Business News

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

A Modern Approach to a Classic . . .
Saturday, 3 February 2001

The lighting for the new season of Classical Spectacular shows was recently pre-programmed at Stage Electrics’ new Virtual Lighting Studio in London’s Waterloo. The show, which performed at arenas around Britain and at the Royal Albert Hall, involved over 200 performers playing 20 popular classical pieces, complete with cannons, muskets and an indoor firework finale.

The show set up on the morning of each performance and had to be technically ready by 2.30pm for an orchestral rehearsal. Promoter Raymond Gubbay has long championed the use of large intelligent lighting systems to accompany the Classical Spectacular experience and expected this system to be used to its full potential with some 500 lighting cues throughout the show.

LD Durham Marenghi, who has been lighting the show for the last decade, utilised over 100 intelligent Martin Professional luminaires with 2,000 control channels as part of his new design. Illuminating the production are 16 MAC 2000s, Martin’s most powerful automated moving head, along with 16 MAC 500s, 72 MAC 600s, 12 Pro 400 colour-changers and 22 conventional lights, all supplied by Stage Electrics of Bristol.

It was clear that the lighting programme could not be created in one morning on site, so pre-programming was vital. In the past, large, expensive rehearsal spaces such as the Docklands Arena have been used, along with all the necessary equipment and crew, for one week. The show would then be worked through with the orchestra and choir layout marked with tape on the arena floor - a far from ideal method of envisaging

Lamba Rewards Dealers at NAMMLamba Rewards Dealers at NAMM
Friday, 2 February 2001

Lamba, the Hertfrodshire-based distributor for KAM, Nady, Stanton and Cerwin Vega! products in the UK, paid for 12 of their UK dealers to preview their suppliers’ new products on a three-day trip to the recent NAMM show in Los Angeles. Gerry Frost, director of Lamba, said: "We extended the invitation not necessarily to our highest-spending dealers, but as a loyalty reward to those prepared to stock the widest range of products."

Martin MACs on Ireland’s Millionaire
Friday, 2 February 2001

Martin MAC fixtures are being used in Ireland’s RTE studios for the Irish edition of Who Wants to be a Millionaire - the 77th version of the show to go on air worldwide. Hosting the Irish show is Irish Late Late Show presenter, Gay Byrne. In the Millionaire studio, 22 MAC 600, 10 MAC 250 and 4 MAC 500 moving heads create a stunning lightshow on the set. The ingenuity of lighting designers, Joseph Canavan and Luis Poveda, given the strict guidelines for lighting the show, is highly praiseworthy, says Lisa Mitchell of Tyrone Productions, adding: "Millionaire in Ireland has turned out to be a phenomenon! The Irish public expected a scaled-down version of the British Millionaire Show, but everyone is really pleased. There are over 1.2 million viewers, which tops Gay Byrne’s Late, Late Show figures - That’s phenomenal!"

Hollywood’s Biggest Party
Friday, 2 February 2001

Hollywood recently celebrated its biggest party - the Golden Globes - held in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton. Production Resource Group companies Fourth Phase, ProMix and LSD/Fourth Phase were on hand to help. ProMix Burbank provided all of the audio equipment for the event, which included the press audio and video feeds to the worldwide press audience. All presenters and award recipients were heard through the propriety ProMix ‘pop-up mic’, a robotic system. Front-of-house console was a Yamaha PM4000, driving Apogee speakers and Crest amplifiers. Sound designer for the event was Gary Hardesty with his team consisting of audio supervisor Bruce Burns, system engineer Andrew Fletcher, press liaison engineer Steve Cohen, with Mark King on broadcast audio mix and Randy Faustino on house audio mix.

The interior lighting was designed by Lee Rose of Design Partners, and LSD/Fourth Phase provided the rigging and conventional lighting package for the 11th consecutive year. LSD crew chief Ken Delvo and LSD technician Jeremy Schilling oversaw the installation and operation of the kit, which included ETC Source Fours and Par 64s, controlled by an Expression 2X and Sensor Rack. The exterior lighting, also designed by Lee Rose, was handled by Fourth Phase Burbank. The equipment included a selection of 300 and 650W ARRI fresnels, 125W HMI ARRI pocket pars, 1.2kW HMI Sunrays, 2.5/4K HMI ARRI pars, MR16 Xray strips and 1K Mickey Moles.

PLASA Website's Major Re-Launch
Friday, 2 February 2001

On 1st February 2001, PLASA went online with its brand new website at The new site is the latest development in the six-year history of PLASA’s online presence, and continues the organisation’s aim to provide the premier online resource for the entertainment, presentation and event technology industry worldwide.

The new site further develops the extensive and freely-available information resources offered to the industry by PLASA. Now available are fully-searchable databases allowing fast, easy and flexible access to the full listing of 450+ PLASA members; 1,500 industry news items in the online news archive; a comprehensive calendar of industry events, and over 100 titles in PLASA’s Technical Book Service.

PLASA’s Managing Director Matthew Griffiths comments: "Aside from the great new look of the site, I’m especially pleased with the new keyword-search facilities. We provide the opportunity - for free, and within a matter of seconds - to find every news item that a particular company has appeared in on the PLASA News website over the past 18 months. The same applies for searching the membership database for companies, products and services, or for finding details of worldwide industry events. This is what the industry has been demanding from a website like ours, and we’re pleased to be offering such a truly beneficial service."

In addition to providing a valuable resource to the global industry, the new site has been designed to represent all the diverse aspects of PLASA as an organisation - including the A

The Pop Factory
Friday, 2 February 2001

Avanti Television, one of the largest-growing independent production companies in Wales, has recently launched an all-digital facility - The Pop Factory.

The new operation, located in Porth near Cardiff, is sited in the former Corona Pop Works and will become home to a weekly live music programme that will be seen on the digital platform BBC Choice Wales. It also houses A3 Records and a brand new 48 track recording studio and rehearsal complex, complete with on-line and off-line editing facilities, called The Welsh Hills Works.

The multi-purpose broadcast centre is, according to Avanti’s founder and MD Emyr Afan, the most important development in Welsh broadcasting this decade. "There is a new confidence in Wales. More and more high-tech companies are locating here. With The Pop Factory, we are proud to be bringing London-quality facilities to South Wales and creating a focus for media businesses in the region."

The centrepiece of the audio system is the new Sony DMX-R100 which was chosen to fulfil a busy and varied schedule in the Pop Factory’s hectic programme, which includes the production of a music magazine series for BBC2 as well as ‘Sesiwn Hwyr’ (the ‘Late Session’) - a live welsh-language programme for S4C. Programming was already underway when the building was officially opened by Welsh music icons Tom Jones, Cerys Matthews and Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics in the latter part of last year. "In fact, the moment the console power was switched on, we were editing on it!" recalled Owen Thomas, head of sou

Help for Companies Missing out in the ‘Grants Gap’
Thursday, 1 February 2001

Britain’s first free database of business grants has gone on-line - with the aim of putting the country’s businesses in touch with more than £100 million going begging because of lack of awareness and red tape.

The cash is part of a potential annual multi-million pound grants’ pot, designed to help Britain’s 3.7 million companies flourish. But many businesses which could benefit from the money simply don’t know they can claim it, or are put off by the confusion, complexity and time involved in finding out what is available.

The new website offers a free grant search service that gives results in seconds. Sophisticated technology means a search takes just seconds to complete and searchers can link immediately through to grants providers with applications.

The site contains information on around 5,000 capital (‘hard cash’) grants. These range from Regional Selective Assistance grants, which can run to several million pounds, to small, localised grants. Once searchers have found a grant for which they would like to apply, the website directs them to their most convenient grant administrator. Registered users of the site will also be entitled to receive a free grants alert service giving tailored updates on new developments.

Martin’s Latin America HQ Moves to Buenos Aires
Thursday, 1 February 2001

Martin Professional’s head of Latin American operations, Peter Hald, has moved his headquarters from Miami, Florida to Buenos Aires, Argentina in order to be closer to the main Latin American markets. Hald says: "Miami is the gateway to Latin America, but by establishing a base in one of the most advanced markets in Latin America, we feel confident that we can raise the Martin presence here to a new level."

Martin Professional recently entered into an agreement with the owners of its two Argentinean distributors to establish a joint company in Buenos Aires - Martin Professional Argentina SA, which will handle distribution and service of the group’s products. The move is seen as a natural development in the light of this joint venture. Hald says: "We will be closer to some of the biggest and most important markets in Latin America where the opportunities for development in all segments is enormous - Brazil alone has shown positive progress over the last couple of years and the potential in all mayor segments is great."

Stagetec Product Day
Thursday, 1 February 2001

On March 6th Stagetec Distribution is holding a Product Day on the Compulite and LSC product ranges to be held at The Centre in Slough from 10.00am to 6.00pm. The full range of products from both companies will be on show. This will include pre-release versions of two completely new consoles from LSC which are scheduled to be launched later this year. On show from Compulite will be the new flight cased/touring version of the CompuDIM 2000 digital dimmer, version 2.0 of the CompuCAD 3D lighting design software, the new architectural features for the 4D range and the CompuCAL telephone interface.Anybody interested in attending can register at the website below.

Girl Dies After Festival Crush
Thursday, 1 February 2001

A 15-year old girl has died in Sydney’s Concorde Hospital, following a crush at the Big Day Out festival in Sydney, Australia, last Friday. The girl is reported to have suffered a cardiac arrest at the time of the crush, and died peacefully in hospital on Wednesday. Friday’s crush occurred when the crowd surged forward during a performance by Limp Bizkit. The band’s lead singer Fred Durst pleaded for calm, and wanted to stop the show altogether, but was later persuaded to continue with the set in the light of police fears of a riot if the show were stopped. Limp Bizkit later pulled out of the touring festival, saying they had no confidence in its organisers. Other acts on the bill included Coldplay, PJ Harvey, At The Drive In and Queens of The Stone Age.

20,000 Celebrate 2001
Wednesday, 31 January 2001

Over 20,000 people celebrated the New Year in Nottingham’s market square. The centre of attention was the Nottingham Council House, an imposing town hall, which provided the canvas for a stunning lightshow by NJD. Images of Robin Hood (Nottingham’s millennium symbol) were projected onto the building using NJD’s Predator HX scanners, whilst eight Datamoons were positioned on columns down the centre of the town square, providing sound activated light beams whose movement and colour was synchronised to the music played through NJD’s 20,000W sound system.

Beyer to Distribute AudioControlBeyer to Distribute AudioControl
Wednesday, 31 January 2001

beyerdynamic has been appointed exclusive UK distributor for the full line manufactured by AudioControl Industrial - a US-based specialist in audio measurement and analysis systems. The company’s key products include the SA-3052 Real Time Spectrum Analyser; a one-third octave Spectrum Analyser that includes a pink noise generator, six memory snap-shots configured in a ‘Point and Shoot’ characteristic that requires no PC, parameter setting or complex menu commands making it simple, practical and easy to use. A printer can be used and the display is a high brightness 9 x 31 LED matrix that can display measurement results in a variety of formats at selectable decay times. Supplied with a measurement grade calibrated microphone the SA-3052 is a rugged device packaged in a practical and easy to handle steel enclosure. Available for immediate delivery, the SA-3052 is the first of the Audio Industrial products that beyerdynamic will stock, with more new products due to be announced over the next few months.

Dome Auction Could be Postponed
Wednesday, 31 January 2001

The planned auction of the Dome’s contents may possibly die before it even gets going if Legacy plc’s bid for the site is not concluded on 14 February as intended. It appears that the Government and Legacy cannot agree terms, and, as a result, the New Millennium Experience Company has reviewed plans to postpone indefinitely the £10m auction, which is scheduled to start at the end of February. We understand that they may, however, proceed with the sale of some of the site’s assets. If the Legacy bid does fall through, it will mean that other potential bidders, including the Dome's chief executive, Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, who has struck an alliance with James Palumbo, property firm Pilton Group and the pop impresario Harvey Goldsmith, may have their wish to keep the venue entertainment-based rather than the business park proposal that was at the heart of the Legacy plan.

ESS & Australia DayESS & Australia Day
Wednesday, 31 January 2001

For the third consecutive year ESS Australia was chosen by Accolade Events to provide structures for the Australian Day Celebrations on 26th January. The 30-minute performance was watched by an estimated audience of 240,000 people. This continues to build on ESS' success. Last year ESS Australia was appointed to provide staging for the opening and closing ceremonies at the Sydney Olympics and Paralympics. This year's Australia Day concept involved four 12m x 8m screens positioned on a barge in the centre of Darling Harbour. In addition, Accolade Events asked ESS to come up with a solution that enabled them to place the PA system on the outside of the structure, rather than hanging it from a central position. The versatility of the ESS Lite truss meant that ESS were able to provide a solution. After running an engineering check, the ESS team was able to bolt on some more LT tower truss so that the PA system could be attached to the outside.

Fuzion Takes On Camco Distribution
Tuesday, 30 January 2001

In a move that has been agreed by all parties involved, Showcom Audio is to hand over distribution of the Camco amplifier range to UK pro audio distributor, Fuzion. Commenting on the decision, Showcom’s Richard Willis explained that over the last year Showcom Audio’s resale and installation support activities have increased significantly with the prospect of this becoming even more pronounced in the future. He said: "Showcom Audio has chosen to concentrate exclusively on the added-value direct sales opportunities, as this seems to be the more profitable route for our future. We are becoming more and more focussed on providing dedicated sound reinforcement solutions for our highly varied client base which is growing daily." He continued: "I am satisfied that Fuzion will represent the line as it deserves to be represented in the UK, and at the same time will give us the opportunity to build on the relationship we started with Fuzion when Showcom became a main dealer for Nexo systems in spring last year."

Fuzion’s Tony Oates commented: "We are delighted that Showcom will continue to sell and support the full range of Camco amplfiers as there is an obvious symbiosis with the Nexo range, which the company already supports." He added: "From a Fuzion point of view, we welcome a brand that is as complementary to those we already carry, while at the same time filling a niche in our portfolio not already covered by our existing manufacturers."

Sanctuary Collects Best Sound Award
Monday, 29 January 2001

Success was on the agenda for Sanctuary Mobiles at the annual Royal Television Society Craft and Design Awards held at the London Park Lane Hilton late last year. Director Tim Summerhayes swapped his more customary jeans for a tuxedo to collect the award for Best Sound for Culture and Non Drama Productions for BBC2’s classical drama, The Marriage of Figaro. The award went to Tim and John Middleton for the production, part of the BBC Music Live five-day festival last summer. The opera was staged at Kirtlington Manor in Oxfordshire, and Tim was drafted in to handle the broadcast sound and to record the production, created for TV in association with the City of Birmingham Touring Opera and directed by Trevor Hampton and Matthew Richardson. Tim Summerhayes and John Middleton are pictured collecting the award.

Project News
Monday, 29 January 2001

Several new projects have been given the green light this month. Dunfermline Athletic has won planning permission for a business enterprise centre, 60-bedroom hotel, swimming pool and leisure facility at its football stadium in Fife. Meanwhile, maintaining a sporting theme, Grimsby Town is expected to start work on a new football stadium at Great Coates in September, having won the go-ahead from North East Lincolnshire Council. Travel giant Stagecoach has submitted plans for the development of a multiplex cinema and entertainment centre at the bus station site in Exeter, and the BBC has begun recruiting 80 staff for a new £4m TV and radio news broadcasting facility in Sevenoaks.

Details courtesy of UK Business Park.

Teasers Tempted by Tannoy
Monday, 29 January 2001

Tannoy equipment has been specified for use in a new themed bar in Manchester by Aquarius Acoustics in conjunction with Dutch installers, MK2 Visuele Media. The Dutch concept bar, Teasers, features a bar, dance floor and DJ booth on the ground floor, with additional seating space and videowall on the first floor, linked by a stunning glass lift centrepiece. Tannoy speakers are used throughout the bar, with the ground floor and dance floor boasting four i12 Dual Concentric speakers and eight compact i8 Dual Concentric speakers for sound reinforcement. Two Tannoy T40 subs, TX1 and TX2 advanced electronic controllers to optimise speaker performance, together with Chevin amplification complete the ground floor. The first floor, complete with balcony, also takes full advantage of Tannoy’s Dual Concentric speakers, using four i12s and eight i8s to provide high quality sound both day and night.image - Teasers1.jpgicon -

Westsun to Open First US ‘Super-Hub’
Monday, 29 January 2001

Westsun International Inc. has announced the creation of Westsun’s first regional ‘super hub’ in Las Vegas, Nevada. When making the announcement on behalf of the company’s executive Board, Rob Davidson, CFO and acting CEO of Westsun, stated: "This is a natural step in our development strategy, one that will allow us to provide our customers with even greater access to our comprehensive equipment pool. It will also shorten lead times, thereby further improving our market-leading service to all of our clients." This new facility will operate under the Westsun Las Vegas banner. Dick Wright, vice-president of West Coast operations, will lead the operation. Anticipated to house in excess of $15 million worth of stock, the new expansion will be complete by May 1, 2001. During the transition, Dick Wright will work closely with Scott Jevons of Westsun Los Angeles. Scott Jevons will lead the Westsun Los Angeles sales team as sales manager, and ensure that it remains a key component of Westsun International’s sales and marketing efforts. Westsun remains committed to providing a high level of personalized service to its existing and new clients.

Yo! Below
Sunday, 28 January 2001

Simon Woodroffe’s new ‘Yo! Land’ in London’s Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, is the new home for the company’s HQ, as well as the site of the latest Yo! Sushi (featuring a 2,100ft-long conveyor belt which carries dishes to up to 200 diners) and Yo! Below operations.Yo! Below, situated behind Yo! Sushi, provides punters with a rather unusual blend of food, live DJs, Manga videos, massage and singing waitresses. This strongly entertainment-led venue, designed by John Isted, has sourced its show technology from the newly-created Marquee Installations, with MI’s Mark Brown responsible for the design and supply of the system.

"Farringdon combines the best elements of previous sites we’ve worked on, with visuals becoming an ever-increasing part of the landscape. For instance, we’ve now upgraded to the superior quality of plasma displays," said Brown, adding: "It was clear that they wanted the best technology available and the key element is that since the entire trading area in Yo! Below is a performance stage, we needed to achieve even sound coverage."

The components of the system, therefore, had to be carefully selected for their effect on the soundscape. Sennheiser radio microphones are supplied to the performers who strut down catwalks between diners, while Sabine feedback exterminators ensure a clear signal, and a combination of QSC amplification and six tried and trusted RCF Monitor 8s handle the delivery, sourced either from the Technics SL1210 decks, minidsic or Numark CD players at the DJ station, or f

JBL Covers Bush Inauguration
Friday, 26 January 2001

Rain and cold weather presented many challenges for a smooth presidential inauguration ceremony, but speaker systems from JBL held up to the elements and delivered the sound. Patrick Baltzell of Baltzell Audio Design specified JBL VerTec speakers for the hundreds of thousands of listeners on the Capital Mall. Baltimore's MSI installed a number of their new VerTec VT4889 arrays on custom towers throughout the mall. MSI's project manager Art Isaacs and the MSI crew worked all-night shifts in freezing weather to prepare the nine delay towers. JBL VerTec line array systems were set up in multiple locations, with the two main towers spanning a front stage area nearly 47 metres (150 feet) wide. Crown power amplifiers were used throughout. In the VIP/Diplomat section, 155 JBL Control 25AV speakers were utilized, whilst JBL 4892-90A Array Series speakers were provided by MSI for covering mid-throw applications in a number of audience regions.

A Paris Welcome from Lighting Technology
Friday, 26 January 2001

Lighting Technology Group has opened a new showroom in Paris. Located in the City’s 13th arrondisement, four kilometres east of Notre Dame, the Bibliothèque Nationale Metro station is just a five minute walk away. The launch of the 125sq.m showroom follows Lighting Technology's acquisition of the French distribution company Durango in November 2000. Under the care of Jean-Francois Cheron and Brigitte Delehaye, who are well known in the French entertainment technology industry, a comprehensive range of products has been set up for permanent hands-on demonstration. Companies represented include Anytronics, Andolite, Aureol, Atomis, Brightline, Blackout, Color Kinetics, DHA, L&E, MAD, Powerdrive, Rosco, Strand, Spotlight and TIR. Lighting Technology is running a series of Open Days open to anybody attending the SIEL event between 4-7th February when senior UK personnel will also be present. Contact information for the new showroom is as follows: Immeuble Berlier, 15 Rue Jean Baptiste Berlier, Batiment A, 3rd floor, 75013 Paris, telephone (+33) 1 56619430.

Protec At Dubai’s Media CityProtec At Dubai’s Media City
Friday, 26 January 2001

Dubai-based Production Technology LLC (Protec) recently staged a spectacular, integrated sound, light and pyrotechnics show to launch Dubai Media City to an invited audience of 2000 VIPs. Guests were granted stunning views of the production from a grass amphitheatre in front of the three state-of-the-art buildings, during which a 24m x 9m backdrop of the stage was lowered, opening up sightlines to the glass edifices which became the focus of the show. The buildings were then lit in yellow, red and blue, virtually creating a large scale replica of the Dubai Media City logo. The entire six minute sequence was choreographed to a specially-commissioned musical composition which flooded the site through a 50,000W sound installation, culminating in a vivid pyrotechnical display that boasted over 6500 effects. Over 1500 lights were installed inside the buildings to illuminate them and a further 180 intelligent luminaires were used to light the arena and surrounding landscaping, using over 260Km of cabling.


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