- by Mike Lawson
The Prolight+Sound (April 4-7) and Musikmesse (April 5-8) conventions returned to Frankfurt, Germany for their 2017 editions, and drew crowds to see the latest in M.I., pro audio and lighting gear from hundreds of manufacturers from around the globe. Everyone enjoyed the pleasure of a week of unseasonable sunshine in normally cold Frankfurt, especially as people stateside were dealing with cold weather, high winds, rain and snowfall.
The expos' semi-concurrent format (with each show held on slightly different days, but within the Messe Frankfurt fairgrounds) is still not popular with exhibitors, who overwhelmingly prefer having both shows on the same four days. Yet from the announced dates for the 2018 events, the split show approach will be with us for at least another year. Maybe it could return to a concurrent event in 2019.
In years past, Prolight+Sound and Musikmesse Halls were more closely located to each other, allowing for a more concentrated gathering of attendees, food services, live entertainment in the massive courtyard central to the main area of the messe hall. This year, the separation of the two shows made for a mile+ long trek from one show to the other, or a ride on one of the multiple shuttle buses provided for attendees.
This created a disconnected feeling for visitors and exhibitors alike, many of whom commented that it seemed odd to walk past so many empty halls to attend Musikmesse on the other end of the massive Frankfurt Messe. There had been a sense of camaraderie and excitement in prior years where the two shows had exhibits all in the same general areas. The show felt smaller and slower because of the continued separation of the two events.
Some exhibitors said that they felt that they were speaking to more German attendees this year instead of a larger range of customers from other countries. One major exhibitor commented that in years past, they would do business with visitors from the middle east, Africa, eastern European countries and the UK, but by the end of the 2017 show, surmised that much of their business was done with more local region attendees from adjacent countries to Germany, such as France, Switzerland and other drive/train-from locations.
A popular ongoing event was PL+S's loudspeaker shootouts on two outdoor mobile stage structures from Kultour GmbH, which gave attendees a chance to hear P.A. systems at 40- and 80-meter distances. Participants in this Live Sound Arena included AXIOM/Proel, Danley, db Technologies, Funktion One, KV2, RCF and TW Audio — among others.
Another highlight of the Frankfurt show is the annual MIPA/PIPA Awards. Avid snagged the Live Console of the Year honor for its S6L. Other 2017 PIPA/MIPA award winners included JBL EON One (Portable Sound), L-Acoustics LA12X (Concert Sound), Lawo mc2 56XC (Studio/Broadcast Mixer), Mojave Audio MA-1000 Signature Series (Studio Mic), PreSonus StudioLive Series III (Mixing System-Studio) and Sennheiser's System 6000 digital wireless (Live Sound Microphone). Congrats to all!
CONSOLES — BIGGER & BETTER!
Technology goes around in cycles. Mics were the big talk at NAMM. This time around for PL+S, new developments in consoles — particularly for sound reinforcement — were hot, hot, hot.
Allen & Heath (allen-heath.com) announced AES67 networking support (via its M-Dante card) and at Prolight+Sound 2017 in Frankfurt, showed digital interface options for dLive (including its new C Class console profiled on page 44) with superMADI and a range of AES 3 I/O cards.
Cadac (cadac-sound.com) unveiled its 96-input/56-bus CDC seven digital console, which builds on the success of the medium-format CDC six, offering all of its power and operational simplicity with the enhanced production capabilities of an expanded 36-fader control surface and dual 23.5-inch hi-def touch screens.
DiGiCo (digico.biz) — in addition to showing its new SD12 mixer (profiled on page 46) — announced a method allowing SD console users to easily integrate with a Waves Multirack system, running on an external PC, along with the Waves I/O interface already built into SD consoles. DiGiCo also demoed new, John Stadius-designed 8-channel mic preamp card modules with onboard 32-bit converters.
PreSonus (presonus.com) had a great show. In addition to winning a MIPA award for its StudioLive Series III (profiled on page 50), the company unveiled the StudioLive 24, which provides a total of 32 inputs, with 24 XMAX Class-A mic preamps and direct recording via USB and AVB. It begins shipping later this month.
Solid State Logic (solidstatelogic.com) debuted, the L200, a new entry in its Live console range, which features an ergonomic inverted-T chassis design that keeps all essential console controls within easy reach and brings spring arm-mounted external screens/devices closer to the center of the console. The L200 offers 144 full processing audio paths, configurable as up to 96 input channels, with up to 48 aux sends, up to 24 stems and six masters. It's available now.
Waves (waves.com) Dugan Speech plug-in option is an official software version of the famed Dugan automixer for Waves eMotion LV1 console (see profile on page 52). It controls the gain of multiple microphones automatically in real-time, dramatically reducing noise, feedback and comb filtering from adjacent mics.
Yamaha (yamahaca.com) unveiled a smaller controller for its Rivage PM10 Digital Mixing System (see profile on page 54). The new CS-R10-S control surface is about two-thirds the size of the existing CS-R10, with the same operability for limited space applications. Also new for the PM10? A firmware upgrade that will add an Eventide “H3000 Live” Ultra-Harmonizer plug-in, a new analog delay and the Dan Dugan Sound Design automatic mixer plug-in. All will be available in Q3 2017.
LOUDSPEAKERS TURN IT UP AT PL+S
Adamson Systems Engineering (adamsonsystems.com) debuted the S10n line array cabinet addition to its IS-Series. Due this summer, the S10n is a narrow-dispersion version of the popular S10 two-way, full-range line array, with identical specs to the S10, but in an 80 x 10 degree (H x V) dispersion pattern for applications with tighter horizontal coverage requirements. And shipping next month, are the full-range IS7 (dual 7" drivers with a 1.4" exit HF) line array and matching single-18 IS118 sub.
Amadeus (amadeus.fr) expanded its DIVA series with the mid-format DIVA M2 line source system. It's a 3-way, bi-amplified design, with an 8" neodymium LF in a bass-reflex enclosure, with two neodymium HF drivers, that are coaxially-mounted for a single acoustical output from a single 100 x 10 degree (HxV) waveguide. Availability is slated for Q3 2017.
Astro Audio's (astroaudio.eu) SARA II Object Rendering Engine is not exactly a speaker, but can surely bring a lot of fun into your P.A. rig, by adding the creative possibilities of object-based immersive 3D to the live entertainment and install industries (along with room acoustics and stage tracking features) — all in an easy to use package. The new version offers a touch screen display, redundant onboard SSD drives and up to 64 MADI or 128 Dante configurable network pathways, all of which are assignable to at least 32 audio objects.
Clair Brothers (clairbrothers.com) launched the double-12 C12 and double-8 C8 line arrays, which use True Fit Technology horizontal waveguides that use 3D design methods to be custom made exactly to any specific venue's requirements. And F.I.R. processing allows these line arrays to be digitally beam-steered in the vertical plane. Both can be ordered with various horizontal waveguide patterns, either stock 90/120-degree factory dispersion or a range of waveguides from 60- to 140-degrees. Clair also expanded its One Series 12-and 15-inch coaxial stage monitors with the 1.5AM+ — the self-powered version of the 1.5AM monitor, which like the 1AM+, can also power a passive 1.5AM with a slave output. Also new is the S2-CX point source package with a 15" coax driver with a 1.5AM horn paired with a 21" S2 powered or non-powered sub.
d&b audiotechnik's (dbaudio.com) V7P loudspeaker features two 10" drivers in a dipole arrangement with a centrally mounted 8" cone mid driver and a 1.4" compression driver on a rotatable CD horn. Dispersion is 75 x 40 degrees (HxV) and the speaker can be used as a stand-alone full-range system, or combined with other elements from the V-Series, either ground stacked or flown.
D.A.S. Audio (dasaudio.com) showed the three-way SF-158, designed as a high-power, full-range system or as a fill in large venues. An 8" mid driver combines with the M-75N neodymium HF compression driver on a rotatable 40 x 30-degree horn, while a 15" woofer in a band-pass configuration handles LF. Also new is the Altea series of affordable, powered portable P.A. speakers, with the Altea 15A and the higher-powered Altea 15A Pro. Both are two-way, 15" systems and a non-powered Altea 15 Pro model is also offered.
dB Technologies (dbtechnologies.com) revives its Opera series with three redesigned 10/12/15-inch two-way speakers with 600 watts (RMS) of onboard Class-D powering. All feature an asymmetrical vertical dispersion horn, DSP FIR filters and eight EQ presets.
Fohhn Audio (fohhn.com) unveiled a digital updating of its award-winning Linea Focus products. All feature onboard beam steering and digital AES/EBU and Fohhn AIREA inputs. Options include Dante, Optocore and analog inputs.
Funktion One (funktion-one.com) expanded its Evolution Touring Series with the Evolution 7TH mid-high section of the Evo 7T. With 10-inch and 1.4" HF drivers, Evo7TH is compact and adaptable to a number of configurations. The Evolution 7TL-215 features two 15-inch woofers for mid-bass reinforcement; while the 32-inch BR132 (based on Powersoft’s M-Force 10k watt linear transducer) offers ample LF frequency extension.
JBL (jblpro.com) expands its popular VTX series with the VTX A12 dual-12" line array, intended for mid- to large-size touring productions and high-end fixed installs. Based around new transducer designs, it offers innovative rigging hardware, along with four 5" mid drivers feeding a new HF waveguide a fourth-generation 12-inch neodymium Differential Drive woofer. The VTX A12 is due to ship later this month.
K-array's (k-array.com) Domino is a new line of unpowered full-range speaker line in compact, stainless steel enclosures. Domino is offered in black, white, brushed or polished stainless steel and 24K gold plated finishes. Also new is the Mastiff line of tough powered and unpowered stage monitors that feature an asymmetrical 100 x 30 degree horn that allows selecting a wide or narrow sound dispersion.
L-Acoustics' (l-acoustics.com) Syva is a system featuring six MF and three HF drivers in a J-shaped progressive curvature format. The arrangement produces a 140 x 26 (+5/-21) degree directivity optimized for wide coverage and 115 feet of throw. It can be paired with the Syva Low sub or Syva Sub infra extension to achieve 142 dB max SPLs. Syva can be wall- or pole-mounted, flown or used alone with its baseplate. Shipping is slated for June 2017. Acoustics also unveiled its P1, a networked digital audio speaker processor in a single rackspace package.
Martin Audio (martin-audio.com) unveiled 10 new products. The Wavefront Precision Series multipurpose line arrays are intended to bring the company's signature sound to a broader range of tours, installs and budgets, with the dual-10" WPC and dual 6.5" WPM, both designed as complete systems with external iKON multi-channel amplifiers optimized by Martin Audio's automated Display software. Options include the SX118 single- and SX218 double-18 subs. Martin's new XE Series monitors offer low-profile enclosures with unique Coaxial Differential Dispersion technology in 12" XE300 and 15" XE500 versions, designed to be used with the new iKON 4-channel amplifier. For more budget-conscious production, the LE range of monitors is also offered in coaxial 12" and 15" models using CDD technology.
NEXO's (yamahaca.com) GEO M10 line array was developed for long-throw theater/live music users and is twice as powerful as the compact GEO M6. Two M10 versions offer 12.5 and 25 degrees of vertical dispersion; both have 80/120-degree horizontal dispersion that's configurable removing the magnetic grill and adjusting the innovative flange. The M10 pairs a 10" neodymium driver with a 1.4" HF driver; a companion sub is optional.
RCF (rcf.it) introduced its HDL30-A 2-way active line array, which looks like the popular HDL20-A, but has beefier dual 10" drivers, a 4" HF driver and higher onboard power — 2,200 watts. Rigging is similar to the HDL50-A. Features include onboard RDNet, FiRPHASE filters and complementary SUB9006-AS subwoofer.
Void Acoustics (voidaudio.com) released its Nexus XL, a single-21" LF enclosure that expands upon the five-resonant chamber theory as used in its Stasys X, which has long been the backbone of many Void Acoustics installs around the world.
VUE Audiotechnik (vueaudio.com) updated its SystemVUE to version 3.8.20, which delivers full Dante networking support (for all h-Class powered systems, as well as VUEDrive system engines), expands parametric EQ functionality and adds a larger library of pre-loaded configurations addressing point source, line array systems and subwoofer arrays. The Mac/Win and iPad versions are all free downloads.
ON THE HORIZON
There plenty of other cool new products at Prolight+Sound and we will present more of these on our website at fohonline.com as well as in future print issues of FRONT of HOUSE. Meanwhile, Prolight+Sound returns to Frankfurt next year from April 10 to 13, 2018. Auf Wiedersehen!