Lawrence “LJ” Cirillo takes broadcast golf audio to the next level with the Audio-Technica BP28L line + Gradient large-diaphragm condenser microphones

A strange thing has happened to golf on television in the past two years. Golf broadcasts typically had a lot of background noise, as the sport brought viewers closer to the action at every hole, creating mini “stadiums” for viewers. But then Covid arrived and banished those crowds, leaving golf a blank virtual audio canvas for its natural sound effects, such as birds and crickets, but also paving the way for listening to the strategic conversations between golfers and caddies on difficult greens. But this opportunity required unique tools, namely a better shotgun microphone, to capture all the new sound. Enter the new Audio-Technica BP28L Line + Gradient Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone, a solution chosen by a growing number of broadcast audio professionals, and the new long-distance audio capture tool for Lawrence “LJ” Cirillo, a veteran golf broadcast mixer.

Cirillo, who has worked on golf broadcasts for most of his 35-year career in television sound, first encountered the BP28L shotgun mics at a golf event in Japan during the pandemic. In fact, the supply chain disruptions of this same pandemic are what brought Cirillo and the BP28L microphones together in the first place. His previous shotgun mics he had relied on for years were unavailable. Instead, he contacted Audio-Technica, who were able to source their new BP28L product. He and his team had to make some minor tweaks, such as modifying the windshields, to reduce the overall microphone footprint for use as “landing” mics on the greens and dual monos on the tee boxes ( two techniques he developed himself), but from his first moments on the course, he knew he had discovered his new golf gun. “I was floored!” said Cirillo “I kept pushing the fader and more of the sound I wanted kept coming through. Off-axis sounds were quiet but natural. This is because the BP28L, in my opinion, has a lower noise floor than any shotgun microphone on the market today, allowing the audio mixer to increase gain with minimal noise. own.

Cirillo has been a fan of A-T transducers for years. “I use Audio-Technica’s AT4050ST stereo mics with an internal setting of 127 degrees,” he notes. “They help create the richest, smoothest sound and can handle the threshold of a Ryder Cup roar, which is golf’s biggest sonic explosion.” Cirillo has been using Audio-Technica side-addressed pickups for years, but only added their shotguns to his arsenal this year. “The BP28L at the Ryder Cup worked very well in tandem with the AT4050ST. The shotgun directionality gave the rovers superior control during this emotionally charged event, while the AT4050ST blended well to create a powerful and precise sound.

Cirillo continued to adopt the BP28L and chose to use it on other top golfing events including the Ryder Cup, Hero Challenge, PNC Championship and The Opens. “The Ryder Cup offers the most expansive landscape, as there are literally 18 mini-stadiums,” he says. Two of the BP28Ls are used as landing pickups, picking up the plop of the ball as it hits the green, a role they will play in his kit in the future, he says. “You often have to combine processing and microphone options to get what you need,” he says. “That’s why I was so happy to get my hands on these BL28L shotguns. They allow me to bypass wind noise and the ‘Ryder Cup roar’ like other shotguns can’t. »

At the Hero Challenge in the Bahamas, the course’s limited gallery and rich natural sound provided a real canvas for the BP28L. “I can push the faders to capture more clubheads and ball strikes because it’s a more pristine environment,” Cirillo says. “The BP28L did not disappoint, giving me a full tone for every hit.” A particular accomplishment of Cirillo’s work using the BP28L was capturing father-son duo Tiger Woods and Charlie Axel Woods at the December 2021 PNC Championship in Orlando, where Cirillo’s A2 field had the pair following the BP28L all the way. match. “Our rover could keep a good distance so as not to distract from the dialogue between the father-son couple while capturing a lot of detail,” he explains. “And it definitely is!”

But the 2022 US Open may have been the ultimate test, with fans returning all along the course and ready to cheer golfers on again. “It was the Men’s Open where I wanted them the most,” Cirillo said. “I knew the pickups had passed the Ryder Cup test, but in all honesty, with a partial crowd and didn’t quite have the noise level that a US Open crowd has. And they did. Passed every test, and even with fans screaming to the end and crowd roars at immense volume, the mic never flinched or came close to distortion of any kind. Despite the planes and generators and other loud noises, we still picked up conversations between caddies and golfers, even the sounds of putts.That was the biggest test, and the mic passed with flying colors.

The Audio-Technica BP28 14-inch (355.6mm) and BP28L 22.4-inch (569mm) Line + Gradient Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones combine a large-diaphragm condenser element with a 28-millimeter shotgun design in diameter for low noise performance. With tight polar patterns and a patented acoustic port design that maintains directivity across the entire frequency range, these shotgun microphones are specially designed to meet the needs of broadcast, film, television, location recording and theatre. Particularly suited to long-distance miking for audio acquisition for cinema or professional broadcast, the BP28 and BP28L offer a highly directional pick-up pattern, with the BP28L pattern being exceptionally narrow. They provide a flat frequency response and low noise levels (BP28: 8dB; BP28L: 3dB) – transformer-coupled outputs that produce a smooth sonic character. Extremely high sensitivity (BP28: -28 dBV; BP28L: -23 dBV), wide dynamic range (135 dB) and high SPL capability (BP28: 143 dB; BP28L: 138 dB), and they are equipped with a switchable 80 Filter Hz high pass and 10 dB pad. Both. The rugged housing of the mics is made of lightweight structural grade aluminum alloy.

Michael C. Ford