Pro Light and Sound 2016 opens its doors
WORLD: As is customary in Frankfurt, the opening day of Pro Light and Sound 2016 was filled to the brim with major press conferences and product launches. While these normally form the talking points on the show floor, the mood this year is a little different. Some fairly major alterations have affected the format for 2016 and it remains to be seen whether exhibitors and visitors are embracing these with open arms.
Upon entering Messe Frankfurt, the most obvious change is the relocation of PL+S to Halls 1, 3, 4 and 5, bringing with it a series of logistical challenges coupled with the absence of traffic from Musikmesse – which this year takes place separately from April 7-10. The initial feeling from several manufacturers was that this had led to a slower than normal start as guests struggled to find their feet. While removing the familiar layout, companies such as Voice Acoustics capitalised on the changes by migrating deeper into the hall, providing it with better access to more populated aisles.
In terms of standout new product launches, last year’s focus on the entry- and mid-market sectors appears to have come full circle, with large-scale touring systems such as Funktion One’s Vero, Adamson’s E119 subwoofer, L-Acoustics’ KS28 subwoofer and LA12x amplifier, and dBTechnologies’ Vio line array drawing the biggest crowds. At the other end of the market, dBTechologies also treated visitors to the European launch of its new DJ Brand, Mixer.
Moving down in scale, Martin Audio launched a live version of CDD, Alcons introduced the LR18 line array to the install and rental markets, and Outline took the wraps of its new application specific Vegas Series. Additionally, APG unveiled its new modular Uniline Compact system alongside a strategic partnership with Active Audio.
While not as eye catching, DiGiCo handed users a sizeable upgrade to their existing consoles’ processing power with the launch of Stealth Core 2 and Quantum 7. Additional launches came from Cadac which added optical connectivity and user-controlled router software to its MegaComms system as well as choosing PL+S to announce its new partnership with Australian distributor Hills.
Last but by no means least were additions to several Harman-owned brands, the highlights of which were the Eon One portable system, Soundcraft Vi2000 console and Martin Mac Axiom hybrid moving head.
Despite the traffic in Hall 3.1 picking up pace throughout the course of the day, the narrow aisles never really felt that busy. This was compounded in Hall 4.1 where the atmosphere could only be described as ‘steady’. Even if PL+S was feeling the effect of a lack of visitors from its looser association with Musikmesse, the upside was that those walking the halls were reported to be dedicated, quality attendees. This was complemented by a seemingly high turnout of visitors from Asia and the Middle East.
With that said, there was definitely an air of positivity surrounding the new format, and it will take the next two days to draw a fair comparison. What becomes immediately apparently is the desire of most for the show's continuing success. It offers exhibitors a reliable platform for engaging with international partners and continues to be the event of choice for major audio launches. In this respect, the 2016 edition has so far offered what was required.
Announcements are set to continue for the next few days as more products and strategies are unveiled. It will be interesting to see how the show develops, and in particular, when Musikmesse opens its doors on Thursday.
Pro Light and Sound continues at Frankfurt Messe until Friday April 8th.