Czech Republic - Audac has announced a partnership with Prague-based Audio Digital as the new exclusive distributor of its audio solutions in the Czech Republic.
Audio Digital’s managing director Michal Zeman comments: “I genuinely believe in the quality and innovation Audac offers and I am more than happy to be adding their products to our assortment. We at Audio Digital value a high performance/price ratio, and that is exactly what you get at Audac. I look forward to this partnership.”
Audac’s international sales executive Bart Vandermot adds: “It is always important to keep evolving as a business. By expanding our network and starting new partnerships, we can ensure that the clients all over the world can enjoy our innovations. We have the greatest confidence in our partnership with Audio Digital as we have seen first-hand the outstanding quality and service they provide to the customer.”
Germany - Optocore has appointed Dusseldorf-based United Brands GmbH (United B) as its new German distributors with immediate effect.
Tine Helmle, Optocore director of sales and marketing, comments: “With the expansion of our product portfolio such as Festival Box, AutoRouter and our Madi series United Brands was a perfect match. Due to their expertise and long-time experience in install and live events they bring huge potential in placing Optocore as the main sound distribution network on the market.”
United B’s Jens ‘Bubbes’ Steffan, who will largely oversee the Optocore account, adds: “We were familiar with Optocore technology through our distribution of DiGiCo [digital consoles]. So it was just a small step to contact Optocore. The company has a lot of very interesting products, which perfectly match our customers’ demands.”
Discussions had started back in early March, he reports. “We think Optocore is the only really professional solution for transporting audio in the digital domain. Based on our high standards with DiGiCo and Adamson, it is a perfect fit with all our other brands.”
United B has wasted no time in getting started. Having already received formal Optocore training, the company has purchased a demo system and stock comprising Festival Box Petit, AutoRouter, DD32R-FX, DD4MR-FX and X6R-FX in different versions.
“We will use all of these options to create awareness,” he concludes. United B will be systematically introducing clients to the new portfolio, with two key dates in January: Hamburg Open 2
UK - PLASA and the Music Industries Association (MIA) are set to co-host a free event designed to offer advice and information on the incoming changes to the off-payroll working regulations (known as IR35) and Brexit.
Taking place on 30 January, Get your business ready: IR35 and Brexit will see business and HR experts take to the stage, including Nicky Gleadow, MD of The HR Point, who will detail how the IR35 changes may affect employers and contractors. More speakers will be announced soon, the organisers say.
IR35 is a piece of UK government legislation that aims to determine whether a worker is an employee or contractor, ensuring that the person carrying out the work is paid and protected in the proper manner and that both parties pay the relevant tax. The changes to IR35, which come into effect on 6 April, mean that all medium-sized and large companies will be responsible for deciding the employment status of their workers.
Get your business ready: IR35 and Brexit is taking place at the Victory Services Club, London on Thursday, 30 January, from 11am to 3pm. The venue is located two minutes’ walk from the Marble Arch underground station.
Professionals from across the entertainment technology and music industries are invited to RSVP as soon as possible to secure their place.
Thailand - Sonos Libra has assumed exclusive distribution rights for dbTechnologies’ full product portfolio of touring, install and M.I. audio systems in Thailand.
“In the last few years dBTechnologies’ presence in South Eastern Asia professional audio industry is considerably growing,” explains dBTechnologies’ APAC sales manager, Manuele Poli. “We are at a point where we need strategic partnerships to meet a larger base of professionals and disclose our products’ full potential. When we met Alfonso Rodriguez and Sonos Libra’s team, I immediately realized that their sales approach and advanced technical skills were exactly what dBTechnologies needed to enhance the brand perception and further flourish in the local professional market.”
Sonos Libra’s CEO Alfonso Martín Rodríguez adds: “dBTechnologies is a growing company and is now playing at a higher level. We are very happy to start from this stage together and we feel very fortunate to start the distribution in Thailand. Rental market in South East Asia is very competitive at any level and we had no products to fulfil the expectations on well-engineered and manufactured products offering a rapid ROI. Being able to offer good pricing without sacrificing performance, quality, speed of deployment and most importantly, safety, is key to most of the companies.
He continues: “dBTechnologies VIO series offers the best solution for audio providers, and we are already planning a brand re-launching to increase visibility as well as demo events and regular public trainings on the pr
Hungary - Sixty82 has appointed DP Music Kft. as its new representative in Hungary. The company will offer guidance on a wide range of possibilities, advising customers on the most suitable Sixty82 solution for their particular needs.
Based in Budaörs near Budapest, DP Music offers a wide range of trussing and staging equipment, as well as pro audio solutions. The company is also increasingly focusing on developing its web store and serving the needs of hobbyists, smaller bands, and theatres.
Date Jonkman, Sixty82’s executive account manager, comments: “We look forward to working with a company of DP Music’s reputation, and our partnership will help meet increased local demand for technical know-how from experienced people. They are uniquely positioned to develop our existing customer base further, and with their market presence and sales support network, we are excited to start this new partnership.”
László Pálfi, CEO of DP Music, adds: “Sixty82’s knowledge of the market will be invaluable support to us in providing the Hungarian customers on both academic and industrial levels with a service that is second to none. Sixty82 has a team of professionals that have contributed in a significant way to the development of the staging and trussing market in recent decades. Because of this, we are extremely motivated to move forward and start this next chapter.”
UK - Expanding UK dry and wet hire company, Fisher Hires has invested in Chroma-Q's new Space Force onebytwo LED soft light, to provide a flexible lighting solution for its diverse event, film, theatre and festival client base.
Fisher Hires has been supplying the industry for over 30 years, stocking a wide selection of leading-brand lighting, video, sound & staging equipment for hire. Originally created to support its sister event production company, Fisher Hires’ vast inventory enables it to also service the needs of other event companies.
Head of operations, Rob Baker was looking to invest in an LED soft light which was compact and powerful enough to utilise on a variety of its own event productions, as well as being in demand with external clients.
Rob commented: “I knew that Chroma-Q’s original Space Force unit had been very successful in the market and liked the product. However, I was looking for something which was more discreet, without sacrificing a lot of output or the adjustable kelvin.
“The Space Force onebytwo is slick and bright. Compact in size, it can easily blend into the background to help production, and has great output and overall performance. In my eyes it’s a winner which ticks all the boxes.”
After making just a low-key announcement of its investment on social media, Fisher Hires immediately received enquiries for dry hire from several film and event companies.
Rob added: “To be honest I wasn’t expecting such an instant response to the product, so it looks to me like other companies have
Australia - Harman Professional Solutions has announced it has realigned distribution of AMX, SVSI, and install ranges of AKG, BSS, Crown and JBL Professional in Australia with the appointment of MadisonAV, part of the Madison Technologies group.
Distribution in Australia for Harman’s retail, cinema, touring, performing arts, broadcast, and Martin lighting solutions remains unchanged.
MadisonAV will expand its portfolio to include the complete range of AMX video control solutions, and Harman Professional install and integration audio product suite. This will offer customers a single interface across Harman’s wide range of video controls and install audio solutions.
“We are excited to partner with MadisonAV and expand our distribution reach in Australia. This is aimed at enhancing access to Harman products and solutions across verticals, focusing on solutions-driven approach and elevating customer experience,” said Ramesh Jayaraman, VP and GM, Harman Professional Solutions, APAC. “MadisonAV brings 28 years of experience serving the Australian market and we look forward to our collaboration with MadisonAV and are confident their experience and in-depth knowledge will help us deliver the latest and most relevant technology solutions to our customers.”
Harman Professional Solutions will be increasing its local presence in 2020. Consisting of seasoned industry professionals, the Australian Professional Solutions team will manage relationships with key systems integrators, consultants and end users, coordinating and combining the sign
Germany - Audac has announced a new partnership with S.E.A. Vertrieb & Consulting as the exclusive distributor of its audio solutions in Germany.
Alexander Kirchfeld, S.E.A. CEO, comments: “We have experienced the quality of Audac’s products as well as the passion of its employees ourselves and believe they will enhance the everyday lives of our customers. The new partnership between our companies allows us to fulfil the needs of our customers even better by providing them with a wide range of innovative audio solutions.”
Mark Asselberghs, Audac’s international sales director, adds: “We are constantly looking for new like-minded companies that share our passion for innovative audio solutions to broaden our network. S.E.A. perfectly fits that description. We believe that they are an outstanding company that values giving their partners the best experience possible, so we are excited to enter this promising partnership.”
Canada/Germany - The Canada-based IP video processing specialist Embrionix has become part of Riedel Communications.
Founded in 2009, Embrionix provides miniaturised, high-density IP gateways, IP signal processors and converters for broadcast video applications. Since pioneering the use of small form-factor pluggable (SFP) modules for signal processing early in its history, Embrionix has been granted more than 20 patents for its technologies.
Riedel Communications has grown to become a leader in distributed intercom and video network solutions. Riedel has been pursuing a networked approach to video infrastructures for more than a decade with its real-time media network, MediorNet.
"Sometimes, things just fit. Just like Riedel, Embrionix started out as a garage company and has managed to preserve its innovation-driven startup spirit on its way to global success. Our company philosophies are an ideal match, and our product portfolios and competencies complement each other perfectly," comments Thomas Riedel, CEO, Riedel Communications.
"Riedel is an international player, and we can offer Embrionix all of the benefits of a comprehensive global sales and support infrastructure. Embrionix, on the other hand, has access to unique technologies and proprietary knowledge that will be instrumental in our quest for innovation leadership in the field of video infrastructures."
With this partnership, Riedel gains access to considerable engineering talent in the Embrionix workforce - the majority of which comprises engineers specializing in leading-edg
UK - The team behind the ground-breaking Blackout installation have released the results of the UK Backstage Entertainment Industry’s Evaluation on Mental Health Awareness.
This pioneering study was launched alongside the acclaimed 6-minute immersive experience at September’s PLASA Show, held at London Olympia. Funded by leading industry associations PLASA, the ALD, the ASD, the ABTT and the PSA, the academic analysis was conducted by Dr Paul Hanna, research director in clinical psychology at the University of Surrey. Hanna has worked closely with Blackout’s core creative team since they launched the installation in May 2019 at The Guildford School of Acting.
According to the survey, the prevalence of mental health issues among those working in the UK technical, backstage and entertainment industry is far higher than the national average. More than half (58.7%) of those surveyed admitted to suffering from a mental health problem, way above the UK national average prevalence rate of 25%. Women are more often affected, with 71.1% of females stating they currently have, or previously had, a mental health problem compared to 54.2% of males. Working in the industry is often a contributing factor, with 45.5% of those surveyed stating that they did not have a mental health issue before starting work in the industry.
Mig Burgess, who headed up the Blackout project, comments: “I am thrilled that as many as 1,300 of our colleagues have contributed to this important survey. We are so lucky to have Paul working w
UK - The Stage to Studio competition for the best audio mix, hosted by PLASA in association with Sound on Sound and Headliner magazines, ends on Monday, 13 January. Those interested in entering can find out more on the PLASA Show website.
The competition launched in November inviting submissions for the best mix of VC Pines’ Stage to Studio session from PLASA Show 2019. The packed sessions saw a line up of emerging artists perform live, headlined by VC Pines who was recently BBC Radio One’s artist of the week. The sessions were mixed at the show by eminent engineers, with Pines’ recording overseen by Jamie McEvoy (Noel Gallagher, Placebo, the Vaccines.) The raw audio files were then released for the competition.
Audio professionals and enthusiasts from around the world have already entered, vying for one of two professional audio packages worth £1,000 each. Genelec are giving away a pair of 8320 monitors with additional GLM software, and Shure are offering a KSM32 microphone and set of SRH1540 headphones.
The judging team is comprised of representatives from Headliner, Sound on Sound, Genelec, Shure, Miloco Studios, PLASA, and VC Pines. The winners for the two competition categories - Best Original Mix and Best Alternative Mix - will be announced in February.
The Stage to Studio competition closes on midnight (GMT) on Monday 13 January. To find out more about entering please visit:
Fire Damage - North London music venue Koko has been damaged by fire. The London fire brigade said it was called to the scene in Camden, in north London, shortly before 9pm on Monday night (6 January). About a third of the roof of the venue, which in previous incarnations was known as The Music Machine and Camden Palace, was alight as firefighters tried to save the rest of the building. The former theatre is covered in scaffolding as part of a renovation. The venue was due to reopen in spring 2020 after a “major state-of-the-art” refurbishment, after the purchase of two adjacent buildings.
Royalty Cheque - Bohemian Rhapsody's success at the box office in 2018 was replicated in the living room last year. The Freddie Mercury biopic was the biggest home video of 2019, selling 1.7m copies in the UK. Two-thirds of those copies were on DVD or Blu-Ray, with the rest coming from downloads.
Overall, UK consumer spending on video grew by 9.5%, making it the fastest-growing entertainment sector, fuelled by the popularity of streaming. Data compiled by the ERA (Entertainment Retailers Association) shows that physical video sales - which include DVDs, Blu-rays and 4K UHD - decreased from £616.9m in 2018 to £477.2m last year, a drop of 22.6%. “There is no doubt retailers of physical product had a tough time in 2019,” said the Entertainment Retailers Association's CEO Kim Bayley.
United Queendom - Kensington Palace will host an immersive theatrical experience for the first time next month. The building will showcase Les Enfants Terri
South Africa - DWR’s first sale of Astera Titan Tubes in the country was to freelance gaffer Andre Beumer from Just Light It in Pretoria, who works extensively with several leading DoPs and other clients in the film, TV, commercials and video industry.
No sooner had DWR and Astera struck the distribution deal, Andre was on Duncan Riley’s doorstep, and in fact the eight-way Titan Tube kit was DWR’s original demo kit, which he purchased on the day it arrived in their warehouse in Johannesburg!
Duncan commented: “I always knew Astera was going to be popular, but even I was taken aback by Andre’s enthusiasm. He rocked up, virtually snatched them from us, transferred the money and disappeared in a cloud of dust up the road,” he says laughing. “I think he was straight out on a shoot that day using them.”
“They are totally amazing tools,” confirms Andre who appreciates the incredible versatility. He adds that he’s impressed with the way Astera has thought of every possible permutation that someone might use to mount and rig the tubes - including hand-holding with the ‘light sabre’ handle.
“You can really work fast on any site with these, utilising a number of smart features like telling the source how long to operate and other extremely helpful things.”
UAE - CT has announced that it is officially an authorised L-Acoustics calibration certified provider.
L-Acoustics recently announced the creation of authorised calibration centres, designed to both strengthen the technical partnership between L-Acoustics and its certified providers (CPs), and to deliver a greater level of system configuration and calibration expertise at a local level for small to medium installations.
“For Creative Technology, being an authorised calibration centre allows us to provide a greater level of service, knowledge and support to our clients, both from within our technical engineering teams and having direct access to L-Acoustics development and support management,” says Andy Reardon, Middle East managing director. “We pride ourselves in delivering solutions based on engineering and from the ground up. The Authorised Calibration Centre gives us greater levels of understanding of L-Acoustics systems, processors and procedures.”
“The partnership with our CPs is extremely important to us,” says Arnaud Delorme, applications engineer at L-Acoustics. “We maintain a very close two-way relationship with them, keeping them up to date on innovations at L-Acoustics while also constantly seeing their field experience and feedback. This new level of partnership will ultimately be rolled out with all our partners where technical relations are already well established and who wish to go even further with their L-Acoustics systems.”
USA - The Live Design International Conference and Tradeshow (LDI) has joined Questex, a global business information company.
Questex states its goal is to create a “world-class information services business by advancing companies who help people live longer, healthier and better lives through the experience economy.”
“This exciting development allows us to provide our audience and exhibitors with even better experiences, professional training, and engagement as Questex is strategically focused on the experience economy,” comments LDI show director, Jessi Cybulski. “LDI remains dedicated to serving and growing the live design community. We don’t anticipate any of our live design/LDI community will experience any changes, except good ones, as we move forward. Expect more information on this soon.”
Paul Miller, CEO, Questex, adds: “The experience economy is here. Companies driven by ‘experiences’ have a competitive advantage with business growth. In fact, they grow four times faster than companies that don’t embrace the experience economy. Research shows that 74 percent of consumers prioritize experiences over products or things. The customer experience has taken over from price and product features as the key brand differentiator because individuals want to participate in meaningful work completed on their own timetables. As businesses compete for the attention of customers, experiences become a unique selling point.”
Kelly Turner, director of sales at LDI, comments: “Our focus is now on LDI 2020 as we continue to grow
USA - AMS Neve and Westlake Pro have partnered to create the first AMS Neve Showroom in the US. Located at Westlake Pro’s headquarters in North Hollywood, the space provides an environment for clients to listen to the entire AMS Neve product portfolio.
David Walton, AMS Neve’s distribution manager, comments: “It’s really exciting to be working with Westlake Pro and the new showroom because they have enormous experience, ranging from frontline sales to complete integrations and development of some of the biggest, most famous studios around the world. With products like mixing consoles, support is very important. Westlake’s experience with design and integration, as well as on-going support for the products they sell, means that we are in a really good position to work together moving forward both with existing and new products.”
Walton adds that, as AMS Neve is a British company, the physical and time difference between the UK and the US is best overcome by partnering with Westlake, particularly in areas such as customer support.
“Our valued US customers can be confident that their calls, questions, maintenance, and support needs will all answered promptly and efficiently,” he says.
Joe Taupier, president of Westlake Pro, adds: “Westlake Pro is proud to be the first authorised AMS Neve demo showroom in the United States. Our fully functional AMS Neve Showroom has Dante connectivity throughout, so whether you want to hear the capabilities of the Genesys Black in stereo or Atmos, we are ready for you.”
Poland - Absen has appointed SQM as the company’s official distributor in Poland. SQM, a specialist provider of multimedia and event services, will have exclusive rights over the sale and distribution of the Aries AX1.5 MiniLED rental display, in the Polish rental staging market.
Headquartered in Poznan, SQM provides multimedia and audio-visual rental services for trade fairs, conferences and events across Europe. The company has recently added over 100sq.m of Absen’s AX1.5 product - part of the Aries MiniLED rental series - to its inventory, making it one of the few partners to be able to offer rental customers such a high-quality 1.5mm fine pitch LED display.
“Quality is the most important factor for us and the AX1.5 certainly delivers on so many levels,” says Michal Górski, CEO at SQM. “After visiting Absen’s manufacturing base in China and witness-testing the product ourselves, we can confidently say that the AX1.5 is the best 1.5mm rental display on the market right now so we are thrilled to be able to be offer it to our European customers.”
Maya Shu, regional sales manager for Absen Poland, comments: “We are excited to have SQM as our distribution partner and are looking forward to working closely with them on opportunities the region. SQM are a forward-thinking company with an excellent reputation for quality and service, so we are confident they will strengthen Absen’s position as the go-to provider of LED displays in Poland.”
Europe - Notch, the company behind the realtime visual creation tool, has launched a podcast, Showcast, giving creatives a platform to share their project stories.
Showcast is “made by creators for creatives” and covers real-life experiences from Glastonbury to music videos. It is recommended for those who want to get insight into realtime production workflows.
During the 30-minute episodes, key industry creatives share their experiences, techniques, and stories across live touring, VFX, XR and motion graphics. The upcoming podcasts for season one will include discussions with Kevin Zhu, senior designer at All of it Now on how he helped Korean supergroup BTS create the first tour to ever use live integrated AR camera systems; as well as an interview with director Pod Bluman and Notch designer Kyle Reseigh at Bluman Associates. Pod and Kyle will be discussing their work on Emeli Sande’s Real Life tour, and how they created a stunning animated backdrop which could be controlled live from the lighting desk.
The first three three episodes are available at shows.acast.com/notch-showcast.
USA - Entertainment technology charity Behind the Scenes has announced that the The Lightpower Collection’s work of famed Rock‘n’Roll photographer and author Neal Preston is returning to the NAMM Show (16-19 January, Anaheim). Neal’s pictures will be displayed in the BTS booth #10747 and will include pictures not previously seen at the show including Mötley Crüe, Kiss, and Bruce Springsteen.
Neal’s books Exhilarated & Exhausted and In the Eye of the Hurricane and posters, including his famous images of Robert Plant and Carlos Santana, will be available for sale. Proceeds will benefit the charity.
Neal will be present in the Behind the Scenes booth to sign books and posters on Thursday, 16 January at 3pm and on Friday, 17 January at 11am and 3pm.
Neal’s archive is regarded as one of the music industry’s most extensive and significant photo collections. Rock fans know him best as the photographer who has toured with Led Zeppelin, The Who, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, and countless others.
Lightpower is an internationally established distributor for stage and studio lighting equipment. The Lightpower Collection was born out of a company culture that has a passion for collecting Rock’n’Roll art.
The Behind the Scenes charity provides entertainment technology professionals who are seriously ill or injured with grants that may be used for basic living and medical expenses.
UK - IPS is the first rental stockist of the new SGM G-7 BeaSt fixture. This LED moving head with beam and strobe effect incorporates a parabolic reflector, which creates zoomable collimated beam effects with a 10,000-lumen pixel controllable strobe in the centre.
IPS MD James Mason says: “I was really impressed with these units from the first time I saw them, as they are able to create such a wide range of effects. Also, they are incredibly bright - and fully IP66-rated.”
The G-7 BeaSt fixtures will join a well-established range of SGM products already working hard in the IPS hire inventory, including G-Profile Turbo, P-5 and Q-7 fixtures. MD Mason adds: “There has been a lot of anticipation following previews at PLASA Show, and then the big reveal at LDI - our customers are already specifying the G-7 BeaSt on shows for 2020.”
World - As the LSi office closes for the Christmas break, we would like to wish all our readers a very special holiday and a happy and prosperous 2020. We'll be back with more daily news here at LSiOnline in the New Year, kicking off on 2nd January. Until then, have a great time - and thanks for reading . . .
The LSi team
USA - Harman Professional Solutions has announced that Brad ‘fixintogetmixin’ Divens will present two masterclasses at the 2020 NAMM show in Anaheim.
In addition to currently working as FOH engineer for Enrique Iglesias, Divens has also worked for Linkin Park, Garbage, Cyndi Lauper, HIM, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Mötley Crüe, Jane's Addiction and more.
Divens will speak at two exclusive Masterclass events, presented by JBL and Soundcraft. Both events will take place on Thursday, 16 January 16 in the AES Academy 2020 room on the fourth floor of the Anaheim Hilton and will be hosted by Soundcraft’s live sound product specialist, Tom Der.
During his Building the Mix masterclass, Divens will discuss and demonstrate his approach to putting together a live mix, including technical topics such as the basics of input gain, EQ, compression, plugins and routing, as well as creative concepts regarding the audience and the artist. During The Music masterclass, Divens will deconstruct live mixes from three different artists and discuss his approach to achieving a polished final mix.
UK - Audiologic has announced that it has been appointed as UK distributor for microphone manufacturer MXL’s UCC range of products.
Andy Lewis, Audiologic managing director, comments: “We’re pleased to be able to offer our customers the MXL UCC product range. Flexibility and scalability are key to successful unified communications and the MXL conference solutions are also Zoom Room certified. This excellent addition to our portfolio is sure to be a very popular choice in the UC sector.”
UK - Focusrite, the global music and audio products company, has announced the acquisition of pro audio solutions manufacturer Martin Audio.
The total consideration to be paid is £39.2m for the business. This will be funded through a combination of existing cash resources and a new loan facility of £40m with HSBC and Natwest. The completion of the loan facility, and hence the completion of the acquisition, is dependent upon shareholder approval in a general meeting on 30 December 2019.
Martin Audio will continue to operate from their headquarter offices and factory in High Wycombe, under the leadership of managing director Dominic Harter.
Harter comments: “We are excited by the transaction and what Martin Audio can achieve together with Focusrite. Focusrite is a strong brand in the industry and given the geographic proximity of both our businesses we know the team at Focusrite very well. There is a great deal we can do together and we look forward to working closely to develop the opportunities across both of our businesses."
He adds: "In Focusrite we have an industry neighbour of the finest pedigree; a global leader in its own right. Their culture mirrors our own and, getting to know the team, I sense a strong similarity with the deep-rooted values of our own Martin Audio Family. Focusrite are the perfect partner to help Martin Audio continue the innovations that have driven its success. So it is with great pride and enthusiasm that we take this next step; a momentous occasion as the Martin Audio brand enters its 50th year. Working with