German Broadcaster renovates two concert halls with Lawo Consoles

Studio control rooms in the Large Concert Hall and Old Opera House (Alte Oper) of German public broadcaster Hessischer Rundfunk (HR) in Frankfurt will be re-equipped by Lawo with two mc(2)66 consoles for live and broadcast applications. The installations will be carried out during a general renovation of the control rooms.

Control Room 1 handles all live broadcasts and production mixes of the concerts in HR’s Large Concert Hall, which is also the production studio and rehearsal hall for the HR Radio Symphony Orchestra. The versatile concert hall is fitted with 850 seats and a stage for a large orchestra with an additional large choir and concert organ. The control room’s main task is the recording and mixing of live classical music in a studio atmosphere.

The heart of Control Room 1 will be a Lawo mc(2)66 mixing desk that replaces an analog console. The new console includes a 3000 crosspoint matrix, 96 DSP channels and numerous MADI ports, including four designated for design redundancy. The control surface has a 24+8+16 fader configuration and includes an integrated user talkback panel.

An identical mc(2)66 mixing console is planned for installation in Frankfurt’s Old Opera House. This building was completed in 1880 and had its last major renovation prior to being re-opened in 1981. Today it is a modern concert and conference center, considered to be one of the acoustically best concert halls in German-speaking countries. This unique opera house was where the complete set of Mahler symphonies was recorded with the HR Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Eliahu Inbal.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of its re-opening, Hessischer Rundfunk decided to update the technology in Old Opera House, moving to digital production equipment in the control room. As a result, concerts from September onwards will be mixed on the new Lawo console. Subscription concerts by the HR Symphony Orchestra, under the leadership of new chief conductor Paavo Järvi, can be seen regularly on the broadcaster’s hr2 channel. The new technology will also allow selected future concerts to be produced in 5.1 on DVB-S.

Lawo is acting as the main contractor for both projects, handling the production and installation of the mixing consoles along with the associated cabling, patch bays and studio furniture.

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