PBS’s Soundstage, which began airing in 1974, is jointly produced by WTTW-TV, the Chicago-based affiliate of PBS, and HD Ready, a St. Charles, Ill. — based company specializing in bringing music to television in high def with Dolby surround audio. “We never shoot in anything other than high definition, and we always go after the highest-quality audio,” said 25-year vet Frank Pappalardo (pictured), chief audio engineer of HD Roadie, HD Ready’s traveling arm. “This is our third regular season with Soundstage, doing 13 shows per year, plus we’ve done special events associated with the program, including a Fleetwood Mac concert and Farm Aid.
For a recent taping with Robert Plant, Pappalardo created a stage blueprint including the SM58 at lead vocals and an assortment of other Shure mics (KSM32, SM81s, VP88, SM89 and SM98A). “I’ve done over 44 TV shows in 5.1, and haven’t mixed anything that isn’t live in over three years,” Pappalardo said. “Live and in 5.1, you deal with myriad problems — extraneous noise and bleed being two of the most potentially vexing. That’s another reason Shure mics are so important to me because their rejection is so great. I don’t want the drummer in the lead vocalist’s mic, nor do I want all of the coughs in the audience in that channel.”