Very few pro audio brands have put the same kind of significant stamp in the audio history books as Studer.
With a history spanning 75 years and having so profoundly impacted both the recording and broadcast industries, the Studer legacy more than speaks for itself, having been at the cutting edge of these kinds of technologies since their inception.
Founded by Willi Studer in 1948, the brand quickly became known for their pioneering reel to reel tape machines, revolutionising the design and commercial quality standards of multitrack tape recorders. The now legendary J-37 4-track 1” machine produced in 1964 grabbed the attention of Abbey Road Studios in London and quickly found its way onto recording The Beatles – most notably Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band. As the demands of commercial recording studios increased through the 70’s and into the 80’s, so too did the designs of Studer, continually benchmarking the increasing standards and high performance tolerances required of their products. The A800 24-track 2” tape machine released in 1978 became somewhat of an instant classic and with its 24 track count, having two A800’s synched together via SMPTE timecode became commonplace in the commercial studio realm.
Read up on all the latest features and columns here.
Studer had certainly become a recognised name in recording studios, but concurrent to the massive strides being taken in the analog recording space, so too were the company laying down the groundwork for their broadcast. Many of their analogue mixers had become a staple in broadcast trucks, production houses and TV studios, as well as theatres and concert halls. The reliability and serviceability of these consoles made them increasingly popular, and they continued to evolve, covering the bases of larger facilities as well as the increase of smaller project-sized recording studios and radio broadcast suites throughout the 80’s.
It wasn’t until the mid 1990’s that Studer pushed forward into designing and developing their first digital mixing consoles garnering a healthy market share due to their world leading design, as well as the brands reputation for bombproof reliability. With separate processing cores, the main control surfaces were able to perform sophisticated automation that was easily recalled from project to project. This didn’t pigeonhole the consoles into one area of broadcast but instead pushed out the consoles into all areas of the industry from commercial-sized control rooms, TV studios, compact editing suites and more.
The introduction of the Vista series of consoles in 2005 was yet another major breakthrough, with the pioneering Vistonics enabled touchscreen creating a lightning fast workflow. As technology developed further into the 2000’s and 2010’s so too did the processing power of Studer’s early DSP cores (such as Performa and Score Live) and Infinity Cores being CPU-based, DSP processor scalability wasn’t a problem, with gargantuan power on tap, enough to control 1000 or more audio DSP channels and more than 5000 inputs and outputs. Aside from the obvious need for processing power, Vista’s flagship model X and smaller V are fitted with unparalleled system redundancy via Vista’s Quad Star technology, an absolute necessity for mission critical scenarios such as live to air broadcasts.
The last couple of years in particular have seen Studer undergo an exciting and significant change, with the acquisition of the brand by Evertz Technologies Ltd in February 2021. After the relocation of the Studer manufacturing facility from Hungary to Evertz headquarters in Canada, Evertz went about incorporating the legendary brand into their ecosystem and brought with it some remarkable integration of the Studer Vista range in the world of IP networked audio as well as some tantalising new products.
The Vista Bravo is the newest and most compact member of Studer’s Vista console family – being announced at this year’s NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show. A stand-alone console with 12 motorised faders, 16 mic/line inputs, 16 line outputs as well as an integral MADI port, Vista Bravo packs an enormous amount of power and connectivity for such a compact console. D21m dual width option slot for expansion of I/O to stage boxes or connection to Dante AoIP network and its advanced built-in DSP engine provides enough processing for up to 140 paths ensure this console’s suitability for a wide array of audio production tasks from live through to smaller broadcast and content creation productions. Also being part of the Bravo Studio production suite and VUE supported makes the new console even more appealing to the content creator market and with the ability to allow ST2110 AoIP integration by adding Evertz’s 570EMR, 9821EMR audio gateways open up even more possibilities for this console being integrated into an IP-based framework.
Aside from the Vista Bravo, Evertz have also integrated ST2110-30 connectivity access across the range of Vista consoles and are fully NMOS IS 04,05 compliant. Not only this, but the Vista X and V consoles provide direct ST2110-30 connectivity to Infinity ST Cores, the D23m I/O frames via the new D23m-2110-GATEWAY card, which excitingly are suitable to retrofit into existing installations, a refreshing indicator of Evertz’s commitment to supporting the range. Furthermore, Evertz have integrated the Vista product line to be controllable by their proprietary control system Magnum OS within Software Defined Video Networking (SDVN) environment. Magnum OS now has 2000+ control points into Studer Vista consoles, providing bi-directional control of all the main processing and control parameters.
With such a bolstered re-ignition into the market, backed by Evertz’s wealth of R&D resources and commitment to the Studer brand, it’s also very promising to see fresh representation of the brand within the Australian and New Zealand market. Specialist broadcast integrators and master distributor of some of the leading brands in this space, Studiotech Australia is more than well equipped to take on the iconic brand. With a commitment to quality product, as seen in their portfolio, as well as industry leading installation, service and training, it made sense to bring Studer under their tight-knit umbrella of top tier brands.
On an international level, Studer has also won a major deal with the Rudolfinum, a world-renowned concert hall in Prague for the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra thanks to Studer’s tech that allows them to seamlessly mix an orchestra tuned to 443Hz with one tuned to 440Hz.
As Managing Director Michael Bentsen shared – “as I say to my staff and customers, we sell Rolls Royces and there’s nothing wrong with that. This is the equipment that you buy that will last you 10 years plus.” he said, continuing “We’ve built a purpose built showroom just for audio, and a data centre, so we can build proper demonstration systems.” Michael added. “So for Studer, we actually own a Vista V 52-fader desk that’s sitting in there (the audio showroom) at the moment, with full surround monitoring. And shortly we’ll have the new made-in-Canada brains, which has 2110 capability built-in and they’ll go into our data centre and will interface with all the other 2110 equipment that we have running; so you can actually run a proper demonstration of audio over IP. There’s even space to do proper recordings if you wanted to.”
Ric Zattera Sales and Marketing Manager added – “We did an open house earlier this year (at the Studiotech Australia showroom) and we’re planning on doing it annually.” Providing the opportunity for attendees to mix a live band on the showroom’s Vista V console. The hands-on format apparently “went down really well!”
With an already clear indication of Studiotech Australia’s commitment to Evertz’ Studer, it’s fair to say the iconic brand is very much back in business and won’t be going anywhere any time soon. With exciting prospects for the brands future product development and deeper integration into the continually evolving world of IP based audio networks – Studer is well and truly on the up in all measures of the pro audio sphere, and I for one am glad for it.
For local enquiries, visit Studiotech Australia.