The Need For Speed
Codemasters gets on the Grid with DPAWords Paul Watson
The sound designers at game developer, Codemasters, chose a kit bag of DPA mics to capture the plethora of intricate sounds needed for Grid: Autosport, which brings them back to the racing game sector with a bang.
It's not just about the growl... Recording racing car sounds is a complex process. There are a series of parts involved in creating the fusion of harmonics, squeaks, knocks, and wind noise that you hear when a car shoots past. To capture each of the elements accurately, you need kit that will be able to deal with unpredictable and rigorous conditions in and around the car when driving at high speed, such as heat, knocks, turbulence, and vibration.
To accomplish this on Grid: Autosport, Codemasters used DPA's d:dicate 4011ER, 4018ER, and 4007A condenser mics, along with d:screet 4062 miniatures, placing them in and around the body of the cars to get a true representation of how it sounds, both to the driver, and from various external viewpoints.
Turn It Up
A selection of DPA mics were used to capture each car's sound: the cardioid d:dicate 4011ER was mounted on a cable preamp for the smallest footprint and SPL handling; the 4018 capsule provided a super-cardioid polar pattern when needed; and the d:dicate 4007A Omni was ideal for recording noisy drive-bys and stationary engine sounds, or sounds within the cockpit due to its low noise floor, and very high SPL (155dB peak) before clipping.
The low sensitivity d:screet SC4062 miniature mics were used for creative placement in and around the body of the car, as not only can they handle higher sound pressure levels, but their tiny omni capsules are particularly good at capturing crystal clear audio at the sound source.
According to a review of Grid: Autosport on driving.co.uk:
"Codemasters has much more accurately reproduced real engine noises, right down to the pop and crackle of exhaust over-run. Up to 16 microphones were attached to the real cars in order to record the sounds, with specialist equipment being used to avoid the mics near the exhaust melting."
And credit where credit's due... Codemasters were also kind enough to include DPA Microphones and Sound Network in the Grid: Autosport game as decals to apply to your favourite car! Check out the official Grid: Autosport trailer video, and see if you can spot the Sound Network logo around the 01:08 mark!