New 4BH/4BC studios install Lawo desks

German console manufacturer, Lawo, have been contracted to supply a number of Zirkon consoles and a 64 x 64 Nova17 router into the new studio facility being built 4BC and 4BH by Radio Support Services.

The studio hardware for Southern Cross’ Brisbane radio stations is LAWO Australia’s second project, but its first commercial radio sale and installation in Australia since the Australian company was founded in late 2003.

News Talk 4BC and 4BH Chief Engineer Steve Exton says he selected LAWO for its “robust architecture, versatility and relative low cost.”

Southern Cross Broadcasting has commissioned Richard Fleming’s Radio Support Services for the complete upgrade, which has a brief to keep the configuration “as simple as possible, whilst maintaining versatility.”

The entire outside broadcast and the on-air transmission chain for each of the stations utilises two of the Nova17 frames. Integration between purely analog sections of the installation such as News and Production use LAWO intercoms and the KS-16 auto label button cassettes.

Each of the four studios has an identical Zirkon configuration comprising four of the four fader modules plus a central module.

“With each of the modules being interconnected by CAN bus, it has allowed us to be innovative with the studio furniture design”, says Fleming.

For 4BC there are five microphone positions and RSS has designed the custom-made furniture in a dispersed manner, positioning the modules according to where the station’s programmers wanted the various talk show hosts and guests .

Fleming has told radioinfo: “You’ve got to be careful with this number of open microphones, it’s best to spread the talk show guests out as much as possible, making the most of the room acoustics, while still allowing for good eye contact between all positions.”

A MADI fibre optic ring interconnects the studios and router. Each studio can add or subtract audio sources on the MADI.

Lawo Australia Technical product specialist Tony Fitzsimmons explains“Instead of being one centralised dispersed audio infrastructure, you have in fact got one big virtual router, which works independently or as one whole. It’s literally like the internet for audio.”

In addition to the router and console solution, Lawo Australia will be providing there new audio visualisation software, which provides an accurate audio status including level meters of all consoles from any ware within the network. This means the technical support staff can see exactly what faders are open, what busses are assigned, and other functions, from any ware in the world. Provided they can get access to the IP address of the Nova17 frame and you can see exactly what is happening according to Tony Fitzsimmons.

”This is a great fault finding tool and put into the hands of Broadcasters the same kinds of diagnosis tools that the Information Technology world have had for many years.”

The new facilities for 4BC/4BH is due to go to air at the end of October.

RSS is using their new innovative software, TERMDATA, for the project. TERMDATA allows the station engineer a simple method of maintaining and tracing the cable terminations throughout the installation. The software provides a fast and effective solution to record keeping in a facility where due to multi-tasking the station engineering staff never has the time.

RSS now design all of the terminations for a new installation using TERMDATA, the ultimate test of any software.

“We are very pleased with the product”, says Fleming, “ it has sped up our design time and the station engineers are wrapped. What would normally take an hour to trace a signal path through a system by referring to Excel worksheets or hand written data is now instantly available, even across multiple sites due to the networked capability of the product.”

A further module has been added which allows the station engineer to record information relating to the IT-infrastructure of a facility.
TERMDAT-IT uses the same database structure as the cabling software. Finally a resolution to what is on the IT patch bay is here. This module also integrates asset management for the IT area, providing a fast and effective solution for the station engineer and allowing him to be effective as an IT manager.

Throughout the development of the software various station engineers have given feedback to their requirements, all of which have been integrated.

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