London launch for Formidable Audio’s ‘Flashlight MkIII’

An event was held at the Troxy theatre in London earlier this week (23 November) to mark the official launch of Formidable Audio’s revamped Turbosound Flashlight ‘MkIII’ point-source system.

The British company was co-founded by James Barden and Brandon Knights, who spent years scouring the globe to find Flashlight cabinets to revive and enhance, with the aim of gathering enough together to create a full system that could serve as a ‘genuine, no-compromise alternative to line array, with the ability to thrill audiences and empower sound engineers.’

Based in Tunbridge Wells, the firm is now the largest stockholder of Flashlight, and originally started as a simple experiment, but ‘very soon became a project with serious potential’, according to Knights.

Once acquired, each box went through a ‘ground-up restoration’ process. Upgrades included new BMS 4540 compression drivers; the nose cones/waveguides were removed, refurbished and replaced with new zinc-plated stainless steel fittings; modern acoustic wadding instead of the old acoustic damping; improved paint and woodwork and a separate rebuild programme for the BSS amplifiers handled by George McKechnie at dBA-UK.

"The refurbishment itself was a real labour of love and took almost two years to complete," said Knights when introducing the system at the event. "Initial testing of the cabinets reminded us and others just how fantastic this system was, and more importantly still is now, especially when compared to modern touring systems.

"It was these initial tests that led us to explore upgrading the system further. We wanted to create a system that could compete with the industry standards of modern concert touring."

To allow visitors to hear a direct comparison between the Flashlight MkIII and an example of a modern concert touring array, the system was flown alongside a d&b audiotechnik J-Series setup supplied by Eighth Day Sound, with a selection of tracks played on both.

"We believe in the last 20 years despite the advancements in audio technology and the convenience of line array systems, the quality of audio delivered to the audience hasn’t actually improved, although it is different of course," Knights stated.

"The major production companies have cornered the market in concert touring and we’re not looking to compete with them at all; we’re looking to work with them and discerning artists with this classic-sounding system.”