This article consists of: Review | Videos | Photo Slideshow
Returning to London Olympia PLASA 2018, held from 16 – 18 September, proved to be a success for manufacturers, distributors and content providers. Over 2,200 people took advantage of the varied programme of panels, workshops and talks, led by industry experts from all sectors. The busiest and most vibrant show since its move to Olympia in 2016 saw a 4% increase in visitors. The Interfacio team were out in full strength taking in all the latest industry trends and meeting with current clients and making some new friends at the same time.
On the audio front, the return of L-Acoustics to PLASA proved to be one of the main talking points. Their stand included a L-ISA object-based mix controller, set up for a binaural demo. L-ISA is one of the systems that are leading the way in creating large scale immersive audio experiences for the high end touring and event sectors and L-Acoustics took part in a number of the seminar sessions, including a presentation by Genio Kronauer, Head of Electronics, about Milan, the latest protocol for Digital Audio Networks, that is gaining ground with a number of leading manufacturers.
Immersive audio was a subject much to the fore. Outboard continue to gain industry plaudits with their evolutionary TiMax spatial reinforcement and immersive platform. On the bustling SSE stand d&b audiotechnik’s latest product showing included information about their Soundscape 3D system with a demo available at the SFL stand. SSE also included an example of d&b’s new SL-Series GSL line array system, with its low-end noise control dispersion pattern breakthrough, turning heads throughout the touring community.
Britannia Row presented a number of seminar sessions covering live sound training and high-end touring. Highlights included system tech, Josh Lloyd’s presentation on his Robbie Williams PA world tour design. His technical knowledge always underlined by a highly modest ‘people person’ orientated approach. Following on, Simon Hodge, FOH mix engineer for Robbie Williams, took a packed seminar audience, through a song mix, using a full multitrack playback, using a DiGiCo and L-Acoustics set up. Mike Lowe, Britannia Row, Managing Director commented. “It was a great programme of content, which attracted a huge amount of attention. We haven’t seen a queue like that to get into the seminar theatre for many years!”
Another audio company making a significant impact at the show was Holoplot, exhibiting at PLASA for the first time. The Berlin based company manufacture a range of Wave Field Synthesis products for 3D sound in challenging environments. With successful installations already completed in a number of high end sectors the company look set to become a major player in the market place. Their ORION loudspeaker system was one of the eight winners at the PLASA 2018 Innovation Awards and the company gave two seminar presentations. Roman Sick, Holoplot CEO commented. “The show offered the opportunity to demonstrate our product in a more intimate way, be it at our booth or at one of the seminars we conducted. The overall high quality of the visitors was convincing and we believe it was a successful event.”
Yamaha, Nexo presented a well appointed stand proving just how strong their brands remain and the loyal customers that they attract. Chris Irvine, Yamaha’s product manager explained the set up. “Rather than bringing loads of gear we built an aesthetically pleasing stand and chose a few key products – the legacy PM5D digital mixing console which is out of production, and the modern, cutting edge PM7. This has allowed us to engage with visitors regarding which products they have used over the years.” It must be noted here that Yamaha/Nexo managed to create a special and much talked about atmosphere on the booth with more than a nod to their Japanese heritage. The blossom trees and ‘rain curtain’ made for quite a talking point and photo opportunity for many!
In the lighting department Robe, PLASA 2018 Platinum sponsor, stole the show with their full show rig, complete with Indiana Jones inspired jungle set with dance troupe, rain, fire, cave and a full on EDM music track. Tongue in cheek maybe and perhaps even a little ‘bonkers’ at times, but not the products. On show were Robe’s latest creations including the MegaPointe, Spider, BMFL range and their RoboSpot remote follow spotting system, complete with Multi Device Control. Chauvet Professional chose to show off their latest fixtures including their Maverick Storm 1 Wash, the Strike P 38 LED blinder/strobe and the COLORado Solo LED Batten. Michael Brooksbank, European General Manager explained: “We’re celebrating our 30th year at PLASA Show and are having a great time – it’s always a great event.”
Hawthorn, a main PLASA sponsor, in addition to their show stand, provided audio visual crew and equipment to seminar rooms. Their use of silent disco style headphones for audiences in the seminar rooms, got a big thumbs up. No more noise pollution between rooms was the order of the day and it worked a treat.
The show really feels like it is back. And back to its spiritual home in West London which seems to be meeting with approval by all the attendees and exhibitors we spoke with. We noticed quite a few international visitors including many that we also saw earlier in the week in Amsterdam attending IBC. This must be a positive for the show and the association ensuring it remains high in the profile of the wider international industry community after a few years when the show was starting to feel distinctly ‘local’.
With the renewed interest and investment by some of the industry’s leading sound system manufacturers it certainly feels like the ‘A’ is now back in PLASA and it looks like it is set to stay.
Interfacio team at PLASA - Cathy, Bobby, Richard and Jo!
Nexo's Gareth Collyer and Richard Wear in the rain
Plasa Entrance Panorama
Chauvet lights in water