PMC Goes To The Oscars To Ensure Superlative Sound

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

PMC Goes To The Oscars To Ensure Superlative Sound

As the world tuned in to Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre on Sunday night for the 89th annual Academy Awards - otherwise known as the Oscars® - the show’s musicians were warming up in the orchestra pit ready to perform a selection of themes from the winning films.

Orchestral rehearsals and the pre-recording of musical cues had already taken place at the world-famous Capitol Studios, just a few blocks from the Dolby Theatre. On the night, award-winning mix engineer Tommy Vicari and Capitol’s own chief engineer Steve Genewick were responsible for mixing the sound that, along with the orchestral performances, also featured live performances from artists such as Sting, John Legend, Justin Timberlake and Lin Manual Miranda with Auli'i Cravalho.

Vicari and his team mixed the sound using Capitol Studio’s own PMC QB1-A and twotwo8 speakers, while PMC AML2 speakers – chosen for their ability to replicate the dispersion, balance and resolution of the big monitor system but in a more compact package – were used as reference monitors on board a broadcast OB truck, which was parked outside the Dolby Theatre.

Renowned for his film mixing work on a huge range of Hollywood movies - from The Help and Wall-E to Finding Nemo and Iron Man 2 – and the winner of numerous Primetime Emmy and Grammy awards, Vicari has been taking care of sound for the Oscars for nearly two decades. He has also been using PMC speakers for many years and happily acknowledges how much he loves them.

“My movie mixing set-up is an array of PMC MB2 XBDs with Active amps,” he says. “With PMC, there are no surprises - whatever I mix on them always comes out ready for the soundstage.”

This year, PMC was also the monitoring system of choice for two other Oscar participants – composers Nicholas Brittel and Thomas Newman who were both nominated for Best Score (eventually won by Justin Hurwitz for La La Land). Brittel used a PMC twotwo.6 set up with a Sub2 on his score for Moonlight, while Newman used IB2 monitors on his score for Passengers. Both films were also mixed on PMC by Tommy Vicari.

“I adore my PMCs – I use them for everything,” says Nick Brittel. “The music for Moonlight was mixed entirely on those beautiful PMCs.” 

For the Academy Awards ceremony, the musical cues are always pre-recorded as a safety measure in case anything goes wrong technically during the show. This year, the music was flawless and caused no problems for the sound team or the show organisers. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the winner’s envelopes – but that’s another story!