Audio-Technica prepares to enter the immersive microphone market

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Dorna Sports confirms AT 8.0 microphone concept as core component of MotoGP Immersive Audio Remote Production initiative

The slim but growing pro-audio sector of immersive microphones is about to get bigger. Audio-Technica’s 8.0 Microphone Concept prototype, which is in testing with the MotoGP Grand Prix motorcycle racing world championship series, will be commercially available in the second quarter of 2022, SVG has learned. This follows nearly three seasons of extensive prototype testing by MotoGP commercial rights holder Dorna Sports SL at its remote production suite in Barcelona, ​​Spain, after which Dorna Sports announced in December that it would microphone a central audio component of its future program delivery.

Audio-Technica 8.0 Microphone Concept prototype used at MotoGP Jerez, Spain 2019

No model number or price has yet been announced, according to Audio-Technica USA product manager Gary Dixon, who confirmed the Q2 2022 release window.

Dorna Sports’ remote production suite, which is expected to be phased in throughout the 2024 season, will include a bespoke 7.1.4/5.1.4 audio control room dedicated to immersive audio mixing received from the track in real time. Audio-Technica 8.0 microphones should be located at the podium, parc fermé, pit lane and key positions around the circuit.

“The ongoing design and technical feedback we received from the audio team at Dorna Sports, which started with just a 3D printed prototype, was both invaluable and instrumental in our rapid development of the 8.0 concept,” says Rodrigo Thomaz, Audio-Technica Project Manager for MotoGP, adding that they also supplied more than 20 units to the host broadcaster tasked with broadcasting “the summer fortnight of sports around the world in immersive audio from Japan earlier this As audiences expect and demand a more holistic audio experience in their listening environments, the need for real-time, immersive live mixing will only increase. Audio-Technica is well positioned to provide the necessary tools at the beginning of this immersive signal chain.

According to a statement from AT, while the audio control room will remain static, on-track audio acquisition must capture the complex dynamic audio content of motorcycling’s premier world event while being practical in terms of setup and breakdown, being given that there can be more than twenty GPs around the world each season. Audio-Technica’s Concept 8.0 Microphone is designed to be lightweight and small enough not only for discreet placement in a playing field, but each of its eight 12mm elements can be removed from the center stand and quickly stored in a compact box, allowing rapid deployment by a single operator. It offers a “convenient and simple solution without the extra algorithms and decoding required in alternative immersive audio capture apps,” says an AT press release on MotoGP apps.

“Immersive audio is the next step in audio and there are many different formats competing for everyone’s ear,” says Dixon. “We’re trying to create something format independent, which is compatible across the board.”

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