UK: The 2008 edition of PLASA concluded last Wednesday at London's Earls Court, writes David Davies. Following last week's live show coverage (read here) and several earlier product previews (read here and here), PSN-e concludes its PLASA 08 coverage by recalling some other highlights, including the awarding of this year's Gottelier Award to DiGiCo's John Stadius (pictured), the announcement of a slew of new customers for Electro-Voice line array systems, and DPA's introduction of a new instrument mic series.
For the second year running, the Gottelier Award - founded last year in memory of late designer Tony Gottelier to recognise innovation in entertainment technology - went to an individual from the pro-audio world. Following the awarding of the inaugural trophy to Funktion One's Tony Andrews, the 2008 recipient was Soundtracs/DiGiCo technical director John Stadius.
"I was very pleased, not only for myself but for the R&D team and the whole company as well," Stadius tells PSN-e. "And it made my wife happy!"
Back at DiGiCo HQ, Stadius is preparing for the entrance into full production of the SD8 console, which made its debut at PLASA. "We've had an amazing reaction," says Stadius. "We knew we had a good product, but we didn't realise how well it would be received."
There was more cheering news for pro-audio at the PLASA Awards for Innovation, where Neutrik received an honour for its convertCON product, billed as the first unisex XLR cable connector.
At a show rich in major sales announcements, Shuttlesound revealed that it had secured five new UK rental company customers for Electro-Voice line array systems. Following a recent sale of EV XLD and XLE modules to APR Audio, the company announced that Clear Sound (based in Stratford-upon-Avon), CWS (Peterborough), Ethix (London), Leisure Tech (Wigan) and OneBigStar (Nottingham) had now joined the EV X Network. Three of the companies - CWS, Clear Sound and Ethix - have invested in EV XLC DVX systems, while system purchases by the other two operations include XLE181s (OneBigStar) and XLD281s (Leisure Tech). All five companies have partnered their line array cabinets with EV's Tour Grade amplifiers.
"The loudspeakers are really well-made and lightweight, and they provide fabulous coverage over 120 degrees," said Leisure Tech's Phil Jameson. "We loved the sound of the XLE modules, but felt that the XLDs would do a larger range of jobs. We use them now on club nights, with tribute bands and outdoors at York racecourse for 20-30,000 people. Hearing the XLDs on some jobs can make you swear never to use a point-source system again!"
PLASA 08 also brought forth a number of notable product launches, not least from DPA Microphones, which unveiled the first four microphones from its new 4099 series. Aimed at the MI market, the new line includes the 4099 Guitar, 4099 Sax, 4099 Trumpet and 4099 Violin, each of which is designed and optimised for the indicated instrument family. Further instrument-specific mics are said to be "in the pipeline".
Staying on a microphone 'tip', AKG showcased its recently-introduced D7 dynamic vocal mic. In a similar fashion to predecessor model the D5, the D7 is said to deliver incredibly clear sound for lead and backing vocals in live sound applications. Additional features on this latest module include an improved capsule design that contains a humbucking coil and a high-pass filter. Two further models - the D7-S (featuring an on/off switch) and the D7-WL1 microphone capsule for use with AKG wireless systems - are also available.
"The D7 microphone is one of the greatest microphones in the industry vocals," claimed AKG vice-president of marketing, Alfred Reinprecht, "and we are very pleased with the amount of positive attention that it is receiving. "We are dedicated to providing an industry-leading microphone with superior quality and performance."
VMB, meanwhile, showcased its Lynx Series LX-F6 small-format powered line array module. The second model in the Lynx Series, the LX-F6 is a small-format two-way line array element offering integrated amplification, digital processing and networking capabilities. Other features include two Neodymium magnet 6" transducers for the low frequencies, and an accordion-folded ribbon driver for the highs.
Elsewhere on the showfloor, Yamaha announced that its flagship TXn range of power amplifiers is now in full production and will begin shipping next month, accompanied by the latest NetworkAmp Manager II control software. The range comprises three two ohm drive models: TX4n (2,200W), TX5n (2,500W) and TX6n (3,000W).
Finally for this year, Peter May made his PLASA debut as Sennheiser UK's newly appointed sales and marketing director, while Paul Latham - president of entertainment giant Live Nation UK - gave his full support to the National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural Skills, of which he is chair.
"My aims for the National Skills Academy are to establish the largest possible network of employers and educators, officially recognised by the Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural Skills," said Latham during the PLASA Awards for Innovation ceremony. "This will in turn bring the most appropriate curricula to the student-base, thereby preparing them for future gainful employment. Within five years I would hope to have established over 4,000 recognised National Skills Academy apprenticeships across all disciplines and have a complementary network of international partnerships that would provide further opportunities for our skilled workforces."