Squarehead tech finds voice in a crowd

By Ken Kerschbaumer

Norwegian-based Squarehead
Technology introduced a new concept in sports audio that allows for audio
mixers to zero in on players, fans, and coaches from afar similarly to a camera
lens. It is currently being used by Norweigian Two for football coverage.

Morgan Kjolerbakken, Squarehead
Technology CTO, says the system consists of 300 microphones and a small camera
mounted in a 2.1-meter dish and a control unit. The control unit is connected
to a video monitor that outputs the camera signal, allowing the user to use a
track ball to move a cursor around the image and zero in on the subject of
interest like a player, boisterous fan, or coach.

“In addition
the system is recording all the time and synched up with the EVS system so the
user can go back in time and find audio for replays,” says Kjolerbakken.

The system
works by using phase delay, spatial filtering, and being optimized for speech.
As the cursor is moved the system automatically adjusts the phase delay of the
300 microphones to grab audio from upwards of hundreds of meters in quieter
situations.

In noisy
environments, like a raucous college football stadium, mounting multiple units
is ideal to help overcome crowd noise.

Pricing for
the system is approximately $210,000.