Australian Open hits an ace with Lawo

Rental provider Gearhouse Broadcast has supplied nine Lawo mc²56 audio mixing consoles for the broadcast of the Australian Open tennis tournament.

The tournament is the first big international sports event of 2015, with the finals held on the 1 February at the Rod Laver Arena in front of 14,820 tennis fans.

Lawo staff provided active support to Gearhouse Broadcast, setting up and commissioning the Lawo systems. Of the nine mc²56 consoles, five are networked via a Nova73 HD to provide sound feeds for host broadcaster, Tennis Australia. Four of the mixers are deployed to deliver sound from the Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena, Margaret Court Arena and Courts 2, 3, 6 and 8. A further mc²56 provides the world feed for the rights holder. All stageboxes are interlinked by the central Nova73 router and are assigned via access rights management to the respective audio control rooms, while the mixed 5.1 surround signal is sent to the Lawo V__pro8 units for embedding.

“The build of a system that had distribution flexibility was key for us during the design process and is why we chose to network the system,“ said Nick Bowey, Gearhouse’s senior audio engineer. “There were several surprises on the courts during the early days of the tournament and the technical infrastructure really held its own – as expected.”

“The inherent resilience of the networked system provided us with ultimate control of signals on the fly by use of extended matrix capability across six systems,” Bowey continued. “We have also been able to provide a set of complete backup control rooms through the distribution and duplication of these networked signals. Host broadcaster Tennis Australia is highly satisfied with the setup and its built-in redundancy, and the operators love working with the Lawo consoles.”

Gearhouse has also delivered an additional four mc²56 mixing consoles to rights holders ESPN, Tennis Channel, Channel 7 and WOWOW.

One of the large installations is that of local broadcaster Channel 7, utilising a 48-channel MKII console fitted with an additional 16-channel fader module, all of which are fully utilised on every layer with the channels from five DSP cards. The console is operated in Split Mode, with two separate monitoring outputs.

“Overall we are extremely satisfied with the results here in Melbourne and a listen to the final product and output is testament to that fact,” concluded Bowey.