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TX stadium implosion
Old 11th April 2010
Gear Addict

TX stadium implosion

Woke up at a ridiculously early hour this morning to go and record the Texas Stadium implosion in Irving, and here's the result.

Security was pretty tight, and the crowds were out in full force, so the biggest challenge was finding a recording location that wouldn't be overrun with crowds cheering and horns blaring during the event. With 20,000 people attending the thing, this turned out to be a pretty difficult ordeal.

I packed light because my idea was to find the most difficult path into the place and take that one - as a deterrent to crowds. I had three bags with the following gear:
Sound Devices 744t (96kHz 24 bit, limiter on),
A sure KSM32 (pad off, hpf off),
An MKH-60 in the blimp (10db pad in, hpf off), ,
Sony MDRV700 DJ cans (above average isolation and low freq response),
my trusty Sony PCM-D50 (mics in XY config, 96kHz 24 bit, limiter in, hpf off).
Also all appropriate cables and shockmounts, as well as 3 desk stands.

I had initially dove through a forest on the west side of the building and staked out a place in a deserted construction area. I was still well out of the blast zone marked by the walls they had installed, but I knew that the authorities wanted to keep people together so that they could better control the crowds. Implosion was set for 7AM sharp, and I was in position and setup at around 6.

At about 6:40 the sun had risen enough for the police to spot me and ask me to move back to where the crowds were. Damn.

I hustled and grabbed all of the gear, sprinted up the way and reset as quickly as possible. I managed to find a spot behind a road still being built that had a terrible view - which was perfect for me because no one was trying to stand around me. I got the KSM32 and the PCM-D50 up on the wall and decided to hand-hold the MKH-60 in order to get its perspective up high enough. Unbeknownst to me, during the move I bumped a switch on my PCM-D50 that moved the input from the internal mics to the line in - which meant that I ended up recording nothing on that device.

There was a big fireworks show right at 7, then a firework truck near me started firing up works that were without question a countdown. After the 10th countdown firework the implosion was set off.

From what I gathered in news footage later on, the technique they used was to fire off TNT around all of the columns consecutively. From my perspective they fired the distant ones first, then they looped around to me. This gave the effect of hearing what at first sounded like gigantic thundering drums - which was very cool.

The concussions were incredible! My wife was asleep in bed 7 miles away and was shaken awake by the blast. She said I should have used my contact mics at home attached to our windows.

The crowd around me was pretty mellow, so aside from the unfortunate PCM-D50 thing I was very pleased with what I was able to capture.

Back in the studio I was a little disappointed with how the MKH-70 fared. It just really couldn't keep up with that much air moving. Izotope declicker worked wonders for the recording from that mic. I decided to treat the recording like a kick drum or other highly transient sound, so I squashed the hell out of this mic's recording and blended it in with the unaltered KSM32 track.

The KSM32 did very well in fact, and really caught the booming incredibly well. Its recording is basically unaltered.

For mastering I scooped some of the midrange out and just touched everything with a little bit of L1.

Here's the end result.

Keep in mind that:
-the mp3 presented here is not remotely as cool sounding as the 24bit 96k wav file
-the 24bit 96k wav file is not remotely as cool sounding as the actual event was

Was fun. Would do it again. heh
Attached Thumbnails
TX stadium implosion-img_0753.jpg  
Attached Files

TxStadium-implosion.mp3 (1.38 MB, 730 views)

Old 11th April 2010
Lives for gear
santacore's Avatar
Fun stuff! Thanks for sharing.

Now how are those torch recordings going?
Old 12th April 2010
Gear Addict

haven't had a moment to deal with them. Probably next weekend.
Old 12th April 2010
Lives for gear
minister's Avatar
Originally Posted by renec View Post
With 20,000 people attending the thing, this turned out to be a pretty difficult ordeal.
If you ask nice, they might do it again.
Old 12th April 2010
Lives for gear
piotr's Avatar

very cool!
thanks for sharing!
Old 12th April 2010
Gear Maniac

Awesome! I love how for the first 12 seconds or so it could be a taiko drum ensemble, and then it loses its rhythm and turns into explosions...


Sonny Keyes
Ricochet Audio
Old 12th April 2010
Gear Nut
Haydn's Avatar

Thanks for sharing that, its really cool how it sounds like drums with a delay at the beginning

I admire your dedication, avoiding the crowds was worth it for the great recording you got
Old 12th April 2010
Gear Nut
Haydn's Avatar

Originally Posted by renec View Post
-the 24bit 96k wav file is not remotely as cool sounding as the actual event was
I totally understand!
I have done loads of recordings of military aircraft (with MKH mics & an SD recorder) but listening to a recording is an entirely different exerience to hearing it first hand.

I guess my speakers aren't as powerful as jet engines or TNT
Old 13th April 2010
Gear Guru
charles maynes's Avatar

very cool.... that must have been some sight to see
Old 13th April 2010
Lives for gear
Jfriah's Avatar

Hahahaha, how did I know one of the geekz from sl*tz would have recorded that? Awesome... Implosions don't come along very often. Way to go.

Old 13th April 2010
Gear Addict

man, I feel like I'm the only one that got good audio. 10,000 cameras, and 10,000 blown out mic preamps.

and me. heh

BTW, Here's a synced up and slowed down vers. Pretty cool IMO
Old 19th April 2010
Here for the gear

great post! - interesting how the explosions mask the collapsing of the stadium
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