Serving an overseas audience of 630 million people in more than 100 countries, Russia’s RT television network carries a cocktail of documentaries, talk shows, debates, sports and cultural programmes, supported by round-the-clock news bulletins.

Requiring what Lawo’s International Sales & Project Manager Phil Hey describes as an ‘extraordinary redundancy level’, RT turned to Lawo for a particularly extensive network to support its new operation. Previously known as Russia Today, RT has included studios for its English, Arabic and Spanish channels, along with a Green Studio, Production Studio and a Backup Studio in its new facility.

RT’s Spanish studio

The complex is a combination of modern architecture and classic industrial buildings, fully renovated and equipped with a state-of-the art technical installation. The project got underway in November 2011 under contractor OKNO-TV, with Lawo subsequently being recruited to provide the heart of the audio infrastructure. Now fully operational, it represents a massive step forward over RT’s old studios.The broadcaster had been using Lawo zirkon consoles for production duties at its old facility and is now using no fewer than six Lawo mc²66 MkII main on-air/ production consoles and three crystal desks for voiceover work, along with a Lawo Nova73 HD as its central I/ O routing matrix and seven mxGUI servers providing additional remote GUIs.

The Nova73HD provides RAVENNA, AES3, MADI and SDH/ STM-1 interfaces, and features a hot-plug capability and online configuration that allows reconfiguration and expansion of a system even during a live broadcast. Additionally, Lawo’s STAR² technology provides an exceptionally high level of redundancy and fail-safe operation.

“Our choice of Lawo mc²66/ Nova73HD combination was because it allowed us to realise our vision of ultra-reliable audio in complex multi-programme, round-the-clock news broadcasting,” says Alexander Kolosov, Head of Phonics at RT. “A big plus is that the mc²/ Nova73 HD system provides non-problematic expansion. Our operational experience of the final set of six mc²66 MkII panels and the central matrix Nova73HD proved to us that the promises made by Lawo are consistent with the real requirements of our complex.”

The Lawo system has been designed to offer rigorous redundancy, everywhere from the router and control system to its fully redundant signal paths. In addition, its extreme flexibility ensures that I/ O resources are accessible from all of the studios and the control rooms with access rights management. This is achieved by connecting all I/ O to both the Nova73 HD as well as all of the mixing consoles, while the control software presents it to look and feel like a local signal, regardless of its physical location. The Lawo network takes care of all tie-line management and ensures that all tielines have an additional backup path available.