War Memorial Opera House for San Francisco Opera and Ballet institutions renews production infrastructure with Lawo

San Francisco Opera’s War Memorial Opera House building has recently completed a technical upgrade to a complete Audio-over-IP infrastructure with two Lawo. The manufacturer has deployed two Lawo mc² audio production consoles and related I/O, unifying the theater’s audio production systems.

Previously, the opera institution had acquired a first Lawo console, a mc²56 MKII, in 2015 for post-production. So the team of Doug Mitchell, San Francisco Opera’s Master Audio/Video Engineer, were familiar with Lawo gear. Although, core requirements for new consoles were simple: “First, the consoles needed to be native RAVENNA and, second, they needed to be made with the quality and detail that opera and symphonic music required.”

“In fact, we chose Lawo in 2015 because of its RAVENNA audio capability. We had been using Merging Pyramix for multi-track capture and post-production mixing since 2007, and using Horus and Hapi AD/DA interfaces for all of our remote mic pre’s since 2012. Integrating that first mc²56 MKII into our existing infrastructure made connectivity much simpler — it was a no-brainer to continue with Lawo for our live sound consoles,” says Mitchell.

The new installation – whose main goal was to bring together San Francisco Opera’s Live, Broadcast and Post Production audio facilities within a 96kHz infrastructure – includes an mc²56 MKIII audio production console with a redundant A_UHD Core for the sound booth on the 5th floor backstage, along with A__stage64 and A__madi6 stageboxes, a Lawo V__pro8 video processor, and a Power Core RP with VisTool RP remote control for rehearsal and god mics. At orchestra level, an mc²36 MKII audio production console provides FOH sound. The system’s backbone is managed with two Arista 7020 switches.

A second goal, integrating the FOH console with the main sound console, was also accomplished, as both new consoles now share all sources. Outputs feed two DirectOut Prodigy.MP’s via RAVENNA and are matrixed prior to speaker distribution.

“It all went together very easily,” Doug enthuses: “We have 2 Horus with 64 mic pre’s in the orchestra pit, 1 Horus with 32 mic pre’s for RF mics, 16 mic pre’s for itinerant use DSL, 1 Hapi with 8 mic pre’s in the ceiling for hanging mics, and 1 portable Horus with 32 mic pre’s for special events. The ability to easily share all the Merging pre’s and the A_Stage units with both mc²56’s, the mc²36 and the Power Core really shows the beauty of an all-IP audio network.”

“Now, we finally have a system large enough and flexible enough that all we need to do is change out some microphones and recall a different snapshot in the mc²56 MKIII, mc²36 MKII and the Power Core, and we are ready to go!”

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