Recording car sounds entails a lot more than just engines and exhausts – there are many more moving parts involved in creating the symphony of harmonics, squeaks, knocks, and wind noise that your ears hear when a car drives past. Once you’ve decided the best way to capture all of these sounds you also need equipment that can stand up to the rigorous conditions in and around a car when it is driving at speed, like heat, knocks, turbulence and vibration.
The sound designers at Codemasters chose a kit bag of DPA Microphones to accomplish this for their return to the racing game arena, Grid: Autosport, released in June 2014. They used DPA’s d:dicate™ 4011ER, 4018ER and 4007A condenser mics along with d:screet 4062 miniature mics placed in and around the body of the actual cars to get a true representation of how it sounds to both the driver, and from external viewpoints.
We’ve made a bit of a gallery which may turn out to be a veritable goldmine of mic placement options for capturing car audio. Check out the link at the bottom of the article.
The mics they used to record the racing cars
A selection of DPA Microphones were used to capture each car’s sound. These included d:dicate™ 4011ER – a cardioid capsule mounted on a cable preamp for the smallest footprint and excellent SPL handling, with the 4018 capsule providing a super-cardioid polar pattern when needed. The d:dicate™ 4007A Omni features an incredibly low noise floor and it handles very high SPL (155dB peak) before clipping, with an incredible frequency response of 20 Hz to 40 kHz (±2 dB), so this is perfect for recording noisy drive-by’s and stationary engine sounds or sounds from within the cockpit.
The d:screet SC4062 miniature mics are low sensitivity to handle higher sound pressure levels and their kevlar reinforced cables aid in the mics durability for this type of recording situation. The tiny omni capsules are world-renowned for their crystal clear capture of the sound source, while their size allows for creative placement in and around the body of the car.
According to a review of Grid: Autosport on driving.co.uk,
Codemasters has much more accurately reproduced real engine noises, right down to the pop and crackle of exhaust over-run. Up to 16 microphones were attached to the real cars in order to record the sounds, with specialist equipment being used to avoid the mics near the exhaust melting. Read the full review here.
Codemasters were also kind enough to include DPA Microphones and Sound Network in the Grid: Autosport game as decals to apply to your favourite car. Check out the pics below and scroll down for the official Grid: Autosport trailer video – see if you can spot the Sound Network logo around the 01:08 mark!
Check out the full Codemasters Recording Cars gallery here →