ORLANDO, FL—The 2015 InfoComm conference and exhibition for professional audiovisual integrators saw record-breaking attendance numbers for the east coast show. InfoComm ci ted 39,105 attendees, from more than 108 countries, as attending the mid-June event—up some 5.6 percent. AV innovations were on display by some 950 exhibitors across 515,000-net-square-feet of exhibit and special-event space.
The ribbon cutting by InfoComm Board members marked the official opening of InfoComm 2015. From left, Gary Hall, CTS-D, secretary-treasurer; Craig Janssen, LEED AP, president-elect; Matt Emerson, CTS, president; David Labuskes, CTS, RCDD, executive director and CEO; Johanne Belanger, CPA, CA, LSC chair. The availability of increasingly interoperable audio devices was striking, largely thanks to the efforts of industry coalitions that recognize the need for unprecedented levels of user-friendliness via standards, resulting in what are becoming “plug-and-play” solutions.
An ideal example of this progression is represented in pro audio’s recently announced, commonly-owned alliance Audiotonix, comprised of British-owned Allen & Heath, Calrec and DiGiCo mixing console companies.
“I can only speak for consoles,” said DiGiCo marketing director Dave Webster, “but when we were all doing analog, the mixers all did the same thing in the same way; we just had more or less of something with most [parameters] even in the same place. Then with digital products, everything was totally different from each other, at least initially. Common digital console features—like scribble strips and color-coding—came from the best bits from each company and are now implemented in wide-ranging products you see here, allowing them all to become easier to operate. Today, the sonic capabilities of the products and their unique feature sets are what sets them apart from each other, like an improved version of the old analog days.”
Allen & Heath R&D director Rob Clark described Audiotonix’s first collective product, Orange Box—marketed as an “anything in, anything out” DMI card-based audio format converter—as a major milestone in this journey toward truly comprehensive audio networking. “From an interfacing perspective, Orange Box offers the customer more options in joining up systems,” he explains. “We’re offering the customer the ability to connect any interface and network into a mixer, and using tie-line routing within the console, the console can become the hub.”
The art of the Audio Demo Room presentation is one that continues to evolve, with a new level of maturation evident at InfoComm.
At the TC Group, the new Tannoy AMS Series of IP-65 rated speakers were dressed to impress. “They’re not just waterproof, they’re corrosion resistant and undergo a tremendous number of environmental tests,” emphasized Graham Hendry, VP of application engineering and training (AET) with Tannoy’s AEC Group. Tannoy was also spotlighting the North American debut of the VX-8M compact, lightweight PA system, which features the manufacturer’s renowned dual-concentric design and is expected to serve well in the intelligibility department for speech and vocals.
In the Lab.gruppen section of TC Group-land was a new LUCIA 70 V-edition power amplifier and a bold demonstration of the D Series of DSP amplifiers introduced last year, with the amps running in conjunction with QSC Q-SYS, Harman BSS Soundweb and Peavey MediaMatrix platforms.
At Community Professional, creating the demo room playlist was a serious collaborative endeavor, said Rich Bellando, strategic development manager for Community. “It’s all about creating the oasis, entertainment,” he said. Community was creating the sonic oasis with products from across its CODE (Community, Outdoor, Distributed and Engineered) speaker lines, including the mammoth R6-51 MAX, which can blast 96 dB SPL across 622 feet, and a new weatherized iSeries offering, both of which will be available in Q4 this year.
On demo in a elaborately staged ballroom was Meyer Sound’s new Leopard line array, which was recalibrating all the air molecules in “native mode,” meaning with no EQ whatsoever. The patent-pending Leopard is “a truly multipurpose system,” according to Meyer Sound. “Leopard is ideally suited to everything from mid-sized touring and live theater to worship and live performance installations, and from symphony music to heavy metal.”
On the live demo front, SLS Loudspeakers presented regular performances by Vicki Genfan, whose music is self-described by her own tagline of “Atomic Folk Fusion.” Genfan played through the SLS CPC 1212 coplanar powered column array paired with a SP810P sub, and then the system was switched over to the passive CPA7600 biamped three-way, coplanar modular array. Why do a real-world, live demo? Jeff Lowry, director of Marketing explained, “Nobody is buying this to listen to Steely Dan tracks.” So, they asked themselves, “Why don’t we get a musician and let these people really hear why they’re buying this?”
At the Electro-Voice demo room, there was evidence to prove that “engineering’s been busy this year,” as observed by Guy Low, content and creative manager. The company launched the first members of the next generation of the X-Line family, with the new X1 aimed at mid-sized applications and the X2 representing more of a touring-spec box for larger applications. “We wanted to introduce something that reflected the market sensibility rather than just the engineered technology side of things,” Low explained, “incorporating what we’re hearing from our customers from the real world.”
The QSC Demo room provided an effective update on convergence, emphasizing QSC’s “IT-friendly” products conceived to make it easy for integrators to get in and sell to IT professionals. The QSC Q-SYS Core 110f solution is the manufacturer’s first foray into the corporate AV market and offers integration with IT systems, software and the network. Diverging from the typical AV scenario in which the box is the application, “Our platform runs apps,” said TJ Adams, installed DSP manager at QSC. Apps providing VoIP, AEC and networked audio (and more) can be assigned to various network segments.