MTV’s mobile truck receives significant upgrade

From its Nashville, TN, base, MTV Networks’ 48ft audio truck, Mobile Unit 8, has served as the company’s core mobile production facility for several years. Following a recent refurbishment that encompassed the installation of a new 56-fader Lawo mc266 production console and a second, smaller mc266 system, the mobile studio’s capabilities now include a greater level of redundancy and the ability to handle multiple projects concurrently.

Originally designed to accommodate overflow and secondary offline tasks, the smaller Lawo console has been upgraded to a fully operational system, with an 8 x 8 x 8 configuration (16 long channels, eight short channels), plus its own core, MADI interfaces and DSP facilities.

The increased functionality between the main and secondary mc266 consoles significantly improves resource sharing, encompassing four MADI ports across both systems to interconnect the two consoles, with provisions for sharing up to 192 signals in both directions and managed tie-lines handled automatically in the background, with one MADI port always providing redundancy to the three others. These improvements make it considerably easier to handle line checks from multiple stages and 5.1 mixes.

In MTV’s production environment, all resources are owned by the primary mc266 console, including all microphones, both Pro Tools systems, outputs and effects machines. Source or destination signals can be shared at the touch of a button, becoming available in the GUI of the secondary mc266, to be picked and routed to channels as required.

While inputs are split between the two consoles, outputs are structured differently. As soon as one of the two consoles takes control of the signal, the other console no longer controls it. This signal is placed into snap-off mode so when a snapshot is reloaded on the large mc266, the parameters from these sources and destinations and the routing to the destinations is not recalled, thus protecting the production on the secondary desk. In situations where the main console requires recall of parameters from the small desk, snap off is simply removed.

The recent MTV Video Music Awards was a perfect example of the utility of Mobile Unit 8’s enhanced capabilities. With multiple stages, sound checks and dress rehearsals, the many tasks could be handled in parallel using the two consoles; thus, the main stage could be handled by the large Lawo mc266 and Pro Tools rig, while the second mixer handled a rehearsal or sound check. During the live telecast, snapshots from setup and rehearsal from both consoles were all run from the primary mix position, improving workflow for the engineering staff.

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