Christian Venghaus on the Lawo mcÂ²66
Toronto, Ontario, Canada â€“ September 29, 2011â€¦ The Zurich Opera House is internationally recognized as one of the worldâ€™s most successful theatres. Year after year, it hosts over 300 opera and ballet performances, concerts and recitalsâ€”all at the highest artistic level. This season, the program included Verdiâ€™s â€˜La Traviataâ€™ and Bizetâ€™s â€˜The Pearl Fishersâ€™, as well as a premiere of Rossiniâ€™s â€˜The Silken Ladderâ€™. And now, in two stages, an upgrade of the opera house audio system has been completed with a Lawo mcÂ²66 console at its heart.
Rehearsals have recently been taking place using the new system â€” so far without any problems. â€œI particularly like the clear routing displays on the mcÂ²66. Both on-screen and from the orange buttons we can immediately see what is routed,â€? explains Christian Venghaus, Tonmeister and head of the Zurich Opera House sound department. â€œThe number of possibilities available in the deeper layers of the console are also quite remarkable: for example, it is no problem to program fader starts, or similar functions. Nevertheless, on the control surface, operation is simple at all times,â€? Venghaus continues.
The Lawo equipment had to prove its full flexibility right from the start. On the first day of rehearsals, the balance between the different speaker groups was adjusted using an iPad, followed by a more precise set-up by the guest sound engineer from the ballet company, who used a laptop and a controller running the Mackie HUI Protocol. All three devices were connected to the mcÂ²66 in the control room via a WLAN. With the rotary controls pre-programmed for EQ frequency, the controller functioned as a MIDI remote for the large console. Venghaus explains: â€œWith a laptop, the setup is good to go and ready to start work on in only ten minutes. Remote control via the iPad and the Mackie HUI-ready controller was set up by Lawo employees especially to accommodate our requirements.â€?
The one-hour break between the two rehearsals was more than time enough to move the Lawo consoleâ€™s 16-fader extender to the side of the stage, to act as a front of house console; after a short time, audio was available from here. This quick setup was partially made possible by close integration with the Yamaha DME64 installation that is used for front of house monitoring. â€œMy goal has always been to bring the audio workstation to where it is needed, whether thatâ€™s in the first row next to the conductor, in the tenth row with the director, or in the control room, when it comes to handling complex tasks,â€? explains Venghaus.
Reconfiguring the console back to its original setup for the evening rehearsal did not present any difficulties; the 40-fader (16+6+16 extender) mcÂ²66 was reinstated in the control room within ten minutes. Following these successful test runs, Venghaus pointed out the advantages of Lawoâ€™s solution: â€œLawo offers an extremely high degree of networking and flexibility even in conditions where the highest quality of audio, safe operation, and reproducibility are absolutely necessary â€” a requirement that will remain essential for audio systems of the future.â€?
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.