Regardless of whether you dig the Grammy broadcast or not, what goes on behind the scenes is truly a massive feat of audio strength. How big? Take the largest audio setup you ever heard of and multiply it by at least another order of magnitude, as you’ll soon see.
Dani Deahl wrote a great piece on The Verge about the Grammy’s audio supervisor Michael Abbott that’s pretty long but well worth the read. If you don’t have time to spend, let me summarize.
- Supervisor Abbott has worked on the Grammy’s for a couple of decades, and he’s assisted by 46 people and another 22 stage hands. Everyone involved has been doing it for a quite a while and the current crew has over 500 years combined live broadcast experience.
- Most of the music is played live, but there are some prerecords for safety as well as for situations that are too complex for the circumstances.
- Load-in takes place on Monday, setup on Tuesday and Wednesday, rehearsals Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and the broadcast on Sunday. Changes in the show continue to take place until the rehearsals, at which point they’re locked in place.
- Everything is tightly orchestrated. It takes 3 to 5 minutes for setup, another minute or two for sound check, and 3 to 5 minutes for teardown for each act across the 4 performance spaces. This is over the course of 18 to 20 performances for the show.
- There are 55 to 60 53 foot trailers for both for the show and artist’s gear.
- There are 4 audio trucks, 9 audio workstations, 192 playback tracks, 1,800 mic inputs, 350 microphones (48 are RF mics), and 3,300 cross-patches used for the program.
- The house sound system is not used since it covers sections of the arena where people are seated during a sporting event, and not directed on the floor. The imported sound system consists of 16 clusters of JBL A12 boxes, 2 flown clusters of 18″ subwoofers, and 75 floor monitors.
See, I told you it was massive. There’s a lot more that’s beyond fascinating about the even in the original article.
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