The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) has a vast fan base. Their televised races draw eyes and ears from around the world but they’re not alone when it comes to the challenge of mimicking the highly ear-splitting, earth-shaking racetrack experience on-screen for their viewers. Although the Association broadcasts races in Dolby Atmos, the bottlenecked technology didn’t have the accompanying microphone that could reproduce the low-frequency component of the sound of 11,000 horsepower cars launching from the starting line. Mike Rokosa, technology executive at the NHRA, went for the d:dicate™ 4007 Omnidirectional Microphone from DPA Microphones.
It was at NAB in April where Rokosa met DPA’s National Sales Support/Business Development Manager, Gabriel Antonin. Within days, they met a second time at the NHRA Spring National’s in Baytown, Texas to demonstrate microphone placements. The first 50 feet of the starting line produce the most intense sound pressure levels for the nitro methane-fuelled cars, so the mics were placed at the start line.
“We experimented with the DPA mics as part of Gabriel’s visit and he also collaborated on some placement discussions,” says Rokosa. “Our overall takeaway was how impressed we were with the d:dicate 4007 microphone. In the locations where we placed them, they had to contend with SPL’s in excess of 160 decibels (dB). They not only survived where other mics have failed, but they delivered a very clean representation of the natural sound.”
Rokosa has been very happy with DPA mics in the short time he has been using them. “Sound is what conveys the awesome power of these cars and we are trying to provide the fans at home with as much of the aural experience of the live event as possible,” adds Rokosa. “The deep rumbling of the engines and the sudden explosion are difficult to capture without destroying the device, and the d:dicate 4007 mics seem to be able to survive in this environment.”
The NHRA has a strong TV presence, with over 500 hours of programming clocked through the year on 2017. They totalled 17 live race-day shows, with four on national network television and primetime Friday night qualifying shows.
“I am very appreciative of how fast Gabriel and the DPA team were in addressing our needs and providing a viable solution,” says Rokosa. “To have someone in the field with us was a demonstration of substantial support and that also allows us to continue to determine how well the mics will hold up over time. We intend to use these mics for the remainder of our upcoming productions and television broadcasts.”
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