At NAB, Audio-Technica Invites Everyone To Mix a Basketball Game

Last Thanksgiving, the idea for Audio-Technica’s NAB booth was born in an unlikely place: an Atlanta Hawks game. There, Steve Savanyu, director of educational services for Audio-Technica, worked with Tom Sahara, senior director of remote operations and IT for Turner Sports, to record the game with 48 tracks of audio.

“We tracked it all into a multitrack recorder, so they now have this multitrack recording of the game, along with video,” Savanyu says. “So I recorded a game at Kent State University, where I had 24 additional tracks of audio, plus the eight that were the broadcast feeds.”

An array of shotgun, stereo, and plate microphones were placed around the backboard, on the floor, near the scorer’s table, in the midcourt position, and on handheld cameras. Savanyu recorded each of the 32 microphones to its own individual track, synched the sound to the video, put it on a multitrack playback system from Fairlight, and brought the whole system to NAB, along with a Calrec audio console — “one that A1s would be familiar with from the truck,” Savanyu says.

“We have picked certain plays that we think have interesting sound to them, and now anyone can come in and mix this game,” he explains. “We’re showing how different mics, mic positions, and length of shotguns affect the game sound.”

Networks want to immerse their viewers in the game to the highest degree possible, and one way to take the next step with that immersion is with audio. However, A1s do not often have the opportunity to experiment, because they cannot do so in any live game situation. For that reason, Savanyu is inviting anyone to step into Audio-Technica’s Central Hall Booth C1632 at the NAB Show and experiment with different ways of mixing the game.

“Here’s an opportunity for the sound-design team to come in and experiment with different mic techniques and mic locations,” he says. “They may not use all of these in a real game, but they may come up with a palette of solutions that work for them.”

Bexel, Calrec, Fairlight, Genelec, and RME all worked with Audio-Technica to provide the equipment necessary for the demonstration, which is an educational opportunity for non-audio experts as well.

“We see it as a way to get people who would normally not do audio to see what it’s like to sit behind a board and mix a game,” Savanyu says. “We’ve got a truly unique thing going here at the show that I don’t think any other audio company has thought to do.”

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