CRAS Brings Dolby Atmos To NASCAR Event As It Develops Training Program For Dolby’s Next-Gen Audio Platform

The effort will help develop a training regimen for application of the audio system

As part of its training-program development process, the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS) deployed Dolby’s object-based Atmos audio system in its mobile broadcasting unit at the Phoenix Raceway during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.

CRAS’ mobile unit, part of the school’s broadcast audio training program, took audio feeds over two MADI lines from NBC’s Peacock truck on site — NBC Sports, ESPN and Fox Sports have for the last several years allowed the school to “shadow” their broadcasts, letting students mix races and other area sports events in real time, recorded to digital multitrack recorders for future educational uses. In addition, a Sennheiser Ambeo VR microphone was used trackside to create the four height channels that Atmos offers.

The deployment in this case is part of the process of developing a training regimen for Atmos broadcast applications that CRAS is creating for Dolby.

Robert Brock, Director of CRAS’ Broadcast Audio Department, says the mobile unit was very recently outfitted with Dolby’s DP-590 Atmos processor, four additional JBL Control 1 speakers in the overhead position powered by a Crown CT4150 amplifier, and JBL’s Intonato 24 Monitor Management Tuning system. The Intonato unit will be used to calibrate the additional overhead speakers to match the mixing environment as well as to provide bass management.

The Ambeo VR microphone, which is being provided by Sennheiser and which can be remotely controlled and aimed, is run through a Soundfield surround decoder to create the additional four channels. The raw Ambeo output travels first to the NBC truck, where it could be used as part of the event’s on-air mix; the output of the Soundfield processor could be taken from the CRAS truck back to the NBC truck, if desired, over an additional MADI line used for comms between the two trucks.

“We will be getting some amazing practical experience from this event,” Brock said. “That will in turn make the Atmos training program we’re developing for Dolby that much better.”

Kirt Hamm, CRAS’ Administrator, said that NBC and NASCAR were both cooperating in the effort, which will also help develop practices and guidelines for the use of Atmos for sports broadcasting in the future.

Hamm said that the Atmos integration and deployment would help inform the development of the training-program. “We do know that this is the wave of the future,” he said. “And we’re glad to be part of it.”