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Arabian Nights

Armenian KOHAR Symphony Orchestra in Syria

The Sons of Mannheim, Thomas Godoj, Sasha and Peter Maffay – Record Lab, based in Cologne, Germany, has covered several large-scale broadcast and live recording projects. Most recently they handled a Catholic Church service for the German public broadcaster ZDF. However, one of their most extensive and logistically challenging productions this year was a concert tour in Syria by the Armenian KOHAR Symphony Orchestra. For this task, Lawo mc266 consoles were put to use in Record Lab’s ‘Mobile One’ truck and the associated ‘nobeo 1’ OB van

Record Lab was signed up as the overall technical service provider for the entire project (including audio, video and DVD production). The nobeo 1 OB van, plus an equipment truck, were rented from service provider Nobeo TV, while Record Lab provided its own mobile recording studio in the form of Mobile One. Markus Maschke from Record Lab, responsible for managing the production, had already mixed the KOHAR orchestra in Istanbul in 2005. He will also handle the post production of this year’s recording, together with Ralph Kessler from the Pinguin engineering service in Hamburg. Ralf Kerkeling was Record Lab’s technical production manager for this project.

Logistics and Production

The TV and recording equipment was delivered to the venues in the three vehicles; the setup at the opera house in Damascus didn’t present any logistic challenges for Record Lab. The situation was somewhat different in Aleppo, since the venue was the Aleppo citadel, surrounded by a moat! Vehicles are not allowed to approach the citadel; the equipment had to be hauled up to the walls by pulley, and then carried from there on mules, via a very narrow path. Sound reinforcement was planned by Ralph Kessler and implemented with the help of sound and lighting specialist Frank Golchert. Record Lab acted as advisors, since the consoles designated for this task (FOH and monitor) only featured 48 channels, and 112 channels were required. 21 sub mixes had to be set up on the Lawo mc266 in Mobile One, and individually returned digitally to the FOH and monitor feeds via MADI links. “The Lawo console in Mobile One enables us to use snapshots, which makes life a lot easier when so many tracks are in use. The same can be said about signal routing; so much is visible at a glance so that, should the need arise, it’s possible to react immediately” explained Ralf Kerkeling. The mc266 in Mobile One features 48 fully-equipped and 8 partially-equipped channel strips, with digital EQ, filter, limiter, compressor, expander, gate and delay in each channel. 96 inputs can be extended to 376 inputs in 48 groups or sums, as required. 30 professionals carried out the production on behalf of Record Lab – including cameramen, technicians and cable handlers. Around 250 people, comprising staff and the orchestra, were involved in the KOHAR tour. All the concerts were sold out. In Damascus, 1,800 people attended; in Aleppo the audience figure was near 3,500. “Due to its infrastructure, the console enables fast access to sub mixes, a wide range of parameters, and the separate layers of channels. In Syria, this was of utmost importance to us, since we were simultaneously working on the live mix” concluded Markus Maschke, summarising the advantages of the mc266 in such a demanding production as this.


About Record Lab

Cologne-based Record Lab is a full service company that offers, in addition to live recordings with Mobile One, facilities in the following areas: broadcast (entertainment, music, and sports), music production, audio post, audio technology consultation and technical support for large-scale events. Record Lab’s experienced team places the emphasis on quality, and makes use of synergies resulting from mobile and fixed sound studios, for the full support of complex productions.