Music mixer Tommy Vicari in Remote Recording’s Silver truck, holding Lexicon’s 960L multichannel digital effects system LARC2 remote control.
The 80th annual Academy Awards show was broadcast on ABC from Los Angeles’ Kodak Theater on Sunday, February 24. Music mixer Tommy Vicari (pictured) worked in Remote Recording’s Silver truck, which handled more than 100 inputs from more than 70 instrumentalists and vocalists in the pit at the Kodak Theater. Remote Recording has worked on the Academy Awards’ music mix for 15 years.
Vicari created a 2.1 mix of the orchestra and choir, which was sent from the Silver truck to the main broadcast truck, where Vicari’s mix was added to other audio elements and configured into a 5.1 surround mix for broadcast. In addition to these live music elements, Vicari also provided numerous pre-recorded play-ons, play-offs and commercial bumpers that he had recorded at Capitol Records Studios in Hollywood.
Vicari states that each of these audio sources was enhanced with the processing power of the Lexicon 960L multichannel digital effects system. “I use the 960L on virtually everything,” he says, adding that he spent significant time editing and customizing the 960L’s many preset sounds. “I used the ‘Taj Mahal’ setting on the choir. I shortened it and made the space a bit smaller. I also set the Predelay based on the tempo of the song—that’s a technique that really lets you use as much reverb as you want, without creating tempo echoes that could muddy the image.” Vicari adds that the 960L’s reverbs are especially spectacular on pad-type sounds, such as strings, woodwinds and synthesizers. “The 960L’s rooms give you a lot of possibilities to create distance and dimension on thick sounds like that.” Because the 960L is an 8-channel processor, Vicari was able to use four discrete stereo programs simultaneously for the show.
“I’ve learned over the years that you need to add a bit more reverb to a broadcast mix in order to still be able to hear the reverb by the time it reaches the home television set,” Vicari says. “The 960L gives you very accurate control over the sound, so I’m able to be especially precise in how I apply it for broadcast.”
David Hewitt, president of Remote Recording, also likes the 960L’s sound and reliability. “The 960L is an amazing machine,” he says. “We’ve had the 960L on the Silver Truck for about a year, but we’ve always been a Lexicon facility,” mentioning that his company’s Silver and White trucks incorporate the Lexicon 480L, 224XL and other Lexicon processors and reverbs. “The signal path for the Academy Awards’ sound is extremely high-end—Studer and Neve consoles and Millennia preamps—so only a Lexicon can keep the processing at that level.”