Even the best sound engineers in the world can't be trusted - apparently

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Record-Producer.com.

Monday March 17, 2014
FREE EBOOK DOWNLOAD ►

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are known for being an amazing live band. They always play live and refuse to mime for TV performances. The last time they were asked to mime, for the BBC's Top of the Pops in the late 1980s, they mimed so badly in rehearsal they were thrown off the show.

So why would they mime for the Super Bowl? Well, bass player Flea gives an excellent explanation here...

Given that this is a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play at one of the world's most prestigious sporting events, I fully accept Flea's explanation that it was the right thing for them to do. The singing was live by the way, so that is at least a crumb of comfort.

Sound engineers can't be trusted

The reason for why they were not allowed to play live by the NFL is something that I find truly shocking. According to Flea, "The NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period."

Since the Super Bowl is such a prestigious event, it is fair to assume that they could have had access to the best live sound engineers in the world. And apparently even the best live sound engineers in the world can't be trusted not to botch the job!

I for one don't believe this for a moment. Granted, things do go wrong with sound. Things can go wrong with anything. The NFL trusted the architects and engineers who designed the stadium that it wouldn't fall down during the game. They trusted the security company that the crowd would be handled safely. They trusted the grounds crew to prepare the field properly. They trusted the lighting technicians to illuminate the game. They trusted broadcasters (including their sound engineers and technicians) to beam the game to the world.

Anything could have gone wrong with anything during the game, but the only people they didn't trust to get things right were the live sound engineers. Apparently all they could be trusted to handle were the live vocal mics and playback of the backing track.

Anyone who cares about sound should be absolutely horrified at what has happened here. I am. I just wish there was something I could do about it.

Like, follow, and comment on this article at Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram or the social network of your choice.

Come on the Audio Masterclass Pro Home Studio MiniCourse - 60 great hints and tips to get your home recording studio MOVING

It's FREE!

Get It Now >>

An interesting microphone setup for violinist Nigel Kennedy

Are you compressing too much? Here's how to tell...

If setting the gain correctly is so important, why don't mic preamplifiers have meters?

The Internet goes analogue!

How to choose an audio interface

Audio left-right test. Does it matter?

Electric guitar - compress before the amp, or after?

What is comb filtering? What does it sound like?

NEW: Audio crossfades come to Final Cut Pro X 10.4.9!

What is the difference between EQ and filters? *With Audio*

What difference will a preamp make to your recording?

Watch our video on linear phase filters and frequency response with the FabFilter Pro Q 2

Read our post on linear phase filters and frequency response with the Fabfilter Pro Q 2

Harmonic distortion with the Soundtoys Decapitator

What's the best height for studio monitors? Answer - Not too low!

What is the Red Book standard? Do I need to use it? Why?

Will floating point change the way we record?

Mixing: What is the 'Pedalboard Exception'?

The difference between mic level and line level

The problem with parallel compression that you didn't know you had. What it sounds like and how to fix it.

Compressing a snare drum to even out the level

What does parallel compression on vocals sound like?

How to automate tracks that have parallel compression

Why mono is better than stereo for recording vocals and dialogue