Britannia Row Productions ended the year by supplying the sound system and technical staff for the New Year's Eve opening celebrations at London's Millennium Dome. The event was broadcast to millions across the world and although the invited audience at the Dome numbered only 15,000, the area to be covered by sound was considerably larger than a standard arena. Given the source material and the dispersion needed, it was decided to augment the main 48-pair Flashlight left and right system with six Flashlight delays. Floodlight, and the new TCS-56 enclosures, were used for audience infill. Brit Row's touring clients during 1999 included Robbie Williams, Simply Red, The Pet Shop Boys, Chemical Brothers and Nine Inch Nails, with events covered including Glastonbury, The Brits, The MTV EMA awards and the Miss World competition.
Audient plc has released three new variants of its ASP8024 console, along with news of a number of additional options. Frames to accommodate 24-, 48- and 60-input channels have been added to the original 36-channel frame size. An integral patchbay has also become an option and has been fitted with Neutrik bantam jack sockets and a D-Sub based studio systems interface. 144 tie lines are included as standard. A producer's table for applications requiring a dedicated script space can also be specified. The first 48-channel consoles shipped to UK and Dutch studios in December and a pair of 24-channel consoles will be delivered in early February, for use in mobile classical recording.
2000 has begun well for the Oxford Sound Company, with contracts being confirmed with a cumulative value of over £1.5m for design and installation work. Included in the record-breaking month for the company are two voice-captioning suites for BBC Television in London, a fully digital re-build and re-location of all of BBC Aberdeen, sound and communications for all of RADA's three new theatres, as well as the new Soho Theatre in London, and the Derry Theatre in Londonderry, and a sound system for the Regents Park Theatre.
Following our recent news that Iain Elliott had departed the Canford Group, the company has announced the appointment of a new chief executive, Lawrence Jackson, previously managing director of Farnell. Group chairman Hugh Morgan Williams told PLASA Publishing: "Canford has come a long way since 1976 and the board of directors sees Lawrence's appointment as one which will lead us into the future, whilst safeguarding the basic principles upon which Canford was founded."
PLASA Publishing has received official confirmation that Cue Pro Audio Services went into liquidation at the close of last year. The company, based in London offered a repair service to the audio industry and was an authorised service centre for a host of manufacturers Carver, Denon, Furman, Omniphonics, Sony, Panasonic, Ramsa, RTS, Telex, Kramer and Yamaha. A creditors meeting took place on the 22nd November, 1999, at which point insolvency practitioners McCann Taylor were appointed as liquidators.
Yamaha's famous PM series mixing consoles have now entered the digital domain, with the introduction of the company's new PM1D digital mixing console, designed specifically for live and installed sound applications. The CS1D control surface operates the DSP1D digital audio processor, which can either be located with the interface, or at a remote position. The PM1D can be configured in 48- or 96-channel versions, with 48 mix busses, 24 matrices and 12 DCAs. Conversion is 28-bit A/D and 27-bit D/A, and internal processing is 32-bit. Dual inputs are available on all channels. Other features of the lightweight, compact system include an ethernet-based comms system. All console-to-stage control signals are transmitted via one 68-pin cable per 32 channels and three ethernet cables.
Stonewood Electronics Ltd, the manufacturer of the Metro Audio intercom products, has informed PLASA Publishing that it has purchased the name, good will and trading title of Metro Audio, which was liquidated last November. The company has formed Stonewood Audio Ltd, which will distribute the professional intercom products together with Stonewood's new product range, which includes a full duplex multi-channel wireless intercom system using true duplex beltpacks. Steve Gunn has been appointed sales manager of Stonewood Audio Ltd.
Production Resource Group recently announced the promotion of Jeff Senkovich to executive vice president of the PRG Audio Group. He will be responsible for all operations within the working closely with Lew Mead, president of the PRG Audio Group, on operations. Senkovich joined PRG in June 1997 after 13 years as a project executive and general manager of the special projects division of a construction company, for which he led all theme park, themed retail, teleproduction and production facility construction projects.
Stanton has completed its new range of DJ mixer products, instituted with the takeover of the company by Gerard Cohen's Tracoman. Announced at the 1999 PLASA Show, four models are now in production, and available through UK distributors, Lamba plc. The SK ONE is a slim, two-channel unit, offering two line and two phono inputs, with gain, two-band EQ (+9/-26dB) and pan control on each channel. The SK TWO is another two-channel unit, offering two line and two phono inputs, with gain, three-band EQ (+9/-26dB) and pan control on each channel. The RM THREE is a three-channel professional DJ mixer, offering six line, three phono and two mic inputs, with gain, three-band EQ (+9/-26dB) and pan control on each channel, whilst the SK FIVE is a two-channel DJ mixer aimed at the budget-conscious customer.
Dolby Laboratories has announced that MARS (Multimedia Archive & Retrieval Systems) On-line has begun using Dolby Digital for the delivery of audio to professional broadcasters and the production community via the Internet. MARS On-line provides an Internet library music archive via a comprehensive on-line database search engine. The audio is stored, encoded and distributed using Liquid Audio technology, which employs Dolby Digital audio encoding.
The BBC's Tomorrow's World programme last night featured a new development which, according to its designer, is capable of transmitting sound in a straight line Sound Beam is a new device which sends sound in a straight line - working on much the same principles as a spotlight. Designed by Joe Pompei, a researcher at MIT media lab in Boston, it can be used to relay audio to just one person in a crowd. Pompei's design is based upon high frequency ultrasound waves which are beyond our hearing which act like a 'carrier' for audible sound. His design combines music with ultrasound; this then recreates the complex wave patterns of the music at a much higher frequency that can't be heard. A specially designed speaker is then used to send out this high frequency ultrasound beam. Physical properties in the air then distort the beam producing a range of frequencies, including audible sound. The sound quality isn't high enough yet to cover very long distances, but when it is, the potential applications for the product in public places such as airports, stations and cinemas are mind-boggling.
Total Audio Solutions has just completed a full radio production studio installation for South Birmingham College. The College runs several courses from its Sparkbrook Media Centre, including HNC in Radio Broadcasting and NVQ and ONC in Radio Production. The studio, which was fitted out as a turnkey installation by the company, incorporates presenter and guest facilities, allowing students to polish their interview technique. Playback sources range from traditional turntables through to MiniDisc and DAT, while the college's Sadie production system is also integrated into the production suite.
DPA Microphones is highlighting its new omnidirectional microphone at the Paris AES. The Type 3541 is a complete microphone kit for all kinds of high-quality solo recordings such as vocal performances, strings and wind instruments. The new 3541 is based on the same large-diaphragm capsule technology as the established gold model Type 4040 Hybrid Microphone. Supplied as a complete kit with suspension mount, windscreen and pop-filter, as well as the state-of-the-art Microphone Amplifier Type HMA4000 and a special microphone cable, the 3541 also introduces a completely new versatile modular capsule and preamplifier system. The capsule can be separated from the microphone preamp and the preamp exchanged, giving the engineer a choice between musical colouration of the Type MMP4000-T tube preamp, or the transparency of the solid state preamplifier Type MMP4000-S. Both are included in the microphone kit Type 3541.
Iain Elliott has left the Canford Group plc, the company he founded 23 years ago. Under Elliott's direction as chief executive, the Tyne & Wear-based company grew to become one of the UK's leading pro-audio distributors and manufacturers with a range of over 14,000 items. Elliott has not announced what he plans to do next, but has informed PLASA Publishing that he is not departing the pro-audio industry just yet!
The first Sennheiser manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere is currently under construction in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This 45,000sq.ft facility will manufacture printed circuit boards for the world market, as well as wireless headphones and wireless microphones for the American market. This is the first Sennheiser manufacturing facility outside Europe, and is modelled after the Wedemark, Germany, facility. Heading the project in New Mexico is Bill Jenner, recently named vice-president and general manager of the Sennheiser New Mexico facility. Initially, the plant is scheduled to operate with forty employees with approximately 10,000 sq.ft earmarked for future expansion.
Dresdner Bank in Frankfurt has a sophisticated new conference system from Brahler ICS. The bank's auditorium, round hall and mirror hall were the three areas which were equipped with microphones and language transmission systems via Brahler's latest digital wired - and wireless infra red - technology. In the auditorium, 168 delegate units were installed, all fitted with new hand-held microphones with luminant ring indicator. These mics switch off automatically and the cable recoils itself, when they are replaced in the holder. Software control is 32-bit. Three CCTV cameras in the auditorium are computer-linked to the microphones, so that delegates can be viewed by the interpreters inside the booths, whilst they are speaking.
PLASA EXCLUSIVE: PLASA Publishing has learnt that Technotronics, the West-Yorkshire-based manufacturing company who specialised in lighting effects and control equipment, were declared insolvent at the close of last year. Insolvency practitioners are now dealing with the company's affairs and a meeting of creditors is to be called shortly. Earlier in 1999, the directors of the company established a new company - TTL Distribution Ltd - to help promote and sell its lighting range, but also to distribute complementary products to the trade - principally those of Ultrak UK and Chauvet. TTL Distribution Ltd continues to trade from Technotronics' premises.
PA and voice alarm specialist Baldwin Boxall has expanded its sales team. John Spurling has joined the company as a country-wide systems sales executive, and will be responsible for raising awareness of voice alarm systems and all aspects of the company's Vigil systems. Spurling joins Baldwin Boxall from Millbank, where he spent five years as southern region sales manager.
Danmarks Radio, the national radio and TV broadcaster of Denmark, has bought a complete 10-channel Sony WL-800 series wireless microphone system for use on large-scale musical events across the country, in conjunction with Moto, one of Denmark's leading PA rental companies. Danmarks engineers have reported that the sound quality of the WL-800 UHF technology is so good they have occasionally forgotten they were recording a wireless source, say Sony.
In a bid to attract top name DJs to his club Infinity, on the island of Jersey, owner Gary Dobson, already the owner of three clubs on the island, recently invested in a new sound system. He awarded the contract to London-based installation company, Tarsin Ltd. Dobson visited a number of Tarsin's previous installations on mainland UK, including the recently re-opened Hammersmith Palais with its Nexo Alpha E system, supplied by UK distributor Fuzion. The 1,000-capacity Infinity is split over two levels, plus a mezzanine level on either side. Eight Alpha E B1-18 bass cabs and four E-M mid/hi packs cover the ground floor while a further four B1-18s and a pair of E-Ms cater for the top level. Two more E-Ms fire onto the mezzanine levels, while the DJ, situated at mezzanine level, uses two PS-15s as DJ monitors. Three Crown MA-5000VZ amplifiers power the bottom end and four MA-3600VZs run the mid-highs while an MA-2400 looks after the DJ monitors. Protection, level monitoring and EQ is provided by a Sabine GRQ-3101S Graphi-Q, also supplied by Fuzion.
EAW has become the official sponsor of a technically ground-breaking club night at The Matrix in Reading, where the company's new Avalon sound system recently made its UK debut. The Extra Dimensional Experience (EDX) is held on the first Friday of every month, and uses state-of-the-art mixing techniques for both audio and video to produce what is described as a homogenous, interactive visual and aural experience. Yes, well we've all had those!
One of the country's leading PA distributors, R.W. Salt Communications, has started off the new Year with the appointment of the man they call, 'Mr PA', Harry Greenaway, with responsibility for the company's key distributor accounts. Bob Salt commented: "For the few who don't know Harry, I guarantee you'll always look forward to his next visit. He is a man who may not know all the answers, but he will certainly know a man who does."At the same time, RW Salt has also announced the appointment of David Holt, formerly of Willow Vale and Philips CSS, to establish and run the company's new southern office, which is due to open within the next few weeks. PLASA Publishing will of course have further details nearer the time.
Woking-based B&H Production Services recently designed and installed an Infra-Red system for the Skyscape venue adjacent to the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, which features two 2,500-seat auditoriums. Due to the design of the venues, the location points for the IR radiators were limited, and the units were mounted on top of the main flown loudspeaker stacks. Sky, which sponsors Skyscape, will be using one of the auditoriums as its sound stage for filming the world's top 100 bands during 2000. A total of 60 IR receivers are available for the public to use, with the choice of headphones or neck loops. B&H has had long experience of induction loop systems for clients such as Virgin and UCI, and has recently moved into IR systems, using the US-based Williams system.
Cerwin Vega! has introduced the SUB-15, a compact, direct-radiating 15" sub-woofer which, the company claims, matches the performance of products usually twice the size and price. The high-powered enclosure (500W programme, 1000W peak) offers an attractive advantage to installers, say Cerwin. The SUB-15 is available exclusively in the UK through its distributor Lamba plc.