The NBA’s 2019-2020 season looked like it was going to be one of the most exciting yet. However, it was interrupted on March 11 by the COVID-19-induced sports shutdown, just before its Playoff series was to begin in April.
Instead, the NBA reformatted its season, with teams playing the remaining regular-season games, Playoffs and Finals on three courts in the Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida from July 30 through to October 13.
All of these games feature court sound done in a way as never before: Each venue has two sound systems: one aimed at the court, and the other at the audience. The court system is designed to immerse the NBA players in crowd and live venue sounds to emulate their traditional experience.
This system is mixed through a DiGiCo Quantum7 console in each of the WWoS’s three venues: the Arena, the main national-telecast court and site of Conference Finals and NBA Finals; the HP Field House court, used for the regular season to Second Round; and the Visa Athletic Center, used for games broadcast exclusively by regional sports networks.
“It’s a beast,” says Firehouse Productions Vice President Mark Dittmar, referring to the Quantum7, “and that’s an understatement.”
The consoles – three DiGiCo SD7 desks each updated with new Quantum engines – are the hubs for all of the audio elements that are feeding these courts. Those elements include over 1,500 individual audio clips such as cheers, boos, and other reaction sounds.