After a few years in which, partly due to Pandemic, we missed the London event, this year, although with some reservations, we decided to return to visit PLASA 2022, which was once again held in the London Olympia exhibition area.
The exhibition area is under complete renovation, and due to the presence of the construction site, the logistics were slightly changed. Not a bad thing, because the exhibition itself is quite small and easily visited even in a single day.
What we found was a small, but rather lively trade show, that was very focused on audio, video and lighting technologies for the professional entertainment world and featured the most important brands in the industry. Simple and rightly sized booths, demo rooms and lots of training.
Could this be the right format for a national industry trade show?
Given also the good number of contacts and meetings with people in the industry the 2023 edition is undoubtedly back on our calendar…
Many new products were presented at this year’s PLASA, and we want to start with a couple that particularly impressed us, outside the top brands we have been accustomed to for years.
ROXX‘s Cluster Blinder modernizes a classic fixture, the blinder, with LED technology and a well thought-out construction. It is available in versions with 2 or 4 sources of 260W each individually adjustable, in warm white or fullcolor and capable of expressing up to 20,000 or 40,000 lumens, respectively. A blinder/strobe/wash that emulates incandescent fixtures, with individually tiltable sources, truss or floor installation system, C-Lok system for clustering, 16-bit dimming control for perfect and uniform fades, and high CRI.
WhirlyReeler is a mechanism for winding cables of any type with some unique features that make it useful for winding electrical, microphone or fiber cables when there is a device at the end of the cable that is suspended from the cable and powered by data or current. An example would be lifting a microphone or camera. Designed to occupy minimal space, the base unit contains all the mechanics and electronic motion control needed for a single axis; all the base unit needs is the PELV (60vDC) power supply, E-stop and 24 VDC control voltages, and data from a host controller. To facilitate placement of the base unit, it can be oriented horizontally or vertically, with two cable exit options. For situations where it is not possible to place a retractor directly above where the microphone cable is to drop, WhirlyReeler offers a small powered drop pulley.
Robe Lighting unveiled the new Robin iFORTE, an IP65 fixture with a robust and reliable design and humidity control system. Also on showcwas the new TX1 PosiProfile a hybrid of moving head and general fixture that is especially useful in tight spaces.
iFORTE is the newest addition to the iSeries, an IP65 fixture that combines an extremely powerful output with multiple effects. iFORTE™ offers all the quality, features and same performance as its predecessor, allowing for seamless integration of the two types if desired. The ingenious seepage protection system allows standard maintenance procedures, such as replacement of the TRANSFERABLE ENGINE™ and gobos, to be performed without additional tools. The RAINS™ (Robe Automatic Ingress Neutralization System) manages humidity, temperature, and pressure control, using active monitoring to automatically remove moisture detected inside the unit, while continuous monitoring ensures optimal performance.
Designed to operate as a moving head or static profiler, the unique TX1 PosiProfile™ enables positioning and operation in extremely confined spaces where access is problematic or where movement is restricted or not required. Using Robe’s patented BARS™ (Brake Attribute Retention System), operated directly from the console, TX1 can operate statically by locking pan and tilt, zoom and focus into a given position. In addition, with new patented MAPS™ (Motionless Absolute Positioning System) technology, the unit remains totally still during calibration or reset. Features include a patented MSL-TE™ 500 W multispectral LED source that generates a power output of more than 13,500 lumens, color rendering ensured by an adjustable CRI from 80 to 95+ and a CCT ranging from 2,700K to 8,000K. Inside, the DataSwatch™ color library contains 237 preferred colors and tones, including whites calibrated with the RCC™ (Robe Colour Calibration) system for precise and accurate reproduction. It also features a 9:1 5.5°-50° zoom, the patented Plano4™ shutter with four individual planes and 120° module rotation for precise cuts without any distortion effect, fully indexable rotating gobo wheel with 7 gobos, and static wheel with 9 gobos and an animation wheel.
Shure exhibited the KSM11 microphone at PLASA, which actually makes sound engineers’ job easier with an advanced suspension isolation system for “virtually zero handling noise.” The KSM11 wireless vocal microphone capsule provides a combination of full bass, clear mids and precise highs without the need for big EQ.
We’re speaking about a cardioid condenser designed specifically for premium-quality live performance, event recording, and streaming. The proprietary wireless condenser capsule uses a ¾” gold diaphragm and premium electronics for exceptional dynamic range. The highly coherent, deep cardioid polar pattern reduces off-axis phase distortion for pristine, focused vocal reproduction. The strictly aerodynamic design allows for a smaller and lighter overall capsule footprint than typical wireless capsules. Finally, the advanced suspended isolation system eliminates noise given by microphone handling.
Ayrton celebrates its 20th anniversary with its newest and most innovative LED lighting products. New products on display for the first time in the UK include Cobra, Zonda 9 FX and Domino LT.
Cobra is Ayrton’s first floodlight with a laser source and IP65 rating. Designed to render a D65 white point that enables perfect color reproduction, Cobra is capable of illuminating an object several kilometers away. Features include an output of 386,000 lux at 20 m, a 38x zoom ratio, zoom range from 0.6° to 23°, continuous pan and tilt, 92 gobos, four prisms and an extreme focus range (XT-Focus).
Domino LT is the first all-terrain LED fixture in Ayrton’s LT (Long Throw) range, designed for intensive outdoor use in long-distance applications requiring high precision. The 1000W IP65-rated fixture features a 225 mm front lens and a 3.5° to 53° zoom for an output of 51,000 lumens.
Zonda 9 FX allows designers a new dimension of creativity, supported by unique optics that provide previously impossible performance. They are the first in a family of elegant, powerful and uncompromising wash fixtures. The source consists of 37 40W RGBW LEDs, each with a 50mm front lens, offering 25,000 lumens of power and a 4° to 56° zoom for complex graphic effects of extraordinary beauty.
Sennheiser showed the new EW-DX system at PLASA, a new addition to the Evolution Wireless Digital family of wireless microphones that simplifies the professional workflow. Multiple hardware and software options create networkable solutions for almost any stage, while equidistant channel spacing, automatic scanning and Bluetooth® Low Energy synchronization automatically coordinate and set frequencies with the push of a button. The full series of new EW-DX products will include handheld, bodypack and tabletop transmitters, two versions of two-channel receivers in 1/2 19″ racks (one with and one without Dante®), and a Dante-enabled four-channel receiver in a full 19″ format.
In addition to the family’s single-channel receiver, EW-DX offers three receiver versions: a two-channel receiver in half-rack format, one with and one without Dante, and a four-channel Dante receiver in 19″ rack format. The Dante versions offer different networking modes to flexibly integrate with existing workflows. The receivers have a switching bandwidth of up to 88 MHz, which can translate-thanks to Sennheiser’s equidistant spacing-to a maximum of 146 channels in standard mode and up to 293 in link density mode.
L-Acoustics introduces to the market the revolutionary new LA7.16i amplified controller that actually improves flexibility and efficiency, especially in multichannel scenarios. LA7.16i represents a low-cost per-channel solution, consuming 30 percent less power when idle and has a distinctive 16×16 architecture in a 2U chassis with seamless Milan-AVB redundancy. Each of the 16 output channels delivers up to 1,300 watts at 8 ohms or 1,100 watts at 4 ohms. Its high-efficiency design is advantageous for medium and large applications where rack space and weight limitations can be an issue.
Also featured were the new Soka speakers and the SB6i subwoofer to be joined by the X4i and SB10i subwoofer, which offer new and exciting creative possibilities for sound designers, interior designers and architects to shape sound and space according to their needs.
ETC showed the latest product innovations as well as some interesting seminars at PLASA 2022. Featured will be the latest line of Eos Apex consoles, a next-generation controller offering cutting-edge technology, a host of new features, award-winning software and more. There is also no shortage of the latest High End Systems fixtures, including the new SolaPix 19 XT, an outdoor version of the more popular SolaPix, the compact Lonestar, and the silent SolaFrame Studio. On the Source Four front, however, we find the new Array X8, Desire Fresnel and fos/4.
The new Eos Apex series of light controllers is available in three formats that differ in the number of faders: the Eos Apex 5, 10 and 20. The Apex is in fact a very eclectic and versatile console, extremely performant in theatrical applications but, thanks to new hardware and the continuous development of Eos software, perfect for the “live” world as well. The glance is dominated by the two huge multitouch displays with 4K resolution that provide ample workspace for all Eos tools, such as Magic Sheets, Direct Selects and Augment3d.
SolaPix features additive RGBW blending for extremely powerful saturated colors and adjustable white control, zoom from 4.5° to 60°, and FleX Effects Engine and Pixel mapping system on all models.
Lonestar is a profile fixture that, thanks to its many features, works equally well as a Wash or Beam. Extreme versatility given by a 290W Ultra-Bright LED source capable of providing as many as 15,400 lumens of output, powerful 3.8°-55° Zoom, CMY color mixing system, electronic CCT linear mixing control, 16-blade Iris to further reduce the beam aperture, Gobos effects, 10-color Color Wheel, Prism, as many as 4 shaping blades and 2 diffusion filters that turn it into a real Wash. All in a 22 kg motorized fixture that is only 60 cm high and 41 cm wide.
Elation brought the best of the Proteus and KL “Key Light” lines to London.
Proteus Rayzor Blade is an IP65 compact LED bar of 6 or 12 individually controllable 60W RGBW LEDs, combining wash, strobe and SparkLED. A perfect mix, capable of projecting beams of up to 12,500 lumens and creating a wide and uniform coverage, generating incredible visual effects thanks to the two strobe lines with cool white LEDs and Elation’s SparkLED technology, featuring also a wide zoom and dynamic tilt.
Proteus Brutus is a 70,000-lumen IP65 LED wash capable of creating sharp and powerful beams as well as uniform covers of high intensity. It features a 1200W and 6500K LED source, 220mm optics and zoom ranging from 4° to 45°. Also present are adjustable CTO, CMY color mixing and a 6-position color wheel, rotating gobos, animation wheel, iris and frost.
Proteus Excalibur is an IP65 fixture capable of expressing up to 20,000 lumens, with an incredibly narrow 0.8° beam, which can be expanded to 3.5° with additional optics. It features CMY color mixing, 25 gobos, frost and 4- and 8-sided prisms. Like the entire Proteus line, it boasts an IP65 rating and minimal maintenance needs.
Proteus Rayzor 1960 is a wash is capable of projecting a 17,000-lumen beam thanks to its 19 individually controllable 60W RGBW LEDs. The zoom from 5.6° to 44° allows it to generate intense, well-defined beams but also homogeneous, wide-ranging covers.
KL Panel XL is a new full color soft light LED panel with adjustable color temperature; the larger and brighter version of the KL Panel. Color rendition is extremely effective with precise control over color temperature and adjustable whites, ideal for the demands and needs of TV studios. The KL Panel XL can generate extremely even coverage and also produce dynamic effects thanks to multi-zone control.
KL Fresnel 6 FC is ideal for TV studios, theaters and all environments where precise and effective performance is needed. It features a 220W RGBMA LED source for soft, even light coverage of up to 8,000 lumens and is capable of producing dynamic whites and vivid, accurate colors across the color spectrum. Adjustable beam both in width, zooming from 10° to 32°, and in shape, modifiable via the eight-element barnoor.
Minuit Une presents IVL Photon, a fixture that alone enables the widest range of atmospheres and scenarios. It is a fixture rich in technology, the result of 5 years of research and development for a product that gives smaller productions the atmosphere of large arenas.
With its innovative moving source combined with the renowned 8-tilt system (tilt, mirror and frost), IVL Photon expresses immersive (mirror) decorative (frost) and creative (moving core) features.
Features include 9 gobos (to create 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 to 256 beams), dimmer and RGB control for each of the 8 mirror angles, and an electronic shutter. IVL Photon can be incorporated into any type of show or event due to its compact design, extreme versatility and low logistical requirements.
Classified as Class 3R, IVL Photon is equipped with a laser-based lighting system as safe as LEDs.