With the Olympics well and truly thundering towards the finishing line I have to say it has been a resounding success in many aspects. I’m not the only person who thinks this either, as Bob Dixon, director of Sound Design & Communications of NBC Olympics has come forth and stated in this SVG article about the audio quality at the Games.
According to Bob there are three core components that make up the audio philosophy for NBC which comprises of the ambient sound of the crowd; sound from the field of play; and then the announcers. Getting the separation and balance between these is key to creating a realistic sound bed.
“Some people prefer to hear the announcers spread out a little bit over the left and right channel for a fuller sound but it ruins the ability to re-voice things down the line and makes it much harder to do voice overs because if you need to replace a voice the announcers are bleeding into channels one and two. So we think keeping the voice in channel three can help us make the voices more robust, clear, and present.”
This allows the up mix for the rear speakers to be created from front left and right ensuring you have clean source material without bleed. Bob also sings the praises of the Linear Acoustic Aero.qc 2 stating that this is what they use to create the 5.1 experience.
As this is the third games that has been broadcast in 5.1 it is clear that the learning curve is pretty much levelling out now due to the combination of experience and choosing the right technology. For all you audiophiles out there a special prize will awarded to anyone who can tell us what console Bob is sat in front of in the picture above.*
*No prizes will be given.