IBC Wrap Up: Audio mixing consoles

By Kevin
Hilton

Audio
mixing consoles are always high profile at IBC, if only because their size
means they take up a fair amount of room and so catch the attention. That holds
true for this year’s Convention but a number of significant launches or
upgrades were made by leading manufacturers, among them the designers of brands
that are now commonplace in OB vans working on sports events across Europe.

Solid

State

Logic (SSL) has fallen behind
Calrec Audio, Lawo, Studer and Stagetec in supplying the growing HD OB market
but it delivered perhaps the biggest audio surprise of the show by launching a
range of video products. The MediaWAN system is a software system designed to
operate on off-the-shelf PCs and servers, which the company hopes will make it
attractive to broadcasters running on a tight budget. The product is being
installed at Network News Services (NNS), a New York-based channel owned
jointly by ABC, CBS and Fox News and due to go live at the beginning of 2008.

SSL also
announced that its large-scale analogue recording console, the Duality, has
proved popular with broadcasters and so is being made available in a version
with a redundant power supply. The first Duality of this kind is shipping to
KBS in

Korea next month and
another has been sold to ABC in

Australia.
Sales of the C100 and C200 broadcast consoles have also been healthy.

Studer
introduced a 5.1 surround input channel for the

Vista
8 and 5 desks. This allows the input, EQ, dynamics and panning sections of six
audio channels to be assigned to a single fader, doing away with the need to
use six faders to adjust the individual component levels.

A new desk
came from Stagetec; the Auratus is a compact production console and, like the
Cantus and Aurus, it can be integrated into the Nexus audio network. The
Auratus has 32-input channels, eight groups and eight aux paths and is 5.1
capable and ready for 96kHz operation.

Other
significant console news came in the form of contracts. Calrec Audio announced
on the first day of the Convention that it has sold two Zeta digital audio
consoles to Showtime Arabia in

Dubai
for the station’s re-packing of Sky Premier League football coverage. Engineers
from the Middle East pay TV service rebuilt a warehouse in

Dubai into two new studios over a four month
period. Both facilities will be broadcasting exclusive coverage of the Premier
League; Studio 1 in Arabic, Studio 2 in English for the ex-pat population of
the region.

The
Beijing Olympics is looking large over the show and Audio Broadcast Services
(ABS), the rental subsidiary of German manufacturer Lawo, is to install
surround at least 10 5.1 control rooms in the Chinese capital to handle the
sound mix of the event. ABS will also be responsible for the planning, project
engineering and on-site support of the facilities.