Scottish commercial broadcaster STV has undergone a full technical upgrade of its news production and sound control rooms and studio at its Glasgow HQ headquarters, representing the UK’s first on-air broadcast installation of Lawo’s A_UHD Core (Phase 2) and 48-fader mc²56 MKIII console.
STV’s broadcast channel reaches 3.2 million viewers each month alongside streaming service, STV Player, and STV Studios, Scotland’s biggest production company. Originally planned as a technical and cosmetic upgrade of the busy production and sound control rooms, the STV team wanted to explore audio-over-IP to enhance current workflows and allow a route for future expansion across the facility. The STV team approached Lawo at the IBC show in Amsterdam 2019 drawn by the flexibility of Lawo’s new mc²56 (MKIII) audio production console and the opportunities presented by its IP-based architecture.
With the Covid-related lockdown and travel restrictions last year delaying the project, STV reviewed its requirements and Lawo Rental department sent a console to Glasgow for evaluation by STV engineers. With the support of Pre-Sales Engineer Frank Mosch, Lawo provided remote evaluation and training for STV’s team to familiarize themselves with the surface layout and plan deeper IP integration.
In December 2020, Lawo announced an update to the A__UHD Core DSP processing platform. The A__UHD Core (Phase 2) enables STV to benefit from IP signal and distribution along with a reduced rack footprint. This saving in space and power usage, along with the IP setup features included in the new Lawo IP management platform HOME, enhanced the move towards Audio-over-IP infrastructure. Lawo also supplied a Mix Kitchen setup to increase the system’s flexibility and enable remote hardware control of the console.
Completing the upgrade, STV chose Lawo A__mic8 stage boxes for the studios. Multiple A_mic8 were installed in wall boxes distributed equally around the studio instead of a larger centrally located A__stage64 unit to help reduce microphone cabling. R3LAY Virtual Patchbay (VPB) was also deployed for the SpotOn playback software, moving away from a separate AES based soundcard. As construction on STV’s facilities progressed, a technical issue resulted in the new Lawo audio console system being brought online early for a series of live Scottish Parliamentary Election broadcasts in early May.
“We wanted to spend as much time with the Lawo equipment as possible before implementation to better understand how the new AoIP workflows work and integrate with our other sound systems and to be able to make the best use of the flexible and scalable workflows,” says Sam Dornan, Channels Operations Manager of STV Central. “Technical issues resulted in us bringing the console online earlier than planned and we received instant support from Lawo. The majority of commissioning and training with the mc²56 was already completed, but kudos to the Lawo team and our STV engineering team who worked together to get everything swiftly changed over in a short space of time. It was a tense few days but the Lawo is very flexible and intuitive.”