Business News

New HK Audio Distributor in Spain
Tuesday, 13 February 2001

Alberdi Pro in Barcelona has taken on exclusive distributorship of HK Audio sound reinforcement products in Spain. According to Hans Stamer, HK’s MD of music and sales: "Spain is one of the most important markets for audio equipment in Europe. To be successful in this market we need a strong, capable distribution partner, and Alberdi Pro is that partner." The company already has all major HK Audio products in stock.

HHB Celebrates 25 Years
Tuesday, 13 February 2001

HHB Communications celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. The company, founded by Ian Jones, has grown to become one of the UK's leading pro audio suppliers and a major international manufacturer of digital audio equipment and recording media. With offices in London, Los Angeles and Toronto, and distribution partners in more than 30 countries throughout the world, HHB now employs a staff of 70. During its history, HHB has played a pivotal role in establishing the professional acceptance of many digital recording technologies, notably DAT, CD-R and Minidisc and today HHB's own products encompass all these formats. To date, almost three million HHB DAT tapes have been sold, the new Portadisc MD portable looks set to become an industry-standard broadcast recorder and the new HHB BurnIT is the latest in a line of CD recorders which have had a high profile in the market. Looking to the future, HHB sales director Steve Angel outlined the company's plans to assist its customers in taking on the multi-channel world and helping them through the transition from analogue to digital. Our picture shows founder Ian Jones (foreground) with sales director Steve Angel.

 
 
Project News
Monday, 12 February 2001

A couple of new developments on the performing arts front. Ballast Construction has won a £14m contract to build the Laban Centre in Deptford, including 13 dance studios and a 300-seat theatre, whilst Newcastle City Council is currently reviewing plans with Newcastle University to develop a £60m arts and heritage complex at the Playhouse theatre site at Barras Bridge. Leisure development continues apace: Government approval has been given for a £30m leisure development at Gloucester Docks which will include a multiplex cinema, restaurants and retail units. Associated British Ports, meanwhile, has submitted plans for a new leisure and retail development at Alexandra Dock in Grimsby, including shops, a restaurant, pub and possibly a hotel. Isle of Wight Council is considering plans from Godshill Park Developments for the creation of a 60-bedroom hotel and conference centre in Wootton and finally Leicester City has won approval to build a £35m 32,000-seat football stadium at Freeman's Wharf.

 
TC Electronic Takes on TC Works
Monday, 12 February 2001

On the first of this month, TC Electronic took over the exclusive distribution of TC Works products for the UK and Ireland. TC Electronic picked up the contract after TC Works and previous distributor the Arbiter Group agreed to go their separate ways. In the TC Electronic UK team, Jim Motley, will be the man responsible for TC Works sales, while Filip Saelen from the TC Electronic Customer Support team will be taking care of support issues.

 
 
Park Avenue Cyber Seat ContractPark Avenue Cyber Seat Contract
Monday, 12 February 2001

Park Avenue has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to design and build new exhibits for General Motors’ successful Test Track attraction at Epcot in Orlando, Florida. Guests board the Cyber Seats and are taken on a virtual journey, which uses state-of-the-art stereoscopic displays, 3D sound and seats that rotate and vibrate to enhance the experience. This project will be the second ride based around an animated film that Park Avenue has designed, produced and installed at Disney. In July 1998, Park Avenue created the ‘Sparky’ ride film and 18 Cyber Seats as part of the new Innoventions Pavilion within Tomorrowland at DisneyLand in Anaheim.

 
Direct to Lighting Technology
Monday, 12 February 2001

The rapidly expanding Lighting Technology Group has acquired Milton Keynes-based Direct Lighting. Established for 10 years, Direct Lighting is well known in the industry for the distribution of light sources and related products to independent retailers and commercial end-users. Direct Lighting directors Ian Moodie and Steve Copping will remain with the company, concentrating their future efforts entirely on sales. Stock will move to LTG's brand new central distribution depot in Corby. LTG's sales and marketing director Garry Nelsson, commenting on this latest acquisition told PLASA Media: "This is an opportunity for us to develop our core business of light sources into an entirely different sector of the market. We have a vast stock of lamps and this will enable Direct Lighting to offer faster delivery times and a wider range to their existing customers as well as providing the resources to develop new products and markets."

 
 
Creating the Perfect Pint . . .
Saturday, 10 February 2001

In a launch event spanning three days, Imagination has opened the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, a brand experience on which the company has been working since 1997. The Guinness Storehouse, which replaces the Hopstore, the brewery’s existing visitor attraction, is set to become one of Ireland’s biggest draws, with a million Irish and overseas visitors anticipated annually.

The six-storey Guinness Storehouse sits at the heart of the St James’ Gate brewery complex. Originally built in 1904, the former fermentation plant was the first steel-framed building in Ireland. Imagination has converted the 170,000 sq.ft building into a state-of-the-art visitor attraction featuring an immersive Guinness Experience as well as three bars and a retail store. The Irish business community, as well as Guinness’ own staff, are able to use the Guinness Storehouse’s extensive facilities for corporate training and events, while the building’s purpose-built gallery and exhibition area will host an eclectic mix of one-off artistic, musical and cultural events designed to attract a local as well as an international audience. The building is also home to the Guinness Archive, which contains 250 years of brewing and social history.

The emphasis on attracting local visitors as well as the tourist market was a key element of Imagination’s vision for the Guinness Storehouse. The company collaborated with Dublin-based architectural practice Robinson Keefe Devane in the conversion of the building, whose most distinctive feature is its 102ft high atrium, in the

 
Pro Audio Theatre at Event 2001
Friday, 9 February 2001

Following ever increasing attendances over its four year history, the dates for John Hornby Skewes’ Event 2001 have been confirmed as June 17-19. One major new feature of Event 2001, which takes place at JHS’s premises in Garforth, Leeds, will be the provision of a dedicated pro audio demo theatre on-site. This will feature the HK Audio range of pro audio, including the HX active systems, LUCAS, ELIAS and ACTOR, and the most recent addition to the range, the powerful 3.6kW PROJECTOR. Other pro audio products on show include The Scanner radio system, the Get Yourself Connected series of cabling, JHS pro audio components and Kustom PA systems and cabinets.

 
 
Total Production Moves to Mondiale
Friday, 9 February 2001

Mondiale Publishing has bought Total Production magazine from Pulse Publications. The title will now be added to Mondiale’s portfolio of magazines serving the entertainment industry which include Night, Mondo, Theme and Sleeper. TP’s editor Mark Cunningham and sales and marketing director Andy Lenthall will remain with the magazine. Pulse Publications, meanwhile, has announced its intention to continue publication of TP’s sister title Corporate Event Design.

 
Federal Lands Belfast Contract
Friday, 9 February 2001

Macclesfield-based Federal Signal has won a major contract to provide state-of-the-art VA equipment for the new multi-million pound Belfast City Airport development. The company will be supplying its broadcast VA system Verifire to Oxford-based systems integrators and project contractors Installation Technologies who will integrate it with hard disc-based background music equipment to provide an advanced multi-featured VA and audio communications system. The contract also involves Federal Signal specifying speakers for the column, corridor and ceiling mounting.

 
 
Pier Pressure for Bose
Friday, 9 February 2001

Weston Super Mare’s Grand Pier will be reopening in 2001 with a brand new Bose sound system to improve the quality of public address announcements along the pier. Bose field engineers undertook a series of audio tests and measurements to establish the best solution for the pier’s acoustic problems. They came up with a series of Bose 402 full range speakers positioned throughout the amusement arcade on the pier and angled directly towards the listeners so that sound reaches them without distortion or reverberation. On the exterior walkway, Bose 151 environmental speakers have been specified which are designed to be weather resistant for outdoor use.

 
Strand 500 Workshops
Thursday, 8 February 2001

The Service Company, in conjunction with White Light’s Training Initiative, has recently completed a successful series of half-day training courses on Strand Lighting’s 500 Series of lighting consoles. The courses, aimed at West End and freelance technicians, were held in White Light’s West End offices in Shaftesbury Avenue. The sessions looked at the basics of console set-up and operation, software, hardware and communications. The series of sessions concluded with a seminar on programming moving lights with the consoles, led by leading moving light programmer and L&SI writer Rob Halliday. A further series of workshops are scheduled for March 2001. Anyone seeking further information on these courses, or wanting to book places on them, should contact White Light or The Service Company on +44 (0)20 7731 3291.

 
 
Vari-Lite Expands European Dealer Network
Thursday, 8 February 2001

Vari-Lite has announced the first phase of the expansion of its European sales dealer network, supporting the distribution of the new Vari*Lite Series 2000 luminaries, with the appointment of Norsk Sceneteknikk A.S. in Norway and HispaLite in Spain. Vari-Lite has a long relationship with both companies, who have considerable experience of the company’s products and the technical resources to support sales customers. The network is designed to provide an enhanced service to the European marketplace, with local expertise, warranty support and training being easily accessible to end-users. Vari-Lite is actively expanding the network across Europe.

 
RG Jones Joins Synco Network
Thursday, 8 February 2001

Announced at the Live! Show at Alexandra Palace in London yesterday, London-based audio rental and installation specialist RG Jones has become the first UK-based member of the fast-expanding Synco Network of European production rental companies. The agreement sees RG Jones purchase 50kW of the Renkus-Heinz Synco Touring System (RH-STS), along with amplifier racks, rigging equipment and 12 of Synco CW121 stage monitor wedges - the first Synco system to be based in the UK. RG Jones joins five existing Synco Network members: Ampco Pro Rent and PAS Audio (Holland), Puro Audio (Portugal) and DEE Sound & Light and Flashlight/APR (Belgium). The addition of RG Jones makes Synco the largest single-brand-based PA network in Europe, with over 1 million watts of RH-STS PA systems.

 
 
Set Lighting Becomes First VL Rental Associate
Wednesday, 7 February 2001

Set Lighting & Sound has become the first UK rental associate of Vari-Lite, having added the Vari*Lite VL2202 spot luminaire to its extensive hire stock. The Based on the VL2201 spot luminaire, the VL2202 features an upper enclosure that houses the control electronics as well as a power factor corrected arc power supply for the 700W short arc lamp. The small, lightweight, and virtually silent luminaire also features a zoom optics system and rotating gobos. Controlled from any Vari*Lite console, it can also be controlled from a wide variety of DMX512 consoles without the need for additional interface equipment. Set Lighting’s Guy Heselden told us: "We are very excited at the opportunity of becoming the first UK Rental Associate, and looking forward to along term working relationship with Vari-Lite. Initially adding the VL2202 luminaire to our hire fleet allows us to supply an ever-changing and demanding hire market." Established in 1992, Set Lighting & Sound is also one of the UK's leading suppliers of Martin Professional’s MAC 500 and 600 luminaires for rental.

 
Skanning the Reef with DN9848
Wednesday, 7 February 2001

UK indie band Reef have just completed a mini UK tour as a follow-up to their recent UK tour at the end of last year. Reading-based Skan PA provided all the audio requirements, and took the opportunity to put Klark Teknik’s new DN9848 loudspeaker processor through its paces. Skan’s Chris Fitch was pleased with the way the units performed. "We had three units on FOH for Reef driving our Turbosound Floodlight rig. What impressed me most was the flexibility of the processor, and the fact that every input talks to every output. I also liked the fact that all the offline editing is done in MS Excel, which I felt was a real bonus. Extremely user-friendly, and both clear and simple to use."

After that the units are destined for Sound Republic in Leicester Square for the launch of the 2001 Comic Relief appeal, where Skan will be using them to provide 24 isolated feeds for the various members of the press who will be broadcasting the event. "Effectively we’ll be using the DN9848s as a distribution amp to keep all of the various feeds clean and separated, as there will be a huge amount going on over several different frequencies," said Fitch. "Although it’s early days yet for us with this product, I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen so far both from a sonic point of view, and as I stated earlier, its amazing versatility."

 
 
A-Ha Makes Comeback With Midas
Wednesday, 7 February 2001

Norwegian pop group A-Ha, who rose to fame in the mid-80s, is back with the critically-acclaimed album, Minor Earth, Major Sky. The album, described as ‘one of the best comeback albums ever,’ was voted into 29th place in the top 100 albums of the year by a panel of 40 music journalists in the UK ahead of the likes of U2, Fatboy Slim and Bjork. The group is currently on a sell-out tour of Japan and Germany with Hannover-based rental company, Rocksound, supplying the PA equipment including a Midas XL4 at FOH and a Heritage 3000 for monitors. Although Rocksound is providing the gear for the German leg of the tour, the engineers are from Norwegian rental company AVAB-CAC, who will be taking over the equipment requirements when the band returns to Oslo for two dates in March. FOH engineer Sven Persson specifically requested a Midas XL4 for FOH requirements, stating that it is "quite simply the best live mixing console in the world."

The console supplied by AVAB-CAC for the Oslo dates is a 56-input fully automated version with flying faders on all channels. Jarle Kvalsund specified a Heritage 3000 for the monitor console largely due to the 24 flexible auxiliary sends which he has configured as eight stereo and five mono mixes to suit A-Ha’s requirements. This flexibility makes the desk perfect for mixing stereo in-ear monitors which the whole band is using.

 
DMX512 Revision up for Review
Tuesday, 6 February 2001

ESTA, the North America-based Entertainment Services & Technology Association has announced that BSR E1.11, Entertainment Technology - USITT DMX512-A, Asynchronous Serial Digital Data Transmission Standard for Controlling Lighting Equipment and Accessories, is now available for public review and comment. This document is an updating and revision of the widely-used DMX512/1990, which was originally developed by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. USITT's DMX512 is being revised to clarify undefined and loosely-defined provisions in the original document and to accommodate new lighting technology while maintaining backward compatibility with products that comply with the existing standard. The new version addresses issues regarding the use of alternate start codes, the undefined data pair, grounding practices, over-voltage protection, error detection, and alternate connectors.

Comments on BSR E1.11 are being sought so that the standard may reflect the consensus of the entertainment lighting industry. The complete public review materials packet includes a copy of BSR E1.11 , a comment form for BSR E1.11, and this instruction page. The public is invited to use these materials to review the document and to offer criticism - both positive and negative - by the comment deadline of 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 24 April 2001. Comments received after that time may not be considered as part of this public review.

 
 
Big Sound Arrives on the Scene
Tuesday, 6 February 2001

A new PA company has been established in South Wales to offer live sound services to both touring bands and corporate clients. Based in Swansea, the Big Sound Corporation offers a comprehensive stock of high-end PA equipment from manufacturers such as Hill Audio, Allen & Heath, Mackie and Yamaha. Its aim is to offer a truly professional PA service, backed by top-quality equipment and experienced live sound personnel. The new company combines the touring experience of live sound engineer Duncan Wild with a revolutionary modular loudspeaker system designed by Malcolm Hill - the designer whose systems dominated live sound in the 1980s. By utilising Hill’s latest Powercube system, Big Sound offers promoters and venue managers the same live sound quality that drove Knebworth, Monsters of Rock and the US and UK ends of Live Aid. Big Sound’s Powercubes are ideal for up-and-coming bands, as systems can be supplied in affordable packages to suit any size of venue. Duncan Wild says: "Although our primary business is live sound, we also have the necessary expertise to advise on other aspects of live event planning, such as lighting, staging and video equipment for conferences."

 
ESS rocks with AC/DCESS rocks with AC/DC
Monday, 5 February 2001

Edwin Shirley Staging is helping AC/DC to rock in Australia as part of its massive world tour. The company has won the A$250,000 contract to provide all the structures and staging for the Australian stretch of the tour that has so far seen concerts in Perth, Hobart and Canberra. The AC/DC stage is a massive 45m wide by 21.6m deep. In total 29,620kg of equipment (the weight of over 300 people) is being hung from the steel work supporting the inflatable roof. The visual extravaganza features a 30ft moving statue, six cannons that fire during the show, as well as a giant bell that moves up and down the stage, carrying a member of the band at one point of the show.

 
 
HK Audio Expands Distributor Network
Monday, 5 February 2001

HK Audio has announced the expansion of its worldwide distributor network during 2000. The company has welcomed GB Music in Bratislava as its exclusive distributor in Slovakia on 1 December 2000, while In Israel, the firm OR-KOL in Hacarmel is assuming the exclusive distribution of HK Audio, effective immediately. Demand for HK Audio products is likewise on the rise in Asia, and Excel Music & Sports in Singapore has exclusive distribution in the countries of Malaysia and Singapore. The first container is on its way, and dates for the initial demonstrations have already been set.

 
Beyerdynamic Links to MIPRO
Monday, 5 February 2001

Beyerdynamic Germany has made an exclusive distribution agreement with ISO 9001-certified manufacturer, MIPRO Electronics, for its product line including wireless microphone systems, portable wireless PA systems and wired vocal condenser microphones in Germany. MIPRO designs, manufactures and markets VHF and UHF wireless systems and has worldwide distribution to over 50 countries. Its product ranges include entry level to sophisticated PC-interface monitor and control wireless systems. Beyerdynamic's international marketing and sales director, Hartmut Reichert stated: "In combining the technical experience of beyerdynamic in audio developments and MIPRO in wireless technologies, we clearly see an international alliance that will allow us to offer the best products in features, quality and technology to our customers."

 
 
Hayden’s Raper & Wayman Deal
Monday, 5 February 2001

Hayden Laboratories Ltd, UK distributor for Rane products manufactured in the US, has appointed Raper & Wayman as a reseller/distributor for the Rane Inc range of ECS (Engineered Conference Systems) audio products. The move is part of a campaign spearheaded by Hayden to highlight the potential of this range of conferencing equipment. Ian Downs from Hayden’s Pro Audio Division, comments: "We chose Raper & Wayman because of their well-established presence, knowledge and considerable expertise in this market." Raper & Wayman will handle Rane ECS products supplied via Hayden in a consultative capacity to other dealers as well as in their role of installation subcontractors. In conjunction with Hayden, Raper & Wayman will also supply a comprehensive UK-based service and support facility for this product. At the heart of the Rane ECS is an 8-input automatic microphone mixer, the ECM 82/82A, which integrates sound reinforcement within a room. Various plug-ins can then be added as required. The latest addition to the range is the new ECM 64 four-input conferencing mixer.

 
Buy Now, Pay Later
Sunday, 4 February 2001

According to new research just published, half of all the companies in the sound equipment industry increased their level of debt last year, suggesting that companies are more confident than before. The findings come from the latest Plimsoll Portfolio Analysis.

The research on 230 companies, who range from loudspeaker manufacturers through audio consultants to distributors and contractors, also revealed that most companies are using their debt in their day-to-day business. 86% of those surveyed had some form of debt last year. Only 17 showed no debt at all. Adding debt takes confidence, not only in the future ability of the company to pay the debt back, but also to generate extra profits to justify the risk.Why would almost 50% of the industry add debt last year? Two key reasons seem to be increasing their formal lending. 1) Companies are financing losses in a bold attempt to keep afloat and stay in the marketplace. For 25 companies borrowing money is a means of staying in business. In fact, these are located and named in the analysis as having taken on more debt last year whilst funding losses.

2) Companies are investing to become more competitive, believing that extra investment in assets will ultimately deliver more profit. Only 25 out of 62 companies or 40% of those adding extra debts increased profits last year.

Obviously too much debt is a bad thing, yet it needn’t be. The research suggests that a typical sound equipment company finances on average 30% of their assets. This statistic, however, hides the reality that almost 28% of companies have a debt leve

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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