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Road-Tested and Approved

The challenge for Electronic Arts' audio director Aubrey Hodges and NASCAR Thunder 2005 video game sound designer Jesse James Allen was to mike the insides of the engine and driver Tommy King's cabin of EA's NASCAR racing machine —

The challenge for Electronic Arts’ audio director Aubrey Hodges andNASCAR Thunder 2005 video game sound designer Jesse James Allenwas to mike the insides of the engine and driver Tommy King’s cabin ofEA’s NASCAR racing machine — at high speed on the Walt DisneyWorld Speedway (Orlando). They knew that they would need miniaturecondenser microphones that could capture every sonic nuance of theengine and car under actual race conditions, as well as withstand thehigh SPLs and extremely high temperatures generated by the engine.

“We used DPA 4011s and DPA 4062s inside the engine and thecockpit and it worked out great,” said Hodges. “We werereally surprised how much headroom we had with the DPAs. The micshandled the sound pressure levels just fine, and we used some specialtechniques so that the wiring wouldn’t get burned up: wrapping themicrophone cords in aluminum foil and mounting them with gaffer’s tapearound the engine to make sure the aluminum foil didn’t come off.

“Once we miked the car, we had them do a test lap around thetrack to make sure the G-force on the microphones and equipment wouldbe okay,” Hodges continued. “Because of the speeds theywere reaching, we were afraid that the DVD transport functionalitymight be affected, but it wasn’t. We did two passes communicating withthe driver via headset, and we got the engine starting at 2,000 rpm andthen in 500 rpm increments, going up to the limit of the car. They alsodid some really neat stuff like ‘off throttle,’‘braking,’ ‘down-shifting’ — anything youcan imagine.”

Recording was done to a Fostex PD6 digital recorder with two FostexPD4 DAT recorders as backups.

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