The team behind Grammy audio excellence

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards telecast on CBS on Feb. 12 was an ambitious production that featured some truly notable performances. Produced by AEG Ehrlich Ventures (Ken Ehrlich) and John Cossette Productions, “music’s biggest night” was delivered in 5.1 surround sound by a 46-member audio team managed by longtime Grammy audio coordinator Michael Abbott.

The entire team is on site for basically a week prior to the live broadcast, including several days of live rehearsals. Broadcast engineers team with live concert mixers and work with representatives of The Recording Academy to create a memorable television event.

“The core of our team has been in place for eight or nine years now,” Abbott said. “I’m proud to say we’ve won several Emmy Awards for outstanding sound mixing in that time. They are the best in the business.”

On the broadcast side, Tom Holmes is the primary audio mixer, combining the music mixes with all the other production elements that are part of the broadcast. Other key participants include music mixers Eric Schilling and John Harris, working in the Music Mix Mobile (M3) remote trucks.

“John and Eric basically split up the bands according to the rehearsals,” Abbott said. “That way, one can remix, consult with the artist, and practice their moves in the truck while the other is handling the rehearsal for the next act.”

For the live audience in the Staples Center, front of house engineers Ron Reaves (music) and Mikael Stewart (production) handle the faders. Michael Parker and Tom Pesa are the two stage foldback/monitor engineers.

The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing brings considerable expertise to the party as well. Producers Phil Ramone and Hank Neuberger are sound supervisors for the broadcast, while Leslie Ann Jones supervises the house audio.

Outside vendors on site to make the Grammy Awards telecast a reality included the NEP Denali mobile video production facility; the aforementioned Music Mix Mobile recording trucks; and ATK Audiotek as primary audio equipment provider with Soundtronics handling the considerable task of wireless coordination and deployment.