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Toronto AES Bulletin

Meeting Preview

Sept 2000

TiMAX...DSP for Creating and Controlling 3D Soundscapes

Presented by David Haydon of Outboard Electronics
Date Monday 2 Oct 2000 ***
Time 7:30 pm
Place Harris Institute for the Arts
Address 118 Sherbourne Street, Toronto, Ontario
South of Queen and Sherbourne
Pre-Meeting "Dutch Treat" Dinner 5:30 pm at the Montreal Bistro - 65 Sherbourne

TiMAX a new concept of multi-channel audio processing

TiMAX allows each input in to the matrix to have its own unique level and delay relationship to the system output, enabling sound animation using the principle of precedence in theatre sound reinforcement.

David Haydon of Outbaord Electronics will be in Toronto as part of a select dealer presentation of TiMAX. The lecture will touch on the topics of psycho-acoustics and the Haas effect, and the principals behind TiMAX on a technical/theoretical basis, after which David will present a demonstration of the system. The demonstration will show what can be achieved in terms of static and dynamic virtual surround effects. David Haydon, one of the industry's best technical application presenters, has given dozens of Soundweb certification courses around the world. David will be accompanied by Robin Whittaker, Managing Director/Technical Director of Out Board Electronics to assist in his foray into the "rocket science" behind TiMAX.

TiMAX - A New Concept For Audio Control

Today stereophonic and multi-channel sound systems in the home and in cinemas are commonplace, offering the listener additional panoramic or spatial information to enhance the listening experience. In large live venue settings, such as a concert hall, it is equally important to convey directional information about the source or localization of a sound.

TiMAX uses the psycho-acoustic phenomenon know as Precedence or the Haas Effect, named after the acoustic scientist Helmut Hass in the 1940s who researched and demonstrated the effect of time delay on sound and speaker systems.

TiMAX is among the first audio matrixing systems ever to makes time delay panning possible in any distribution or surround sound system; thus offering clear amplified sound reproduction with improved audio imaging. TiMAX is able to route up to 32 inputs to 32 outputs, with each of the 1024 matrix crosspoints having unique level and time delay settings.

In applications where inputs need to be distributed to many outputs, each with a unique variable time delay and level, TiMAX is the ideal control system. As well as theatres and auditoriums, TiMAX is also well suited to cinemas, reproducing the spatial orientation and quality of the soundtrack from a number of loudspeakers to an audience seated in a large listening area.

TiMAX is also the answer to applications where a number of inputs need to be time aligned and mixed together, for exemple in classical recording where microphones are placed both close to the instruments and some distance away for a stereo perspective.

TiMAX - The Software

Several venues can be programmed into the TiMAX computer, with a separate record card for each venue. The active venue can be selected from a list. Details of which loudspeakers are in use, their name, types, location, amplifier type are entered as part of the venue setup.

Time delays to correct for loudspeaker position can be programmed as part of the venue setup. These delays would typically be for under balcony speakers or for speakers at other locations that are not used for primary sources for effect.

TiMAX will store details for several shows, each show as its own record card and associated details. Show details can include information on which inputs are in use, their names and type, the actors name, the input channel on the console. Specific show details such as MIDI device names and channel numbers as well as audio image. Definition names are entered as part of the show.

Image Definition and Sound Effects

Image Definition is a level/time delay relationship between a group of loudspeakers. The loudspeaker nearest to the desired sound source would have a short time delay; loudspeakers further away from the source have a progressively larger time delays so that coherent sound emanates from the desired location with even level over a large listening area. Once a set of image definitions have been programmed then the effects screen can be used to control and program dynamic sound effects movements.

This is done by bringing the Image Definition for the desired effect into the control zone and then selecting the input signal with the source. Then by dragging the source about the control zone the sound movement is controlled and may be saved or updated as required. Several dynamic sound effects can be run at the same time. The system allows dynamic effects to be programmed in layers so that programming is not over complicated as well as to make editing and updating possible.

Show Control

The TiMAX Control Software allows for sophisticated show control, enabling TiMAX to activate the show control each time the next cue is recalled.

TiMAX allows up to 16 MIDI events to be programmed within each cue. Program changes can be used to control external MIDI compatible equipment such as reverb or EQ. MIDI note-on commands have an associated duration setting so they can be used to trigger sound effects stored on a sampler or to play a note on a synthesizer, TiMAX than automatically sends the note-off command at the end of the event.

MIDI controllers can be used in many different ways including: level of light and sound, pitch of synth note, EQ or reverb parameter.

Play List

Cues are recalled from the play list which is a scrolling display that moves forward by pressing the "+" key or automatically or remotely triggered by timecode.

For more please check out Outboard's website at:

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Originally posted: 14 Sept 2000
Last update: 14 Sept 2000