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Orbital Sound invests millions in Europe

A theatre production boom has encouraged a major inventory upgrade for UK hire company Orbital Sound, writes Dave Robinson.

Orbital Sound has revealed exclusively to PSNE that it has invested over £2 million (€) in new hardware while adding four production engineering and project management staff to its ranks. The expansion follows a substantial undisclosed spend on Shure UHF-R and UR1M wireless equipment earlier this year (see PSNE June 2011) and was partly driven by Orbital’s theatre production work extending into five European countries.Purchases include DiGiCo consoles, Meyer Sound loudspeakers, DPA microphones and wireless equipment from Sennheiser, Shure and HME.
 “We always position ourselves to satisfy the specifications of the even the largest productions, and to be able to deploy the necessary infrastructure whenever required,” says Orbital MD Chris Headlam (pictured). “Our rental inventory is therefore driven by the world-class international productions that we handle, and by the highly experienced sound designers with whom we’re working.

“For example, we’re currently responsible for 30 plus UK tours, in addition to handling two shows in the Netherlands – Miss Saigon in Utrecht, and Wicked in Scheveningen – plus We Will Rock You in Antwerp, and productions of Sister Act, in Milan and Hamburg. To support that effectively, we have to re-invest in our rental stock, staff and infrastructure.”
 The Orbital shopping list included four more DiGiCo SD7T consoles, a number of SD8 consoles, an additional 300 d&b audiotechnik T-Series loudspeakers, d&b E4, E5 and E6 speakers and a “very large inventory” of Meyer Sound self-powered M’elodie, UPA and UP-Junior loudspeakers. The company also added around 700 channels of Sennheiser SK5212 and Shure UHF-R/UR1M radio microphones and a large quantity of high-end DPA orchestral microphones.
 “We can probably claim to have one of the most comprehensive microphone portfolios in the country,” continues Headlam. “On the all-important communications side, we have invested in substantial quantities of digital wireless equipment from Clear-Com and HME, as well as further video kit to help pave the way towards HD. We have also upped the investment programme of our popular own-brand RacPac equipment racking, and GUFF signal distribution systems, as these have a very positive impact on the speed and efficiency of show set-ups and get-in times.”