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  • Several years back when the Rays made it to the World Series….they handed out cowbells.

  • That's when that's when you kind of second guess your career.

  • There's only so much you can do when 30,000 people are all hitting cowbells.

  • The sounds inside a stadium can be unpredictable.

  • But parked outside every major sports event, in a semi truck full of broadcast tv workers,

  • There's an audio engineer tasked with bringing those sounds into your living room.

  • They're called “A1” mixers.

  • And they're hired by the network that's broadcasting the game.

  • Basically the easiest way to describe what it is I do is

  • everything you hear at home in the broadcast I'm responsible for, other than commercials.

  • That means they mix the music, the announcers, sound effects, interviews...

  • But it also means this,

  • and this,

  • and this.

  • If you just went and looked at a World Series game from you know, 1980

  • and then you looked at like last year's World Series it would be painfully obvious.

  • That takes a lot of work.

  • To capture the ambience of the space, they point stereo microphones into the crowd.

  • But we don't want to just be placed among the crowd, we want to hear the sounds of the

  • game itself.

  • And that requires microphones near the action to capture what they callfield effects.”

  • So I currently run 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.

  • I run 10 on-court effects mics.

  • If you're sitting in the stands, you might not hear the sound of the net.

  • But for viewers at home, there's a little microphone taped right under the basket.

  • In baseball, the key sounds are clustered around home plate.

  • You see all the advertising boards.

  • But there's also two little Blue Jays logos and in those logos are parabolic dishes and

  • that's what I use to capture all the sounds around home plate.

  • Parabolic microphones use a dish to focus sound waves from far away.

  • For big budget games, like the World Series, you can see those mics around home plate

  • too, but the setup becomes much more elaborate.

  • They put wireless mics in the bases; they have handheld parabolics out in the foul ball

  • territory, and they wire up the outfield wall.

  • We actually started a couple of years ago, burying mics in the grass and in the infield

  • so you can hear like some guys like

  • Max Scherzer,  they really kind of like grunt when they release the pitch.

  • And we also put mikes on the foul poles.

  • Some of them are like a real thunderous kind of cannon sound like at Fenway Park.

  • It's harder to capture field effects when the players roam around a big field.

  • you just hope that they're close to your mics.

  • You've got a huge field with 15 guys running ... on grass.

  • A handheld parabolic mic can do a better job following the action.

  • And that's long been the standard for NFL games.

  • When Fox came along they they put a mike on the umpire .

  • and we were using that to pick up the cadence of the quarterback and the line coming together.

  • And that was huge.

  • The umpire was getting run over a lot, and to keep him from getting hurt, they moved

  • his physical position from being in a defensive line to being on

  • the offensive line.

  • Well that doesn't help me at all.

  • Because now he's behind the quarterback.

  • The next year, the NFL players union agreed to let the league put microphones on certain

  • offensive linemen.

  • Depending on who's mixing it could be way up in the mix.

  • I've been called on that because it's like candy and I love it.

  • Those quarterback audibles are the only times they'll take a mic'd up player live during

  • a game.

  • I'm sure you've seen the games, basketball games where we mic up players, we mic up the

  • head coach.

  • Those mics will never be tracked live.

  • It goes to tape, somebody reviews it and then

  • it gets played back later.

  • But the effects mics can pick up angry players too.

  • If something's getting heated on screen I will you know, I'll kill those mics.

  • I want people to be able to hear but, you know I gotta be careful.

  • The A1 is constantly adjusting the levels throughout the game, and not just to keep

  • the show family friendly.

  • A lot of people would have the thought process that you just

  • set up these mics and you leave

  • them be.

  • You don't.

  • I mean, you can't.

  • I mean you're talking 18-20,000 people screaming, you got the PA sounds.

  • So if you just leave all these microphones up

  • you're not going to get anything.

  • So you're chasing the action with them with the faders on the mixing board.

  • The game effects in hockey come from 10 microphones taped inside the glass and the

  • mixer will fade them up and down to follow the play.

  • They can get those effects to pop even more by tweaking the EQ, orequalization.”

  • Most people would know it as like a car stereo.

  • You turn up your highs, your treble, and your

  • bass.

  • Well in our world it's a little bit more specific than that,

  • we can dial into actual specific

  • frequencies.

  • So they'll tend to increase the high frequency EQs and turn down the low frequency.

  • You don't want that rumble so you want to hear the skate blades, you want

  • to hear the sticks, you want to hear the pucks off glass, you want to hear them off the post.

  • But all those efforts can be drowned out by the A1's arch-nemesis: the PA system in

  • the arena.

  • If I could find PA people and beat them with a wooden stick sometimes I would.

  • NBA is just it's horrific because you know they run the PA during play.you

  • The PA will bleed into all the mics in the building.

  • But the audio team is always there, battling the noise on our behalf.

  • You should be able to hear the announcers, follow what they're saying.

  • The game should be below that and you should be able to hear everything that's going on

  • in the game without struggling.

  • It takes a lot of work to do that.

  • If we do it right.

  • If you're into sports,

  • then you're probably already subscribed to SB Nation's channel.

  • But if not, go check it out.

  • They've got tons of fascinating series,

  • including one called "Beef History",

  • which is about why all your favorite athletes hate each other.

  • Go check it out and subscribe at SB Nation.

Several years back when the Rays made it to the World Series….they handed out cowbells.

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Why sports sound better in your living room

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    陳思源 posted on 2018/04/30
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