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MTV Canada Selects Lawo mc²56 Digital Console For Revitalized Audio Control Room

Selecting a mixing console that not only met MTV Canada's current broadcast production conditions, but also one that could grow and adapt to meet their evolving requirements

In its quest to overhaul Audio Control Room 1 (ACR1)—the larger of its two main control rooms housed in its Masonic Temple location— 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 Canada’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 mc²56 digital console from Lawo.

The new Lawo mc²56 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 Canada’s Audio Supervisor, who is responsible for all audio elements pertaining to MTV’s shows, explained.

“ACR1 handles a broad range of production tasks,” notes Ford. “From this room, we mix MTV | Live and The After Show, which encompasses programming for MTV’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 stereo—our current production format—and surround sound mixing, which is where we’re headed in the very near future. The mc²56’s modular design enables the console to be very flexible, making it fast and easy to reconfigure the board for different types of production.”

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 building’s technical producer.

Hughes is equally enthusiastic about the new mc²56 and was quick to embrace the benefits of the console’s snapshot automation and its ability to seamlessly integrate into MTV Canada’s production environment.

“Unlike other CTV facilities,” explained Hughes, “which are primarily news oriented, we’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 mc²56 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 mc²56 represents the best bang for the buck.”

Kent Ford was particularly complimentary of the Lawo mc²56’s audio quality and the fact that CTV has embraced Lawo’s approach to mixing and audio networking.

“Many digital consoles have a digital sound to them,” says Ford. “By comparison, the mc²56 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 Lawo’s strengths throughout its various production centers. I see this as an important strategy to streamline workflow throughout the entire organization.”

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