This year’s globally-renowned Creamfields dance festival featured an EDM first in the form of TiMax dynamic 3D audio spatialisation for duo Axwell & Ingrosso’s blockbuster set, dubbed “360” in reference to the encircling array of moving lights and the club-style surround PA system that enveloped the crowd. Originally two-thirds of the legendary Swedish House Mafia, A&I have a massive following, which on Sunday night at Creamfields were spilling out of the vast tented stage at ten rows deep.
A brand new arena to Creamfields, Departures was inspired by the A&I Ibiza club night born only last summer. The duo was joined in the 10-thousand capacity tent by acts such as Alesso, Dirty South, Deep Dish and Otto Knows.
The 360 production was specified by A&I’s sound engineer Wayne Rabbit Sargeant who also handles shows for Aviici. Rabbit designed an eight-channel surround system with audio provider SSE Audio Group’s project manager, Dan Bennett. It comprised two hangs of 10 L’Acoustics V-Dosc with the SB28 Subs on stage, plus four side- and two rear-ground stacks of four L’Acoustics V-Dosc cabinets each. The system was managed by FOH systems technician, Willie Klein and on stage by monitor technician, Kevin Sparkes.
The TiMax SoundHub-S16 audio showcontrol matrix received a stereo DJ mix via AES from the Digico SD10 racks on stage. Eight TiMax outputs were injected via Dante into SSE’s fibre signal distribution network to the L’Acoustics LA8 amps. The first two (L/R) outputs from TiMax were summed into the Lake LM26 Processors driving the main Left/Right system, alongside the main stereo mix buss outputs from the SD10. This allowed Rabbit to treat the TiMax spatialisation as an effect laid over the main end-on stereo PA mix, blended and cross-faded live during the show using the SD10 DJ mix input faders and pre-fade aux send faders to the TiMax inputs.
Ethernet control of the TiMax unit at stage from FOH was established via a dedicated VLAN also on SSE’s fibre network. At FOH, this connected to a TiMax 1602MiniServer WAP which hosted an iPadMini app webpage for triggering pan cues and trimming front, side and rear group levels of surround PA.
Also connected was a MacBook running the TiMax software, to monitor and edit playback of cues. Programmed by Out board’s Dave Haydon, these offered a range of slow, medium and fast spins: effectively, a rotating stereo image to make the sound appear to float ethereally above the crowd; and a similar range of chase effects, both clockwise and anti-clockwise, to deliver a pronounced, stereo joystick-style pan-effect for the higher-energy breakdown sections. The timing of these pan effects were adjusted to be multiples of the predominant bpm signature of the set to sync closely with the performance.
The spin and chase effects were programmed in the TiMax TimeLine showcontrol screen, and other front/back ‘wave’ and slow/fast ‘zig zag’ effects were created in the TiMax PanSpace. All were triggered wirelessly by Rabbit from an iPadMini running the fully-customisable browser-based TiMax SoundHub app developed in conjunction with technology and marketing associates, 1602Group, who also distribute TiMax products in the USA.
Wayne Rabbit Sargeant enjoyed the added dimension TiMax brought to the show: “Mostly what I’m doing at front of house for an artist like this is live mastering – with external tools and plug-ins for bass enhancement and things like dynamic EQ and multiband compression, so TiMax spatialisation is a powerful and welcome addition to the palette. The visual side of the team were very impressed as they had never heard anything like it before and it has inspired future collaborations, to link up and work together midi triggering lights from the Timax, so it was a really positive experience.”