AURUS and NEXUS in use at VRT
Flexible configuration makes the AURUS ideal for many applications. With the first OB Truck installation it commends itself for Broadcast Use
Speed is the key in outside broadcasting. When the Belgian station VRT planned to refit their big TV OB Truck K2 and install new equipment, a combination of fast setup times, quick operation, and reliability were of particular importance. An ideal environment for AURUS. It is also the perfect console solution for the Truck’s constantly changing technical staff due to its instant-access controllability.
Apart from hot-swap capabilities for console hardware and redundancy up to the level of duplicate fibre-optic lines and spare power supplies, there are two other important factors in outside broadcasting that play only minor roles in studio installations - size and weight. An OB Truck must never exceed its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. For the K2, this is 32 tons, allowing only 800 kg for the audio equipment! It is not only the mixing console – or more precisely the AURUS control surface itself that convinces by its low weight. Most notably, the DSP rack, is incredibly compact and lightweight, unlike every other digital console of this size! A mere five boards were required inside the NEXUS STAR to provide a complement of 96 microphone inputs, 40 AES/EBU interfaces, 32 aux buses, and 5.1 multichannel audio for the mixdown in the K2 Truck. This leaves plenty of space for future additions. Another weight-reducing factor is the low cooling requirement of the AURUS. In this case the existing air-conditioning system did not require expansion to adequately cool the new console. The weight of the cable drum can be also reduced. NEXUS base devices, connected via a lightweight fibre-optic cable, are used as microphone-terminal boxes and I/O units outside the Truck.
Not Only for Sports
When the O.B. Truck is used as the main control room for a large-scale production, it becomes the junction at the hub of a multitude of source studios. For instance, N-1 lines required for sports conferences are used, for example, as return lines for an incoming satellite path from a studio. This is a function VRT also requires from its new digital console. For this purpose, the AURUS is equipped with an N–1 matrix. However, this can do more than just calculate N-1 busses! The level of each individual crosspoint can be set via the monitor, the master section, or the channel strip. A tiny yellow fader inside each crosspoint indicates the current level setting – this is just one detail of the extremely comprehensible N–1 view of the AURUS. The N–1 matrix is so complex that it is, strictly speaking, a console inside a console. Its usability is not limited to sports conferences and news programs but can also be used with completely different applications: for example, for individual fold-back mixes in music recording situations, or as a matrix for sound effects speakers in theatres.
In the middle of March VRT will complete their first production using the revamped K2 Truck. The Cross-country World Championships, to the north of Brussels, will also be the outside-broadcasting world premier of the AURUS! However, this console is so perfect for such an application that more installations will soon follow. VRT will also acquire another one, since K2’s little brother will be equipped with an AURUS, too.