Lawo Demonstrates Capabilities of AutoMix at Pittsburgh NPR Station WESA-FM
Lawo was recently invited to Pittsburgh’s NPR member station, WESA-FM, to demonstrate the capabilities of AutoMix, the hands-free automatic mixing system that’s engineered into many Lawo radio mixing surfaces.
AutoMix is an algorithm which allows microphones, phone callers, remote guests and even music playout, to be mixed automatically by the console. It’s effective in multi-mic situations, where AutoMix rides gain on mic channels for the ideal blend of host and guest presence — a feature during fast-paced, highly interactive discussion programs. And when guest mics aren’t in use, AutoMix reduces the gain on those inputs to virtually eliminate room noise, echo and comb filtering for a noticeably improved listening experience.
Lawo US Radio representative Bill Bennett arrived at the WESA studios with a new crystal mixing console, which was temporarily installed to demonstrate the capabilities of Lawo AutoMix on WESA’s The Confluence, a round-table discussion program with multiple in-studio guests. Host Kevin Gavin was joined by Doug Heuck, editor of Pittsburgh Quarterly; WESA senior reporter Mark Nootbaar; Kim Lyons, a freelance journalist; Rebecca Addison, news editor for Pittsburgh City Paper; and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Chris Potter.
“A program featuring six people on-mic at the same time was the perfect way to demonstrate the abilities of AutoMix,” says Bennett. “We assigned the mic channels to two separate feeds; the first mixed manually, and the second with AutoMix, and recorded both mixes to compare later.” Bennett ran the board himself.
“The results were very clear-cut. The manually-mixed audio has very noticeable phasing and echo, because so many mics were open in a very large studio. This is nearly impossible to eliminate with conventional mixing – the board op simply can’t respond to changing levels on multiple faders with split-second accuracy.”
But, says Bennett, the AutoMix audio was markedly different. “It was like we moved from an echo chamber into an acoustically perfect studio. No phasing, no echo, and no room noise. And all mic levels were perfect, without up-cutting or artifacts. The difference with AutoMix was dramatic!”