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TiMax SoundHub and Genelec Provide Fluid Zones at Inaugural Fashion Exhibition

The Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) opened its doors in Mumbai and ushered in a new era of creativity in a city renowned for its Bollywood influence. This multidisciplinary arts centre boasts a 2,000-seat theatre, two intimate performance spaces and a four-storey Art House. To mark its grand opening, a three-day celebration blended musicals and international art exhibitions including the inaugural exhibition of “India in Fashion: The Impact of Indian Dress and Textiles on the Fashionable Imagination.” The exhibition celebrated the global influence of Indian design on fashion and was lauded both for the scale of its exhibits and its engagement value.

Overseeing the project was Mumbai-based technology and acoustic consultancy firm, Munro. Their mission was to craft a soothing auditory landscape without compromising audio quality while ensuring the seamless integration of the loudspeakers into the background and their continuous operation for 12 to 14 hours daily.

Kapil Thirwani, director of Munro Acoustics, was tasked with fulfilling the audio brief which demanded an array of immersive soundscapes that segued from zone to zone. Calling upon the expertise of distributor, Alphatec, he quickly discovered that only the TiMax SoundHub would meet the complexity of the audio solution in its entirety.

The exhibition was curated by Vogue’s global editor, Hamish Bowles and presented a multi-zone exploration into the impact of India on global fashion and vice versa. Thirwani was contracted to deliver the audio solution in an extremely tight timeframe. On advice from Alphatec, who distributes TiMax across India, Thirwani had just enough time to fly to Barcelona to discuss the project in detail with Out Board.

Out Board director, Dave Haydon, explained, “Alphatec showed Kapil various ways TiMax could handle this project, which involved playing spatial music and effects across 15 different zones, starting and stopping it all automatically without anybody having to touch it. He worked out that TiMax was the only thing that could do it all at once.”

Thirwani’s mission was a success and the final installed solution saw 2 x 64 i/o TiMax SoundHub-S64s each handle one half of the exhibition, playing out a mix of stereo and multi-stem spatial music as well as soundscape tracks to 128 x Genelec 4430 IP speakers across 15 zones. Genelec is also distributed by Alphatec.

“Munro is well known for its sonically excellent designs,” explains Thirwani. “If we are hired to design, we also have to keep up [with] the same design sense for sonic aesthetics. This led us to the Smart IP loudspeakers by Genelec. They run seamlessly off a PoE+ switch via a single CAT cable and tick all the boxes. We verified this by comparing electroacoustic modelling simulations of similar IP speakers and analogue speakers, followed by the creation of a mini rig for a singular immersive zone which we measured to verify performance against the theoretical model. Genelec was a clear winner.”

Genelec’s Smart IP series supports PoE, AoIP and sophisticated loudspeaker management, combining exceptional audio with single cable networked convenience. Launched in 2019, their minimalist aesthetic design allows Smart IP speakers to seamlessly integrate into any project. Featuring Genelec’s trademark Minimum Diffraction Enclosure (MDE) and Directivity Control Waveguide (DCW), Smart IP loudspeakers provide clarity, intelligibility and uniform coverage, combined with 24/7 reliability.

“The Smart IP series offers outstanding sonic quality, minimum distortion and an excellent signal-to-noise ratio, all of which [were] important to us,” continued Thirwani. “Everything is run over a single CAT cable, which simplifies the installation massively — a crucial advantage when you’re working on a big project like this. We have a reputation for providing and designing some of the best audio solutions in India, and using Genelec allows us to maintain that reputation.”

Designed to integrate with any Smart IP loudspeaker system, Genelec’s Smart IP Manager software allows installers to configure an almost unlimited number of rooms, loudspeakers and audio channels and includes device discovery, room-equalisation tools, system organisation and status monitoring. This enables installers to deploy Smart IP loudspeakers even on complex, acoustically challenging projects.

The outputs from the previously mentioned 64-channel TiMAX servers were assigned via Smart IP Manager and Dante Controller. “Time delays and source intercorrelation data were adjusted and stored both on the Genelec and TiMAX software,” elaborated Thirwani. “The TiMAX stored the preset for the showreel and tracks and the global level variations between zones, while the Genelec sources stored the individual local information of that source in a particular zone.”

The soundscapes for the individual exhibition zones were originated by Goa-based musicians Sandunes. With some multi-channel spatial audio tuition from Haydon in hand, the duo cleverly created audio content in the same key which served to prevent musical clashes from one zone to another. Various show content stems were sent to the UK where OutBoard’s Haydon could begin programming the show files, and he subsequently visited Mumbai to help Sandunes bed in the immersive content on-site.

Without walls between the exhibits, overlap was unavoidable but once the audio installation was complete, the team started auditioning the soundscapes over the various zone speaker systems, walking from zone to zone with a Mac to fine-tune them.

Following this process all the settings were saved and the SoundHubs were locked. Set to fade up at 10:00 a.m. and then slowly fade out at the end of the day, simplified client control for the TiMax-controlled system was provided via a TouchOSC iPad for each SoundHub. Changes could be made to master level and individual zone levels for out-of-hours VIP visits, media, and TV interviews without impacting the saved set-up.

Arriving at the completed project shortly before it opened to the public, Haydon enthused, “The integration and design were amazing, and all the equipment was up and running to provide totally automated, hands-free, fully integrated show-in-a-box operation.” Giving testament to the stability of the TiMax system and its ease of use, Thirwani noted, “The entire show ran for two months with no issues at all.”

Concluding, “This was a team effort, and solutions like these require meticulous planning and execution, drawing expertise from various fronts. From conceptualization to planning and execution, the project faced challenges on-site that had to be resolved before completion. I’d like to thank the team involved in the design and execution of this project: Utkarsh Naidu, Cyril Thomas, Johan Pais, and Aman Prajapati. Everyone worked incredibly hard, and the exhibition was an undeniable success.”


Out Board