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Thomas Strebel Collects Frankfurt Opus Award for Sound Design

Thomas Strebel Collects Frankfurt Opus Award for Sound Design

Swiss sound designer Thomas Strebel of audiopool was honoured at this year's Frankfurt Pro-Light + Sound show with the prestigious Opus Award for Best Sound Design. The award relates to a massive outdoor musical drama called Welttheater staged in Einsiedeln Switzerland which employed a complex multi-channel distributed speaker system controlled by a TiMax Audio Imaging delay matrix from Out Board.

Das Einsiedler Welttheater featured a cast of more than 300 players performing in a roughly 50m x 60m open square in front of the imposing bulk of the town's massive Kloster Einsiedeln monastery. Many of the cast members continually moved all over the space either singing or playing musical instruments, wearing a variety of eclectic garb ranging from nun's outfits to life-like oversized heads.

Thomas Strebel's primary objective was to amplify them authentically and unobtrusively while ensuring their multiple audio images tracked their locations around the stage. This involved continuous dynamic management of delay times by TiMax to ensure the natural acoustic wavefronts from the performers were always precedent for all audience members relative to the amplified sound from the speakers.

Out Board's Robin Whittaker assisted on site with the TiMax delay-imaging matrix setup across 26 compact Klein & Hummel speakers on poles mounted in front of and halfway back into the shallow arc'ed audience area, with additional image anchor speakers placed around the performance space itself. Surround speakers behind the audience seating and subs underneath supported moving sound effects compiled and played back using the TiMax Soundtablet sound effects software.

The movements of the actors were blocked out as a series of TiMax Playlist cues which were recalled in sync with the action under the supervision of audiopool's mixing and system engineers Laurenz Zschokke, Christoph Binder and Roman Huber.

Although the show's premier was postponed due to unprecedented monsoon conditions on the night, Welttheater went on to be a sold-out success for its full three-month run, with many audience members commenting on the high quality of the sound. As Thomas Strebel remarks: "No other system or technology in the world can achieve what TiMax has done for shows like this. And I have never received so many positive comments from producers and directors about the sound."

In picture: Thomas Strebel with the Opus award with Production Partner editor-in-chief, Dr Walter Wehrhan

9th April 2009

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