2008-01-21

New central audio router and control system

CBC/Radio-Canada and Lawo North America ink deal for delivery of new master control room router / control system.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada - January 21, 2008... Lawo, recognized globally as a leading manufacturer of digital audio networking and console systems for production, post production, broadcast, and related applications, is pleased to announce it has reached agreement with CBC/Radio-Canada for the delivery and implementation of a new central audio router and control system for all CBC/Radio-Canada radio production and distribution in Montreal.

The agreement represents a massive undertaking that will commence in January 2008, with an intended on-air deployment by May 2008. Subsequently, the system will expand to four regional stations that will be integrated into the system by October 2008, with more stations integrating after this. The yearlong, multistage deployment is targeted for completion in December 2008.

The Lawo-designed Dual Self-Healing Star (DSHS) system architecture for CBC/Radio-Canada is built around two Lawo Nova 73 router cores interconnected with eighteen Lawo DALLIS frames for AES and analog I/O, which will be distributed throughout multiple locations of CBC/Radio-Canada’s French language broadcast operations. Additionally, MADI interfaces for direct connection of existing consoles are provided for integration into the system. The completed project will ultimately encompass roughly 3000 I/Os; 400 DSP channels; and 110 stereo Peak Program Meters (PPMs), which are displayed as part of the control system and dynamically allocated; plus gain control for all inputs and outputs.

The DSHS architecture is a highly redundant, failsafe system and is capable of circumventing issues such as power failure, water or fire damage that can befall single, central frame systems. This includes redundancy for failure of individual router components, with the additional benefit of being able to have a physically separated core structure in separate equipment racks or physical locations. Additionally, this new system avoids the disadvantage of classic Dual Star structures by repairing the failure of individual DALLIS frames or MADI connections to external systems without switching the entire system from one core router to another.

From June through October 2008, the initial router and control system will be expanded to include four regional stations throughout Quebec. These deployments ─ occurring at a rate of approximately one station per month ─ will include the smaller Lawo Nova 17 routers. In addition to its physical I/O capabilities, each of these compact routers will be equipped with integrated fader, gain, PPMs, and silence detectors.

As one would expect with a system of this magnitude, the controlling software and its graphical user interface are highly sophisticated. Consisting of approximately forty virtual panels, custom designed touch screen or mouse control panels, plus several hardware panels, the Virtual Studio Manager (VSM) control software is a tightly integrated front-end control system for managing the routers.

Ultimately, the system will handle error tracking, reporting, and resolution; audio monitoring, metering of the 110 stereo PPMs, facilitate remote control, and provide supervision of the four regional routers in addition to the primary DSHS system. The VSM will support integration with the Harris Automation system for apology and router control, and will enable existing radio consoles to control the router directly. The system also supports integration of a redundant Avocent KVM matrix. For the regional stations, the VSM control software includes a scheduler and functionality that supports the automated importation of the CBC/Radio-Canada traffic schedule.

“The combination of the Lawo routers and VSM control software will provide an unprecedented level of system security, functionality, and efficiency to CBC/Radio-Canada in Montreal,” said Herbert Lemcke, President of Lawo North America. “Once deployed, the new router system is expected to provide easier and much more complete monitoring of up to 60 radio programs in parallel. By providing seamless integration of the network’s small remote master control rooms (MCRs) throughout Quebec with the primary master control room in Montreal, operators will have full remote control capability and be able to access and manage the activities of a station hundreds of miles away. This represents a quantum leap forward for everyone involved in CBC/Radio-Canada’s broadcast operations.”

“All of us at CBC/Radio-Canada in Montreal are excited about the capabilities the new system provides,” said Michel Leduc, Manager, Broadcast Engineering (Montreal), CBC Technology. “The new Lawo router control system replaces our aging, analog master control room infrastructure, including a massive patchbay with approximately 11,000 patch points that are currently handled manually, with a much more integrated system. With the integration of our existing consoles and studios, the system will provide decentralized access to any signal throughout our complex, and this will provide increased functionality and efficiency throughout the entire CBC/Radio-Canada system. With full remote access to the system in the event of a crisis, operators will even be able to patch into the network and run everything remotely should the occasion ever arise, making our radio operations more secure than ever.”

About CBC/Radio-Canada
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. With 28 services offered on Radio, Television, the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services, CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.

Through this array of activities, CBC/Radio-Canada brings diverse regional and cultural perspectives into the daily lives of Canadians in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, in nine languages on its international Radio service, Radio Canada International, and in eight languages on its Web-based Radio service RCI viva, a service for recent and aspiring immigrants to Canada.