NBC Sports Gears Up Sound for the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

Play gets under way this week for the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, with 16 teams going into a weeks-long battle for the Finals and the Cup. And NBC will be capturing that battle with the same kind of dynamic audio that the Peacock network has been getting off the ice all season.

images“I’m very happy how we have produced the surround-sound mix of NHL this season,” says Karl Malone, director, sound design, NBC Sports. “There is no shortage of dynamic sound in these venues, between crowd, goal buzzers, PA music, and PA announcers. It’s great being able to position some of the crowd behind you in a 5.1 mix and leaving more of the front speakers for the battle sounds on the ice. Having the NBC announcers in the center speaker also helps to make space for everything to fit a little more comfortably on the ear.”

NBC A1s, he notes, have nailed down a winning formula for capturing the pace of the game as well as keeping the audio levels consistent between venues.

“No two venues are the same acoustically,” Malone points out. “We are not going to change that base mix for the NHL Playoffs. Bigger crowds and higher excitement will definitely be part of the playoffs, and we will add extra crowd mics to enable us to blend the mix of [individual voices with] the general ambience of large sections of crowd.”

He and the five A1s on the shows are aiming for as consistent a 5.1-surround experience as possible. They will apply that mix to other elements around the game, including edited features and on-air billboards, as they have done all season long.

“All in all, it’s been a fluid, trouble-free season,” Malone says, “and we intend to continue that all the way through to the final game.”