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2019 in review: March-April

Reflect on the biggest stories of March and April 2019 as we get ready to enter a new decade

It’s been a busy 12 months for the industry, with big-time acquisitions, company developments and venue installations in abundance, and of course, the inevitable weight of Brexit on many an audio professional’s shoulders. As we come to the end of another eventful year, PSNEurope is releasing a 12-month review of the biggest stories throughout 2019…

Chinese factory raid revealed counterfeit Shure, Sennheiser, Harman, and Yamaha audio products

This was PSNEurope’s most widely read online story of the year; I guess you could say it made audiophiles across the globe very angry. On March 19, 2019, Shure announced that a police raid on a factory in China, Enping Soundpu Electronics Equipment, uncovered the manufacturing of counterfeit audio products. The factory was a known counterfeiter to the Enping enforcement authorities. Soundpu was fined in August 2018 when counterfeit Shure microphones were found at its factory during a routine market investigation in April 2018.

Other leading audio companies were also impacted by the counterfeit operation, including Sennheiser, Yamaha, and Harman. Among the goods seized were wireless microphones and receivers, consoles, amplifiers, and processors. As a result, the companies launched a criminal prosecution against Soundpu. There has been no further news of the progress.

View the full story online here.

‘We’ve changed stadium tech, ours is the best in the world’: Inside Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium and sound system

On April 3, 2019, the new home of Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur officially opened for business, after an extended development period of nearly two years. PSNEurope editor and lifelong Spurs fan Daniel Gumble was given a tour of the venue to check out its vast and complex audio specification.

When construction started on the club’s new home back in the summer of 2017, a temporary stay at London’s Wembley Stadium was mooted to last until approximately September 2018. A series of technical issues and problems arising from the new stadium’s critical safety system, however, triggered numerous setbacks, resulting in a far longer than expected spell away from the Tottenham faithful’s home territory (a subject that the club refused to elaborate on, although a Harman spokesperson did confirm to PSNEurope in January that the delay to its opening “was not connected to the audio installation”).

In July 2018 it was revealed that Harman Professional Audio Solutions would be the official audio supplier for the stadium. Harman’s Ryan Penny, senior business development manager, large venue, EMEA, said the company was always confident it could deliver on the astronomically high expectations set by the club.

“The fantastic design team had the vision and design expertise to see the opportunities to maximise the use of the technology; to pull ideas from other industries, venues and other types of building and deliver them into this stadium,” he told PSNEurope.

The system in question is comprised of 156 JBL VLA-C2100 loudspeakers and 72 JBL VLA-C125S subwoofers, all powered by Crown DCi Multi-channel Dante amplification.

SSE Audio Group was appointed to design and integrate the comprehensive audio and PAVA systems throughout the stadium, while Britannia Row was asked to supply engineers and a control package for the arena’s grand opening. SSE’s VP of special projects, Eddie Thomas, commented: “Spurs can now boast an audio system to match the excellence of the whole stadium, with audio quality and high SPL delivered to every seat. It’s an incredibly flexible system, fit for the variety of applications the stadium requires and is an integral part of the public safety system.”

Brit Row client liason, Tom Brown, said: “Taking a gig in and out of a football or rugby stadium is difficult and requires some precise logistical management, obviously nothing can get in the way of the game. With an event like this, there’s simply no room for glitches.”

View the full Hotspur stadium story online here.

d&b provided world’s largest single-room speaker system for Royal Albert Hall
BBC Concert Orchestra with the Maida Vale Singers conducted by John Mauceri performing Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton in the Royal Albert Hall.

In early April 2019, the Royal Albert Hall installed the world’s largest single room audio system, which includes 465 individual loudspeakers from the d&b audiotechnik product portfolio.

Costing over £2 million, the project took 693 days of labour, using 15,291m of cable and 465 individual speakers for the world’s largest loudspeaker install in a single room. As a Grade I listed building, the sound system required special building consent and had to work within the fabric of the famous Victorian venue.

“Previously, our control over the audio experience was limited and often didn’t meet our high standards,” explained Ollie Jeffery, HoD production and technical at the RAH. “What we wanted was to bring sound in- house with a properly implemented system, and make it so good that the majority of productions would feel comfortable using it. Naturally, everyone who has ever played here wants to get it right; some audio teams would spend five or six hours on the day taking speakers up and down, up and down, trying to achieve that end, but it was always a compromise. It wasn’t that our service providers were doing anything wrong, but we felt the difficult challenge of delivering world class audio within the extremely demanding geometry of the room could only be met with a different approach.”

Read the full piece online here.

L-Acoustics acquired DeltaLive UK

Loudspeaker giant L-Acoustics acquired a majority stake in DeltaLive UK (Delta Sound Incorporated (UK) Ltd.), a specialist in audiovisual services and rental, in early April 2019.

For DeltaLive UK founders Paul Keating and Mark Bonner, the deal coincided with the sale of its Dubai-based operations, Delta Sound LLC to PRG. For the L-Acoustics Group, the acquisition of DeltaLive UK will bolster its expertise in all areas of professional audio, from conception through to manufacturing and operation in the field.

DeltaLive UK has been a long-standing customer of L-Acoustics as a member of the L-Acoustics Certified Provider Network. The relationship between the two had recently been strengthened by the introduction of L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound, which DeltaLive UK deployed in high-profile events such as the award-winning production of the BBC Proms 2018 at Royal Albert Hall.

Christian Heil, president and co-founder of L-Acoustics, commented on the acquisition: “DeltaLive UK brings a wide range of opportunities, and its geographical proximity to our UK offices in London will allow us to fulfill this mission.”

More top stories of the year will be released tomorrow, but if you can’t wait you can read the full spread in the digital edition here (p48-51).