoor production that is today. The transition was punctuated in 2009 by the adoption of TiMax-SoundHub object-based dynamic spatialisation, used in conjunction with TiMax Tracker, to add a greater layer of sophistication in sound clarity and immersion to the event.
Eight years on, with West Side Story performed by Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater, Schlossfestspiele welcomed 1,800 guests on each of the 23 nights of the summer season. Neumann & Müller’s project manager for the event, Omar Samhoun, who works hand in hand with sound engineer Jörg Bernhardt, explained, “Every year, we always use TiMax SoundHub with the TiMax Tracking system. The production is enhanced, as is the understanding for the vast nightly audience, by the use of the real-time spatial audio system, for the localisation of actors and artists in the stage area or in other areas of the 3D stage set and scenery.”
TiMax was seamlessly networked into the sound system via Dante, along with three Yamaha CL5 mixing desks: one for vocals, one for the orchestra and one, for the first time, for in-ear monitor mixes. TiMax provided all dynamic delay-matrix management between vocal and instrument mics and the distributed d&b PA system.
The sound system comprised three main flown stacks of d&b Y8 (left, centre and right), interspersed with a further two Y8 ground stacks. Six d&b Y7 units provided nearfill and a further two added extra delay, whilst eleven B6s under the tribune and the stage provided sub bass support.
The attention to detail of the production team each year, coupled with their absolute commitment to audio enhancement for all audience members, built on prior years’ immersive audio enhancements, with TiMax object-based spatialisation always at the heart of the system. Samhoun observes, “It is because the audio quality is so good and it’s easy to use to create the images and overall audio setup with TiMax Soundhub.”