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TiMax ‘absolutely necessary’ in-the-round for Broadway’s Fun Home

Fun Home is the unlikely smash hit that took Broadway by storm as an in-the-round production, receiving rave reviews and winning no less than five coveted Tony Awards including Best Musical. The bittersweet comedy – claimed to be the first ever mainstream Broadway musical about a gay woman – pictorialises the chaotic upbringing of cartoonist Alison Bechdel.

Director, Sam Gold – who took the 2015 Tony for Direction – transformed the original 2013 off-Broadway proscenium format to an in-the-round staging, with the intention of achieving more intimate and immersive engagement with the audience.

Sound designer Kai Harada, notes, “It was challenging for all departments, and for the cast, but the show took an incredible leap forward. Now you really feel you’re part of the family, watching Alison’s past come to life. It is an immersion rather than a presentation.”

Harada’s sound design worked ambitiously to pull the audience right into the warped and hectic world of Alison and her funeral-home-running, décor-obsessed family, by “making the sound system disappear, so the audience is not listening to the system but to the show.”

Utilising a TiMax2 Soundhub audio showcontrol delay-matrix, running 48-in/48-out, Harada mapped out 27 distinct onstage zones where key dialog or singing occurs. Harada undertook all the planning and pre-production work on the vocal imaging himself, and then it was up to associate sound designer Stephanie Celustka to program his delay-based “audio sourcing” intentions into the TiMax system, he says.

Fifty Meyer Sound fill speakers were positioned on two flown truss ovals (inner and outer) above the stage, five to ten feet apart, Celustka explains. The 50 (out of the 112 total) speakers used for the audio sourcing included Meyer UPJuniors, UPM-1Ps, MM-4s and M1Ds. A Studer Vista 5 console delivered mic channel direct outs to the TiMax which in turn fed the multi-channel the Meyer system via delay-mapped Image Definitions for each stage zone. System EQ and level contouring were also handled by the TiMax SoundHub

The Source Oriented Reinforcement (SOR) vocal sourcing achieved by the TiMax SoundHub draws the audience into the drama and helps to eliminate distraction by the sound system. Harada confirms, “It works seamlessly. The sound is natural and seemingly un-amplified. As intended, it dials up the intimacy.”

Harada credits the producers for their trust in realising his sound design. “I warned them in our initial meeting: We need a lot of small speakers everywhere, and absolutely needed the TiMax system to do a successful sound design in the round. I appreciate that between equipment-provider Masque Sound, the producers and myself we came up with a system that fulfilled the needs of the show and worked within the budget. I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve accomplished.”

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2013

TiMax SoundHub and QLab take a step to the left in CapeTown

TiMax SoundHub takes a bow at the RSC in Stratford

2012

TiMax Tracker and SoundHub for Royal Albert Hall’s high-tech AIDA

TiMax SoundHub iPad app supports CocaCola Experiential Showcasing…

Folktheater in Gothenberg chooses TiMax Tracker and TiMax SoundHub

TiMax Soundhub 3D spatialisation at Delhi wedding

TiMax2 SoundHub helps sculpt Andromache soundscape

TiMax2 SoundHub repeats Fela! success in Lagos

TiMax Tracker Raises the Roof in Rep at Regents Park


2011

TiMax Soundhub runs away to the Cirque

TiMax Tracker Partners Omnidirectional Sound Design for Hamlet

TiMax Tracker arena debut for Carmen at the O2

Göteborgs Stadsteater adds TiMax SoundHub and TiMax Tracker for vocal localisation


Open Air Triumphs for TiMax2 SoundHub and TiMax Tracker

TiMax Tracker and Carmen in-the-round in Switzerland

TiMax Tracker at Royal Command in Sweden


Landmark year for TiMax at Basel and Edinburgh Tattoos

Patienten rock musical

Turku City Theatre installs TiMax Tracker and TiMax2 SoundHub


2010


Hi-tech outdoor resurrection of Jesus Christ Superstar.

TiMax Tracker evolutionary sound design for Les Mes.

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Oslo Opera House integrates TiMax and Stagetec

TiMax 2 Crowns the King and I at the Albert Hall

TiMax audio tracking for Basel and Edinburgh Tattoos

TiMax Tracks Marie Antoinette at Musical Theater Bremen

2009 - 2007

Thomas Strebel collects Frankfurt Opus Award for TiMax

TiMax Tracker helps the tale of William Tell

TiMax – now That’s Magick

TiMax moves Matter

TiMax at the heart of the danish royal theatre

Tosca and TiMax Talent Tracker automatic audio tracking


TiMax surrounds the Niagara Fury visitor experience

Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts adds TiMax to curriculum

Educating TiMax– At Amsterdam's AES 124

Madam Butterfly stalked by TiMax audio tracking at Royal Albert Hall

Basel Tattoo keeps time with TiMax

TiMax goes outdoors for Switzerland’s Einsiedler

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Korea National Theatre undergoes digital sound system refurbishment

TiMax Track The Actors receives PLASA Award for Innovation October

TiMax Audio Imaging supports Basel’s first Military Tattoo October

MTV Dance Surround Sound arena uses TiMax Audio Imaging

2006

PRG Europe and UK Rigging: Out Board LV8 motor control for Madonna tour

Britannia Row Buys 13 Dolby Lake Processors for Robbie Williams

TiMax SoundTablet and Track The Actors feature on Show Boat musical

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La Boheme opera uses TiMax and TTA automatic audio image tracking

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Long Gang Cultural and Arts Centre installs TiMax ImageMaker matrix

ELP automates rigging at Queen Elizabeth Hall with Out Board and Ibex

TiMax SoundTablet sound effects software launches at PLASA 05

Britannia Row tours the Doves with Lake Contour

TiMax enhances 5.1 surround system down Mexico way

Edinburgh Tattoo in Australia features TiMax and Norwest Productions

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New TiMax V990 Software and laptop interface

Out Board CM Hoist controllers support major tours

LIPA hosts theatre sound seminar by Out Board

Fabric Times it to the Max

Gubbay's Critics Silenced by TiMax

Flying flames and Physical Theatre

2005 - 2000

TiMax audio imaging supports Carmen opera in the Albert Hall

Out Board reports growing re-seller success with new DM-Series hoist control

TiMax assists corporate and special events

Out Board grows international sales

SSE buys Lake Contour Processors

TiMax teams with ProTools® in casino project

TiMax plays the cruise ships

Out Board at Glastonbury 2003

TiMax helps create realism in Albert Hall arena opera

Second year for TiMax audio imaging at OPEL corporate event

Diverse Applications for Out Board’s CM-Series Chain Hoist Controllers

TiMax Helps Launch Four Major Car Brands at the Detroit Motor Show

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TiMax does a Riverdance on Broadway

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Men In Scarlet- The Royal Hospital Chelsea September 2000

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