Road-Tested and Approved

Mar 1, 2004 12:00 PM, Compiled by Sarah Benzuly


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The challenge for Electronic Arts' audio director Aubrey Hodges and NASCAR Thunder 2005 video game sound designer Jesse James Allen was to mike the insides of the engine and driver Tommy King's cabin of EA's NASCAR racing machine — at high speed on the Walt Disney World Speedway (Orlando). They knew that they would need miniature condenser microphones that could capture every sonic nuance of the engine and car under actual race conditions, as well as withstand the high SPLs and extremely high temperatures generated by the engine.

“We used DPA 4011s and DPA 4062s inside the engine and the cockpit and it worked out great,” said Hodges. “We were really surprised how much headroom we had with the DPAs. The mics handled the sound pressure levels just fine, and we used some special techniques so that the wiring wouldn't get burned up: wrapping the microphone cords in aluminum foil and mounting them with gaffer's tape around the engine to make sure the aluminum foil didn't come off.

“Once we miked the car, we had them do a test lap around the track to make sure the G-force on the microphones and equipment would be okay,” Hodges continued. “Because of the speeds they were reaching, we were afraid that the DVD transport functionality might be affected, but it wasn't. We did two passes communicating with the driver via headset, and we got the engine starting at 2,000 rpm and then in 500 rpm increments, going up to the limit of the car. They also did some really neat stuff like ‘off throttle,’ ‘braking,’ ‘down-shifting’ — anything you can imagine.”

Recording was done to a Fostex PD6 digital recorder with two Fostex PD4 DAT recorders as backups.

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