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Audio Alliance: 10 years and still flying high

Erica Basnicki 4 April 2012
Audio Alliance: 10 years and still flying high

Audio Alliance – a Manchester-based sound rental company specialising in corporate productions – is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The past decade has certainly been an interesting one for Oliver Driver, Audio Alliance’s managing director (pictured).   “The unusual projects are always memorable – flying to a job in Turkey when all flights had been grounded due to the ash cloud was interesting. Two thousand Russian delegates were flying to Turkey as they, of course, hadn’t been affected,” he recalls. “There was no option but to get there, and our client managed to persuade a private jet company to fly us out of UK airspace at 4,000ft, refuel in France and take off to Turkey. I understand that they got a severe talking to from the Civil Aviation Authority for that – but it was great fun, especially knowing that no-one else was flying!”   These are tricky economic times, there’s no denying that, but Driver is feeling robust. The company employs five full-time staff but often calls upon five or six ‘regular’ freelance engineers. “2012 has brought a raft of top brands to us, via our production company clients, with work for Santander, Proctor & Gamble, Wella, Clarks, The Co-operative, AstraZeneca and many more,” he says. “Venues have ranged from Earls Court, and The Roundhouse to venues in Venice, Ghana and Nice. Our production company clients are busy and very loyal to Audio Alliance and the security of service we provide.”   To keep up with the increased workload, Audio Alliance has continued to invest in the latest technology and this year alone has spent close to £250,000 (€300,000) on new stock. Further investment was made in Yamaha consoles, choosing the M7CL-48 and PM5D. Sticking to the same reliable brand was essential for Audio Alliance, as it’s what its engineers, and most importantly its clients, have become accustomed to.   “We’re very brand loyal and work closely with manufacturers to provide feedback and real-world testing – which in turn gives us insight into their product cycle and direct access to service and support we need,” says Driver. Audio Alliance has also acquired more EtherSound digital multicore systems and d&b M4 wedges. With the changes in frequency laws the Sennheiser 3000 series radio mics were chosen as replacements, using DPA headset mics. More Sennheiser MKH series mics, and AKG C414s have also been added.   The congested radio frequency spectrum is just one of the subjects Driver reflects on when I ask him about what the future might hold for Audio Alliance and the pro-audio industry in general.   He’s an optimist though: “We’re seeing a constant evolution of technology and we’re very eager to keep at the forefront of that. The market for our level of quality and service will continue. I think it’s important to stay focused; keeping direction and keeping the attention to detail high. Minutiae matter and you build your quality from the base up. I predict a steady expansion putting the right people in place to keep up the level of service our clients expect.”

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