AES West Coast
Sunday, 17 November 2002
You know you’re at a West Coast AES Convention when you’re standing in a rooftop bar at sunset, surrounded by skyscrapers, and listening to Sheryl Crow-alike Dana Glover singing through Audio-Technica’s Artist Elite microphones. One of many PLASA repeats, the product at least gave the excuse for the party, and where Earls Court ends, as Phil Ward discovers, California begins.

QSC Audio began by reinventing itself. OK, the new logo is "a relatively small change in terms of effort," but, said CEO Barry Andrews, "it’s an important one symbolically and technically. It signifies the transformation of our company from an amplifier specialist to an integrated systems supplier."

‘Integrated systems’ in this case means QSC products in signal processing, network audio transport, control systems, loudspeakers and - not least - amplifiers. QSC was late to arrive with a remote-control and monitoring system, but QSControl is now a dominant force. The company also pioneered CobraNet as an interface, and Routing Audio Via Ethernet (RAVE) now accounts for a great number of CobraNet nodes. Cinema is catered for by DCA amps and DSP processors, while DSP-3 and DSP-4 are gaining ground in pro audio generally.

At the show, it was announced that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - venue for the Indianapolis 500 and F1 Grand Prix races - is to install a network-based sound system clearly showcasing QSC’s ‘integrated’ buzzword: ISIS speakers, CX amplifiers, DSP processors, QSControl and RAVE audio transport.

Speaker products announced at the show highlighted the new scope of the company: full range, 2-way ISIS speakers 101M, 102M, 102W, 122M and 152M; and the AcousticDesign series AD-S82, a full range and attractively-styled surface-mount speaker for smart locations.

DiGiCo introduced the D5 Live to the US, unleashing the digital console for the analogue-trained engineer from a remarkable demo room - resembling a fusion of the Starship Enterprise’s Transporter Room and a lap-dancing bar. Bob Doyle caressed the metaphorical pole. "I always had faith that the console would make a mark, but we’ve been absolutely amazed at the response," he said. "The order book speaks volumes: we’ve now got a D5 Live out with Robbie Williams, with Sound Hire sub-renting the console to Britannia Row for the engineer Dave Bracey; and there’s one going out here in the States with Jon Lemon engineering Beck for Clair Bros. "I put 15 into the production schedule leading up to Christmas, just to see how it would go, and I’ve sold 11 of those already. I could easily have sold all of them, but I had to keep four back for this show," Doyle added. Autograph Sound Recording - pretty big in West End stage productions, to put it mildly - once said they would never use a digital console. On a second stop at DiGiCo’s PLASA stand in September, they paid up-front for a D5 Live. Earl’s Court again, you see . . .

Yamaha continues its crusade to take digital mixing to the studio market by introducing the DM1000 Digital Production Console. Designed as a multi-platform desk delivering 48 channels of transparent, dynamic 24-bit/96kHz audio, with effects and processing on every channel, extensive surround production features, integrated control for digital audio workstations and automated recording, this will have no trouble gaining entry into digital editing suites, broadcast and post facilities the world over.

Its footprint will help, as Larry Italia, general manager of Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems Division, points out: "The DM1000 has been engineered for permanent or portable applications where quality is paramount, but space limitations are a major consideration."

Renkus-Heinz’s North American sales manager is a Brit, Richard Kirby, well known at BSS Audio for many years. Back in April, Kirby grabbed an opportunity to relocate to California. "Having been accepted by R-H, I wanted to be close to the product development rather than operate more remotely in Eur


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