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More Bad Sports Audio on Fox

Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:36 pm
by Dale H. Cook
What is it with sports audio ops? Yesterday's ALCS game on FS1 sounded fine. Today's game on Fox broadcast, I would think with the same crew in the truck, sounded terrible. The crowd noise was so high I often could not understand the announcers. It sounded like the crowd was compressed as well.

Re: More Bad Sports Audio on Fox

Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:51 pm
by Shane
I've noticed that on many sports broadcasts. The Huskers used to be carried on KFAB but with all the cascaded compression/processing used in recent years (not under MY watch, course!), it was tiring and sometimes I couldn't make out words either.

I find myself listening to the FM out of Lincoln carrying the game.

They've been on a different AM station this year and it's much better.

I've done a few sports broadcasts in recent years using different gear from one to another. Best sound hands down: Shure M267 with the limiter on.

Re: More Bad Sports Audio on Fox

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:14 am
by Slab Bulkhead
I agree on the Shure mixers. I used to carry a 267 mixer for high school games. Currently I use a homebrewed rack built around a Shure SCM810, which also has the switchable limiter and remote on/off/mute logic capability, so I was able to build some handy cough buttons into the front panel next to the mic jacks. The limiter does a great job of making sure the Tieline doesn't get clipped if things get too loud. On a typical night, I have 5 channels of audio going (PBP, Color, Sideline Reporter, Crowd mic -- a shotgun either on top of press box or out the window, and parabolic mic on the field). Sometimes a 6th channel if we run into a field with a ref mic that I can tap into.

A couple other outfits in town are using Comrex Access units with just the sidecar mixer and no limiting. They tend to turn into distortion city or drop out completely if the PBP man gets too excited. Then there are others who are using Flipjacks and a cell phone, which sounds horrid compared to the codec units.

Re: More Bad Sports Audio on Fox

Posted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:33 am
by Kelly
Having worked many a game from the truck, I can tell you that the many of A1's working on production trucks don't, or can't pay much attention to the mix. Their main focus is generally making sure all the audio sources, IFB's, and console mapping is correct and still functioning. They are hearing more of the Director call in their ear than the actual mix, because they're waiting for a cue to do something. For the most part, all they can do is push the faders up half way and turn channels on and off as sources change.

Re: More Bad Sports Audio on Fox

Posted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:11 pm
by PID_Stop
Another factor in play is the number of ways people listen to the audio -- everything from small monaural sets to stereo to large 5.1 surround setups. A reasonable 5.1 mix with lots of crowd ambience might not downmix well to stereo, or to mono. Moreover, you have the vagaries of how stations map audio through their plant, and how they approach CALM processing.

Life was so much easier fifty years ago, with one video standard and one audio channel! :lol:

Jeff

Re: More Bad Sports Audio on Fox

Posted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:57 pm
by Dale H. Cook
PID_Stop wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:11 pm
Life was so much easier fifty years ago, with one video standard and one audio channel!
It was still pretty easy when I was in television in the late '90s. Our station had not yet converted to ATSC so it was one video standard and two audio channels.

In any case most people are listening in stereo or mono. Fox pays Joe Buck big bucks, and it is a disservice to put out a product where most listeners can't understand Joe because of a bad mix.

Re: More Bad Sports Audio on Fox

Posted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:03 pm
by PID_Stop
Dale H. Cook wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:57 pm
...it is a disservice to put out a product where most listeners can't understand Joe because of a bad mix.
No disagreement there. I'm simply observing that it's not a trivial exercise to make a mix that sounds good in mono and in stereo and in 5.1, especially in a sub-par environment like a truck.

Re: More Bad Sports Audio on Fox

Posted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:03 pm
by Dale H. Cook
How does the audio op monitor the 5:1 mix in a truck?

Re: More Bad Sports Audio on Fox

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:01 am
by KPJL FM
Dale H. Cook wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:03 pm
How does the audio op monitor the 5:1 mix in a truck?
4 tires and a spare?

Re: More Bad Sports Audio on Fox

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:17 am
by Kelly
Dale H. Cook wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:03 pm
How does the audio op monitor the 5:1 mix in a truck?
It depends. Some trucks are equipped to mix with a stereo and 5.1 output. In that case the answer is yes. While others may have that capability, but don't actually mix specifically for 5.1,may go ahead and encode 5.1 on the way out of the truck. In other words, the main mix is stereo which hits a 5.1-enabled encoder for viewers with a 5.1 receiver. When you really listen to the 5.1 mix though, it's easy to tell the truck is just sending it a stereo mix, with maybe a couple ambient mics aimed toward the stands and assigned to surround channels 3 an 4.

As I mentioned, in a sports event with all the replays, graphics over sounds, IFB's, and a half dozen mics open, things are generally busy enough in the truck for the A1 to concentrate on trying to actually mix surround and stereo.