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PL+S 2018: show preview

There’s always plenty to see at Prolight + Sound – and this year’s offering includes seminars on 3D audio, virtual reality, 360° film and holography, as well as numerous halls of audio and lighting technology.

Prolight + Sound remains a significant attraction in the AV show calendar. While it’s undeniable that it has lost exhibitors to ISE in recent years, particularly on the audio side, there remains an impressive line-up of manufacturers and distributors showing their wares at Messe Frankfurt this month.

The show has a special focus on immersive sound and vision this year. On Thursday 12 April, the Immersive Technology Forum will comprise seminars on subjects such as 3D audio, virtual reality, 360° film and holography. Visitors can learn how to upgrade events through the inclusion of immersive experiences, how to earn money now and in the future with VR content, and where appropriate solutions can be used in productions.

The programme will begin with a 3D audio workshop by Lasse Nipkow, founder of Silent Work. Then, Jörn Nettingsmeier of the Association of German Sound Engineers (VDT) will look at potential applications for 3D audio in theatres. Michael Ochs, PRG Lab, will offer insights into the creative use of virtual and augmented reality and other technologies trending in the event sector – from interactive exhibits to immersive spatial experiences. Andreas Gause of Gerriets will present areas of application for special gauzes for 3D and hologram projection. Additionally, there will be two sessions by Mattias Hundt of Hessian Broadcasting on the business side of VR content production and the overall workflow of a 360° music-video production.

Additionally several exhibitors will have their own presentation areas for immersive sound.

  • d&b audiotechnik will demonstrate the innovative development of d&b Soundscape, a toolbox for the production of incomparable hearing experiences, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Alcons Audio and Astro Spatial Audio will have a joint demonstration area for showing immersive sound systems in operation. Products on show will include the first Alcons Pro-Audio loudspeaker with patent-applied-for waveguide technology and the Astro SARA II Premium Rendering Engine for object-based audio processing.
  • The Klangdome in the outdoor exhibition area promises to be a sound-intensive location, equipped with a DIY 3D sound system with 31 loudspeakers and a vibrating floor. The geodesic dome will use six six-channel, 100W Class D amplifiers in its Ambisonics 3D sound system.

Lighting and displays

Absen Europe will present its new Polaris Series, a range of high-performance products for indoor and outdoor events. With 10 models to choose from (with pitches from 1.5mm to 6.9mm), the Polaris Series is said to deliver stunning images, ease of use and robustness; curve options from -7.5˚ to up to +10˚ are available. It features Absen’s latest COBALT technology, which is said to give exceptional product stability and performance.

Also on show will be Absen’s Altair Series, an ultra-lightweight rental system that is claimed to be the world’s lightest and thinnest LED panel (less than 19kg/sqm). It features advanced carbon fibre materials and is suitable for ultra-large screen live event applications.

Cameo Light, an Adam Hall Group brand, will be showing the ZENIT W600, a IP65-rated 21,000 lumen washlight with high-resolution 16-bit technology. Equipped with 40 15W CREE RGBW LEDs, the ZENIT W600 creates consistent and powerful colour blends.

Being launched at Prolight + Sound is the W600 D, a pure white light variant with a colour temperature of 5,600K, which offers a light output of 41,000 lumens. It will be available in the summer.

Among the recent product development from Elation on show at Prolight + Sound will be the Artiste Picasso, a theatrical-grade luminaire that is one of the brightest, most feature-rich profile LED lighting fixtures on the market today. It has 22,000 lumens output, is packed with features (including zoom, framing, CMY, CTO colour correction, gobo wheels, animation, prisms and frost) within a compact profile.

Also on the stand will be the Smarty Hybrid, a full-featured spot, beam and wash fixture that Elation says is the most compact CMY colour mixing hybrid it has released to date.

GLP will unveil a brand new lighting fixture this year at PL+S. It will also showcase the JDC1, which has been used for some of the world’s biggest musical acts. Sporting two fully pixel-mappable LED plates which are set either side of the strobe tube – allowing for incredible wash effects as well as bright blinding strobe effects – this popular fixture boasts a motorised tilt, and 185° of motion.

Also receiving its PL+S debut will be impression S350, designed to be a single modern-day ‘go-to’ fixture that will fulfil lighting designers’ needs in multiple applications.

PR Lighting will showcase eight major new products at this year’s show. These include the AQUA 480 BWS – an IP65-rated moving light, combining beam, wash and spot features; OMEGA, a moving zoom bar effect luminaire with six RGBW LEDs, producing a powerful zoomable blade of light; XLED 6019 – an extremely bright LED colour wash moving head luminaire featuring 19 60W Osram RGBW LEDs; and PR-6000 Wash – an extremely powerful moving head aimed at all professional applications, which offers a complete CYM colour system and macros.


The latest addition to the CURV 500 series from LD Systems (an Adam Hall brand) is the CURV 500 TS compact touring array system, which extends the array system’s range of applications to include situations requiring particularly high SPLs and a wide and long-range dispersion. Equipped with four array satellites (two duplex satellites with twin-speaker configuration and two single satellites), the CURV 500 TS has a narrower vertical dispersion for projecting a punchy and dynamic sound, even to the rear of the audience.

Astro Spatial Audio (ASA) will highlight its brand agnostic approach to true object-based immersive audio at Prolight + Sound.The object-based 3D sound specialist will give presentations throughout the show, highlighting the deep integration between ASA’s SARA II Premium Rendering Engine and third-party systems including TTA’s Stagetracker II next-generation performer tracking, Alcons Audio loudspeakers, and QLab playback automation software.

In addition, ASA will debut new v4.0 software, incorporating substantial improvements in loudspeaker management, matrixing and show control.

All of this will be showcased in a new demonstration of the ASA object-based solution, featuring dedicated 3D mixes of some of the world’s best-loved songs.

Audio-Technica’s recently launched 3000 and 5000 Series wireless systems will receive their ProLight+Sound debut. Designed for use in stadiums, concert halls, houses of worship and other demanding audio environments, the new 5000 Series dual receiver is said to offer the highest-quality wireless live sound, with circuitry that processes high and low frequencies separately. The receiver has been updated with a tuning bandwidth of 230MHz (470–700MHz) and users can choose a standard receiver with two balanced XLR outputs or a receiver with a Dante output.

With a class-leading 60MHz tuning range – more than twice that offered by the previous versions – the new 3000 Series systems are available in four frequency bands. The 3000 Series lets users set a back-up frequency that can be quickly swapped by pressing the transmitter’s multifunction button in the event of unexpected interference.

Clear-Com will be marking its 50th anniversary year, celebrating the people who have contributed to its heritage of communications breakthroughs, and those who continue to work towards better ways of communicating.

On show will be the LQ Series of IP interfaces. When connected to the HelixNet digital network partyline intercom system, these connectivity devices can increase HelixNet’s existing channel count of 24 input and output ports sixfold, creating a much higher density system for linking audio and intercom. Additionally, any user on the HelixNet system is now able to communicate with users on Clear-Com’s Agent-IC mobile apps running on smart iOS or Android devices over WiFi, as well as users on VoIP phones via SIP connection.

For audio professionals, Crestron will showcase solutions including its range of modular and multichannel amplifiers, plus high-performance Crestron Vector loudspeakers, for speech reinforcement, foreground music and multimedia presentation applications.

Also on display will be Crestron’s DM NVX Series, a secure network AV solution. As the next generation of DigitalMedia, NVX delivers 4K60, 4:4:4, and HDR over standard 1Gbps Ethernet. Patent-pending Crestron technology gives an infinitely scalable software-defined matrix.

Fohhn is to demonstrate the latest developments in its new concert sound system. The system includes Focus Venue, an active, digitally controllable line array system with beam steering technology. This comprises flexible, combinable FV-100 high frequency modules and FV-200 low-mid modules with cardioid technology (Convertible Dispersion Technology). These are combined into arrays that are stacked or flown straight, with no mechanical curving. Beam dispersion characteristics can be controlled electronically in real time.

Focus Venue can be supplemented in the low frequency range by Fohhn’s new Perform-Series subwoofers: the PS-800 (one 18in driver) and PS-850 (two 18in).

Prolight + Sound will see the European launch of the F124 bass enclosure from Funktion-One. This product combines Funktion-One’s horn-loading technology with a 24in driver.

Tony Andrews and the Funktion-One design team worked closely with Precision Devices, eventually developing a double 6in voice coil motor, which is believed to be the most powerful electromagnetic structure in a loudspeaker.

Two voice coils and intense magnetic flux control the 24in cone to create excellent transient response and extended depth below 30Hz.

“It’s probably the best all-round bass device on the planet,” says Andrews. “Everyone who has experienced it has been blown away. It was quite a long development process – around two years – but that attention to detail has returned a fantastic result.”

Immersive audio and show control specialist Out Board will show its new TiMax 500S software for TiMax SoundHub. This features enhanced programming and show control workflows for rendering and control of live, presentation and experiential spatial reinforcement and immersive audio.

TiMax will also have sneak previews of the powerful new bespoke TiMax FPGA dsp core, which is destined to offer “unparalleled” new creative tools for spatial reinforcement, 3D audio and acoustic enhancement. StageSpace allows auto-calculation of delay-matrix localisation objects derived from three-dimensional data imported from CAD files or entered directly. Integrated TimeLine and PanSpace resources allow quick and easy intensive programming and control of multi-layered immersive soundscapes and show control interactions.

RCF will be showing its new EVOX J Series loudspeakers, which are a development of the powerful EVOX portable PA system. The RCF EVOX J8 system features a line source satellite module with eight 2in full-range drivers paired with a high-powered 12in woofer in a bass reflex enclosure, all powered by on-board 1,400W Class D amplification. RCF has also added an eight-input onboard digital mixer to the system.

Riedel will be talking about a recent innovation in its events business. It has added solutions from simply-X – a German provider of access control systems, cash and contactless payment solutions – to its technical and logistical services offering. Simply-X products will be offered via Riedel’s rental organisation.

Riedel says that the collaboration provides customers with tremendous value, enabling seamless integration of cashless payment systems into events worldwide thanks to a unified infrastructure.

Stage Tec will be present AVATUS, its brand-new large format mixing console – based entirely on IP technology. The desk’s central control system provides standardised TCP/IP interfaces for connecting the console modules. Each control surface module has its own IP address. Consoles can be linked over a network and browser-based remote operation is also available. The web-based Remote UI gives display and operational access to a range of mixing console functions via a web browser.