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French loudspeaker manufacturers Active Audio and APG announced the signing of a strategic alliance at ProLight + Sound 2016 this week. While both brands will remain independent in their respective activities – and through distribution channels – Active Audio will continue to focus on the Public Address (PA) market, while APG will still cater for live events and large venue installations.

The decision to join forces will foster critical synergies between both companies in R&D, production, financing and ultimately global reach.

As a result, Régis Cazin, steps up as CEO of both Active Audio and APG with immediate effect. Active Audio will now hold 60% of APG shares, while APG’s historical shareholders, Jean-Luc Moncel, Philippe Frarier and Grégory Dapsanse, will hold the majority of the remaining shares.

Commenting on the agreement, Cazin enthused:

All stakeholders at APG and Active Audio feel elated to have this new alliance in place. This immensely reinforces the potential of both companies, and will prove a tremendous development accelerator for us all.
 
Although Active Audio becomes a major shareholder in APG, we recognise APG’s strong reputation in the market, backed by many dealers and end users who have invested a lot of trust in the company. We wanted APG’s historical shareholders to remain significant shareholders in order to be actively involved in both strategic and operational decisions. We are adamant to preserve both brands and their respective strengths.

Both companies will also keep their existing network of distributors and capitalise on their respective local relays to promote the other brand where only one company is active in a given territory.

This alliance is the result of a common vision and strategy: Active Audio was looking for external growth, while APG France was seeking an investor or industrial partner in order to strengthen its resources. With this alliance, both companies reinforce their position as a challenger to current industry leaders.

Discussions only started in November 2015, and both companies quickly found a number of strategic and operational synergies, with complementary product lines and virtually no overlap: a great opportunity for existing distributors of both brands, which will also benefit end users. According to Cazin:

…sound designers have to manage both the low and high audio power levels in their jobs: With Active Audio products going up to 95dB range and APG’s above this level, we are ideally positioned to offer a whole range of solutions to cater for every need.

Grégory Dapsanse, who becomes Marketing and Business Development Director for APG, will continue to define the product strategy for the brand. Drawing a parallel between both companies, he commented:

The similarities between us are quite amazing: Not only do we have a similar size and structure, but our philosophy and approach of the acoustic world is a perfect match.
 
Here you have two true French speaker manufacturers who are both designers and assemblers, and whose common goal is to develop high end audio systems. Our core goals are acoustic restitution, directivity and signal management, so the possibilities for a collaboration were perfectly obvious and made so much sense.

Both companies will keep all existing staff. In fact, in light of this alliance, Active Audio and APG have already started recruiting key personnel to support this new business strategy. Last month, APG hired two engineers (support and product) and are in the process of recruiting a sales manager dedicated to the French market as well as a sales assistant, while Active Audio has recruited two people to support their distribution channel and communications.

Summing up this announcement, Cazin said:

I am confident that the strong electroacoustic savoir-faire of our companies, along with the synergies produced by this alliance, will help us continue to develop the specific technologies and solutions that the industry can expect from us and set us aside from the competition.

APGlogo Acitve Audio logo vectorised

Visitors to the new International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) are set to experience world-class audio visual (A/V) technologies backed by unparalleled technical expertise with industry veteran, Brian Nash, now on board as Director of Audio Visual Services for Australia’s premier convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct.

Tasked with sourcing, testing and delivering creative A/V solutions to a raft of venues within the ICC Sydney, Nash and his team will support a year-round calendar of events, exhibtions and conventions and work to futureproof the A$1.5b venue.

Image caption: Brian Nash appointed as Director of Audio Visual at ICC Sydney.

Brian Nash has been appointed as Director of Audio Visual at ICC Sydney.

Nash said his mission is to deliver seamless and flexible systems and processes that will ensure both visitors’ and business partners’ expectations are exceeded from day one.

Nash continued:

ICC Sydney will set a new benchmark for venue technology with leading technical and production facilities including high-definition screens, large-scale projection capabilities and first-rate audio technology and equipment.

Launching this December, it represents a paradigm shift in the way events will be delivered in our city. This role is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m thrilled to be part of such a landmark opening.

Chief Executive Officer of ICC Sydney, Geoff Donaghy, said Nash has more than thirty years’ experience and will bring passion and dedication to the highly technical role. He added:

Brian is a highly experienced operator and the ideal candidate for this challenging audio visual role, which will see him working across multiple spaces within the integrated precinct. He will support our vision for delivering extraordinary sound, visuals and technology, and help create events and meetings that inspire the imagination and boost professional development.

Nash will be responsible for implementing effective and efficient A/V systems and processes, ensuring installation, testing, commissioning and operational readiness of all systems and equipment alongside a seamless transition between the testing and operating phases.

Nash brings a wealth of industry knowledge to the role having worked on numerous touring productions, festivals and venues including Sydney Opera House, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre and the Sydney Entertainment Centre.

Read more about ICC Sydney’s integrated technology services here or visit the website at: www.iccsydney.com.au 

ABOUT ICC SYDNEY

Opening in December 2016, ICC Sydney is Australia’s premier convention, exhibition and entertainment destination. The showcase international venue underpins Sydney’s place as one of the world’s most desirable meeting and major events destinations. ICC Sydney is the epicentre of a 20-hectare transformation of Darling Harbour by the NSW Government to highlight Sydney as the first choice in Australia and the Asia Pacific region for the major events industry. The project is being delivered by Darling Harbour Live, comprising Lendlease, Hostplus, Capella Capital, AEG Ogden and Spotless FM, in partnership with the NSW Government.

Infrastructure NSW is the NSW Government agency managing the 20-hectare transformation – Darling Harbour’s most exciting renewal in 25 years. Darling Harbour and the new convention, exhibition and entertainment venue will continue to be publicly-owned through Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, which is presenting a dynamic calendar of events during the redevelopment to keep the precinct active and vibrant.

ICC Sydney is operated by globally-acclaimed venue manager AEG Ogden.

 

Trizart Alliance – theatre and multimedia audiovisual consultants – have been chosen as one of the key players in the new Quebec City Amphitheatre, Place Bell and the renowned Bell Centre.

Trizart Alliance was hired by the owner to help build the new Québec City multifunctional amphitheatre, the Centre Vidéotron. Trizart is contributing its expertise in the design of specialised equipment, management and operation of amphitheatres, arenas and stadia hosting major events.

The amphitheatre, scheduled to open in September 2015, will have a capacity ranging from 15,000 to 20,000-seats, depending on the type of event being held, making it the second largest arena in the region. The venue will be able to host hockey games, large-scale touring concerts and shows, as well as more intimate gatherings. The project budget is $400m.

Place Bell, a new 10,000-seat arena is under construction with Trizart Alliance’s diligent and expert eye watching over the progress of the project. Trizart Alliance was mandated to deliver the functional program and preliminary drawings of the space layout and circulation, as well as the design of specialised equipment, such as sound, video, seating, masking, lighting, rigging and projection, as well as to evaluate the architectural design proposals submitted to build the project. The project is now under construction and the firm is representing the client to ensure conformity to the original design.

The arena, which can be converted into a theatre, will also be fitted with two ice rinks: an Olympic-sized rink and a community skating rink. The building will house 46 corporate boxes and be equipped with the best specialised theatrical equipment.

Bell

The renowned Bell Centre

Trizart Alliance has accumulated years of experience designing specialised equipment for arenas and stadiums, having been on the original team for the construction of the Bell Centre in 1996. Since then, Trizart Alliance has been the consultant to the client for numerous renovation and upgrade projects, such as the design of the new scoreboard, rigging equipment and seating upgrades. The Bell Centre is one of the busiest arenas in North America, being one of the first multifunctional arenas built.

 

World’s first L-ACOUSTICS K2 Arena System installed at Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets

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Modern sports venues have to do it all – host major sports contests one night and top-selling music artists the next. That’s an economic imperative at a time when teams and promoters are competing for the consumer entertainment spend. The venue with great sound that can do it all wins, and that’s why Toyota Center, the arena home of the NBA Houston Rockets, comes out on top.

 

In October, the arena, which opened in September 2003 and seats 18,000 for basketball and over 19,000 for concerts, installed a new L-ACOUSTICS K2 sound system – the first K2 system permanently installed in a major professional sports arena. The cap to a two-year AV makeover that included new HD video scoreboards, the sound system, designed in SOUNDVISION by project consultant Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams and AV systems integrator LD Systems with support from the L-ACOUSTICS US Applications team, primarily comprises 72 K2 enclosures flown in six arrays.

 

The installation was completed and tuned just in time for the start of the 2014-2015 NBA season, when the Rockets hosted the Boston Celtics on November 1. Underscoring the exceptional flexibility and range of the K2, the new system is also potentially available to be tied into by a slate of top concert artists in the autumn/fall, including shows by the Black Keys, Justin Timberlake, Usher and Fleetwood Mac.

 

First making its stadium debut at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, K2 has proven to be the solution for myriad unique situations at installed-sound projects, and Toyota Center proved no exception.

 

LD Systems Sales Engineer Kevin Broussard commented:

Sound quality in an arena is always a challenge, but we had some additional challenges on the Toyota Center project. In addition to coming up with a line-source system design that would provide even and seamless sound coverage all the way around the arena, we were also instructed to use as many of the existing rigging points that had been used to support the old trap-box-style system as possible to keep the venue flexible for touring music shows. The K2 was the perfect solution for that thanks to its ten-degree inter-cabinet angling. That, combined with the K2’s power and throw, allowed us to use fewer boxes to achieve the same dispersion and SPL, so we didn’t need to use more rigging points than were already in place.

 

Toyota Center Manager of Audio and Video, Scott Foulkrod, highlighted how the result is unique to an arena:

It’s really unusual to look up and be able to see clearly across the entire top of the arena. You get a great sense of openness. It really was a nice, clean install.

 

The team’s ownership also wanted a sound system that would enhance the fan experience, and the K2 does exactly that. Configured with two pairs of arrays facing the north and south sides of the arena, and one each facing the longer-throw east and west ends, the 10-degree inter-element flexibility assures virtually seamless coverage over 360 degrees and in the horizontal plane as well.

 

Broussard added:

This feature allowed us to limit the box count per cluster to 12, which significantly helped keep the sightlines clear. A line array in an arena has the potential for serious horizontal overlap between arrays, with a nightmare of phase cancellation between clusters and the possibility of comb filtering. But with the K2, there is minimal horizontal overlap, and the sound is uniform from top to bottom. With this kind of pattern control, we can be very, very precise.

Toyota_Center_arrays Toyota_Center_game

NBA arenas have also become famous for their low-frequency response, yet the Toyota Center setup uses only 18 subs. This is possible, says Broussard, because the K2’s enclosure is so wide-ranging that most of the bass in the system is coming from the speakers; the subs are there to simply extend them, as he explained:

The K1-SB subs reinforce the low end, adding power and punch, but most of the bass is coming from the K2s themselves. The system behaves very much like a touring concert system, yet it still maintains very high STI [Speech Transmission Index] readings.

 

These, says Broussard, range well above average, between 0.58 and 0.72 – “phenomenal,” in his words.

 

Foulkrod said the L-ACOUSTICS K2 succeeds in both roles:

We needed to have very high intelligibility for the PA announcers, so that the fans would really understand every word, and we wanted to be able to create some good thump for music, and this system does both. The sound is clear and powerful but without having to be overbearingly loud. We’re looking forward to a great basketball season and a great-sounding season, too.

 

Toyota Center’s equipment installation list comprised:

  • 72 K2 variable-curvature WST line-source enclosures divided into six clusters of 12 enclosures each
  • 18 K1-SB flyable high-power subs hung in arrays of three behind each cluster
  • Six ARCS WIDE constant-curvature WST line-source enclosures aimed at the court sidelines
  • Four 12XTi high-performance coaxial speakers used as center-court downfills
  • 29 LA8 and two LA4 amplified controllers

 

For more information on Toyota Center, visit www.houstontoyotacenter.com. WJHW and LD Systems can be found online at www.wjhw.com and www.ldsystems.com, respectively.

 

 

Images: Ryan Paulin

Image captions: Toyota Center’s new sound system primarily comprises 72 K2 loudspeakers and 18 K1-SB subs. The Houston Rockets take on the San Antonio Spurs at a home game on November 6 sonically reinforced via L-ACOUSTICS’ K2. The new L-ACOUSTICS system delivers high-impact and intelligible audio to every seat in the house.