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How Olympic audio engineers create a hyperreal sound experience

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The sounds that greet viewers of Olympic events are mixed together by highly-creative sound engineers who shape the experience according to their own vision.

National Gallery_1020
National Gallery_1020

As the 2012 Olympic Games approach and London goes into tourist lockdown, The Atlantic has a salient reminder for anyone planning to watch the event on television. According to Olympic audio engineer Dennis Baxter, the sounds that will greet viewers across the world when they tune into the games will be far removed from the "real thing" — technicians will use strategically-placed microphones to pick up a variety of different streams, mixing them together into a hyperreal cocktail that no real observer could ever experience. Speaking to the BBC last year, Baxter described how he once added a mic to an Olympic archery setup in order to capture the sorts of "whooshing" sounds that he was used to from Robin Hood movies. He's even gone so far as to mix in completely fake sounds — at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Baxter and his team recorded their own rowing sound effects then dubbed them in over the real thing. "If we want hyperreality as an end," asks The Atlantic, "can we really quibble about the means?"

Thanks, kevr1990!