With IP at the heart of broadcasting’s future, codecs are increasingly the gateways of content assimilation and distribution
MBC Group, the largest media company in the Middle East and North Africa region, recently upgraded its audio infrastructure with AES67/Ravenna-compliant Lawo IP equipment for its two control rooms and studios located in Dubai Studio City.
According to MBC, flexibility was an important consideration for the decision to base the new installation on IP-native Lawo solutions — both control rooms needed to serve either studio floor in a variety of I/O combinations. The installation involved two 48-fader Lawo mc²56 production consoles and shared I/O for the IP networked system, set up as a mix of A__stage64 and modular Dallis stagebox devices. Lawo’s V__pro8 8-channel video/audio toolbox embeds and de-embeds the audio in/from video feeds.
While AES67/Ravenna (IP) exchanges most audio streams, Madi receives others. For reasons of continuity with previously installed audio gear, a Nova73 HD router provides a four-port Dante card, thus allowing the audio engineers at Studio City to leverage a variety of formats in any authorized combination.
The new system can handle open-standards AoIP streams, Madi signals and even Dante sources — in any combination and at a high channel count.
MBC says the native IP support offers a second significant advantage: it allowed Lawo to provide remote hands-on training from Europe via WAN-based remote fader and screen control that complemented a live video link for swift and effective knowledge transfer when the worldwide pandemic did not allow any travels.
MBC operators can use the same remote capability to control on-location stageboxes during high-profile events. Engineers can run their audio productions from their familiar Studio City control rooms. Among the advantages of this IP-based approach is the possibility to use select operators for back-to-back productions because they no longer need to travel onsite. Similarly, compact flypacks do away with the need to send OB trucks or lorries to on-location events.