Skip to main content

ESPN provides Holophone surround sound for NBA playoffs

Sporting events have become the cutting edge for TV surround sound. As NBA teams competed for their spot in the playoffs in the past few weeks, ESPN used the Holophone H2-PRO surround microphone. The enhanced listening experience was not lost on viewers.

The H2-PRO was part of ESPN audio mixer Jonathan Freed’s NBA game setup during the playoffs, where it was used to create an ambient surround bed, capturing crowd response and arena sounds.

Freed likes the “intimacy” of the Holophone because the microphone is not overwhelmed by loud fans close to it. Sometimes with separate crowd mics, if people get too close, one hears individuals making too much noise and it becomes objectionable in the mix. The Holophone allows the sound mixer to hear 50 or so people in its area, but not overwhelmingly so.

For an NBA game, the H2-PRO was typically placed high up in the center of the basketball arena, near the crew’s camera platform. According to Freed, this has proved to be the best location because the Holophone mic does not block fans and is still able to obtain centralized sound.

The mic was used along with a Calrec Bluefin console and a variety of Sennheiser, Beyer, Neumann and Sony microphones that were used in various applications, including supplementing the sound pickup from the H2-PRO. Because of its ease of setup and small size, the microphone offers a quick installation time.

Using a design that mimics the acoustical shadow of the human head, Holophone’s H2-PRO is able to capture a surround recording from a single point with no mixing or signal manipulation required. It features eight mic elements that are positioned within an elliptical casing to correspond with a typical home theater or studio speaker setup, helping to give listeners the feeling of being in the arena.