Opening with Liszt - ORF’s new Radio-OB-Van launched with Lawo technology

May 22, 2012… Concert recordings from the Liszt Festival, which took place from March 23-25 in Raiding, in the Burgenland region of Austria, were the inauguration and the first live broadcasts from the matinee in Bad Tatzmannsdorf and from the Easter Liturgy in Neudörfl took place in early April. To guarantee optimal sound, the ORF (Austrian National Broadcaster) uses its new OB van, the HÜ-8D. Fully equipped with digital technology and a Lawo mc²66 console at its heart, the eighth digital OB van in the ORF’s arsenal has by now proved its flexibility in a high pressure situation.

OB Van Concept

At its base, the OB van for the ORF’s regional studio Burgenland consists of a M.A.N truck with a box-type van body. Using an aluminum sandwich construction method, it features separate A/C for each room and device; the power is supplied by a three-phase grid connection delivering a maximum of 16A. Of course, acoustics and sound insulation were among the top priorities in the OB van in order to guarantee high-quality productions. With this design, all program requirements are covered and even music recordings, such as recordings of classical concerts at open-air events and in concert halls for CD productions or for broadcasts of classical music on Ö1 (first programme of ORF). The concept allows for the handling of mid- to large-scale productions for recording and live operations and makes both audience inclusion and an improved presentation to the audience possible.

Lawo Technology

An mc² 66 with 40 faders (16-8-16) and 144 DSP channels is used as the central mixing console. Both the router (with a capacity of 8,000 x 8,000 crosspoints) and the Lawo stageboxes with 28 mic- or line inputs follow a fully redundant design thanks to MADI. Moreover, the Riedel intercom can be displayed through the stageboxes using BNC In and Out, and two 64-track recorders are connected directly to the Lawo HD-Core via MADI. “Lawo products come with a reputation of high quality and operating safety,” explained Reinhard Tomek from the ORF. The System Engineer and Project Manager Tomek continued, saying that the ORF had made its very first decision in favor of Lawo consoles for its TV OB vans some time ago. After very positive experiences, they decided to implement a consistent operating concept for all TV and radio OB vans. This allows sound engineers and Tonmeisters to transfer between different OB vans and start productions right away while eliminating any additional time necessary to familiarize themselves with the equipment and increasing the efficiency of training sessions. With Lawo consoles installed in almost all OB vans and production control rooms, productions can be continued from different control rooms almost at will. “The workflows are kept consistent, and we are able to adapt to any changes quickly thanks to the configurability of the consoles,” continued Tomek.

With a view to constantly increase efficiency, this OB van allows productions to be handled with a minimum crew. All signals relevant to the production (mic/line-In, audio returns, intercom, and signalling) can be combined into a single, light fibre optics wire, avoiding complex cabling and reducing setup times. Repeating broadcast formats can be superimposed onto existing console programming, again saving valuable preparation time. “For a broadcaster like ORF, availability and reliability of the equipment are of utmost importance. As our partner, Lawo provides products that excel in terms of quality and that are backed by a very competent and quick customer service to help us with any problems we might encounter,” concluded Tomek.

About Lawo

Lawo is a manufacturer of digital audio networking systems and consoles for a wide range of applications from small to large scale audio production in television and radio, post production, and live sound. Established in the 1970s, the company’s manufacturing center is located in the Rhine valley town of Rastatt, Germany. For additional information on all Lawo products, visit the company online at


Photo Info: Reinhard Tomek, System Engineer and Project Manager, ORF Austrian National Broadcaster.