Los Angeles, CA (January 14, 2009)–Electronic Arts’ Need For Speed Audio team recently completed recording orchestral percussion at Henson Studios in Los Angeles for the next version of the popular video game. Electronic Arts Senior audio Director Charles Deenen, together with Tim Gedemer, owner of Source Sound, Inc. wanted to use three Neumann digital microphones, a pair of KM Ds and a D-01.
Deenen has over 20 years’ experience in constructing sound for over 200 games, as well as numerous films and dozens of film trailers. For the last five years, Gedemer has joined Deenen on Need For Speed to contribute sound design and mixing to create a cinematic experience.
At the recent three-day session, two percussionists performed some traditional and some not-so-traditional beats and musical stingers to add excitement to the soundtrack. The team relied principally on a pair of Neumann digital KM Ds, a digital D-01, a pair of 170s, a pair of KM 84s and three other mic pairs. They recorded to Pro Tools at 96kHz. Mic selection and placement varied according to the effect that was desired, but over the course of the session the engineers honed in on the sweet spots for each drum/mic combination.
“We expect a lot from a Neumann mic, but the digital mics exceeded those expectations,” said Gedemer. “The KM D especially had punch and clarity that none of the other mics we had on hand could match, and this was an A-list of studio microphones. In addition, the noise floor was basically non-existent. I’ve never heard a microphone with this kind of dynamic capacity.”
In both the KM D and the D-01, the analog signal transferred from the mic capsule is preamplified and digitally converted right inside the mic body.
By using Neumann’s DMI-2 digital mic interfaces and RCS controlling software, the engineers were able to control the microphones from the same computer they were recording with. “It felt very integrated,” said Gedemer. “We were changing pickup patterns and modifying input and output volumes right from the computer.”
“Frankly, their sound caught us a little off guard,” admitted Deenen. “We started out with some more traditional studio mics on the front line and were using the digital mics as a backup, just to play around with them and see how they worked. But once we started A/B-ing our tracks, it was obvious that the digital mics shined. They were moved to the front line!”
Need For Speed Undercover Music Supervisor Richard Dekkard added, “There was a discernable difference in the control room at the time of recording, but the real stunner was when I was editing the takes to start building pieces for Need For Speed. As I played the tracks back there was a huge difference in the clarity of the tracks using the KMD mics. The top end and body of the sound was a night and day difference. It really allows the organic nature of the percussion to get captured digitally in a very natural sounding way.”
“These new Neumann digital mics are not just a variation on an old theme, they’re a refreshingly new and worthy tool in our arsenal of high-end gear,” concluded Gedemer. “We’ll be certain to have them on hand at our next session.”