NBC DELIVERS IN-DEPTH COVERAGE OF THE TORINO OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES USING AUDIO-TECHNICA MICROPHONES


Stow, OH 02-16-2006 Audio-Technica microphones are being used by NBC Universal for the broadcast of the XX Olympic Winter Games taking place February 10-26, 2006, in Torino, Italy.

Audio-Technica’s AT815ST stereo shotgun, which was designed specifically for the Games in 2000, was selected by the NBC team “to capture the intimate moments that are such a big part of what we want to bring to our viewers, with a sense of depth and a feeling of ‘place,’” explains Bob Dixon, manager, sound design for NBC Olympics. Other industry-standard models chosen for the NBC broadcast from Torino include the AT4050 multi-pattern condenser and AT4047/SV cardioid condenser microphones.

Michael Edwards, Audio-Technica Product Manager, explains Audio-Technica microphones are ideal for operating under adverse weather conditions, like those that are being experienced this winter in Torino. “Prior to Salt Lake in 2002, Audio-Technica arranged for considerable independent environmental testing of the microphones under severe winter operating conditions. The technicians need to know that the microphones will be able to withstand the conditions they’ll be subjected to, providing a clean, clear signal without fail.”

This year, NBC selected the AT4050 to capture the audio signal for 5.1 surround sound. “We are using the AT4050 to capture the ambience at virtually every venue,” says Dixon. “Any sport that will go on the NBC Standard-def Network, and as a result, the NBC Hi-def Network, will have AT4050s employed to capture the feeling of ‘the place.’ ”

Dixon says the microphone was selected to give viewers the front-row experience: “It’s becoming a rather hackneyed expression now, but really, we DO want the viewer to get a sense of what it’s like over here. When you sit in the middle of the stadium filled with people, music and song (as with the opening and closing ceremonies) it’s very dramatic. Surround is a great way to let the viewer get a sense of all of it.”

To capture the sounds audiophiles expect with HDTV, clarity is key: “Experience has shown me that to do a wonderful job with [surround sound], you need clarity,” says Dixon. “The sound has got to be clean, clear and open. So I thought, ‘Why not go for the best you can get? Use the same very-high-quality microphones all around to really go for it.’ The AT4050s were chosen for their sound.”

This is not the network’s only use of the microphone in Torino. “The AT4050 and AT4047 were first chosen for use in our voiceover rooms,” says Dixon. “They were definitely chosen for their sound characteristics.” With three switchable polar patterns, the large-diaphragm Audio-Technica AT4050 exhibits a remarkable combination of qualities: high-SPL capability with transparent and airy uppers/mids complemented by rich low-end qualities. Its dual large diaphragms are gold-vaporized and aged for consistent, outstanding performance. A precision-machined, nickel-plated brass acoustic element baffle provides rock-solid element stability and exceptional sensitivity.

NBC also uses Audio-Technica microphones in stereo sound capture at the 2006 Winter Games. Says Dixon: “We have a lot of hand-held cameras that get close in to some very dramatic moments. For example, a coach with the skaters as they come off the ice. The drama at those moments is wonderful. An AT815ST on top of the camera gives us a very nice feeling of what is going on. We get to hear their soft-spoken words, but with a sense of place as well. I can’t imagine ever using mono shotgun microphones on hand-held cameras any more. The built-in X-Y converter of the M/S stereo makes using the microphone so simple and easy. It’s a wonderful tool.”

At 14.96" (380.0 mm) in length, Audio-Technica’s AT815ST stereo shotgun microphone is engineered for long-distance pickup in broadcasting and film/TV production. The AT815ST features internal matrixing innovations that allow for professional quality stereo audio with or without an external matrix. Its compact, lightweight design is perfect for camera-mount use. The microphone also features switchable low-frequency roll-off and independent line-cardioid and figure-of-eight condenser elements.

The Torino Winter Games feature 2,500 athletes from more than 85 countries competing in 15 sports at seven venues. An estimated 10,000 media representatives are covering the 17-day event before an estimated one million spectators and for a worldwide broadcast audience of billions.

About NBC Olympics
NBC, "America's Olympic Network," owns the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Olympic Games, television’s most powerful property, through 2012, which includes Torino, Italy in 2006, Beijing in 2008, Vancouver in 2010 and London in 2012. This February, NBC Universal is presenting the 2006 Olympic Winter Games from Torino, Italy (February 10-26, 2006). In August 2004, 203 million viewers watched as the networks of NBC Universal—NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo, Telemundo, and NBC’s HD affiliates—offered a record 1,210 hours of Olympic coverage from Athens. In February 2002, 187 million watched the Salt Lake Olympic Games on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC. For additional information, log onto NBCOlympics.com, the Internet's preeminent source for Olympic results, video, photos, news and athlete profiles through the Torino Games. NBCOlympics.com will be the only site in the United States featuring competition video of complete runs and routines, real-time results and medal counts for every event, an interactive television viewing guide to help visitors navigate the 418 hours of Olympic programming on the NBC Universal networks, and comprehensive, multimedia-filled profiles on every American Olympian.

About Audio-Technica
Established in 1962, Audio-Technica is a leading innovator in electro-acoustic design, recognized for high-performance microphones, wireless systems, headphones and other audio equipment. A-T products set quality/durability and price/performance standards for live sound tours, broadcast and recording studios and more. Product lines include the critically acclaimed 40 and 30 Series condenser microphones and Artist Elite microphones and wireless systems. A global leader in its field, Audio-Technica is committed to providing superior performance/exceptional value for customers worldwide.

...ends 952 words

—For more information on the complete range of Audio-Technica products, contact Karen Emerson, Audio-Technica U.S., Inc., 1221 Commerce Drive, Stow, OH 44224. Tel: (330) 686-2600; Fax: (330) 688-3752; Web: www.audio-technica.com