Why is the sound mixing always so bad during the Super Bowl halftime show?

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You would think it’d be easy to make the singer’s voice louder than everything else. However, every year without fail the singer is always muddied behind the music and crowd.

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It’s not always this bad. I’d WAG, bad acoustics in a wide open area combined with mixing on the fly, loudspeakers that really aren’t designed for concerts (sending a lot of the audio back down to the field that they need to make sure the mics don’t pick back up?) and everything being so rushed that maybe they don’t have time to do a proper sound check.

As someone that knows nothing about concert audio, I’ll agree though, a lot of times, tonight specifically, it seems like they just need to bump up the level of his microphone, at least for the part of the audio that gets broadcast.

Live sound music shows that includes crowds in the overall mix is challenging and inherently sloppy.

Large venues and coordinating a lot of live and pre-recorded tracks is gonna have some slop compared to better ventures with controlled acoustics, etc.

Seems like one guy in the comments really wants everyone to believe that ALL halftime shows are recorded. Doing a simple fact-checking shows that some are pre-recorded and some are done live. In last year’s show, you could hear Shakira and J Lo starting to get winded. If the show was pre-recorded all the audio technicians would have to do is boost the track over the broadcast. However, a live performance includes so many more variables that it’s hard to get the mix just right.

Concerts are the acoustic opposite of a recorded taping. We want to hear it live but honestly unless you are live, you don’t.

Live concerts are tuned to the human ear. They are loud and bassy and overwhelming and assume.the brain will mix the lyrics in real time.

Recordings are fine tuned to microphones pointed at their source with electronics to figure it out. They are carefully dissecting and then back together.

One is a tossed salad and the other is sushi and sashimi. Everything else is in between.

What we hear on the broadcast isn’t exactly how it is heard in the stadium. My wife said I complained about the audio last year…this year I felt the next being broadcast was heavy on the music/instrumental and it was over powering and washing out the lyrics. Don’t know what it sounded like at the stadium though just know what the broadcast sounded like.

Mixing for the crowd and mixing for broadcast are two different actions. I’ve been on TV performing hundreds of times. What you are hearing on TV is totally different than what the crowd is hearing. The mix just doesn’t translate well to broadcast.