With a new decade now upon us, the pro audio market’s focus on immersive audio looks so to intensify more than ever. Freddy Sicko, director of live sound for central Europe at QSC EMEA, gives PSNEurope his take on where the market is headed…
Immersive audio technology has been a major talking point in the live sector for several years, but has established itself in a bigger way than ever before over the past 12 months. How do you see this technology evolving further in 2020 and beyond?
There is a trend in the market towards immersive sound systems. Although we have seen a couple of simpler systems in the market recently, the majority of offerings in the coming years will still be more expensive, and therefore primarily targeted to exclusive productions. Immersive sound has been predominantly associated with theatre and classical shows.
Do you expect it to become a more common fixture at rock and pop concerts?
Yes, and we also expect that it won’t be limited to concerts. For example, you already see these systems at trade shows or exclusive product presentations (within the automotive industry, etc.) The past decade has seen city-based festivals booming, providing cause for celebration for gig-goers but cause for concern for live sound companies, given the ever-important issue of noise management.
Do you anticipate more of these types of festivals to arrive, and what is your business doing to meet city-based noise restrictions?
Noise management is a critical issue and it can be handled via several tools. However, in the end, it comes down to the right planning upfront and the support through the products itself. If you use, for example, cardioid loudspeakers and/ or line array systems, you can reduce noise pollution as they provide precise sound that goes where it should. QSC offers out of the box solutions for exactly these applications. If you use these speakers, you can easily keep the vibrant vibe that’s needed for festivals in cities while not disturbing the social life around.
Which markets and territories present the biggest opportunities for your business over the coming years, and why?
Together with our distribution partners, we concentrate on strategically important and economically strong countries within the EMEA region. Furthermore, we started direct distribution in Germany, the UK and Ireland, as well as Austria, as of January 1, 2020.
What are the biggest challenges facing the live sector in 2020 and beyond?
The transition to IP-based technologies and standards is by far not completed, yet. We expect that we’ll face new challenges that have not been part of the Live Sound business over the last decade. Scalability and ease of use combined with further knowledge of networkability and IT will be key for successful business in the future. The AV and installed systems market has grown significantly over the past decade.
How much of a focus is this sector for your business going forward?
QSC has been at the forefront of scalable solutions for the AV and installed market for 10 years. With the recently completed Q-SYS Ecosystem – combining audio, video, and control – the focus on expanding the business is, therefore, one of the key pillars for the future of QSC, and we will continue to work together with our customers and channel partners in the future.