Mike Stock, Senior Audio Mixer for Fox Sports L.A. and Production Mixer for Conan, The Jennifer Hudson Show and The Ellen Degeneres Show, has chosen Waves plugins and the SuperRack SoundGrid live plugin host for mixing the 2023 Super Bowl preshow, halftime commentary segments, and post-show program.
Designed from the ground up and optimized for speedy operation, Waves SuperRack SoundGrid is a cutting-edge plugin rack that lets live sound and broadcast engineers run up to 64 stereo racks (multi-channel racks are supported) through multiple instances of Waves' plugins, with near-zero latency.
“The Super Bowl is one of the highest-rated shows on TV,” says Stock. “When Fox broadcasts the Super Bowl (it rotates every year between networks), we take the NFL on FOX studio show to the game and build a set in the stadium. This year, we built two sets, one inside and one outside the stadium. My responsibility is to mix the five-hour preshow leading into the game, the two short segments at halftime, the pre and post-music performance and the after-game post-show.”
“I currently use three Waves systems. I have one system installed on the Jennifer Hudson daytime talk show, I also have a system I spec’d for Fox Sports L.A., and finally, I have an identical road system that I used at this year’s Super Bowl.”
Stock comments on the benefits of using Waves plugins for the broadcast: “Every TV truck I have been in has MADI available via patch. This makes setup a breeze, and I can be up and running and connected to the console in minutes. First off, with SuperRack, I have never had any issues with latency, and as far as customized operation goes, I just use a basic template and then customize it to each gig. This has resulted in a smooth and confident workflow.”
“The Super Bowl this year consisted of a five-hour preshow, with multiple stage locations inside and outside the stadium: red carpet, two remotes from the teams’ hotels and stand-up correspondents in various locations. This was followed by halftime segment (not the music performance) and then the post-game celebration. The outside set had a total of sixteen individual talents; each talent wore a Lavalier/Lapel RF microphone and at times, a handheld mic as well. As a backup, we had eight hardline mics in case we lost RF. Inside the stadium set we had a duplicate of the outside set. We are talking about a total of 64 individual mic channels, all with an insert on the SuperRack.”
“Some twenty-plus years ago,” Stock recalls, “I got into television broadcast mixing, and the digital revolution was just starting. A good friend of mine, John Perez (broadcast mixer for Jimmy Kimmel Live) turned me on to the benefits of Waves plugins, and I have been using them ever since. My must-have and most used plugins are as follows: On my main 5.1 buss, inserted is a L360 Surround Limiter with a WLM Plus Loudness Meter. The L360 does an amazing job of limiting without getting in the way. I’m never bothered by how it sounds, no matter how hard I hit it. The WLM keeps me honest on levels and has a great display (can’t irritate the FCC…). On my dialog buss I always insert a WNS Noise Suppressor plugin followed by an API 550 EQ and then a CLA-3A Compressor/Limiter. The WNS is a must-have tool for every problematic environment, and I could not mix without it. I use the API 550 EQ to help with anything the WNS has dug out, and the CLA-3A is just such a great-sounding compressor. Lastly, I have a Waves DeEsser inserted on every mic channel that I can quickly turn on when needed.”
Stock summarizes, “Mixing a five-hour live show with rotating talent in various locations, using various types of microphones, whether it is a hand mic at a particular location, a Lavalier mic on a demo field, or a boom mic outside the team locker room, is a challenge. Having Waves SuperRack and all of my Waves plugins at this year’s Super Bowl made my job a whole lot easier. With SuperRack within hands reach, it enables me to react confidently to all those scenarios. The show would not have sounded as good as it did without my Waves plugins and SuperRack.”