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User Report: Nova Entertainment Rebuilds Anew in Sydney

Lawo tech package shows the way for facility renovations across Australia

Lawo, VisTools, Ruby console, radio broadcast consoles, virtual audio mixing
John Pearce and Lawo Ruby consoles at Nova Entertainment.

The author is senior solutions architect at Nova Entertainment.

When the 2000-vintage Klotz audio systems at Nova Entertainment Australia came up for replacement, the Technology & Content teams joined forces to design and deliver new spaces that more effectively captured, distributed and monetized content for multiple platforms.

Nova Entertainment operates stations in all major Australian capital cities. Because the Sydney site was the oldest and busiest, it was chosen first. The former system’s configurations were rigid by today’s standards and custom-designed only for live broadcast radio content. Due to capabilities, some studios went days without use, while others worked round the clock.

[Read more Radio World articles about audio consoles and mixers]

In recent years, content like podcasts have emerged as a major contributor to ongoing success as well as the now-inseparable video integration. Inspiration was therefore taken from numerous international TV studios as well as radio. Jago Design in the U.K. was engaged to help develop the initial concepts.

The technical design went out to tender a few years ago and a robust evaluation process followed.

In the end, the technology chosen was Lawo Ruby consoles and Power Core IP audio I/O and DSP nodes, Arista switches, Lawo VisTool and VSM, Riedel’s MediorNet video router, the Riedel Artist comms system, Philips Commercial Displays, Scala digital signage players, IHSE KVM extenders and routers, DMX lighting fixtures, and Panasonic PTZ cameras.

The Lawo ecosystem was chosen for its suite of relevant products under the one roof. As well as that, the Power Core, the building block of the system, was at an exciting point in its development and unrivalled for density and customization.

To maximize studio utilization and flexibility, each new space is designed as a blank canvas. Functionality is defined by settings saved in user snapshots, accessible by swiping an RFID building access card. Different scenarios are recalled in seconds. Control for audio, video, signage, lighting, KVM and more is through a single Lawo VisTool touch interface. When not in use, all settings are cleared and studios are turned off. When automated or network content is playing out, studios are bypassed.

System control is shared between Lawo’s VisTool, VSM and Line Scheduler systems. Studio touchscreen interfaces and user snapshot database management are handled by VisTool. VSM glues the discrete components of the system together, and Line Scheduler performs clever tricks to stitch studios together, as well as managing resources like codecs and interstate audio and video tielines.

The power of the integration between VisTool and VSM is put to good use, cross points controlled by VSM are visible to VisTool and able to be stored in user snapshots. This allows user snapshots to store settings for systems well outside its normal scope.

Now that Sydney is complete, the focus has shifted to other sites in the NOVA Entertainment network. Once rolled out further, the technology will connect sites together like never before with audio, video, intercom and control. An approach of “Any station, Any show, Anywhere” will allow any studio to go on-air to any brand nationally.

Radio World User Reports are testimonial articles intended to help readers understand why a colleague chose a particular product to solve a technical situation.

Info: Jochen Richter in the U.S. at 1-888-810-4468 or for international queries +49-7222-1002-0 or visit