Spatial Mic Dante's Broadcast Journey

Breaking Boundaries: Spatial Mic Dante’s Broadcast Journey From Recording Studio to The Super Bowl
March 26, 2024 Voyage Audio

Breaking Boundaries: Spatial Mic Dante’s Broadcast Journey From Recording Studio to The Super Bowl

Voyage Audio stands at the forefront of audio innovation, pioneering solutions that transform how we experience sound in dynamic environments. Among recent achievements, Spatial Mic Dante was selected for use at Super Bowl LVIII1 by Matt Coppedge, A1 audio engineer for CBS Sports and two-time Emmy winner. The live broadcast from Las Vegas, which averaged an astonishing 120.3 million viewers on CBS alone, stands as the largest audience for a single-network telecast to date. Designed to capture soundscapes with clarity and depth, Spatial Mic Dante has set new standards for live event broadcasting.

Through the lens of Coppedge, this case study takes us on a journey through Spatial Mic Dante’s technical achievement, field deployment, and pivotal role in capturing the raw energy and emotion of live broadcast sporting events. Coppedge, who started his career loading bread trucks with camera lenses and microphones for a sports company in Chicago, one day found himself at the right time and place. He was tasked with running a Soundcraft console — something he had become familiar with during his time studying broadcast and cinematic arts. Coppedge has since worked his way through regional entertainment and sporting events and likes to always keep an eye on new gear that can help him more effectively get his job done. Remarking that just in the last couple years alone, the transition from analog to digital has been on overdrive, with most trucks and gear now being IP based, Coppedge noticed Spatial Mic Dante on the Audinate website and immediately decided to take the plunge.

Graduating to Broadcast’s Biggest Games: A Test of Resilience

Shortly after Coppedge took delivery of his first Spatial Mic Dante, he embarked on a trial with the microphone at the 2023 NBA All-Star Game and then for the SEC football season, where it faced the ultimate test against outdoor elements – a significant departure from the microphone’s studio origins. Despite potential concerns about its ability to withstand outdoor weather elements, the microphone excelled, showcasing exceptional resilience and maintaining high-quality audio throughout the broadcasts.

Spatial Mic Dante mounted outside Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas to capture ambient audio for a live broadcast.

Spatial Mic Dante mounted outside Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas to capture ambient audio for a live broadcast.

Encouraged by this success and based on his confidence in Spatial Mic Dante’s durability and performance, Coppedge decided to expand the microphone’s use to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas, a decision underscored by Spatial Mic Dante’s proven track record.

“It held up beautifully. I didn’t see any issues as far as weatherproofing. So I said, you know what? Let’s see if I can push and get a bunch more for the Super Bowl. And we did and loved it,” Coppedge shared.

His decision to network multiple units together for the Super Bowl, simplified the audio setup, ensuring seamless, comprehensive coverage for multiple locations.

When it comes to remote control over the microphone, Spatial Mic Dante coupled with the included MicNet Control application have been rock solid for Coppedge, saying

“the system hasn’t had any issues, integrates perfectly with Dante Controller and has never had a problem with it.”

Spatial Mic Dante’s journey from SEC football and the NBA All Star game, to the Super Bowl showcases its exceptional durability and audio fidelity, proving its value in the arena of sports broadcasting.

Innovating for the Future of Broadcast

Spatial Mic Dante employs a multi capsule design to capture the entire soundfield. Colin Ritchie, lead designer at Voyage Audio states that

“a common misconception is that each capsule in the array should be routed to its own surround channel. However, it’s important to understand that the magic happens when you use the Voyage Audio software tools.”

In the case of broadcast, the MicNet Control application can be used to configure the output of Spatial Mic Dante itself. The internal DSP takes care of any processing or time aligning that may have needed to be done in the past. As Coppedge points out,

“There are no phase issues with Spatial Mic Dante. I can use just one mic to create the overall ambient bed of the environment without having to time-align different point sources.”

Let’s take a look at some of the other features that make Spatial Mic Dante standout in the world of broadcast:

  • Multi-Capsule Design: Eight high-quality microphone capsules strategically positioned to capture audio with direction information, decoded internally within the mic or in post.
  • Remote Control Capabilities: The MicNet Control application (pictured below) is used for remote control and monitoring, allowing audio engineers to adjust settings over the Dante Network.
  • Dante Audio Networking & PoE: Plug-and-play compatibility with Dante audio networks and PoE enables straightforward connectivity and interoperability with a wide range of audio devices and systems.
  • Embedded Digital Signal Processing: Spatial Mic Dante’s embedded processor allows for remote control of the output format – on the fly adjustment of mono/stereo polar patterns, ambisonics and surround sound feeds directly from the mic itself.
  • Robust Construction & Mounting Flexibility: Designed to withstand the rigors of live event broadcasting, the Spatial Mic Dante features a durable and rugged build quality, making it suitable for deployment in diverse environments and weather conditions.
  • Efficient Workflow: Streamlines the audio production workflow with efficient setup and operation, empowering audio professionals to focus on capturing the essence of the event without technical distractions.
The MicNet Control app is used to remotely control any number of Spatial Mic Dante's on the network in real-time.

The MicNet Control app is used to remotely control any number of Spatial Mic Dante’s on the network in real-time.

From Stereo To Surround: Setup For Success

While Coppedge acknowledges that many regional sports networks still broadcast only in stereo, he has been delivering broadcast mixes in 5.1 or ATMOS with stereo fold-down almost exclusively for the past 5 years. That doesn’t mean he only uses Spatial Mic Dante for his surround sound bed – it depends on the situation.

For SEC college football games, Coppedge looks to use ambient mics along with Spatial Mic Dante’s aimed at each of the marching bands. Coppedge is then able to remotely steer the microphone polar pattern at each band to balance the mix. For example, if he’s getting too much of the drum section, he may decide to change the pattern from omni to cardioid and change the stereo spread. This is accomplished via the MicNet Control app running on a laptop computer from the remote truck. With MicNet Control, Coppedge is able to control the microphone on the fly, during the game without any interruption to audio quality – something not possible with traditional analog microphones. He’s able to listen in real-time as he dials in the perfect virtual microphone without any downsides.

Setting up for a professional basketball game presents another set of challenges. Often mounting Spatial Mic Dante to the basket stanchions at either end of the court via a magnetic arm, Coppedge is able to capture crowd and court audio with ease. When he works on college basketball, he’s able to adjust the mics to capture the bands sitting in the stands.

Spatial Mic Dante mounted above a set inside Allegiant Stadium to capture the sound bed for live broadcast.

Spatial Mic Dante mounted above a set inside Allegiant Stadium to capture the sound bed for live broadcast.

Informed by his setup for past events, Coppedge sought to leverage Spatial Mic Dante at each of the major Super Bowl sets – providing ambient audio for the pre-game, half-time and post game shows. Again using the MicNet Control app remotely in a broadcast truck, he this time configured the mics for Surround Decoding mode, providing realism to the ambient broadcast audio mix.

One of the Spatial Mic Dante microphones Coppedge placed at the Super Bowl was used in sort of a “roving” manner. It was set in one of the tunnels so that as the teams were doing their walkouts, the audio matched the camera shots and would track as players moved by the microphone. In the past, a setup like this could take upwards of 6 discrete microphones. Now a task which would have taken a couple hours of mounting, cable running and interfacing can be mic’d up with Spatial Mic Dante and be ready to go in 5 minutes.

Coppedge was most excited about using Spatial Mic Dante to mic up the Bellagio fountains. He recalled that

“it was awesome to hear because we had total control of the ambient sound coming from the fountains live on air. We could hear the splash of the water and it really brought the event atmosphere right into people’s living rooms. It was really, really cool”

But the most important aspect of micing up live sporting events may be that Spatial Mic Dante simply just sits there and does its job. It hears what we hear and at the end of the day, Coppedge’s job is to bring the fans at home into the stadium – a task Spatial Mic Dante excels at.

The Future Is Immersive

As home entertainment systems evolve, an increasing number of users are experiencing their favorite shows and music with an added layer of immersion, often without realizing that they are benefiting from surround sound technology, including its “virtual” iterations. This brings to light an intriguing question: does the technical distinction between traditional and virtual surround sound hold significant importance for the average consumer?

Modern soundbars have significantly closed the gap, mimicking the enveloping audio experience once exclusive to setups with multiple, dedicated surround speakers. With the advent of built-in room tuning technologies, which can often be controlled simply through a smartphone, integrating high-quality surround sound into any living space has never been more straightforward. This eliminates the need for the costly and complex wiring and speaker configurations of the past. Furthermore, this evolution in audio technology not only makes premium sound experiences more accessible to a broader audience but also enhances the overall listening experience without the listener necessarily being aware of the technical processes at work.

For many, the realization that they are immersed in a surround sound environment comes not from recognizing the technology itself, but from the intuitive feeling of being more deeply engaged in the audiovisual event unfolding before them.

Future Proof Audio Capture

The remarkable performance of Spatial Mic Dante, enduring the pressures of live sports broadcasting and the unpredictability of the elements, underscores its design and functionality. This feat not only demonstrates its robustness but also affirms its capacity to excel on one of the global stage’s most significant events.

Featuring digital connectivity and the innovative ability for real-time adjustment of polar patterns via standard IP networks, Spatial Mic Dante represents a significant advancement in audio technology. This pivotal innovation is set to transform sports broadcasting, offering millions of fans a deeply immersive auditory experience. Looking ahead, Spatial Mic Dante is on track to revolutionize how we experience live sports, drawing audiences closer to the heart of the action than ever before.


[1] Disclaimer: Voyage Audio and its products, including Spatial Mic Dante, are not officially affiliated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by the National Football League (NFL), the Super Bowl, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Southeastern Conference (SEC), CBS Sports, or any other organizations mentioned within this press release. All references to specific events, such as Super Bowl LVIII, CBS, the 2023 NBA All-Star Game, and SEC football games, are made strictly to illustrate the usage and capabilities of Spatial Mic Dante in various broadcast settings and do not imply any form of partnership or endorsement. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.