Prolight + Sound roundup: There are ‘many driving forces at work in the pro audio industry’

The Frankfurt Exhibition Centre welcomed over 90,000 visitors from 152 countries to its halls last month for Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound, despite public-transport strikes and around 800 flight cancellations threatening to disrupt plans at the start of the fair.

As expected, the reintroduction of days reserved for trade visitors resulted in a decline in the number of private visitors from Germany, yet there was a 10 per cent increase in the share of trade visitors and more visitors from overseas, resulting in a further seven per cent boost in exhibitor satisfaction levels.

One of this year’s main focal points was immersive technologies, such as 3D and spatial audio, holograph projection and 360° film, virtual and augmented reality. Held for the first time this year, the Immersive Technology Forum was given a warm reception, with many companies taking advantage of Prolight + Sound to give visitors a taste of their future-oriented products in interactive demonstrations.

The d&b Soundscape demo, powered by the DS100 Signal engine, saw the company preview the thinking behind its next evolution in loudspeaker system design, examining and experiencing the concept of source and space. In a number of mixing sessions, d&b showed how a live production mix on a Soundscape system is being created and engineered. Serge Graf, Krafwerk’s FoH, guided the audience through the process of developing a creative concept for the mix on a Soundscape system using multi track recordings as an example.

DiGiCo presented a number of new and recent developments at what managing director James Gordon described as "our last Prolight + Sound press conference", including the 4REA4 digital audio networking system – based around a processing engine and control software, providing routing, processing and mix control via a network of local I/O boxes.

Meanwhile, Powersoft showcased its new M-force 301P01 transducer, which seeks to redefine the concept of infra bass, and Audinate demonstrated Dante Domain Manager, which brings IT-style system administration to the pro audio and AV world.

“Prolight + Sound 2018 showed that many driving forces are at work in the professional audio industry,” said Michael Biwer, group show director, ‘Entertainment, Media & Creative Industries’, who was delighted with this year’s turnout. “Once again, digital audio networks were a focal-point theme. The immersive audio segment is also continuously being given more weight at the event. An important module for this was the new ‘Immersive Technology Forum’, the première of which was given a positive reception. Moreover, several companies presented their immersive solutions in separate demonstration areas. We are delighted with this commitment on the part of our exhibitors and their willingness to play an active role in the programme.”

Messe Frankfurt has announced that Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound 2019 will overlap fully on all days and move closer together spatially, opening their doors simultaneously from 2 to 5 April.

“We used the time of the fair to hold intensive discussions with exhibitors about our plans for 2019,” Biwer added. “At this point, we can say that we aim to make the best possible use of the synergetic effects between Prolight + Sound and Musikmesse, which are of great significance, especially for the audio segment. Therefore, as from 2019, both events will be held exactly concurrently, from Tuesday to Friday. We continue to be in close contact with companies from all product segments and will announce further details about Prolight + Sound 2019 shortly.”