Audio Mixer Steve Koubridis Implements Company’s Klover MiK Solutions to Capture Live Sports Audio
As a nearly 30-year veteran in the sports audio arena, Steve Koubridis knows a thing or two about quality, high-performance products. When he discovered the Klover MiK™ from Klover Products™, designer and manufacturer of live sports audio and video production equipment, he jumped at the opportunity to use the parabolic microphone dish. Today, he owns two 26-inch models and two nine-inch versions, to capture on-field audio from a targeted area during live broadcasts of professional football, baseball, soccer and hockey games.
For Koubridis, and many of his colleagues in the industry, the Klover MiK is the top choice for the job. “In football, with the way the game moves up and down the field in small increments, it’s perfect for capturing the field audio. The sound guys who cover professional football primarily use Klover. My colleagues in Canada were so impressed by the equipment that they insisted the local rental houses purchase multiple sets to facilitate easy access.”
The integration of Klover into professional sports is due in large part to the changing landscape of sound for broadcast, which is moving towards an immersive experience. “It used to be that we could just put a couple of overhead mics above the field to get all of the sounds,” explains Koubridis. “Now, we’re integrating microphones into the backstops in baseball and hockey, or along the sidelines in football and soccer. Technology has changed so much and the design of the Klover MiK fits perfectly with what audiences are expecting. The placement of the microphone in the set position eliminates guesswork. Depending on the frequency you’re using, you can position it to get the best sound and dynamic range.”
Available in 26-, 16- and nine-inch diameters, the Klover MiK can be outfitted with various professional, high-quality microphone capsules, such as DPA Microphones and Sennheiser, and wireless transmitters. “The Klover MiK size and type of microphone you select varies based on application,” adds Koubridis. “For football and soccer, I use both the 26-inch and nine-inch versions, with wireless Sennheiser lavalier microphones and transmitters. In baseball, there’s usually a customized box positioned behind home plate and integrated into the design of the stadium, with the microphone position at the pitcher’s mound. With these applications, you can use a hard-wired mic, if the audio lines are there.”
The patented design of the Klover MiK employs the physics of a parabolic curve to collect sound energy from a large area onto a small microphone, while simultaneously reducing noise from the arena. “The reason I use a parabolic microphone in the first place is because I want a very isolated sound,” continues Koubridis. “I want to be able to pinpoint exactly what the TV audience wants to hear, which is the audio that aligns with what they are seeing. What you get from the design of the Klover MiK is different than anything I’ve ever seen before. In fact, during one of the first times I used the equipment, I could literally hear the running back’s feet against the grass.”
The benefits of the Klover MiK can also be found in the build quality. Unlike other manufacturers, Klover Products uses carbon fiber tubes for handles and mic yokes, which allow them to crush into small pieces in the event that an athlete or athletic equipment comes barreling at the system. For added protection for the players, all protruding studs have been removed from the front of the dish.
The equipment has its benefits for the operators as well. “The way that the company has designed the dishes with the pull-and-release fasteners makes them very easy to assemble and disassemble,” says Koubridis. “What’s more, the quality of the plexiglass is very good. It’s not too thick, so it doesn’t become heavy after three hours of holding it on your neck and arms, and also feels very natural. The foam used on the handles helps to eliminate any of the rattling noise you might find with other solutions. And, since the dishes are clear, both in color and clarity, you can see exactly what you’re focused on. Other brands use bright green or orange for their products, which hinders the sightline.”
When it comes to working with the company, Koubridis says the interaction has been equally as beneficial. “The Klover team cares about its customers. The president (Paul Terpstra) is personally involved in every sale and it’s very easy to get a direct line of communication to him. When I deal with a brand, I always like to make sure there is support behind the product. Klover Products and its equipment are second to none.”
The Klover MiK is ideal for streaming and recording sports broadcasts, live events and presentations or audience-focused panels, among other things. The larger units enable live sports audio specialists to transmit audio from up to 600 feet (180 meters) away, while the small form-factor of the nine-inch model allows it to be mounted directly to a camera to offer a wind resistant, focused pickup. In addition to the trio of standard parabolic dishes, the Klover MiK is also available in custom arrays and mounts can be designed for specific applications. The customizable Klover Box™ enclosure is most commonly found integrated into the backstop at a professional baseball stadium, but can also be utilized for similar events, such as tennis, volleyball and handball.