>Mackie Designs announced its change of name to Loud Technologies during the Show, but whatever you call them, they had plenty of new product on stand. For studio types, Mackie Control is a control interface for software-based recording systems. A development of Emagic's former Logic Control interface, the new unit works with a range of products including ProTools, Logic Audio and Cubase. Alongside were pre-production prototypes of Spike, a two channel USB:audio interface with onboard processing, plus the 626 studio monitors and SRM350 active loudspeakers.
In the company's lower-priced Tapco range, the S5 active studio monitors were complemented by the 6306 six-channel mixer and three Juice series power amplifiers, delivering 800, 1400 and 2500W respectively into 4 ohms bridged.
EAW's Small Line Array Modules were enjoying their first UK outing, while the Avalon series of nightclub loudspeakers combined the usual black box with a fair bit of shiny metal in an interesting visual combination. Finally, from EAW, was the Digital Steerable Array, a column loudspeaker designed for installations where precise targeting of sound is required. Mackie/Loud Technologies has now brought all its 'industrial' PA products under the RCF banner, with three new monitor series - the RCF 33, 44 and 55 - plus the SP300C and SP400C high-quality ceiling loudspeakers debuted at the show.
>Another LED-based colour changing tile was the Tile 600 from Tryka LED. It's only 8mm thick but can be used to provide light output front and back. Tryka's many other products are based around identical multiple modules of LEDs - 3- and 6-LED clusters, which controls costs, and allows for a range of custom collimated or lens diffusers to be fitted to any fixture. Flexible tools.
>Marcus Komertzky, from Austrian lighting technology company LDDE, commented that the company was having an unbelievable show with huge amounts of interest shown in its innovative products. The snazzy Romulas desk light switches from white to blue light output and is suitable for use in a variety of applications. The compact X-Pen Advanced is the next generation of the X-Pen - a torch and DMX tester all in one. The updated version has a USB input and DMX512 interface and comes in a handy case.
>Artistic Licence, enjoying its most successful PLASA Show to date, launched the Colour-Tramp, described as the company's "latest and greatest" product. An evolution of the original Lamp-Tramp control system, it is a control centre for two- and three-dimensional colour-changing arrays. The PC-based package combines the concept of lighting control with a graphic 'paint' package - and a free offline version is available which is usable with a USB dongle. Visitors to the stand were also expressing interest in the company's Art-Net, the only public domain Ethernet standard available in the market place.
>Launching the new Cyberhoist Manager V.1 software was a priority for Verlinde at this year's show. The main advantage of the software is its three-dimensional, object-based programming. This means that you don't have to program the whole hoist, but can program individual objects, resulting in faster programming with more flexibility.
>The Silver Line from Studio Due is a complete range of colour-changing fixtures for the architectural install market. Filling every power niche in the floodlight world up to 700W HMP, the range includes a new MiniCity100 (a 70W CDM-T) and CityColor 300 (2 x 150W CDM-T). The XS1200 is a new 1200W HMI automated light offering colour mixing, gobos, dimmer, shutter and strobe. Studio Due's CS1 - a moving head Par 64-size lamp, with a choice of four bulbs (150W discharge up to 575W halogen) will be available in the New Year. The company has wisely chosen to keep this unit simple: with a choice of four changeable lenses and a secure gel frame in front, this is exactly what it says - a moving Par. CS-2 and CS-4 are Par 64 ACLs(2 and 4 respectively) mounted into pan and tilt frames for a new effect.
>Showing the new X-Stage Platforms was Milos Structural Systems. The X-Stage S1 is available with a scissor-leg mechanism which is height adjustable and can be assembled without any tools. The S2 comes with plug-in legs which are either adjustable or telescopic and again no tools are required for assembly. New to the trussing market is the Quick Truss - M400, heavy duty trussing aimed at the large stage and rental markets.
>Enjoying its new stand position was White Light, having a busy show and a busy year, with shows of the ilk of Jerry Springer, The Opera, for which the Moving Light Company is helping to realize Rick Fisher's design in its latest incarnation at London's Cambridge Theatre. Other recent musicals utilizing White Light equipment and expertise include Mamma Mia! in The Netherlands and Anything Goes in the West End. The company has also gone nautical with White Light Sales supplying lighting equipment for new cruise ship, the Thomson Spirit.
>Lake Technology's Lake Contour DSP processor appears to stand apart from this burgeoning market area by accessing "DSP technology no-one else knows about," according to Bruce Jackson, a live sound engineer of legendary reputation. Based in a 1U rack module, this is a 2-in, 6-out controller that provides precise control of all the usual parameters - crossover, dynamics and delays. The most striking demonstration of how this system differs was in the display of EQ curve, where selected frequencies could be adjusted on the graphics display (as is normal) but the resultant curve/peak/trough created is much tighter and more confined than the more usual 'flared skirt' we see on comparable devices. Carry such precise control through into the realms of setting crossovers, especially for prickly HF areas of line arrays, and the benefits become obvious.
>Although seen here once before on a re-sellers stand, B-52 of America decided to take the bull by the horns this year in the search for a more permanent distributor. The company is widely known in the USA for its range of guitar amps and cabinets, less so for its PA systems. Typical is the Matrix1000 - a 700W self-contained three-way speaker system designed for portable karaoke or DJ'ing. The 15" sub cabinet contains all necessary amplification and electronic crossovers for the two satellite mid/high cabs (containing 10" and 0.75" compression driver on 90° x 40° horn). All that and a five-year guarantee for £750 doesn't sound bad.
>Suppliers of speaker systems to Manumission in Ibiza, HZ International had a new floor monitor, a polycarbonate enclosure based around a dual concentric 10" arrangement. Capable of handling 200W, this neat little monitor is designed to clip together with a second unit for simple, protected transportation. Also from HZ, the Nexus 1500 is a two-channel (750W/ch) power amp that weighs in at just 7.5kg.
>Cheshire-based pro audio distributor VME Ltd showed new product from German loudspeaker manufacturer Kling & Freitag, including the Line 212-9, a horn-loaded, passive cabinet featuring the company's FLC (frequency-dependent line coupling) technology. Also from K&F is the SW112-SP, a self-powered, compact sub enclosure. Also shown, the Digital Intelli X - a 4-in, 8-out digital crossover/ processor incorporating parametric EQ, delay, matrix, HPF, LPF and output limiters, from Belgian audio processing manufacturer, Apex Audio. VME's Dion Davie told L&SI: "This year was fantastic for us - in the first two days we gave out nearly 2000 K&F catalogues. The new stand space and location downstairs was great - the whole vibe was so good. We just need now to convert the enquiries into orders!"
>In pride of place on the Autograph Sales stand, Meyer's UPJ-1P enclosure, designed to fill the gap between the UPM-1P and UPA-1P, was given its world launch: "It's the one people have all been asking for," Autograph's Mike Mann asserted, his confidence underlined by four sales being made by 11am on the first day of the show. The Meyer MILO line array and LD-3 line driver was displayed, as were prototypes of Clear-Com's Eclipse digital matrix and CellCom digital wireless intercoms, the latter winning the PLASA Award for Technical Innovation in the Sound category.
>Lee Filters has included its dichroic series in the main brochure for the first time. Also updated was the comparative chart which allows for gel comparisons between manufacturers. Expect to see additions to the 700 colour series in 2004, created by leading LDs invited to Lee's factory to produce new colours.
>Another stand that was enjoying a busy PLASA was Doughty Engineering launching the Slimline Quick Trigger and Slimline Mammoth Clamp. The Quick Trigger enables heavy luminaires and scanners to be hung safely even when space is tight in the rig and makes it a 'one person' job thanks to its sprung loaded jaw. The Mammoth Clamp tackles the problem of clamping larger tubes by accepting a huge 60-63mm diameter, with a SWL of 300kg. Both products are aimed at all areas of the market place.
>RAT Music Stands showed its new Jazz and Performer stands: the Jazz stands offer a full range of height adjustment from under 40cm to 120cm. The stand has similar stability to a fixed-stand and a full size music tray with pencil shelf. Its patented design means that it can fold away in three moves to a flat pack no larger than the size of the tray (51cm x 38cm x 5cm). The aluminium alloy legs and stem make the stands lightweight but sturdy. The Performer stands, adjustable from 73-133cm, are aimed primarily at the schools market, and are tough, compact for storage and have no detachable knobs.
>Lamp specialist Mico Lighting, who have now been in the business for over 30 years, was once again promoting its wide range of lamps and accessories at PLASA.
>Rolec Music and Marquee Installations were sharing a stand on the upper deck, with Rolec's VHD-3 video/music playback system for the installation market launched at the show. Available in SVGA, flat and touch-screen versions, the unit schedules and mixes audio, video and colour graphics into a seamless AV program. A pause facility allows DJs to select individual video tracks for mixing into their set. Rolec's other installation-based music management products were on show, including the low-cost PHD1 and the higher-spec'd LHD2 and LHD3.
>Two new PA ranges were the focus of the Cerwin Vega stand. Vision is the company's new flagship product, comprising four dedicated enclosures - 1200 and 1400W subs, plus 1200 and 700W mid/highs - along with a 12" coaxial unit which can be used either as a wedge monitor or small PA enclosure. Aimed at the entry/mid-level PA market, ProStax also features five models - two single 15" mid/highs, a dual 15" mid/high, sub and 12" coaxial wedge/PA unit.
>The prototype of the Power-Tiny fogger was on display for Look Solutions (on the White Light stand), with production due for October. It's a battery-operated fog generator for mobile use and heats up within one second, allowing adjustable fog output. The battery supplies energy only when necessary which greatly increases the stand-by time. Kirsten Eicher told us that the company was having a great show, attracting interested customers who were serious about buying.
>Steve Lerman, director of sales and marketing for Lycian Stage Lighting, was extremely positive about being at PLASA this year. He explained that Lycian is so pleased with the American and Canadian markets that they can now take the time to concentrate on the European and UK markets. On display were several models from the Lycian range with all eyes on the SuperArc 1294 4kW followspot.
>Giving a high profile to two new products was ADB Lighting Technologies. With ring control of its beam-shaping functions, including the 360° rotation of shutters and a 15°-30° zoom, the Warp theatrical luminaire is now in full production. A retro-fittable motorized version will be available next year. Also on show was the Mentor control desk, a mid-priced, lightweight unit featuring up to 360 instruments and 8192 DMX addresses. Extendable up to 120 faders via extension wings, it features a series of user profiles to enable operators to quickly adapt the desk to their needs.
>Philip Sparkes, managing director of Maltbury Staging, noted that the company was enjoying its busiest ever year. In addition to its popular aluminium staging lines, Maltbury was also promoting its Cro-Bar alloy crowd barrier, designed to be easy to manoeuvre and lift. Sparkes was pleased with the visitors he'd had on the stand, describing them as "a good cross-section of the industry".
>Compulite's new Vector lighting desk, designed to be at home in a range of environments, was attracting a lot of attention on the stand it shared with UK distributor Stagetec. You can read more about this desk in our review of it first use on the Australian Logies in our September issue. The latest version of Compulite's Rave was also enjoying hands-on attention.