ORF Regieplatz 1 dances with stars17 December 2012
Introduced in late 2010, the 8260A three-way DSP monitor system from Genelec has helped to maintain the Finnish manufacturer’s dynamic status in broadcast audio. Now, two years on from launch, the 8260As have registered their most significant installation to date, with Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) purchasing a grand total of 18 units for use in two revamped audio production rooms at its complex near Vienna.
The systems – which represent the latest in a long line of Genelec purchases for the Austrian public broadcaster – were supplied by Audio Export, under the auspices of Product Specialist Nils Boden. Based in Heilbronn, Audio Export is Genelec’s long-serving exclusive distributor for both Germany and Austria.
At the time of TVBEurope’s visit, one of the rooms, Regieplatz 1 (Control Room 1), was undergoing final calibration with the intention of achieving full operation by 12 November. It will be used primarily for light entertainment shows, including Dancing Stars (Dancing With the Stars), broadcast from Studio 1 – one of Europe’s largest TV studios at 16,146 sq ft in size.
The second production space, Regieplatz 7 (Control Room 7), is to be used for news and current affairs and will be revamped throughout the winter and spring months for a June completion – in time for coverage of the next Austrian general election, which must take place by September 2013. Both rooms incorporate acoustic design work from Tonarchitektur’s Peter Willensdorfer, a long-time ORF collaborator.
The process of selecting a new monitoring solution for both rooms was predictably exacting, with ORF’s senior audio team – which, among others, includes Tonmeister Gerhard Jansa and Product Engineer Christian Knoll – carefully assessing the merits of various systems. But ultimately, the Genelecs won out, as Jansa recalls: “Everyone was happy with them and felt that they had what was required for a room of this kind. For my own part, I am confident that they can offer the frequency response that we require.”
A different breed
Extensively showcased on the 2010 audio trade show circuit, the 8260A was quick to garner acclaim, collecting a string of awards including the TEC Award 2010 for Outstanding Technical Achievement in the Studio Monitor category. Although judging committees alighted on different aspects of the specification, a common theme for their praise was the combination of advanced audio driver technology within a sophisticated enclosure design.
Genelec’s MDC Minimum Diffraction Coaxial Mid/High driver technology was singled out for its ability to provide highly accurate imaging and improved sound quality both on the acoustical axis and off-axis. The smooth frequency response resulted in impressive clarity and definition of the inner details of audio content, lending the 8260A to all manner of studio/broadcast applications.
Although part of the Smart Active Monitor (SAM) family of products, Genelec marketing & PR Director Lars-Olof Janflod says that the 8260A is “a little bit of a different breed compared to the rest of the range because it is more expensive. This means that the sales cycle becomes longer as there is a need for it to be budgeted prior to purchase.
“The ORF sale is definitely the biggest single purchase we have seen of the product, with other sales typically consisting of fewer units, such as the four pairs recently bought by Czech Television for their facility in Brno. In addition, we are seeing quite a few sales of this product into the private hi-fi market.”
But there is no denying the commercial and marketing significance of the ORF deal, where in Regieplatz 1 the 8260As are being used in a 5.1 surround formation optimised with the Genelec Loudspeaker Management (GLM) software. The 8260A-based set-up is supplemented by one 7270A active DSP subwoofer, six 8240A DSP monitors, two 8130A DSP monitors and two 8020A nearfields.
In a wider context, the Genelecs form part of an upgraded audio-for-broadcast infrastructure that is structured around two Lawo MC266 consoles, linked by a Nova 73 router and each yielding 368 inputs for a grand total of 736. A Yamaha DM2000 digital mixer is available for playout as well as emergency back-up, while notable outboard includes a Dolby DP570 Multichannel Audio Tool, allowing ORF to create and deliver Dolby Digital and Dolby E surround sound and metadata. Evertz Quartz CP2232E remote control panels and CP-1040E router control panels, as well as a pair of Fostex 6301B personal monitors, have also been installed.
Collectively, Jansa is confident that the new set-up will enable ORF “to deliver smoothly and seamlessly the high-channel count audio required by shows like Dancing Stars (Dancing With the Stars), a new run of which begins in March. Now we can turn our attentions to Regieplatz 7 with a very strong technical template from which to work.”
If 2013 looks busy for the ORF audio team, then it’s hardly likely to yield much down-time for Genelec either. As well as contemplating a year that will witness further additions to the SAM range, the manufacturer is gearing up to mark an important birthday.
The SAM family, reveals Janflod, “will see some considerable expansion in terms of the number of products available, and this will be very significant with regard to how we can reach into the market. Since its foundation nearly 35 years ago – we’re just three months away from our birthday now! – Genelec has incorporated the facility to acoustically calibrate the monitors to flat frequency response at listening position, and with the SAM products we have taken a step further as we can now leave the user himself to achieve this calibration by using the AutoCal algorithm that comes with the GLM software. We remain very excited about the market potential of the SAM products.”
By David Davies