Lawo partner PAT in technical partnership with NZSO


A technical partnership has been announced between Lawo partner Professional Audio & Television (PAT) and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO), in the rebuild and fit-out of Wellington Town Hall.

One of the world’s oldest national symphony orchestras, the NZSO was founded in 1946. In 2016, the NZSO was nominated for Best Orchestral Performance at the Grammy Awards and has recorded music for a number of film and game projects, including Wish Dragon, The Hobbit, The Lovely Bones, Krampus, Emperor, Escape Plan, Mortal Engines and Titanfall 2.

Mike Heard (PAT), Craig Thorne (NZSO), John Neill (NZSO consultant engineer) and Keith Prestidge (Lawo) standing outside the historic Wellington Town Hall during construction

PAT was selected as technology partner for this project. A 72-fader Lawo mc²96 audio production console sits at the heart of the installation, complemented by a 16-fader Lawo mc²56 console. Both consoles pool their DSP resources from two fully redundant, 1RU super compact Lawo A__UHD Cores. Lawo A__stage boxes feed audio in and out of a redundant SMPTE 2110-30 AoIP network. The media network is clocked by a Meinberg microSyncRX. Lawo’s new Home cloud-native management platform for IP-based media infrastructure is responsible for connecting, managing and securing all aspects of the live production environment.

PAT has also supplied and fully integrated Merging Technologies HAPI interfaces into the Lawo environment via Home, as well as into the 2110 network via Microsens Fibre bridges. This has boosted the IO capabilities and provides a unified interface for control room operators and to several Avid ProTools terminals throughout the facility.

A Lawo PowerCore fitted with a Dante IO expansion card and StudioHub XLR breakout panels will feature as a central comms and talkback system. This is controlled by Densitron’s IDS Core software via Ember+. The Densitron core will also be used to orchestrate and control lighting, digital signage and video elements between each of the performance and educational spaces. The Densitron solution will be used to display performance space booking and status information outside many of the Townhall’s rooms and will keep conductors and music score readers on track with Beats and Bars information during performance recordings.

John Neill (NZSO consultant engineer) and Craig Thorne (NZSO) in the NZSO’s staging facility

“When the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra started designing its new audio recording studios, we wanted to work with not just any supplier, but a partner who would be right with us from inception through to operation,” said Craig Thorne, NZSO senior manager of projects. “In PAT we got just that – a family of genuine, supportive, specialist designers and engineers who understand our business and collaborated with us to supply the right solutions for our specific needs. Our Lawo mc²96 and mc²56 production consoles are already the envy of many sound engineers, and once open for business, NZSO Studios will rival the best in the world. Thank you, Patrick, Mike, Stephen and the PAT team. We are proud to have you as our partners.”

“Being involved in this project has already become a career highlight for me,” said Mike Heard, senior solutions architect for PAT. “Everyone from the construction supervisor to project managers and our own team at PAT has a common sense of care, genuine interest and passion towards an outstanding end result. I can’t wait for the doors to open and to sit back and listen to the magic on opening night. The world is watching this one, but we know that we have the skill and technology to pull it off and to deliver something that will turn heads.”

“The whole team at Lawo are honoured to be a part of this prestigious project for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra,” said Keith Prestidge, sales director of the APAC region. “Planned, coordinated and installed by our trusted partner Professional Audio & Television in cooperation with the customer and the Lawo team, the NZSO are now equipped with best-of-class mc² production audio consoles along with media infrastructure that is scalable, secure and truly future proof. Thank you to everyone involved for making this project possible.”

Images: Professional Audio & Television (PAT)

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Izzy became editor of Auditoria magazine in 2018, having previously served as assistant editor on the title earlier in her career. She is also the editor of Business Jet Interiors International, Railway Interiors International and new launch Cruise Liner Interiors International. Over the course of a decade as a business-to-business magazine editor, Izzy has covered everything from airline catering to car safety technologies, autonomous vehicles and business aviation airports. Outside of work, Izzy loves watercolour painting, live music and travel.

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