Toronto, Ontario, Canada â€“ June 2, 2009 â€¦ In its quest to overhaul Audio Control Room 1 (ACR1)â€”the larger of its two main control rooms housed in its Masonic Temple locationâ€” and equip the facility with a full digital path, MTV Canada, a subsidiary of CTV, faced numerous technical and logistical considerations. Chief among them was selecting a mixing console that not only met MTV Canadaâ€™s current broadcast production conditions, but one that could grow and adapt to meet their evolving requirements. After an extensive series of evaluations, those most closely involved in the selection process made their decision and chose a new mcÂ²56 digital console from Lawo.
The new Lawo mcÂ²56 console, equipped with 64 faders, 144 DSP channels, a remote microphone stage box, and a DALLIS frame for local I/O with roughly 72 channels of analog I/O capacity, was installed in early April 2009 and placed into service almost immediately afterward. The challenges of upgrading ACR1 with a new mixing desk were multifold, as Kent Ford, MTV Canadaâ€™s Audio Supervisor, who is responsible for all audio elements pertaining to MTVâ€™s shows, explained.
â€œACR1 handles a broad range of production tasks,â€? notes Ford. â€œFrom this room, we mix MTV | Live and The After Show, which encompasses programming for MTVâ€™s The Hills, The City, and other big properties. In the process of evaluating mixing systems, we looked very closely at how the console handled stereoâ€”our current production formatâ€”and surround sound mixing, which is where weâ€™re headed in the very near future. The mcÂ²56â€™s modular design enables the console to be very flexible, making it fast and easy to reconfigure the board for different types of production.â€?
Shawn Hughes, Production Engineering Manager for CTV - MTV Canada, supervises an engineering team in support of MTV Canada and other CTV clients coming through the Masonic Temple facilities, such as Bravo, Discovery Channel, and CTV News. He also serves as the buildingâ€™s technical producer. Hughes is equally enthusiastic about the new mcÂ²56 and was quick to embrace the benefits of the consoleâ€™s snapshot automation and its ability to seamlessly integrate into MTV Canadaâ€™s production environment.
â€œUnlike other CTV facilities,â€? explained Hughes, â€œwhich are primarily news oriented, weâ€™re one of only two production-based facilities for CTV. We handle a wide range of projects and, as a result, we required a console that could readily adapt from broadcast production to music mixing to live programming. The mcÂ²56 can easily be re-configured for different types of mixing projects and we already have a good number of snapshots that enable us to recall settings for a variety of production tasks. Equally important, the console can readily adapt to evolving production standards without extensive engineering efforts and it met our technical requirements in terms of integration with the overall facility. We genuinely believe the Lawo mcÂ²56 represents the best bang for the buck.â€?
Kent Ford was particularly complimentary of the Lawo mcÂ²56â€™s audio quality and the fact that CTV has embraced Lawoâ€™s approach to mixing and audio networking. â€œMany digital consoles have a digital sound to them,â€? says Ford. â€œBy comparison, the mcÂ²56 is extremely transparent. It sounds incredible. Lawo equipment is found in several CTV facilities and the choice of this console reflects what, I believe, is a move to standardize on Lawoâ€™s strengths throughout its various production centers. I see this as an important strategy to streamline workflow throughout the entire organization.â€?
With any production facility that runs 24/7, quality technical support is a critical consideration. Here, too, Lawo received high praise. â€œAfter shipping the console to us,â€? said Ford, â€œDoug Smith, our key Lawo technical support resource, was on site immediately to prepare the console and get it operational for us. Lawoâ€™s customer and technical support services have consistently been first rate. Theyâ€™re extremely proactive and we have a great relationship with everyone there.â€?
Before turning their attention back to the projects that await them, Hughes offered this closing assessment of their new mcÂ²56 console. â€œWe couldnâ€™t be happier,â€? Hughes said. â€œEverything we felt we needed in a new console is available on this board. With the mcÂ²56, thereâ€™s really no limit to the creative possibilities.â€?
About MTV Canada
MTV in Canada is a Canadian programmed and managed business, wholly owned by CTV Inc., a division of CTVglobemedia. MTV offers a distinctly Canadian interpretation of the MTV brand across multiple platforms. Bold, dynamic, and interactive, MTV offers innovative lifestyle, talk, and documentary programming. Canada's MTV is one of 49 MTV programming services around the world. For additional information, visit www.mtv.ca.
Lawo is a manufacturer of digital audio networking systems and consoles for a wide range of applications from small to large scale audio production in television and radio, post production, and live sound. Established in the 1970s, the companyâ€™s manufacturing center is located in the Rhine valley town of Rastatt, Germany. For additional information on all Lawo products, visit the company online at www.lawo.ca.
Photo info: MTVâ€™s Shawn Hughes (left, standing) and Kent Ford (right, seated).