Behind the noise at the Super Bowl half-time show


The Super Bowl half-time show is one of the biggest entertainment events in the world with millions tuning into watch, as well as tens of thousands in attendance for the spectacle. The logistics of delivering the show has to be executed with precision and the choice of audio equipment is essential.

For Super Bowl LIII, hosted by Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, ATK Audiotek was responsible for bringing the noise during the show where Maroon 5 headlined, supported by Travis Scott and Big Boi.

Knowing the tight turnaround for the half-time show to set up the stage and remove it before the third quarter could resume play – all without risk of field damage – the audio experts chose its speaker systems carefully.

VTX A12 speakers by Harman brand JBL were selected to deliver live sound reinforcement. The VTX A12’s ease of deployment played a huge role in enabling the ATK team to quickly deploy the speakers on and off the field for the highly anticipated show.

“The Super Bowl is an interesting production—everything people hear from the time they enter the venue is under our control, including the Halftime Show,” said Michael MacDonald, president of ATK Audiotek.

“We have A12s loaded on carts to roll out on the field for the half-time show, and NFL groundskeepers are very happy that the carts won’t damage the field’s playing condition thanks to the speaker’s light weight and compact design.”

Another consideration for those in attendance, particularly in seats that are in close proximity to the stage, was being able to see the action without a large speaker obscuring sightlines.

“We don’t want to block fans’ field of vision. We achieve less obtrusive sight lines with the A12s so that the speaker stacks don’t interfere with views from the lower bowl seats,” said MacDonald.

For ATK, the half-time show went without any hiccups and it was able to deliver military-like coordination as a result of audio equipment choice.

“The VTX A12 is the best speaker JBL has ever made, and it plays a significant role in our current inventory,” said MacDonald.

“Two of the most important aspects of a speaker’s performance are coverage and a flat response. The A12 is consistently excellent in both of these areas. We’ve added 192 A12 speakers to our inventory since the 2018 Grammy Awards, and they’ve been warmly welcomed by our engineers and technical staff.”

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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at print and digital magazines and websites around the world covering everything from lifestyle to sport, technology, motoring, and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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