imgTel Aviv, Israel (July 2, 2014)—As NBC’s The Voice entered its live performance phase, broadcast production mixer Michael Abbott inserted the Waves SoundGrid processing platform and Waves MultiRack with plug-ins into the show’s vocal microphone signal chains.

By using Waves plugins on the microphones used by the judges, host, contestants and guests on the Emmy-winning TV talent competition, Abbott was able to improve the clarity and quality of the live broadcast audio. “I typically mix in environments that have a very high noise ambient floor (HVAC, fans, etc.), so you have to utilize these tools,” says Abbott, whose resumé includes American Idol, Shark Tank, Survivor, Rising Star, The X Factor, and productions such as the annual GRAMMY Awards.

On The Voice, with Hugh Healy, NEP Denali broadcast systems engineer, Abbott integrated the redundant Waves SoundGrid server, together with an eight-fader MIDI controller, into the company’s Denali Silver truck. Abbott mixes the production’s audio elements, and the music mix is created by Randy Faustino in his Creative Sound Solutions mobile production vehicle parked nearby.  

Abbott selected the SoundGrid system following discussions with Brian Riordan, owner of Levels Audio Post in Hollywood, who mixes the audio for the preliminary episodes of The Voice. “For the five live weeks, we try to create the same kind of sound-field as the posted shows, which is the majority of the season,” says Abbott. “What SoundGrid has allowed me to do is emulate the intelligibility and crisp sound Brian has in his post-production mix and transfer it to a live broadcast environment.”  

Abbott previously used five outboard noise processing hardware units on the lavalier mics worn by celebrity judges Adam Levine, Shakira, Usher and Blake Shelton, plus the contestants’ handheld mic. Now, through the use of Waves plug-ins, Abbott has been able to clean up the singing and dialogue channels by controlling the levels of the audience and reducing noise from the air conditioning and loud on-set equipment which was leaking into the live microphones.

Waves Audio’s WavesLive division