John Hunter holds a unique distinction among broadcast audio mixers: he was the A1 for the NBA Raptors vs. Pelicans basketball game in November 2018, one of the very first sports event to be produced in immersive Dolby Atmos sound with 4K HDR picture for live distribution to homes across North America.
In looking back at the brief history of digital audio there are a few salient points that may help us to see where the technology may go in the future.
Here we look at the science of using a matched pair of microphones positioned as a coincident pair to capture stereo sound images.
In the action-packed and frenetic world of motorsports operations, crew communications at the track can be as important to success as the actual performance of the car itself. Monitoring telemetry from the cars and managing and distributing hundreds of audio channels has also become vital. It’s hard work configuring the required technology infrastructures on a weekly basis during the 11-month Formula 1 (F1) racing season, but well worth it.
The audio vectorscope is an excellent tool for assuring quality in stereo sound production, because it makes the virtual sound image visible in the same way that a television vectorscope allows the color signals to be seen.
Digital audio interfaces were developed as a way of avoiding generation loss between devices.
“You need to be very predictable with the broadcast at all times. When I started doing this you had to be really careful with 5.1; there was no standardization,” he says. Indeed, for a long time, as broadcasters began to switch to HDTV across the U.S., it was not unusual for audio channels to be mixed up during transmission, or for audio processors to be incorrectly set or configured.
John Harris became a music mixer for broadcast television at a time when there was no such job. In the decades since he’s won 12 Emmys, three Grammys and a Peabody Award and has been at the forefront as the industry has made the transition from stereo to 5.1 surround and now immersive audio.