Seven Calrec Apollo consoles and massive Hydra2 network for Al Jazeera
In a move to upgrade and standardise its global operations, Al Jazeera Media Network has purchased seven Apollo digital audio consoles from Calrec Audio for its broadcast facility in Doha, Qatar. The purchase is part of a full modernisation of the Doha facility, which houses 24-hour operations for Al Jazeera’s English, Arabic and Mubasher channels.
The purchase marks the largest Apollo deployment in the Middle East and with it the creation of one of the world’s largest Hydra2 networks.
“Al Jazeera Network is a fast-paced environment with no room for error and a desire for the highest standards. Extensive research and planning is needed to ensure we install equipment to meet these demanding requirements,” said the lead audio specialist for Al Jazeera Network and the project, Allie Gaffoor.
“We decided to use Calrec as our global standard for audio because we needed a reliable console for our 24/7 environment, ease of operator use, and longevity. Calrec meets our networking and I/O needs, and Calrec’s Bluefin2 and Hydra2 technologies fit our requirements exactly.”
Abdulaziz Ghazi Al Dosari, sound supervisor at Al Jazeera, said: “Calrec’s Bluefin2 technology gives us plenty of horsepower and that gives us peace of mind that the desks will be able to cope with future technological developments.
“At the same time, Calrec’s Hydra2 networking and routing system gives us a powerful management tool that increases network-wide control over many parameters, and ensures our I/Os can be available in any audio control room.”
This level of flexible networking is particularly important to this new facility. Hydra2 gives Al Jazeera the capability to build adaptable networks quickly, easily and reliably, ensuring that inputs are available on the desired consoles and patched directly to multiple destinations. It was also important that the Apollo consoles integrate with third-party equipment and control protocols.
“These features will not only improve our content, but will prepare us for the increased workload of HD broadcasting, whatever the magnitude,” said Amr Mohey, senior sound engineer with Al Jazeera Arabic Channel. “Intuitive physical controls, colour coding, TFT displays, elegant touch screens, the spectrum of control parameters, and fader scales adjacent to the fader all give us faster, easier and more ergonomic ways to drive a much greater number of channels, tracks, busses and outputs. With these desks we will be able to control more digital audio channels at ever-higher resolutions.”
The first Apollo console is being installed by system integrator Tek Signals and joins other Calrec consoles in Al Jazeera facilities throughout the world, including two Artemis consoles in London, three Artemis consoles in Washington, and two Artemis consoles and a Summa console in Bosnia. The remaining six Apollo consoles for Doha will be delivered throughout 2015 and will be installed as the project progresses.
“Al Jazeera is among the world’s most watched news outlets and broadcasts in multiple languages and regions. Now this broadcasting giant will rely on the most powerful and flexible audio network on the market, Hydra2,” said Anthony Harrison, international sales manager at Calrec Audio.
“By standardising facilities using Calrec’s Hydra2 network, all of Al Jazeera’s consoles in Doha will be networked together so that its engineers can share resources and move easily between locations within the organisation. This setup will give Al Jazeera much more operational flexibility and, thanks to Hydra2’s plug-and-play nature, scalability well into the future.”