Lawo introduces Ravenna-based commentary unit; AutoMix for mc2 consoles

The new LCU commentary unit was developed in close cooperation with Host Broadcast Services (HBS), a Swiss company specialising in producing multilateral video and audio feeds for TV and radio from world-class international sports events. The fully digital system is based on Ravenna, a real-time Audio-over-IP networking technology that enables the use of standard IP networks for interconnecting venues and devices, resulting in significant savings in cabling while increasing the system’s flexibility.

“Good commentary plays a key role in the success of global events. The Lawo Commentary solution was developed in the very best interest of the Rights Holding Broadcasters of these events,” says Jörg Sander, CTO at HBS.

The LCU is designed to be easy-to-use for commentators, freeing them to focus on their tasks rather than managing the technology. It provides an intuitive user interface for up to three commentators per LCU; Lawo-quality mic pre-amps and uncompressed real-time Audio-over-IP (24 bit/48 kHz) ensure uncompromised audio quality. All activity is indicated in a backlit LCD, indicating each control’s label and its current setting. The unit also features three coordination lines, again with individual volume and pan settings. A ‘Help’ key completes the user interface, giving commentators fast access to a support engineer. For emergency operation, the device provides an analog Mix Out and an analog input to feed the phones’ monitor mix. The Aux In can also be used to feed external sources (such as audio recorders) locally to the LCU.

The LCU is complemented by the Lawo Commentary Control Software, which replaces the commentary control units usually associated with two-part commentary systems, providing an integrated user interface to operate a complete commentary installation. The software is optimised for touch-screen operation, offering easy and efficient support for up to 20 commentators per screen. It shows the real-time status of all connected devices and manages all LCUs within the network, as well as the system’s DALLIS frame – Lawo’s modular I/O system for interfacing the commentary installation to the outside world. The software also allows a support engineer to listen to any signal of any LCU, while its remote control facilities mean that most help requests can be resolved with a mouse-click.

In other developments, Lawo has added new features to the mc² mixing console series for increased user-friendliness and advanced production quality. The newly designed Multi Row Metering extends the metering capabilities of mc² series consoles, providing operators with increased overview and control, particularly important when handling complex productions.

A second, or even third, meter row can be configured and permanently displayed above the first layer of meters. This facilitates the permanent display of pre-defined signals as well as the second layer metering of the selected bank. Signal selection for the second and third meter row is set up using the established mc² assign procedure. Furthermore, a user button allows the operator to switch dynamically between two different metering setups.

Meanwhile, the new Automix feature automatically adjusts the levels of active and inactive microphones, while keeping a constant ambient level. The feature provides unique functionality for talk shows and panel discussions. Whether mono, stereo or surround channels, the Lawo AutoMix can be used for any signals. AutoMix minimises background noise and crosstalk, thereby delivering a reduced coloration.

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