DPA delivers the sound of Formula 1

The sound of Formula 1

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The sound of a Formula 1 race car is unique and it's a major challenge to deliver an accurate audio experience to TV viewers. This is complicated by the fact that the engines are in continuous development. To combat these challenges, Formula 1 has collaborated with DPA Microphones, using DPA's miniature microphones to mic up the engines. These tiny mics are durable and reliable. They perform consistently in the harsh environment of a race track, while delivering the most realistic sound. This short video shows why Formula 1 has chosen to collaborate with DPA Microphones.
The organization behind Formula 1 spends a lot of time and resources on giving viewers the best experience while watching the sport – both live and on TV. A big part of this experience is the audio.
Video transcript: Sound is a big part of the Formula 1 experience and it's a major challenge to give the best audio experience to TV viewers. To achieve the best possible sound, Formula 1 has collaborated with a mic company that can give the truest sound reproduction possible. The company is Danish.
DPA Microphones CFO, Kalle Hvidt Nielsen: "We deliver microphones for a wide variety of uses. If you see a musical, our mics are mounted on the forehead of many of the actors – with sweat and tears and makeup and stage lights. Temperature, humidity, wind – our mics are very good at handling these conditions."

For several years, DPA has delivered mics to the music, film and theatre world. Sohe challenges met with Formula 1 are not very different from those they already know.

"The women behind me (in video), when they make a microphone, they don't know if it's going to end up on Tom Cruise's chest or Lars Ulrich's drums or in a Formula 1 race car. They do the same work on each mic. The same care goes into each and every microphone."
The sound of Formula 1 is in continuous development. This is especially due to the many regulations in the sport and the development of the motors, which are being updated constantly.

You might remember when Formula 1 cars sounded like this (high-pitched buzzing). This high-frequency sound was an indispensable part of the Sunday race experience. However, in recent years, there has been a lot of critique for the regulations that have changed Formula 1 cars and the sound experience surrounding them.

Last year, microphones were tested at the United States Grand Prix. Force India's Sergio Pérez's car was the guinea pig. During the second training, his car sounded like a radio-controlled car unleashed in a tin can. After a few adjustments, the right sound was captured during Friday's training in Abu Dhabi.

"Because of the constant development of the cars, Formula 1 frequently needs to look at how they can optimize the sound. They contacted us [DPA] and asked if we could help them. And of course, we wanted to help them. They are a major customer for us and an exciting customer too. We sent one of our specialists to visit them and test our mics on some cars and to figure out what the possibilities were. They chose the solution that they thought was best."

One thing is the sound you get when you watch Formula 1 live from the stands. However, to give TV viewers a reasonable approximation of the massive sound levels, specialists need to follow the development of the cars. That is one reasons why Formula 1 has collaborated with DPA Microphones.

"I don't know what the others do; I only know how good the women here are at making fantastic, uniform microphones that can capture the same sound over and over again. That is what is important for major productions – whether they are Hollywood production or theatre production on West End or a Formula 1 race."

Funnily enough, it is microphones like this one here (seen in video on speakers headset) – a completely normal microphone. It's not very big and is actually the same as the one I have right here on my cheek. It is the exactly this same type of microphone capsule that gives you the sound from Formula 1 cars at home in your living room.


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