Shure Signal Path Podcast: Chris Jojo
Hear the stories behind the sound with the Signal Path podcast. Tapping a global network of musicians, producers, engineers and other sonic innovators, Shure brings you exclusive interviews with the people shaping the world of audio.
For the latest episode, Paul Crognale caught up with Chris Jojo.
With the official title Senior Sound Designer & Principle Sound Recording Engineer for Codemasters Games, the self-professed "petrol head" spends most of his time traveling around the world to capture audio samples from exotic race cars. From F1 engine whine to raggedy rally car exhaust sounds, his recordings give video games an unmistakable authenticity.
In the podcast, Jojo discusses the technical aspects of miking a race car, what sounds he records and how a roaring engine can be almost "musical."
So what sort of audio is he out to capture for Codemasters at the racetrack?
"Primarily exhaust and engine," he says. "It's everything that's associated with the car. Is there something unique to that supercharger? Does it have a distinct pop-off? Is there a specific characteristic to the exhaust? Is it raspy, is it metallic or quite dull, but with a round, heavy kind of sound?"
Jojo has a particularly vivid description of what it was like to record a super rare Lancia 037 Evoluzione II for the DiRT 4 rally game: "That has very ratty or raspy exhaust. It's like a brass instrument – like a trombone – when you overblow it triple forte. You get that resonance or rattle."
No matter what sounds he's hunting for, Jojo uses a battery of mics carefully taped to the source with lots of gaffer tape.
"You're giving someone a selection of mics. Perspectives for an engine bundle," he explains. "There are some staples. I always like the SM57."
Still, this type of recording can be particularly challenging due to the adverse conditions caused by vibration, heat and volume levels.
"All the mics are fire treated," Jojo emphasizes. "You've got think about transient response. Sensitivity."
The roar of race cars means he also has to make sure his samples aren't blown out from the get-go. "Especially with close miking, I've got -20 dB attenuators like banderoles strapped on there," he jokes.
Unabashedly a car fanatic, Jojo says he's sometimes reminded of a symphony by the automotive sounds he's recording.
"You hear the harmonics. Some cars can be quite musical," he says.
Listen to the full interview with Chris Jojo below and be sure to click to subscribe to Signal Path from the podcast provider of your choice.