Audio News

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.

New Marketing Director at NXT
Friday, 9 February 2001

Andrew Williams has been appointed NXT's new group marketing director, reporting to CEO David Pearson. His prime responsibility will be co-ordinating the global marketing strategy of NXT's SurfaceSound, SoundVu, TouchSound and 20/20 Speech technologies. He replaces Jon Vizor, who will now concentrate full time on his business development role as head of venture sales and also leading the commercial audio sales teams. Williams joins NXT from iXL, the internet and business consultancy based in San Francisco. Prior to iXL, he was director of marketing at Chiltern Group plc, the London-based financial and business consultancy.

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.

Nightingale Sings at Celestion
Thursday, 8 February 2001

Celestion has appointed a new South of England sales executive. John Nightingale has joined the loudspeaker manufacturer after nearly three years with Batmink, the West country wholesale and distribution company. In addition to having a solid background of over seven years in installation contracting and a further two in project management, he is also in demand as a DJ, travelling all over Southern England under his alias ‘Tin Tin’.

New Additions from Midas & Klark Teknik
Thursday, 8 February 2001

The Live! Show in London has seen the UK launch of the new Midas Venice console - the company’s first high-profile console in an ultra-compact format. The Venice brings Midas to a new range of applications, such as smaller conference or live band applications, for effects returns or additional inputs in large multi-console applications, in installation/contracting work, or as part of a small mobile system. The Venice also provides an ideal feature set for live acts who need to mix their own FOH and monitor sound from on-stage. There are three versions available: Venice 160 (8 mono/line + 4 stereo-line/mono-mic inputs); Venice 240 (16 mono/line + 4 stereo-line/mono-mic inputs); and the Venice 320 (24 mono/line + 4 stereo-line/mono-mic inputs).

New from Klark Teknik at Live! 2001, is the new upgrade to the recently-launched DN9848 loudspeaker processor - the KT Kompressor Module v2.01. This upgrade adds a full-function compressor to every output of the DN9848 in addition to the four already on the inputs without sacrificing any of the unit’s standard features. The upgrade is available free from the Klark Teknik website, along with the Stardraw for Klark Teknik software control shell and supplementary software.

Camco’s Vortex On SceneCamco’s Vortex On Scene
Thursday, 8 February 2001

Following the recent announcement that Fuzion is to handle distribution of the Camco amplifier range, the company introduced Camco’s innovative Vortex Series of amplifiers, at the Live! Show in London yesterday. Vortex, say Fuzion, represents a significant advance in lightweight, high-power amplifier design and technology. Vortex is a high power amplifier featuring high-efficiency, high-power (6000W into 4 ohms) and high-quality audio in a light, 2U chassis. The microprocessor-controlled amplifiers digitally control and monitor all functions and provide all internal ‘housekeeping’ tasks. Each has a three-stage switched-mode universal power supply, with reliable over-voltage protection up to 400 volts. In addition, Vortex is designed to present a straight-through thermal cooling path unimpeded by internal electronic parts, meaning there is no air movement (therefore no ingress of dust) over critical components. Other features include an RS485 port on the rear of the amplifier as standard, and Camco’s EUI (Extended User Interface) which allows for the use of peripheral modules for additional functionality when required.

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.

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.

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."

Matrix Launches F1 Speaker System
Tuesday, 6 February 2001

Matrix Audio Developments, the pro audio amplifier manufacturer, has launched the F1 compact loudspeaker system, which has been designed specifically for the commercial installation market. The system comprises the highly-compact, and easily-mountable mid/high F1 cabinet (measuring just 17cm x 9cm x 8cm) and the B1 bass cabinet, which can be either free-standing or incorporated into fixtures and fittings. When combined, one B1 and two F1 cabinets are capable of producing 100Wpc RMS at a frequency of 35Hz - 18kHz.

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.

Top Level Changes at Trantec
Monday, 5 February 2001

BBM Electronics, the London-based manufacturer of Trantec Wireless Systems, has announced major changes to its senior management. David Binks, one of the co-founders of the company, has decided to step down as managing director, say the company. Another of the original co-founders, Steve Baker, is also resigning his post as R&D director, though he will continue with BBM as a consultant. Also departing is Chris Gilbert, who has spent many successful years as sales director and was the public face of Trantec to much of the industry. Parent company TOA Corporation of Japan, which purchased BBM Electronics in 1998, has named Gordon Gillett (pictured) as managing director. Gillett has previously been a director of several engineering companies and a business consultant. Sho Kubo, currently managing director of TOA Electronics Europe GmbH, will take over as sales director. Kubo will continue to be based in Germany at TOA Europe, and will be responsible for overseeing the setting up of Trantec’s European and worldwide distribution network. Finally, Richard Ganley has been appointed R&D manager. The company says that these strategic changes are designed to safeguard Trantec’s development during the coming year.

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

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."

JBL Launch New Generation
Friday, 2 February 2001

JBL Professional has recently released the EON G2 ‘Generation 2’ line of powered speakers. Among these is the EON10 G2 compact powered speaker with 10" woofer, increased power and a three input mini-mixer. This is ideal for AV applications, smaller musical and spoken word performances and, when combined with the new EONSUB G2 powered subwoofer, provides a full range sound system with full range power for more demanding performance and playback applications. The EON10 G2 features increased power over the first generation EON 10, with 125W for low frequencies and 50W for the highs. The 10" Differential Drive low frequency driver uses a neodymium magnet for light weight and reduced distortion. As with other EON G2 speakers, the EON10 G2 is kept cool, not by heatsinks or fans, but by JBL's Thermomaster Total Thermal Management System.

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


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