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Audio at the World Cup – part 3: 3D audio revolution?

2014 promises to be the the most technologically advanced edition of the FIFA World Cup yet – but what about the audio side of the broadcast equation?

In part two, we examined four Brazilian OB companies and broadcasters – Mix2Go, which is utilising Focusrite RedNet audio interfaces and Allen & Heath mixers and stage racks; TV TEM, which has purchased microwave equipment by Integrated Microwave Technologies; São Paulo-based SBT, which has taken delivery of 133 DELEC subscriber units from Salzbrenner Stagetec Mediagroup; and Aspa Stagetec Brasil, which has installed new Stagetec Crescendo audio mixing consoles and Stagetec On Air 24 desks. We also talked to BBC Sport’s Dave Lee about the broadcaster’s delivery of audio from Brazil to viewers in the UK.

3D audio revolution?
Delivering superlative surround sound has done much to enhance the World Cup experience for TV viewers worldwide. But Gobbel reveals that if ongoing tests (including at the World Cup) are deemed to be successful, then we could soon witness another significant evolution.

“We are very enthusiastic about the prospect of 3D audio,” he reveals. “Once you include a second layer of speakers, it’s amazing the difference you hear when you switch back to flat 5.1; it sounds almost mono by comparison! So we are continuing our tests during this tournament, making use of a very special microphone from Schoeps.” NDAs prevent Gobbel from divulging too many specifics, but he does admit that “it is a very ambitious project. Even so, I think it could be a revolution in audio.”

There’s reason enough, then, to suspect that whilst this year’s World Cup will surely be a highly satisfying experience sonically, the 2018 event could set a new standard in immersive audio for sports.

Photo credit: Agência Brasil