ProLight+Sound, Frankfurt 2009
April 2009 Issue 116
Product launches galore in Frankfurt.
Mark Cunningham survived to tell a few tales...
Perhaps the glorious spring sunshine can be thanked for the 1% increase in visitor figures at this year’s ProLight+Sound/Musikmesse show in Frankfurt on April 1-4. Talk of global economic doom appeared to have been left at home by the 111,000 individuals who came, saw and — in my case at least — conked out.
For me, it was my 22nd visit to the sprawling Messe complex. In the early days I would have been drawn to the likes of muso icons Al Di Meola, Steve Lukather, Lee Ritenour, Joe Satriani, Billy Sheehan and Simon Phillips, all of whom rocked the Musikmesse hordes this year. Since the early ’90s, however, my focus has largely been on the so-called ‘Pro’ halls where, thankfully, instruments are a rare sight.
The evening sessions got off to a good start with the now-legendary annual Pop Quiz hosted by PSNE’s Dave Robinson, whose boombastic MC talents could only be matched by the Tannoy sound system lent to the event. This year’s winning team, the ‘Unbalanced Inputs’, narrowly beat my beer-soaked bunch, the ‘Psychedelic Arseholes’, thereby bringing a halt to my winning streak. Note to self: must try harder.
As usual, there were many product launches over the four days, many of which we previewed in our March issue, so let’s get down to business with the lion’s share of the remainder... starting with a significant début from Sennheiser, whose third generation evolution wireless series, G3, received its world premiére.
Sennheiser presented the new 100, 300 and 500 G3 series, as well as the new 300 IEM G3 wireless monitoring system. “We have an optimum combination of more switchable frequencies — up to 1,680 for the new generation — and a high selectivity,” explained product manager Martin Fischer. “The G3 systems offer the widest range of performance features in their class.”
All series now feature a Soundcheck Mode, which was previously reserved for the 500 Series. Sennheiser has added even more refinements to this mode. The Soundcheck Mode can now be operated even during the show: the audio level and field strength level are continuously measured, with the receiver recording the maximum values for AF and the minimum values for RF.
The highly popular EQ from the 500 Series is now fitted to all series, allowing trebles to be raised and bass frequencies lowered to suit individual voices and applications.
Sound engineers in ‘luvvieland’ will get a lot of mileage out of DiGiCo’s new console. Its flagship SD7 desk has its operational potential increased with the new, optional SD7T configuration which features a new, application-specific software extension.
This extension, said MD James Gordon, brings with it all the theatre-specific advantages of the D5T, with the phenomenal power of Stealth Digital Processing. “It gives two consoles for almost the price of one,” he remarked.
The development of DiGiCo’s MACH2 software suite has enabled more power to be harnessed from the Super FPGAs in the Stealth Processing engine. Features include DiGi-TuBe — the world’s first Super FPGA pre-amp tube emulation, with full drive and bias control; dynamic EQ and multi-band compressor on all 256 processing paths; and a talk-to-buss with dim function, designed with the monitor engineer in mind.
MACH2 will be available free to all existing SD7 owners and will ship in all new SD7 consoles from May.
Allen & Heath introduced three new audio interface plug-in cards for the iLive-T digital mixing series, enabling the system to interface with popular standards, including EtherSound, ADAT and Aviom.
Turbosound had a ‘Mega’ show, thanks to its representation by its new German distributor, Bingen-based Mega Audio GmbH who showed the latest from the UK manufacturer, including its Flex Array system in both flown and ground-stacked configurations.
Also announcing its distribution allegiance to Mega Audio were Klark Teknik and Midas — the latter announced its eagerly-awaited version 1.10 software upgrade for its XL8 Live Performance System. Available as a free download, it boasts such features as system updater, showfile cross-compatibility and MC (Master Control Computer) redundancy. Midas also announced details of the much-anticipated Offline Editor Mac-based software suite for the Pro6 and the XL8 digital systems.
New from Klark Teknik are the DN540 creative quad compressor (four channels of creative compression in a 1U chassis and the DN530 creative quad gate, boasting ‘transient accenting’ — a new creative feature providing an easy way to enhance the attack envelope beyond merely opening the gate.
Dynacord has a new, compact, high-performance stage monitor. The CXM 15 is a 15”/1.4”, coaxial, two-way monitor with a radial coverage pattern of 60°. It can achieve SPLs as high as 135dB at 102dB sensitivity. If desired, the CXM 15 can be switched to bi-amping mode.
The brand has also introduced its new SL Series amplifiers, comprising the competitively priced SL900 (2 x 450W), SL 1200 (2 x 600W), SL 1800 (2 x 900W), and SL 2400 (2 x 1200W).
Sister company Electro-Voice promoted four models in its new Q Series amplifier range — the Q1212, Q99, Q66 and Q44 (rated from 2 x 1200W at 4 Ohms down to 2 x 450W).
Based on Class-H layout for maximised efficiency and reduced weight in a 2U design, the amp family features additional switchable LowPass Notch (LPN) filters, providing extra fundament and kick as well as protective low-cut when driving compact 12” or 15” full-range speaker cabinets without subwoofers.
Tannoy served margaritas to the thirsty press as Paul Nicholson of Red Square Audio waxed lyrical about the attributes of the VQ Live system, Tannoy’s first venture into high end pro audio.
Harman hosted a lengthy press conference to highlight numerous product launches from its various brands, including AKG’s new, limited edition D7 LTD dynamic vocal microphone.
JBL introduced the PRX512Mi multipurpose powered loudspeaker and the PRX718S high performance powered subwoofer — bringing the total number of models in the PRX Series to seven — while dbx has added four new products to its acclaimed ZonePro family of digital zone processors.
Although there were no brand-new products from Studer Soundcraft, there were announcements concerning upgrades to the line of digital mixing consoles.
Harman SDIG VP Rick Kreifeldt also presented a paper on developments by the IEEE 802.1 Bridging Task Group on delivering uninterrupted audio and video over standards-based Ethernet.
Peavey’s latest additions to its MediaMatrix family include nControl, a professional industrial network PC server which provides a powerful platform for NION control systems, and nTouch — a range of touch-screen devices for controlling MediaMatrix systems.
Here’s one for the strange but true department... Crest Audio announced that the high power flagship model of the successful CC Series of amplifiers, the CC5200, has been re-baptised the CC5500 after it was discovered that the transformer was actually capable of putting out 5500W of power rather than 5200 as first stated. You live, you learn!
QSC Audio débuted its new K-Series — a compact, lightweight, high-performance powered group of loudspeakers. K-Series features a combination of a pro-styled moulded ABS enclosure, uniformly matched drivers, advanced DSP and QSC’s legendary touring spec amplification. The same 1000W Class D amplifier module powers all four models — whether the K8, K10, K12 — or dual 12” KSub.
Powersoft launched its K2 amplifier, an extension of its signature K-Light Series. Exclusively manufactured in Italy, the K2 meets the most stringent requirements of pro users and provides 1000W per channel with an 8-ohm speaker load, 1950W at 4-ohms and 2400W at 2-ohms in stereo configuration.
As well as the Lake LM 26 digital loudspeaker processor — the first product to emerge through its recent acquisition of Lake’s technologies, Lab.gruppen announced the addition of three new models to the legendary FP+ Series, including a new flagship amplifier, the FP 14000. The other two models are the FP 9000 and the FP 4000, bringing the FP+ range up to seven models in total.
The FP 14000 delivers an impressive 14000W (2 x 7000W @ 2 ohms) in just 2U. The FP 9000 and FP 4000 also offer amazing power density, delivering 9000W (2 x 4500W @ 2 ohms) and 4000W (2 x 2000W @ 2 ohms) respectively, in just 2U.
InnovaSon presented the first fully functional version of M.A.R.S., a digital 64-track recorder of the highest quality that records directly on to a hard disk plugged into the back of the company’s Eclipse console.
CADIS (Compact Adaptive Installation System) is the new, versatile installation array from HK Audio. Noteworthy for its extraordinary flexibility and sonic performance, CADIS is quick and easy to install, using the same integral three-point rigging system as the COHEDRA Compact line array.
Adamson’s Point Series includes five models complete with EASE Data; the Point 8, Point 12 and Point 15 two-way enclosures, with companion single and double 15” subwoofers; the Point115 Sub and Point 215 Sub. A new 4 x 8 DSP, The Point Control, is also available for optimal speaker management.
Available in a choice of 1,114 Pantone colours, the Point Series incorporates Adamson’s Advanced Cone Architecture in all 12” and 15” cabinets. These low-mid transducers have Kevlar cone geometries that reduce modal behaviour, providing an improved and linearised pass-band.
EM Acoustics unveiled its new line array system, Halo, which uses cutting edge drive unit technology to provide the ultimate in small-to-medium scale sound reinforcement. A three-way, compact bi-amplified line array system, Halo features two pairs of front-firing neodymium 6.5” drivers to handle low and mid-range frequencies with partial horn loading to improve midrange sensitivity.
The HF drive unit is a completely bespoke 60mm wide ribbon transducer with patent-pending diffusion technology which solves the issues surrounding horizontal directivity. The result is a consistent 90° horizontal coverage pattern which is maintained right across its operating frequency range.
Digigram introduced Aqonda, its latest generation of EtherSound audio bridges. In single 2U rackmount units, Aqondas are capable of converting up to 16 analogue signals into as many EtherSound channels, and likewise capable of extracting up to 16 EtherSound channels to 16 analogue outputs.
The new S6 wireless system from Trantec builds on the success of the S6000 range, taking the 19”, eight-way concept to a higher level. The S6 system operates from 590MHz-865MHz to cope with imminent regulation changes.
RCF had a very memorable show on its unusually hot stand! The Italian group announced its acquisition of lighting company SGM and the launch of new digital amplification company Digipro, as well as new additions to its TT+ line array series.
The TTL55-A, a high powered, three-way, active line array module, is joined by the TT45-SMA active stage monitor and TTS56-a high output active subwoofer system.
Mackie launched its affordable HD Series high-definition powered loudspeakers. The HD1521 two-way and HD1531 three-way represent the pinnacle of Class-D amplifier technology, delivering up to 1800W of peak system power.
On its striking stand, d&b presented some hot new products including the T-Series which offers two different loudspeaker technologies in one tiny package. As well as being d&b’s smallest line array it effortlessly transforms into a stand-alone point source system.
Simon Johnston of d&b commented: “Ease of use was a key motivator in our development of the T-Series; the sheer versatility of a cabinet that can quickly be re-oriented from line source to point source is truly innovative.”
The production version of Cadac’s S-Digital console was joined by the new Live1 analogue desk, together with the new LiveWire 32/8 digital multicore stagebox and breakout system.
L-Acoustics presented a series of breakthroughs enabled by its new K Platform which, in addition to its K line source arrays, includes the LA-RAK touring rack fitted with LA8 amplified controller, and LA-Network Manager control software.
There were a number of significant anniversaries celebrated at the show. Meyer Sound, Nexo and Renkus-Heinz all marked 30 years of trading, making me wonder what must have been in the air back in 1979 as it was also the year in which I entered the industry!
Along with its new Cinema Experience series and UP-4XP ultracompact loudspeaker, Meyer Sound announced the introduction of its groundbreaking D-Mitri digital audio platform, which provides the foundation of the company’s next generation of digital products, beginning with the LCS audio show control system and Constellation electroacoustic architecture.
D-Mitri is a powerful network-based system that encompasses the entire audio chain, from mic input to loudspeaker output, incorporating multi-channel distribution, multi-channel recording and playback, and show control automation. D-Mitri will ship from late 2009.
Camco introduced four new amplifiers. One is an addition to the Q-Power Series — the new Q-Power 4 is a 4 x 1000W four-channel model. But the big news was the unveiling of the all-new D-Power Series — three stereo models (D2: 2 x 1000W, D3: 2 x 1500W and D4: 2 x 2000W) designed to have the same look and feel as the four-channel Q-Power Series.
Italy’s Outline staged the world début of its Mantas vertical line array element — a compact, lightweight cabinet which allows even the tiniest sonic details to be heard with absolute respect for the speed of the transient response.
The section for reproducing high frequencies is loaded with a D.P.R.W.G. (Double Parabolic Reflective Wave Guide), a well-known Outline international patent, already used successfully on the Butterfly system.
Also new from Outline is the Lab 21 infra-sub which features a hybrid waveguide and indirect radiation system that ensures top-grade performance from a very compact enclosure.
TOA Europe has unveiled the Type H — an all-new series of line arrays designed to fit into the smallest of gaps, the most demanding of interior designs, the most reflective of environments, as well as the tightest budgets.
Barco announced the début of the Showbeam 2.5, a new High End Systems automated wash luminaire that features a jointly developed Philips MSR 2500W lamp source. A smooth field, soft-edge illumination is produced using a new radial lenticular homogenising lens system that provides a signature look on stage.
In addition, the dedicated wash light includes a user changeable fixed colour wheel, a variable CTO, a full CMY colour mixing system, and the ability to produce an 11° fixed hard-edge profile with fast colour change and electronic strobe. The profile can be rapidly zoomed from 11°-33°.
Based on the proven technology of the ART 2000 Touring range, Avolites’ new ART 2000 PowerCube features 12 dimmer circuits, six combined dimmer and fixed mains circuits, six dedicated fixed mains and two 16A utility circuits, all contained in a compact flight case that can be lifted by one person and securely stacked.
The A.C. Entertainment Technologies stand featured the recently launched Chroma-Q Color Block 2 LED fixture, the Jands Vista console range and other top entertainment technologies distributed by A.C.E.T.
Martin Professional’s rapidly expanding range of LED lighting solutions featured prominently. They included the LC Plus Series of LED video panels; EvenLED, a modular LED system; FlexDOT, a lightweight yet bright string of LED pixels for customised video solutions; and Martin’s first LED moving heads, the MAC 401 Dual and MAC 301 Wash.
PR Lighting launched its new StarBrite LED cloth — which formed a shimmering backcloth to the company’s stand — and XLED 590 wash light. The latter creates enormous punch due to its use of 90 Osram Diamond Dragon 5W RGB LEDs in each head.
Clay Paky premièred its new Alpha 700 range of fixtures, which includes the Spot HPE, Wash and Beam versions. Packed in an astonishing compact housing, these lights have much higher performances than their power category would suggest in terms of brightness, variety and precision of effects, and versatility of use.
There were eight new products on the Coemar stand, including three 300W fixtures (the Infinity S series: Spot, Wash, ACL) and the Infinity Wash XL’s brother: the new 1500W Infinity Spot XL. The StageLite LED Fx and StripLite LEd RGB 80cm also made their débuts.
Robe revealed its new Robin (Robe Innovative Concept) range of moving light products. The first in the series are the Robin 3 Plasma Spot, the Robin 300E Spot & the Robin 300E Wash.
Zero 88 launched Orb, its new theatrical lighting console which combines extreme flexibility, four universes of DMX control and contemporary styling to create a control solution for those operating in professional theatrical environments. The ZerOS software suite is the platform underlying the Orb’s operating system.
Multiform Lighting has released nine new additions to its expanding range of professional LED lighting products. They include the Multispot Eco LS1195, HP LS1009 and Multiwall LS 1243 RGB LED batten.
Visual Productions focused on the launch of its innovative entry-level software lighting control program, Cuelux — a DMX512 lighting controller for intelligent lights, LED, dimmers, lasers and various other effects.
Rigging Europe showed several exciting new products. Highlights included the worldwide launch of the new Kinesys Evo vari-speed hoist controller from the UK, plus the latest Lodestar and Coffing chain hoist products from CM.
LSC Lighting Systems Australia announced the release of the latest addition to its Redback dimmer racks. The new Redback 12 dimmer provides 12 channels at 10A with 100% duty cycle in only 2RU of height.
GDS showcased its newest product, Liteware UL — a battery-powered RGB uplighter with wireless DMX control.
A new technologically-advanced truss product called MyT (mighty, geddit?) is the result of R&D innovation and design by Staging Systems Europe (SSE). The first MyT is a rectangular section aluminium truss with dimensions such as (width) 84cm, (height) 146cm and (length) 500cm.
The truss is made up of assembled elements (without welding) and has been developed to achieve high performance, constructional simplicity and precise lines.
Prolyte made four product introductions — the modular Prolyte Space Roof, the Prolyft Mark III hoist, a new range of high-end Prolyft Controllers, and a complete new range of Prolyft rigging hardware.
Think Abele showed the latest wares from Movecat including the new MPC 4LD8 controller, capable of governing up to four direct-control electric chain hoists. Despite its attractive price-performance ratio, it complies fully with the current EN 60 204-32, EN 13 849-1 and VDE 113 guidelines.
And last but certainly not least... ChainMaster has extended its range of BGV-D8 plus rigging lifts. A new model has a load-bearing capacity of 250kg that is capable of moving loads at a speed of 4m/min. In the absence of a chain, the net weight of the chain hoist is around 22kg.
This is by no means a definitive guide to all things new, but it’s expected that further Frankfurt launch updates will follow in either our May issue or online at www.tpimagazine.com, where a light-hearted video filmed at the show is now available for viewing.
The next Frankfurt ProLight+Sound exhibition will be held on March 24-27 2010.