Lawo makes virtual a reality for Astro FM
MALAYSIA: With nine terrestrial FM radio stations, Astro Radio operates every hour of every day and with a roster of journalists producing approximately 90 news broadcasts in four different languages each day, flexibility and reliability inside the studio is paramount. Following a recent mandate that called for an upgrade and expansion to its production facilities, the radio network opted for Lawo virtual mixing consoles to replace the old physical mixers. As well as providing flexibility that a traditional desk cannot, the virtual mixers were chosen for their reliability and cost-effectiveness.
The system deployed consists of the manufacturer’s DSP-based Compact Engines and touchscreen virtual consoles installed with Lawo’s Vistool software. The new, virtual system communicates with the radio network’s legacy routing equipment via a Lawo Nova 29 router.
Custom mixing interfaces have been designed for the virtual consoles by Astro Radio’s engineering team to enhance workflow, making use of the setup’s flexibility. Meanwhile, the cost reductions are demonstrated by the fact that each Compact Engine has been installed to power two studios, whilst the touchscreen controls not only facilitate the Vistool software, but also run audio delivery.
‘The virtual console is designed to replace and reduce the cost of purchasing and maintaining a physical broadcast console and associated parts,’ explained Bala Murali Subramaney, Astro Radio’s vice president of engineering and technology. ‘Not only are we able to run 10 studios on five Compact Engines, but we’ve also saved on the purchase of a separate PC for virtual consoles in each news studio.’
‘We’re seeing more and more broadcasters interested in virtual consoles,’ added Michael Dosch, director of virtual radio projects at Lawo. ‘They’ve watched the IT world gain cost benefits from virtualisation, and they realise they can also save money too and gain flexibility by upgrading from physical consoles and peripherals to a virtual studio infrastructure. In fact, some broadcasters are telling us they can save thousands by building a virtual radio environment.’