It’s the story of the successful continuation of a long-lasting partnership. The Italian RAI and STAGETEC have signed a framework agreement for another ten large mixing consoles
At the end of 2011, the Italian broadcaster RAI and STAGETEC signed a framework agreement for ten digital mixing consoles, which are to be supplied between then and 2013. Four of these consoles have already been delivered and will go into operation shortly. The contract, which was awarded to the Berlin based manufacturer at the end of a long tendering process, is for the provision of ten absolutely identical AURUS systems, each with a 48-fader control surface and a full complement of DSP. Thus the RAI has decided to use STAGETEC technology in all its major studios in the years to come.
It is traditional to hold a concert in Rome on the eve of Republic Day. The event is held in the courtyard of the Quirinal Palace, residence of the Italian President. The photo shows the 2001 event with one of the RAI CANTUS consoles being used FOH.
RAI was an early adopter where converting its major studios to digital was concerned. By the end of 1995 it had already installed a CANTUS, the AURUS predecessor, in a new radio drama studio in Rome. Just a few years later, the broadcaster had become one of the largest users of CANTUS and NEXUS in the world. This is amply demonstrated by the total of 14 CANTUS consoles, plus corresponding NEXUS routers, six of them, installed in the main broadcasting centre in Rome, which have been in operation since 1998 – and many of them are still in use!
Crucial to the choice of technology, as with almost all STAGETEC customers, now and then, was the great reliability of the systems. The RAI systems have had a hard life. Many of the studios were, and still are, used daily in double shifts for many different purposes. These range from feature productions to music recordings and from interviews to live on-air mixes.
As an innovative and constantly changing organisation, RAI were involved in many product enhancements and sometimes initiated customised solutions too. A good example is an early version of the NEXUS logic functions which helped to achieve an automatic loudspeaker muting function in the sound control room. 200 milliseconds prior to switching a studio on-air, NEXUS muted the loudspeaker monitoring in the studio automatically. The delay allowed the sound in the room to decay before the on-air programme started.
And on the move
Apart from the fixed installations in OB trucks and studio control rooms, RAI also uses mobile systems. They are often used for spectacular live events such as the production of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera La Traviata which was staged at the original locations and transmitted live to air at the original times of day. With this presentation, RAI marked the beginning of a new kind of TV opera production with new and challenging demands on both the technical equipment and the artists. The Traviata production, mixed on a CANTUS, was at that time transmitted live to 25 broadcast stations in every corner of the world, from Argentina to New Zealand.
Other events broadcast internationally with STAGETEC equipment include the Pavarotti & Friends Open-Air concert in 2001 and many productions at the Italian San Remo Festival, a high-profile song contest in Italy.
17 Years, 58 Consoles
This year, the largest HD OB truck belonging to RAI in Milan, equipped with AURUS and NEXUS, will be present at the Olympic Games and the Paralympics in London.
With the ten consoles procured under the Framework Agreement included, the RAI will own a total of 58 CANTUS and AURUS consoles plus around 150 NEXUS Base Devices. This will make RAI the largest STAGETEC customer in Europe - an intense and exciting collaboration which has already lasted for 17 years.