Creating ‘sonic sports spectators’ using audio technology


As global professional sports teams begin to restart play in Covid-restricted league and tournament seasons, the need to restore the crowd element of a game has been solved to help provide a more realistic environment for players and athletes.

Audio specialists TiMax has created its Crowdscape solution, which provides a live and interactive sonic cocoon of sound that immerses the players in realistic and responsive spectator reactions to the game.

Studies have shown that player engagement, motivation and performance are hugely influenced by the crowd, and currently, of course, the lack of it. Fans have begun to notice and there has been a growing demand from teams and players themselves to fill that void.

The Crowdscape system utilizes a multichannel “bowl” sound system mounted in the seating bleachers and pointing in towards the playing area.  One or more operators use iPads to trigger and variably spatialize selected crowd atmosphere loops as well as cheering, applause and booing spot effects, plus whatever other tailored content is relevant to the game and teams.  Samples are spatially mixed to anywhere in the arena or stadium using individual iPad 3D panners, faders and triggers, and can be merged selectively into the existing house system for added energy and immersion.  TiMax Crowdscape brings all this in an exclusive portable game-in-a-box package which includes on-board playback, spatialization, mixing and system zone management.

As well as locally triggered and mixed immersive crowd content, Crowdscape operators can also spatially mix external crowd fx stems from broadcasters or Viewer Response systems and place them in the appropriate segments of the arena or stadium.  Downmixed stereo, 5.1 and mono crowd content feeds can also be simultaneously generated live in Crowdscape and returned to the truck for broadcast or streaming.

TiMax Crowdscape is currently being trialed in Canada in an NHL hockey arena format, using a 10.4 multichannel bowl system with also includes spatially distributed sub-bass. Fully-scalable Crowdscape is also offered, in conjunction with regional PA rental houses, in larger 12.6 configurations and beyond for football and baseball stadiums.

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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at print and digital magazines and websites around the world covering everything from lifestyle to sport, technology, motoring, and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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