So far SALSA had been running either as software on a standard computer, or as an add-on to a mixing console (Fairlight Quantum & 3DAW) creating a real-time live audio mix for live football. We needed to make a hardware, rack mount box that could be installed in an OB truck for real-time testing. With support from the University’s tech transfer team we worked with some specialist consultants with the aim of creating a rack mount prototype that would show SALSA’s value to live sports audio broadcast.
At the IBC show we ran SALSA pretty much continually from recorded audio streamed from a computer over MADI creating a real-time automated, and much improved, mix compared to conventional methods. It was something of a race to be ready for the show though.
At last, one week to go before IBC 2016 and our box is ready and being debugged ready for live demos.
The SF1 uses MADI to take in (up to 64) microphone channel inputs from the OB truck mixing console, sends control automation for the mixing console over USB or ethernet, and outputs ball kicks, headers etc from one XLR analogue output, and referee whistle blows from the other ready for mixing console input channels. This gives the sound supervisor the option of mixing the SALSA enhanced on-pitch sounds into an automated or manual mix at whatever level is required. The SF1 can also output a complete automated and/or enhanced mix via MADI out.
For testing we 12 pitch-side mic feeds we fed into the box worked perfectly. There is a massive improvement to the mix compared to conventional methods, more kicks can be heard, the level can be set independently of crowd sounds. Industry professionals have also pointed out that the crowd becomes much more enveloping as well. Interestingly using the SALSA enhanced mix makes a huge difference to the 5.1 surround sound crowd noise – it opens the crowd right up and prevents it being collapsed to the centre by crowd spill on to the pitch-side mics.