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Record set-up time for Out Board's TiMax Tracker for Opera Carmen at the O2

Cambridge, 29 July 2010, Out Board achieve record set-up time as they deploy their Ubisense based TiMax Tracker for the Carmen Opera in London's O2 arena

When Raymond Gubbay staged his opera in-the-round Carmen spectacular in London’s cavernous O2 Arena for the first time, Out Board’s TiMax was called upon to help stitch together the audio, as it had previously done for Gubbay’s Royal Albert Hall productions.

For such a large-scale performance it was vital for the audience to localise to the individual performers, allowing the English-translated libretto to come across clearly. Sound designer Bobby Aitken, consulted Robin Whittaker, of TiMax developers Out Board, on how to scale up their distributed source-oriented reinforcement concept, previously used at the Albert Hall.

Outboard’s TiMax Tracker is based on the market leading Ubisense real-time location system (RTLS).  It was deployed for performer tracking in its first large arena-scale production, using six TiMax Sensors mounted on balcony rails above the corporate boxes. The raised s-shaped stage platform and lower forestage aprons were divided into 36 tracking zones which Tracker used to control continuously varying matrixed delay times in a 48-channel TiMax SoundHub processor.

Twelve leads and chorus members wore miniature Tags, which transmit radar-frequency ultra wideband (UWB) pulses, allowing the sensors to track them in three dimensions down to an accuracy of 15cm over a 100metre range, using a hybrid of AOA (Angle of Arrival) and TDOA (Time Difference of Arrival) analysis. The whole system was up and running in less than 45 minutes, a record for such a high-fidelity sound system able to track performers to such high accuracy.

Thirty low-profile Meyer UPJ arrays were mounted in adjacent pairs on 1m high stands around the stage edge. These were arranged as crossfiring pairs, covering all lower tier audience seats from opposite aspects, so that the TiMax precedence delays could localise up, down and across the stage.

Upper tiers were covered by twelve independent, radially-arrayed Meyer line-array hangs, which were continuously, dynamically focused by TiMax to the onstage localisation zones. A separate stereo music system hung above the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, located about two-thirds of the way upstage, helping to keep musical timings intact.  Carmen was a world first for performer tracking over such a large area.  TiMax Tags and Sensors proved up to the task, providing consistent localisation up to distances of 80-100m. The installation was a complete success and The Guardian newspaper was moved to comment “..the sound is sensitively done..”  An almost unheard of shower of praise from an opera critic.  A number of members of the audience also remarked to the sound crew “Clever how you make the sound move.”

Released: 29 July 2010

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