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Show preview: Prolight + Sound Frankfurt 2015

Launches aplenty planned for the world’s biggest live sound trade fair

It’s the show that needs no introduction: Prolight + Sound (PL+S), the biggest international trade show for the events, installation and production sectors, is back, promising once again to attract pro-audio professionals the world over to the Messe Frankfurt exhibition centre from 15 to 18 April.

PSNEurope will, as always, be covering PL+S in full (keep an eye on our Twitter feed and website for all the latest developments), but for now, here’s what we know so far…

Audio Precision brings news of the availability of a package enabling Dolby MS11 compliance testing via APx-series audio analysers. (The Dolby MS11 Multistream Decoder provides TV, set-top box and IC manufacturers with a single-package solution for decoding all premium broadcast audio formats.)

“The value of a test solution that speeds the compliance test process without compromising the results is vital to any engineer tasked with achieving that compliance,” says Dave Schmoldt, Audio Precision CEO. “We’re pleased to provide exactly such a solution to our Dolby-licensed customers, free of charge.”

B&C Speakers is adding to its family of woofers with the launch of the MBX series. Designed as a general-purpose woofer, the MBX series is well suited to application in two-way point-source systems and offers “an excellent balance between low- and mid- frequency reproduction, with higher sensitivity than current, similar alternatives”.

“As full range enclosure sizes continue to shrink, the MBX series was a logical addition to our line”, says Ron Tizzard, the company’s director of sales. “We already have significant demand for this type of woofer from our OEM partners, so bringing them to the general market was an obvious next step.”

Bose’s stand will play host to the “global launch of a new portable PA system”. And that’s all we know so far…
DPA Microphones is pushing education at the show: the Danish company’s booth will ”be the place to go to if you want to learn the best placement of a microphone on your instrument, and how to get the best sound from your instrument or voice”. The booth will feature workshops with DPA product specialists who will demonstrate vocal and instrument microphone placement on saxophone, acoustic guitar and upright bass. There will also be a listening area where visitors can compare sound samples from DPA microphones with those from other brands.

Funktion-One will launch the new Evolution series of high-intensity loudspeakers along with a new system for smaller applications.

The Evolution range is centred around the Evo 6 and Evo 7 enclosures. Both products are fully horn-loaded with 15” mid-bass, 10” Funktion-One signature midrange and a 1.4” compression driver solely for high frequencies above 4kHz. The Evo 7 has a 30° horizontal dispersion angle and very high efficiency, so just three wide gives 90° horizontal coverage for crowd sizes up to around 2,500 people.

The British manufacturer will also unveil a new self-powered bass enclosure, designed for domestic, home studio and small venue applications.

Gibson will “continue to honour the legacy of Les Paul, the genius who pioneered the solid-body electric guitar and multi-track recording”, at Frankfurt with the release of its new Les Paul Reference Monitors.

The Nashville-based MI/pro-audio manufacturer says the monitors combine “superior definition with the iconic Les Paul [guitar] styling, using exceptional materials including flame maple tops, diamond-like carbon-coated titanium tweeters, non-woven carbon-fibre woofers and custom-designed amplification to ensure ultra-clean transient impulse response and ample headroom”. Les Paul Reference Monitors are available in 4″, 6″ and 8″ sizes, in cherry, cherry burst and tobacco burst.

HK Audio will show new variable curvature options available on its ConTour Array CTA 208s.

Every CTA 208 ordered from the beginning of 2015 onwards features curvature options of 0°, 3° 6° and 9°, giving far more flexibility to the end user (previous CTA 208s feature only 0° and 9° options). For customers who wish to upgrade their existing CTA 208s to the new specifications, an affordable ‘CTA 208 0°, 3°, 6°, 9° Upgrade Kit’ is also being made available.

HK will also show the Patchbay 6, the new and improved successor to the classic Patchbay 2 and Patchbay 5. The PB-6’s “clear layout and high quality construction” – it features components from renowned manufacturers such as Neutrik and Cordial – make it suitable for HK Audio’s Cohedra, Cohedra Compact, ConTour Array and Cadis loudspeaker systems.

K-array has developed the KR802, which it claims is its “most advanced self-powered, portable amplification system yet”. The system features a pair of the newly launched Kayman mid-high line array elements matched to the double 18” powered KMT218 subwoofer.

KV2 Audio will launch the VHD5.0 constant power point-source array in Frankfurt. According to KV2, its former flagship offering, the VHD2.0 large-format system, had the capability to cover crowds in excess of 10,000 people with just one or two enclosures per side. The challenge, then, for designer George Krampera and his team in building an even larger point-source system (suitable for an audience of 50,000+) was to “reproduce the low-mid energy that certain line arrays provide though the summing of multiple drivers while maintaining the key benefits of point source technology, such as minimal destructive interference in the higher frequency range and accurate impulse response”. With the VHD5.0, KV2 claims to have not only risen to this challenge – “the sound remains the same in every seat in the house” – but also reports that the design is the “first major advancement in large concert sound reinforcement since the development of the line array”. Bold claims indeed!

LD Systems will launch the Contractor series of fixed installation speakers. According to parent company Adam Hall, Contractor loudspeakers “convince not only through their wide dispersion pattern, extended frequency range and reliable operation [but] also provide an aesthetic architectural solution combined with a discreet appearance”.

In addition to wall-mounted models in white or black – including an extremely flat 37mm deep model – the Contractor series features recessed speakers for ceilings and walls. Recessed Contractor speakers are only available in white, and also include a frameless option.

Pan Acoustics will present its active, digitally steerable Pan Beam-series column speakers, now equipped with Dante networking technology. Sebastian Oeynhausen, product manager at Pan Acoustics, says: “Dante […] effectively completes, in addition to our Pan Powerline technology, the range of Pan Beam products.”

Pan Beam models can be set and monitored via Dante (directivity, EQ, delay and on), and switching presets, saved in the Pan Beam speakers, is also possible.

As part of production house PRG Germany’s LEA awards broadcast and stage set-up, a complete EAW ADAPTive System will be used and will remain in place for the duration of the exhibition. PRG will be holding 10-minute demonstrations of their complete stage audio and lighting set-up every 30 minutes, with all audio delivered through EAW’s new Anya and Otto systems.

German manufacturer Voice-Acoustic will present its new HDSP multichannel amplifier series. Models are available in various performance classes from 1600W up to 16kW into 4Ω and are “characterised by some unique features”, says the company. The DSP/amp (class D) units are constructed in “modular design with an upside-down layout of the electronics in a stable corrosion-resistant aluminum body housing. They have multiple power supplies, power amp sections and DSP boards. This ensures the highest reliability, serviceability and maximum bass performance without interference between the channels.”

In addition, Voice-Acoustic will unveil new loudspeaker models, including the Paveosub-112 and -112sp (self-powered version with 4,000W three-channel DSP amplifier module inside) 12” bass speakers.

Finally, Yamaha promises the European debut of the new large-format RIVAGE PM10 digital mixing console, as first seen in Japan late last year.

Main photo: dontworry/Wikimedia Commons