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New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Upgrades Its Historic Home

The technical rebuild of the historic Wellington Town Hall in New Zealand includes the addition of a 72-fader Lawo console for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

John Neill (NZSO consultant engineer) and Craig Thorne (NZSO senior manager of projects) in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestras staging facility.
John Neill (NZSO consultant engineer) and Craig Thorne (NZSO senior manager of projects) in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestras staging facility.

Wellington, New Zealand (September 7, 2022)—Lawo partner Professional Audio & Television (PAT) is working with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO), one of the world’s oldest national symphony orchestras, on the technical rebuild and fit out of the historic Wellington Town Hall.

A 72-fader Lawo mc²96 audio production console sits at the heart of the install, complemented by a 16-fader Lawo mc²56 console; both consoles pool their DSP resources from two fully redundant, 1RU compact Lawo A__UHD Cores. Lawo A__stage boxes are feeding audio in and out of a redundant SMPTE 2110-30 AoIP network. The media network is clocked by a Meinberg microSyncRX. Lawo’s new HOME cloud-native management platform for IP-based media infrastructure is responsible for connecting, managing and securing all aspects of the live production environment.

PAT have also supplied and fully integrated Merging Technologies HAPI interfaces into the Lawo environment via HOME, as well as into the 2110 network via Microsens Fibre bridges. This has boosted the IO capabilities and reportedly provides a seamless and unified interface for control room operators and to several Avid Pro Tools terminals throughout the facility.

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A Lawo PowerCore fitted with a Dante IO expansion card and StudioHub XLR breakout panels will feature as a central comms and talkback system. This is controlled by Densitron’s IDS Core software via Ember+. The Densitron core will also be used to orchestrate and control lighting, digital signage and video elements between each of the performance and educational spaces. The Densitron solution will be used to display performance space booking and status information outside many of the town hall’s rooms and will keep conductors and music score readers on track with Beats and Bars information during performance recordings.

Craig Thorne, NZSO senior manager of projects, said, “When the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra started designing its new audio recording studios, we wanted to work with not just any supplier, but a partner who would be right with us from inception through to operation. In PAT we got just that — a family of genuine, supportive, specialist designers and engineers who understand our business and collaborated with us to supply the right solutions for our specific needs. Our Lawo mc²96 and mc²56 production consoles are already the envy of many sound engineers, and once open for business, NZSO Studios will rival the best in the world. Thank you, Patrick, Mike, Stephen, and the PAT team. We are proud to have you as our partners.”

The NZSO, founded in 1946, was nominated for Best Orchestral Performance at the Grammy Awards in 2016 and has recorded music for a number of film and game projects, including Wish Dragon, The Hobbit, The Lovely Bones, Krampus, Emperor, Escape Plan, Mortal Engines and Titanfall 2.