PA rental giants SSE Audio Group in the UK and California-based Sound Image have announced their collaboration in a transatlantic joint venture.
Dubbed the UAC (United Audio Companies), the agreement is designed to provide all the resources required, including “a common touring infrastructure and around-the-clock support”, for touring clients working on either side of the Atlantic.
“It’s not just a US company operating via an EU satellite office or vice versa in the US,” explained SSE Audio Group MD John Penn. “It’s two full-service national PA companies with a full complement of staff, service facilities, vehicles, production managers and their long-developed support networks that are made available to the touring production – in addition to the equipment inventory and crew.
“It means that when a tour hits a snag, SSE in Europe or Sound Image in the States are far more likely to resolve the issue quickly.”
Each of the partnering companies has introduced common technologies to facilitate the transition between continents: for instance, SSE has added a JBL VTX system to its rental stock (which is principally L-Acoustics kit). All productions will have additional local contacts assigned to assist planning and coordination and reduce down time.
Both companies have been roadtesting the arrangement over the last year with acts including Linkin Park, Culture Club, Pharrell Williams, Maroon 5 and Billy Idol, but it’s the current Neil Diamond world tour which will see the first official implementation of UAC. The new SSE JBL system was deployed for the first time on the European leg of the Jazz Singer star’s tour, following his successful North American outing in April and May with Sound Image.
Commenting on the UAC venture, Dave Shadoan, president of Sound Image, says: “Sound Image and SSE have very similar company philosophies. We both continue to invest heavily in today’s leading technology and we both put a heavy focus on our personnel and service. That is what sets us apart.”
John Penn added: “I’ve known Dave for a many years and we’ve worked together on tours. This strategic development is logical for both of our companies as we recognise the importance of offering our clients proper technical and logistical support around the clock in both Europe and the United States.”
In the USA, Sound Image has offices in San Diego, Nashville, LA and Phoenix, while in Europe, SSE Audio Group has UK offices in London, the Midlands and the North of England, plus three locations in France.
Jesse Adamson, director of business development for Sound Image adds: “SSE is a dominant force that is gaining serious momentum in Europe. It’s clear that United Audio Companies can offer a level of infrastructure and support that can’t be found with any other touring audio company in the industry.”
Pictured top (L to R): Mike Sprague, director of touring, Sound Image; John Penn, MD SSE; Dave Shadoan, president Sound Image; Jesse Adamson, business development Sound Image; Yan Stile, hire director SSE; Dan Bennett, project manager SSE