Tech round-up from the show floor
by Jason Allen.
Integrate 2019 was back in Melbourne’s MCEC from 27 to 29 August, with a slightly less exuberant floorplan showing some restraint on the part of the big international screen brands. Not so much with the two-storey stands with their own cafes, more with the product and people on the ground. While nothing on show was particularly ground-breaking, there was still enough gold scattered around to grab any dedicated technophile’s interest.
Technical Audio Group were celebrating the inauguration their new three-storey office and training facility in Collingwood, which they did in fine style on the opening night of the show. It’s a slick fitout and a wise investment, with more and more of TAG’s business coming from the top end of town, particularly in the Q-SYS environment.
And QSC’s Q-SYS is still completely killing it in the world of integration. Their NV Series video endpoints have arrived, their implementation of DSP and control on a Dell server is an industry-leading product, and they’ve beaten everyone to the punch by introducing software-based Dante.
Q-SYS are leading the entire industry in this space because they’re doing what their customers want, and in some cases, inventing things that their customers didn’t even know they wanted yet, instead of following the old ‘we made a new box, now let’s sell it’ business model.
Nothing demonstrates QSC’s ‘customer first’ attitude more eloquently than Patrick Heyn, their director of marketing, and Nathan Makaryk, QSC’s senior training manager. They were both at Integrate performing regular Q-SYS presentations on the TAG stand, and doubled as entertainment at the Collingwood launch, because they’re actually a comedy duo with 20 years’ experience in improv; they met at college, and have performed together ever since.
They develop and deliver the excellent Q-SYS training programme, which is brilliant because ‘Pat and Nat’ know how to entertain and hold an audience’s attention. Actual people have to sit through product training; making it entertaining and memorable is a must, and something almost no-one does.
Also on the TAG stand; a range of new Allen & Heath Dante I/O, including install versions, plus the extremely useful new Custom Control app. Custom Control is a customisable, cross-platform control app for Allen & Heath dLive audio systems. It can run on iOS, Android, Windows, or Mac, and has all of the usual multiple user/multiple device levels you’d expect.
All graphics are customisable, and apart from the obvious control system applications for installs, TAG’s Andrew Crawford had eloquently demonstrated its usefulness by building a radio mic monitoring page for a musical, complete with character names and pictures, with real time signal monitoring under each label.
Off the show floor and up in a demo room, L-Acoustics’ Scott Sugden, Product Manager USA & Canada, ran an extremely slick L-ISA demo utilising five elements of Syva.
For the doubters, it perfectly demonstrated what all the fuss about immersive audio is about. I like to think of the type of front-hang immersive demonstrated by Scott as ‘stereo that works properly for everyone’. His presentation cut through hype and neatly pointed out that every technology used in audio has changed over the last few years, except the format of the bus we mix FOH out of.
Clear-Com LQ provides an AoIP comms link to apps or the cloud, as well as links to analogue and digital intercom devices of any brand. These interfaces can move audio signals to-and-from one endpoint to another endpoint with near-zero latency and maintain high audio quality throughout the network.
The practical upshot? Comms on your crew’s phones, using Clear-Com’s AgentIC app.
ETC have decided there’s something in this whole moving head LED market after all. The Relevé uses an additive LED RGIL (ColorSource Deep Blue) system producing 6,000 lumens, with five rotating/indexing gobos, 18-54° zoom range, Ani-gobo breakup and effect wheel, variable frost and instant pan and tilt calibration/homing at boot with minimal movement, delivering the extremely quiet operation you’d expect from the theatre specialists.
More things you can do on your phone: Biamp’s Crowd Mics ‘audience engagement solution’ makes everyone’s phone or tablet into a microphone you can run through the PA. Do any AGMs for large corporations and have to deploy Q&A mics? With a hardware unit, a banner and a QR code, you just patched in a thousand.
For obvious reasons, there’s extensive admin and moderation before signals are passed through, and initial test in the field in Australia have been positive. The hardware unit is called the ATOM and it supports up to 1,000 event participants. Conectivity is via USB or balanced analogue.
I love finding tiny things that are actually huge in application. This tiny thing is the Ampetronic Loopworks Measure R1 Receiver. It’s an audio induction loop receiver designed to be plugged into your phone and used in conjunction with the Loopworks Measure iOS App. The app can help you evaluate your installation site, and eventually test your installed system against IEC 60118-4 for certification, and uploads everything to your account via the cloud. Job done!
New to the Jands stable is Huddle Room Technology, and their Huddle Hub One. It’s a multi-session wireless presentation system that supports up to seven concurrent sessions on the same hardware. The Huddle Hub One supports both device-to-display connections for meeting rooms, and BYOD device-to-device connections for use in any physical space, including lobbies, lounges and open spaces.
It’s always fun to have a water feature that proves your IP rating is the real deal. The Robe iPointe is IP55-rated and works equally well as a beam, spot, effect, and wash (ha!) fixture. The ingress protection comprises a series of interconnected filters and air chambers that prevent water from entering the fixture, and should eliminate the need for frequent cleaning and maintenance. The lightsource is a 310W lamp, with a lifetime of up to 4,000 hours, specially developed for Robe by Osram. Zoom is adjustable from 1.8 degrees to 42 degrees.
The Shure MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone has been updated to include IntelliMix DSP, which handles acoustic echo cancellation, noise reduction, and automatic mixing, meaning it’s now an all-in-one-product that pretty much sorts your VC signal chain. Integrators can incorporate multiple MXA910 microphones and the Shure IntelliMix P300 Audio Conferencing Processor for simplified room expansion and scalability, thanks to the distributed DSP architecture. Shure’s patent-pending Autofocus technology continually fine-tunes the position of each microphone pick-up lobe in real time, for consistent sound when participants lean back in their chairs, or stand up.
Big news at ULA was the arrival of Elation to their stable. “We understand the value in providing our clients with as many options and solutions as possible, therefore we sought an internationally recognised brand that was well respected and could cover a vast array of markets,” stated Cuono (Con) Biviano, Managing Director of ULA Group.
“As an acknowledged brand on international tour riders and an emerging standard in the major theatre market, Elation was a natural fit.”
Elation Director of Sales & Marketing, Eric Loader, added, “A partnership with ULA was a logical step for us to move forward in the Australian and New Zealand market and is an important piece of our growth strategy.
“With an extremely well-qualified and experienced team with well-established relationships across the industry, along with offices across Australia and New Zealand, ULA is well prepared to support our product line and grow the Elation brand.”
“Elation offers unique, innovative products across rental, production and theatre and that was important for us,” Biviano said. “Not only was Elation an early adopter of LED technology and has developed some of the most advanced LED light engines, it is now at the forefront with a complete range of IP65 products and that’s where we see the growth in the future.”
The new partnership with ULA Group was launched at Integrate on the first day, where Elation’s latest IP65 Proteus series and theatrical-grade Artiste series fixtures were on display.
Other highlights at ULA included lighting from Luxibel, with a range of products specifically suited to conferences and exhibitions. New from VuePix Infiled is the VueStrip 10, adding a LED strip to the existing range just 10mm in width, and the ultrathin ‘Wallpaper’ 1.2mm pitch LED panels for UHD display.
Holding it all up is B-Tech, a new range of mounting systems that just found a home at ULA. “B-Tech’s extensive range of high quality and innovative easy-to-install mounting systems is a perfect fit for ULA’s product portfolio, providing system integrators and installers a complete range of digital displays and mounting solutions”, says Con. “With the addition of B-Tech mounts we have complete confidence to provide solutions of the highest calibre for every stage of a project”.
Epson Australia’s stand featured a 270-degree immersive video environment fitted with multiple L-Series projectors running an awesome edge-blended immersive visual feast. It was a custom structure built by Igloo Vision, which created a completely dark environment with content that included geo-mapping that transported you to the other side of the world. The dark and the immersive made it awesome, but also meant that I couldn’t get a decent photo of it! So here’s a photo of the new 7,000 lumen EB-L1070U.
Audio Brands Australia
The remarkable Meyer Sound Ultra X-40 has landed, and was hung proudly at ABA. Its ingenious two 8-inch cone drivers plus 3-inch high-frequency compression driver through a rotatable waveguide, powered by a 3-channel Class D amplifier with a peak output of 1,950 watts, produces the finest sound I have ever heard from a powered box of its size and class. I would be happy to use a pair of these as (very large) studio monitors, and also fill a room of 500 people. Meyer Sound are reporting sales almost unheard of in the brand’s lifetime, which are well deserved.
ABA have expanded their role as a Bosch distributor, with access to more of the EV and Dynacord range. They’ve also picked up distribution of Linea Research, an extremely nice collection of premium power amps with processing and control out of the UK.
Aside from the big noise from Midas, a number of new products made their Australian debut at NAS; dBTechnologies lovely new powered dual 5” with networked signal, monitoring and on-board processing, the VIO X205, and at the other end of the application spectrum, the B·Hype M; a powered 10” that comes with wireless mic, Bluetooth, SD card and USB port, battery, wheels and a handle.
Also eye-catching was Flex AV, another relative newcomer to NAS. They make Dante-enabled boundary mics that can be very cleverly integrated into any Dante environment, and configured via the Flex AV Designer software. The Flex AV FM-19D mics respond to control from most systems, and can change polar patterns, light up in different colours, and have a capacitive button that could be hooked up to anything. They also have a tiny speaker to play tones. Useful!
Appropriately enough, Riedel presented Integrate hosts the MCEC with The Riedel Appreciation Award on the first day of the show, recognising the confidence shown by MCEC in Riedel solutions and acknowledging contribution of the venue management team in delivering a great result.
Over the last two years, the MCEC has become a flagship client for Riedel Communications Australia, and was the first Convention Centre in Australia to install Riedel’s Bolero Wireless system. “The Riedel Artist and Bolero systems allow us to provide seamless communication across and between any of our venues.
“All configuration is available in a central application which is easy to use. This means our technicians don’t have to work with separate solutions for managing the different parts of the intercom systems,’’ said Michael Walker, Infrastructure & Equipment Manager at MCEC.
“The reliability, sound quality and flexibility of Artist and Bolero are the most important qualities to MCEC’’ he explained.
Bose had not one or two, but 50 new products on display at their impressive stand. Launched at ISE in Amsterdam in February, and covered by CX who attended the launch, all of the products are now shipping (or are about to ship) to the Antipodes.
The dizzying new selection includes the ArenaMatch DeltaQ loudspeakers and ArenaMatch Utility loudspeakers, 12 models of new, easy-to-install DesignMax loudspeakers in a range of sizes (ceiling and surface models, black and white, with subwoofer options); five new PowerSpace amplifiers (two with onboard DSP); two Commercial Sound Processors with a simplified configuration tool; three new digital ControlCenter controllers; and an upgraded Business Music System Designer software tool.
There are currently some hush-hush ArenaMatch installs underway in some high-profile locations, so watch this space for an install write-up after they go public!
Sennhesier’s TeamConnect Ceiling 2, which has been shipping in Australia since May, is the update to their popular conferencing solution.
Unlike ceiling microphones with static beamforming technology that work with predefined speaking zones, TCC2 captures the speaker no matter where they are in the room, so there is no need to alter the set-up when the number of participants changes or when a different seating arrangement
TCC2 supports Power over Ethernet (PoE), Sennheiser Control Cockpit, Dante Domain Manager, and provides an open media protocol for third-party control platforms such as Crestron.
Big news at PAVT wasn’t so much ‘what’ as ‘who’, with legendary Sydney integrator Dave Coxon joining the team. Replete in the traditional PAVT checked shirt, Dave manned the stand, a font of insight and wisdom into the world of hospitality installations.
Hanging just next to Dave was the equally attractive EAW KF810P install line array. This product is all about the beautiful lines, with all rigging, cabling and connectivity invisibly managed and covered.
The KF810 module has dual 3″ high frequency compression drivers, four 5″ mid-frequency transducers and two 3″ voice coil high power 10″ LF drivers. All of this is outputted through an integrated horn that occupies nearly the entire forward face of the speaker enclosure, delivering up to 145dB with accurate pattern control to 250Hz.
And if you want, you can get it weatherproofed and in white.
PAVT is always a good place to find something unexpected and useful, like the Attero Tech Zip4 Dante/AES67 paging station; a 4-button IP paging interface that can be routed over a Dante or AES67 network directly to your DSP, and can also integrate directly with Q-SYS via a dedicated Zip4 control plugin for Q-SYS Designer.
Symetrix’s highly competitive 4×4 Radius NX DSP was paired with a Symetrix T-5 Touchscreen, a 5-inch 800×480 TFT capacitive screen managed through the easy-to-program SymVue control interface, demonstrating a lot of processing and control power for not-a-lot-of bucks.