PMC speakers, distributed in the USA by Prism Media Products Inc, provided critical reference monitoring facilities for broadcast and film mixing engineer Tommy Vicari at two key stages during the 84th ©Academy Awards® — the ©Oscars® to most of us — at the end of February.
Vicari, who has worked on a huge range of Hollywood movies from The Help to Finding Nemo, used a pair of MB2 XBD speakers supplied by Prism Media Products Inc during rehearsals and pre-recording sessions at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, in the days running up to the awards ceremony. On the night itself, the broadcast truck for the event used PMC’s compact full-range AML2s to monitor all of the live and pre-recorded musical cues and themes created by this year’s Musical Director, composer Hans Zimmer.
The broadcast mix from the truck was also overseen by Tommy Vicari, for whom it was the 13th year mixing the music for the Oscars, but his first using PMCs. “I’ve been a PMC user for 11 years,” he comments, “and can’t say enough about how I love them. There are no surprises — whatever I mix on the PMCs comes out ready for the soundstage. This year, Hans Zimmer was trying something novel and ambitious with the music, so I wanted to reproduce my movie mixing rig for the pre-recording sessions to help make him feel more comfortable. And for the last three years, my movie mixing setup has been an array of PMC MB2 XBDs with Bryston amps. Maurice Patist, of Prism Media Products Inc, brought down a duplicate set to Capitol and tuned them personally, with really great results.
“The musical cues for the Oscars are always pre-recorded as a safety measure before the show; they need recordings as backup in case anything should go wrong technically on the night. For the past few years, the pre-recording sessions have also served as a practice session for the musicians to get to know the music. This year, there was all kinds: rock, orchestral, world, hip-hop… we went through over a hundred cues in two days. The speakers sounded great, and as I’d hoped, Hans really loved them.”
For the live broadcast, Vicari felt that the MB2 XBDs were too large for Remote Recording Services’ broadcast truck. However, Maurice Patist had a further card up his sleeve — the smaller AML2s, which are designed to provide the same dispersion, balance and resolution in a more compact package. “I’d not used these before, but Maurice suggested I try them, and I was really impressed, as was everyone else in the truck. Despite their size, they were really powerful in the bass range — I didn’t need a subwoofer. They also stayed very clean-sounding, with a crisp and clear top end.”
Vicari looks forward to auditioning the AML2s in his own studio. For now, he is delighted with how the live broadcast went. “We always try to give the audience at the Oscars an elegant experience. This year, what can I say? I worked with some very talented people… and the speakers sounded great!”