Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), Germany, relies on Lawo products for their production studio update.
An ARD Radio Tatort crime thriller: Just one of the many shows handled by the ‘Spoken Word / Acted Content’ department, and produced at WDR’s studios in Cologne. Radio dramas and other productions are recorded and mixed in the Nos.6 and 7 production areas (PK6 and PK7). The facilities, built back in the 1980s, were renovated for the first time in the mid 1990s, and are now due for complete rebuilding and modernisation.
Currently, each PK comprises a control room, an edit suite (TBR), a studio and a completely anechoic room. In the future, the control room will become the master control room and the TBR an ancillary control room. The latter will either work independently or as an edit suite for the master control room. During the update, two Lawo mc266 digital consoles and a central router will be installed.
“Radio drama recordings take about a week, while the mixing can require up to three weeks. Before the improvements, every control room was dedicated to one studio. Individual studios cannot therefore be used while mixing is in progress. Thanks to the new technology, studios will be used much more efficiently in the future,” Hermann Stöters, head of the project team at WDR, states, when asked about the reasons for the refit. Once the area rebuild is completed, all studios and control rooms will have their own, separate entrances. Following the installation of Lawo’s mc266 consoles, it will be possible to freely select studios from the master control room. “This project is the pioneer for an overall plan, which may well serve as a blueprint for all of WDR’s production and on-air complexes,” adds Stöters. Every control room will be accessible from every studio – a most efficient use of the facilities!
The mc266 consoles are connected to a central router (Lawo’s Nova73 HD), which enables access to the DALLIS I/O systems located in every studio. “The networking possibilities are an integral part of Lawo’s product design. Their experience in planning networked systems and their cutting-edge technology are just two of the factors in favour of Lawo,” concludes Stöters.
A Nova73 HD serves as the central router, while one mc266 is used as the main console in production areas 6 and 7. Each of the ancillary control rooms is equipped with a Lawo 8‑fader crystal. The mc266 consoles – using an OB van configuration – feature 32 faders (16+8+8) and 144 fully featured DSP channels. Inputs and outputs are provided by five DALLIS frames, each with a routing capacity of 8000 x 8000 crosspoints (HD Core). “The technical features and reliability, excellent service and support, plus a long-lasting, successful cooperation between WDR and Lawo, significantly influenced our decision,” states Stöters about choosing Lawo equipment. In addition, well-tested control concepts and a high capacity for large-scale networking of studios and control rooms in the radio industry, proved to be major arguments for the Lawo consoles and routers.
Completion of the building works is scheduled for February; the technical installation will be completed by the middle of 2010.