Crappy Helmet communication

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VT5700
VT5700
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Crappy Helmet communication

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hello, new here! I have always been curious why F1 communication sounds so crappy ? Even Mercedes sounds bogus, although I hear a difference since last year or so ? Hamilton sounds better than before, but still, there is so much background noise and that applies to the pitcrew as well now and then, depending on who is talking.

I wonder how important this is to the team ? As I have good knowledge of sound-egineering I wonder, why can't this seem to get better than how it is?

Jolle
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Re: Crappy Helmet communication

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They have their mics in the baclava and not in the helmets. And the cockpits are incredible noisy. If you compare it to motorcycles for instance, speeds are double where you communicate at with a lot more turbulence.

If you would drive them without earplugs, you’ll get tinnitus within a few races.

For the speeds, the helmet noise and the physical stress the drivers are under, I think they are doing a good job.

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strad
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Re: Crappy Helmet communication

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SKY can't seem to balance any of their sound inputs. I do like that sometimes they now show a print out of what the drivers say. Too bad they don't do it every time or learn to run a mixing board.
To achieve anything, you must be prepared to dabble on the boundary of disaster.”
Sir Stirling Moss

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El Scorchio
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Re: Crappy Helmet communication

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strad wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 7:19 pm
SKY can't seem to balance any of their sound inputs. I do like that sometimes they now show a print out of what the drivers say. Too bad they don't do it every time or learn to run a mixing board.
I’d imagine it’s the F1 producers on the world feed responsible for that rather than Sky, so they probably don’t have much control over levels. If it was Sky doing it then I think they’d time it better so they’d never have to interrupt themselves or stop in the middle of a sentence for a radio message.

I could be wrong trough

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strad
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Re: Crappy Helmet communication

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Of course FOM controls the what SKY receives for use but SKY should have a sound engineer at a master mix board where he can adjust the volume of every input from ambient track noise to mics in pit lane to the announcers, all of it.
We didn't have so much problem with the U.S. based transmission.
The only thing I see better about SKY is that they have no commercial breaks and I really laud them for that.
I spent ages wishing for Martins grid walk that I heard so much about only to be totally disappointed along with great disappointment over the announcers. I don't tune in to be screamed at without any good cause or to hear what they ate for breakfast, or personal inside jokes.
As for them talking over the car to pit transmission, there is a tone warning them but they don't shut up.
To achieve anything, you must be prepared to dabble on the boundary of disaster.”
Sir Stirling Moss

VT5700
VT5700
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Re: Helmet communication

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I have driven 270km with not much noise in my helmet microphone system, and have a recording at 220km/h already made 20 years ago with much much better sound than F1. And it was made in the turbulence so, that isnt really much slower than F1, the F1 drivers sometimes I hear them driving slower and it still sounds soso..

Do you maybe know why they have it in the Balaclava ? Is there any known reason for it ?
Last edited by VT5700 on Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Radley
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Re: Crappy Helmet communication

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Strad's right. Sky receives "stems" from FOM and then decides what to do with them. They could easliy have the in-car pop up in left or right channels only.

-the teams do have the bandwidth to have clear audio, the hardware they use isn't up to snuff.
-most of the teams and FOM use Riedel digital intercoms on a fibre network.
-this weekend especially Sky's audio has sucked big ones. There's been hardly any audio on the Left or Right channels and the surround channels are totally off.
-gearheads like me & Strad like the ear splitting sounds of race car engines. The only time we get that with Sky is when Martin Brundle walks the course during FP2, but even then, his mic is only mono.

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gary123
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Re: Helmet communication

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VT5700 wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:22 pm
I have driven 270km with not much noise in my helmet microphone system, and have a recording at 220km/h already made 20 years ago with much much better sound than F1. And it was made in the turbulence so, that isnt really much slower than F1, the F1 drivers sometimes I hear them driving slower and it still sounds soso..

Do you maybe know why they have it in the Balaclava ? Is there any known reason for it ?
The reason is that sometimes the microphone integrated to the chin of the helmet might stop working and the drivers needs a new helmet but with the same visor configuration and so on. So its harder to switch a helmet compared to the balaclava. Also there is much more noise since it is closer to the ventilation holes for the face/chin. The one in the balaclava instead offers a clearer sound from the driver since its pretty much attached to the mouth of the driver. Hamilton from 2019 uses the microphone inside the balaclava, and the sound has improved compared to 2017/18. Kimi uses the one integrated into the helmet to make a comparison.
https://www.fia.com/sites/default/files ... rm_v08.pdf Here you can se how Bell integrates the microphone inside the helmet.

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subcritical71
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Re: Crappy Helmet communication

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strad wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:52 pm
We didn't have so much problem with the U.S. based transmission.
The only thing I see better about SKY is that they have no commercial breaks and I really laud them for that.
I spent ages wishing for Martins grid walk that I heard so much about only to be totally disappointed along with great disappointment over the announcers. I don't tune in to be screamed at without any good cause or to hear what they ate for breakfast, or personal inside jokes.
As for them talking over the car to pit transmission, there is a tone warning them but they don't shut up.
Agree with you 1000% here. They can’t shut up for driver radio calls, but they are 5 seconds ahead of any FIA communications that show up on screen. Ahead on one, behind on the other.

Diesel
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Re: Crappy Helmet communication

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strad wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:52 pm
The only thing I see better about SKY is that they have no commercial breaks and I really laud them for that.
But they do though? Maybe not during the race, but they have breaks during the pre-race & post-race shows. Pay a small fortune to watch F1 and still have adbreaks, no thanks!
"Unbelievable how silly this Formula 1 is these days, with this stupid overtakes."
—Sebastian Vettel, 2012 US GP

VT5700
VT5700
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Re: Helmet communication

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gary123 wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:18 am
VT5700 wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:22 pm
I have driven 270km with not much noise in my helmet microphone system, and have a recording at 220km/h already made 20 years ago with much much better sound than F1. And it was made in the turbulence so, that isnt really much slower than F1, the F1 drivers sometimes I hear them driving slower and it still sounds soso..

Do you maybe know why they have it in the Balaclava ? Is there any known reason for it ?
The reason is that sometimes the microphone integrated to the chin of the helmet might stop working and the drivers needs a new helmet but with the same visor configuration and so on. So its harder to switch a helmet compared to the balaclava. Also there is much more noise since it is closer to the ventilation holes for the face/chin. The one in the balaclava instead offers a clearer sound from the driver since its pretty much attached to the mouth of the driver. Hamilton from 2019 uses the microphone inside the balaclava, and the sound has improved compared to 2017/18. Kimi uses the one integrated into the helmet to make a comparison.
https://www.fia.com/sites/default/files ... rm_v08.pdf Here you can se how Bell integrates the microphone inside the helmet.
They should hire me instead of Bose / Kenwood / Motorola because they all suck.

I can do 1000x better over analog than what they perform digital. I didnt test in an F1 car but in 2001 I developed a system for my CBR1000 performing >60dB SNR at 200kmh in the turbulence of a windshield.

I have tried to contact a few teams before, also tried to reach red Bull but they don't respond.

Maybe they get the communication equipment for free ? Anyway, I can do much better.

FittingMechanics
FittingMechanics
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Re: Helmet communication

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VT5700 wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:05 pm
They should hire me instead of Bose / Kenwood / Motorola because they all suck.

I can do 1000x better over analog than what they perform digital. I didnt test in an F1 car but in 2001 I developed a system for my CBR1000 performing >60dB SNR at 200kmh in the turbulence of a windshield.

I have tried to contact a few teams before, also tried to reach red Bull but they don't respond.

Maybe they get the communication equipment for free ? Anyway, I can do much better.
Recording is one thing, transmitting it in real time in that quality is another. Perhaps go to Bose and work with them.

jimh
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Re: Crappy Helmet communication

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One of the less understood parts of "Team Radio" in most motorsport broadcasts is that it very often ISN'T actually the radio communication that you're hearing. In F1, Formula E and BTCC (driver interviews) the driver comms is simply a mic feed into one of the onboard TV audio channels then being picked up eg in F1 by FOM. They get access to all the audio from the driver mic, not just the radio. The pit comms are a direct feed from the Riedel artist node that you see the team plug into.

The simplest way of illustrating this is Kimi in 2017 when he was pushed down the pitlane with no steering wheel. FOM broadcast his rant to his mechanic. He couldn't possibly be using the radio as his press to talk switch for the radio was on the steering wheel.

If you actually ever get to listen to the "real" radio link comms the audio quality is a lot worse. It takes a bit of getting used to to tune into it. When F1 team radio first appeared, it was a rebroadcast of the actual radio link and for most viewers pretty unintelligible. In the days before digital radio it was often even worse.

For FIA F2 and WEC you still get to hear the actual radio comms audio. For F2 if you listen carefully you can actually tell which teams use Riedel radios and which use Kenwood Nexedge radios as the quality differs.

The BTCC driver interviews are a hybrid. ITV broadcast to the driver via the actual team radio, a handset provided by the teams. The driver talks back via the onboard TV/audio link, not the radio: his mic is wired to both the team radio and the OB camera/audio, so that's why the broadcast audio quality is so good. In 2020 with covid restrictions many cars didn't have onboard cameras so the driver comms you heard was the actual team radio link. You may have noticed the difference in audio quality.

mzso
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Re: Crappy Helmet communication

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Jolle wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:39 pm
For the speeds, the helmet noise and the physical stress the drivers are under, I think they are doing a good job.
I think the hardware could be much better. Better noise insulation, noise filtering, better placed microphones. (And whatever I couldn't think of.)

I wonder how it sounds in Indycar with the windshield.

Jolle
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Re: Crappy Helmet communication

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mzso wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 7:16 pm
Jolle wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:39 pm
For the speeds, the helmet noise and the physical stress the drivers are under, I think they are doing a good job.
I think the hardware could be much better. Better noise insulation, noise filtering, better placed microphones. (And whatever I couldn't think of.)

I wonder how it sounds in Indycar with the windshield.
The bigger question could be, why? The radio's primary function is for the driver and engineer to communicate. A good microphone right at the mouth is simple and works. any filters, second or even third microphones would add complexity and weight that is unnecessary. Besides that, if a driver mumbles in a for him foreign language, whatever tech you throw at it, it's still difficult to understand.

look at the old phone network. To make it simple and cheap, the quality is bad, but good enough to have a good conversation over the phone (with quite crappy equipment). You only notice this when you talk trough a full range app. There are even instances that this small bandwidth helps with understanding the other person better (the small bandwidth works as a rudimentary filter to filter out noises that take quite the amount of power/bandwidth).