In a debut streamed live from the Jazz Club Karlsruhe, just a few minutes from company headquarters in Rastatt, Germany, Lawo unveiled two additions to its mixing universe: the “Phase II” of the A__UHD Core audio engine and the next-generation mc²36 audio production console.
Both products are designed to deliver maximum output using minimal space, weight and power requirements. The native-IP A__UHD Core is Lawo’s new console core for mc² consoles and delivers 1,024 channels of audio processing from a 1RU package. The company states that it provides performance that previously required 5 times the power and 10 times the rack space.
The new mc²36 mixer doubles the DSP channel count of the original, as well as introducing a compact 16-fader version in the smallest mc² footprint ever. And a new feature, IP Easy, is designed to make managing IP network devices simpler and more intuitive.
“UHD stands for ultra-high density,” explains Christian Struck, Lawo Senior Product Manager, Audio Production. “And it lives up to its name. A__UHD Core combines minimum size with maximum performance. It has everything a live production console needs, including 1,024 channels of mc²-grade processing algorithms, multiple sets of monitoring matrices, downmixing and upmixing, and is ready for next-generation audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and MPEG-H. It packs the power of systems formerly requiring 7 to 10 RU into just one rack space; weighs only 7 kg versus the 20 to 25 kg of a traditional console core. Even more astounding: it consumes only 220 watts of power.”
A__UHD Core is a native IP device, designed to work within IP networks and manage networked devices. As such, it is based fully on open standards such as ST2110-30/-31, AES67, RAVENNA, Ember+ and NMOS. And it’s designed for both 48 kHz and 96 kHz operation.
“From now on,” says Struck, “A__UHD Core will be the power behind all mc² consoles.”
A__UHD Core Overview:
• Software-defined hardware. A__UHD Core’s feature set is defined purely by software, meaning it is future-proof and can accommodate new features and capabilities without the expense and inconvenience of hardware changes.
• Scalable performance. Users can tailor the capabilities of their A__UHD Core to fit their needs and budget, changing features and functionality based on permanent or temporary software licenses.
• Multi-console support. A “pooling” license allows one A__UHD Core to divide its immense DSP power between multiple mixing surfaces. Using this “pooling” license, a A__UHD Core can power several smaller consoles instead of one very large console, e.g., four consoles with 256 DSP channels each.
• In-console management of networked devices. The new “IP Easy” function in A__UHD Core based mc² consoles permits operation of network audio devices without the need to be an IP expert.
• Dynamic resource allocation. Any mc² surface may be allocated on-the-fly to any networked A__UHD Core.
• Complete network interface redundancy. 8 front-panel ports are split into 4 SFP network interfaces that provide dual, independent IP network connections; ST2022-7 Class C Seamless Protection Switching with extended buffer size ensures solid operation on WAN as well as LAN. Each SFP interface can receive a total of 128 Tx and Rx streams, providing 512 audio channels.
• “Hot Spare” hardware redundancy. A second A__UHD Core with a “redundancy license” can be deployed locally, across campus, or across the country, as a 1+1 hot spare device mirroring the active device and taking over seamlessly if needed.
• Redundant power. Hot-swappable, redundant power supply units.
Meanwhile, Lawo has recently redesigned its mc²96 and mc²56 consoles and now brings this technology to the compact mc²36 as well.
“When we introduced the mc²36 in 2014, its small form-factor and its price-point quickly made it a favorite with customers we’d never been able to address before – venues like houses of worship, performing arts centers or smaller OB trucks – anywhere a small, powerful live mixer was required,” says Lucas Zwicker, Senior Technical Product Manager, Audio Production.
“New capabilities in the mc²36 provide customers who need a small console something they’ve never had before — an IP-native mixer, with outstanding DSP power and comprehensive I/O connectivity. Furthermore, the new console does not only provide best in class IP connectivity, but also Lawo-grade microphone inputs and line outs, and also AES3 and a built-in MADI port for legacy equipment.
“And,” adds Zwicker, “Moving the mc²36 to the A__UHD Core means that all developments in the future will happen on a single platform and that Lawo continues to provide production file compatibility between all mc² consoles. Imagine the possibilities… a production file from an mc²36 could be used on an mc²96 for post-production! The A__UHD Core platform opens the door to a lot of very cool developments. It’s a whole new level of performance.”
• DSP more than doubled. 256 processing channels, available at both 48 and 96 kHz.
• Immense I/O. A new I/O capacity of 864 channels, with local connections which include 3 redundant IP network interfaces, 16 Lawo-grade mic/line inputs, 16 line outputs, 8 AES3 inputs and outputs, 8 GPIO connections, and an SFP MADI port.
• Native IP. mc²36, powered by A__UHD Core, natively supports ST2110, AES67, RAVENNA, and Ember+.
• New compact frame size. The 16-fader frame is the smallest, most lightweight mc² ever built.
• Features and capabilities that include Button-Glow and touch-sensitive rotary controls, color TFT fader-strip displays, LiveView video thumbnails, and precise 21.5-inch full HD touchscreen controls.
• Built-in loudness metering. Full loudness control compliant with ITU 1770 (EBU/R128 or ATSC/A85) standard features peak and loudness metering can even measure individual channels as well as summing buses.
• Remote desktop integration. Add third-party options like recording systems, effects engines, etc., running on external PCs into the mc²36 user interface. Applications display in the console’s screen while the console’s keyboard, touchpad and touchscreen provide control.
• Waves plugin integration — specifically, integration of Waves SuperRack SoundGrid, providing operators with access to Waves’ extensive plugin selection of real-time signal processing in addition to the console’s internal processing engine. No additional screens or control devices are needed.
Lawo’s “Phase II” development of the A__UHD Core includes the company’s new IP Easy functionality, designed to make IP setup as simple as analog. IP Easy simplifies the management of IP devices, which makes connecting audio I/O devices as simple as if they were baseband. The console automatically detects new devices and makes them available at the touch of a button. IP Easy also manages IP addresses, multicast ranges, and VLANs, and includes security features like access control and quarantining of unknown devices to protect your network.
Christian Struck concludes: “Lawo has always been known for innovation and performance, as well as maximum redundancy and reliability. With the simultaneous introduction of the new software package for A__UHD Core and the new mc²36, audio professionals will find themselves enjoying a whole new world of power, flexibility and ease-of use. This flexible, software-defined architecture is the platform from which many new and exciting developments will be launched.”
Go here for more specifics on the new A__UHD Core audio engine and the mc²36 audio production console.