Linear Acoustic’s Carroll Sees Surround Audio for RSNs

Regional sports networks are springing up, and one of the questions this raises is what level of audio formats will be applied to them. It’s clear that most won’t have discrete-5.1-surround capability initially and that, in many cases, it wouldn’t be warranted anyway, from a cost or infrastructure perspective.

However, that doesn’t mean that surround formats won’t be used. At the show, Tim Carroll, president/founder of Linear Acoustic, says that, at the least, regional sports networks will benefit from the workflows already established by the major sports broadcasters and that technology will help speed their transition to multichannel audio.

“Regional sports networks are largely following in the footsteps of the national networks,” says Carroll. “They may begin by using upmixing to turn a great stereo mix into a convincing 5.1-channel program. The next step is using upmixing with stereo and three channel sources and adding in discrete elements like crowd noise or floor microphones. Finally, mix engineers will graduate to fully discrete mixes with upmixing used only for stereo music or preproduced packages.”

The difference, he asserts, will be in the speed between those three stages, and he believes that, as a group, the RSNs will progress very quickly, with good results, with liberal use of the upmix and downmix tools available.

As for how they’ll fit into the workflow, Carroll says, “Upmixing is best when it is relied upon as a tool to help make the entire process faster. Downmixing is a useful tool at any stage, whether to enable integration of a 5.1 piece into a stereo mix or more commonly to create a simultaneous stereo version of the 5.1-channel program.”

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