NDR pulls out audio stops for Eurovision

This year's Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Düsseldorf from 10th to 14th May, with a broadcast audio production using four Stagetec Aurus digital consoles to bring the European message of peace and unity through song to the world, writes Kevin Hilton.
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This year's Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Düsseldorf from 10th to 14th May, with a broadcast audio production using four Stagetec Aurus digital consoles to bring the European message of peace and unity through song to the world, writes Kevin Hilton. The 55th Contest is the first to be held in Germanysince 1983, after Nicole marked up the country's first win the previous year with A Little Peace. Lena Meyer-Landrut (pictured) won in Oslo last year with the song Satellite and is the focus for German hopes again in 2011, singing Taken by a Stranger. Regional public broadcaster NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk) is providing host broadcasting services. Audio control rooms have been built in container units installed at the Esprit Arena as part of NDR's on-site broadcast centre. These house three Stagetec Aurus desks, with a third in an HD-capable outside broadcast truck. Each console has 48-channel strips and approximately 300 input channels, the maximum number on an Aurus desk. Two control rooms will be used for live on-air mixing; one will handle just the music feeds, while the other will be used to produce the national and international outputs, complete with presentation and commentary. The other two desks are on standby in case of any problems. "Our backup concept covers the entire audio and video equipment, from the microphones to the interconnects, which we have duplicated throughout," comments Ulli Fricke, head of sound for NDR. All audio feeds will be available in both 5.1 and stereo. Another German company, Riedel, is providing the communications and commentary equipment, More than 50 countries are due to take broadcast coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest this year, with an estimated international audience of 125 million viewers. www.eurovision.tv

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