When considering the current state of the economy in both the Italian and Spanish markets it is virtually impossible to ignore the effects of the global economic downturn. With the recession showing no signs of relenting, one can be under no illusions as to how dramatically businesses have been, and continue to be affected, particularly within these regions. However, this is certainly not a problem that is confined to either the Spanish or Italian territories, nor is it exclusive to the pro audio industry. In fact, it is via its reputation as a key contributor to the live sound sector that the Italy/Spain region will look to prosper and emerge from this difficult financial climate stronger and healthier than ever.
Both Italy and Spain have, for many years, thrived in the pro audio industry, with a number of key brands and companies developing on their capacity for creating optimum touring equipment. Such companies as dBTechnologies, Lynx Pro Audio, Proel and D.A.S. Audio, to name but a few, have become known for their range of products for large-scale live events, such as line-arrays, loud speakers and stage monitors.
So, with many of the world’s major outdoor events and festivals making use of the innovative technology and designs from this territory, we take a look at some of the key players currently operating in the market.
The latest release from dBTechnologies, the much-anticipated line array DVA T12, made its trip from the Bologna production line to the Notte Della Taranta festival tour almost immediately. Touring across 16 different cities in Apulia in as many days, the T12s provided sound reinforcement for 230,000 visitors at the largest traditional music festival in Europe.
Andrea Salvioli from dBT HQ oversaw both the set-up of the Notte Della Taranta festival tour and the Motocross World Championship in Fermo, where T12s were also put through their paces. “The T12 system was really easy to handle on both occasions. We were all impressed by the remarkable efficiency of the system; the result was truly excpetional,” he says.
Furthermore, the Supermartxe Pool Party in Badajoz also selected dBTechnologies' DVA system. 2,800 revellers were entertained in 4000sqm of open air by 16 x T12 and 8 x S20 subwoofers providing 15 hours of non-stop electronic music. Juan-Miguel Martinez, sales manager at the Spanish office confirms, “The DVA range is doing really well with a steady increase in the use of T4 and T12 for both installs and touring. The MI market is proving a little bit more of a challenge, with the economic uncertainty preventing people making purchases.”
Proel has launched over 40 new products during 2011 so far, which has no doubt helped to fuel business growth. With the new range of low cost HPX amplifiers, Xenia installation speakers and the expansion of current ranges including the successful Flash series of loudspeakers, Proel has defied the economy with a strong year to date.
Its business is still principally focussed on the Italian market and, whilst only negative stories about the economy appear to be present in much of the media, Proel claims to be enjoying strong growth and support in all business areas, from MI retail through to the installation sector.
Proel has also boasted double-digit growth with its export business, which the company believes is a result of aggressive new product plans, as well as the development of key markets.
Lynx Pro Audio
Based in Valencia, Spain, Lynx Pro Audio is the country’s most recent pro audio manufacturer, delivering high-end, self-powered systems to more than 30 distributors across the globe. Three different line arrays (LX Series), a varied Touring range (ADP Series) and an installation series (QB Series) make up the company’s roster of cabinets. Lynx also boasts its own Ark Series controllers, as well as three different amplifier ranges amongst its portfolio.
Jesus Fuentes, product manager comments, “We have one thing very clear and that is that we will only use the best components in our systems. This involves a very long selection process but ensures that when we bring a cabinet to the market it can compete with the very best. As a relatively new player in the market we have a challenge to convert people to using Lynx Systems. We are extremely pleased with our results so far and our goal is to get more and more people listening to our eqiupment so they realise just how good it actually is.”
VMB’s factory is located in Valencia, Spain and is the longest running towerlift manufacturer in the region. The company delivers a total of 15 different lift solutions for the professional sound and lighting sector, which are commonly used for lifting trussing, lighting and PA Systems. However, it is the VMB TL-A line array lifts that have really made an impact in the pro audio market as they are capable of elevating a line array in a matter of minutes and are becoming standard inventory for many audio pro rental companies across the World.
Sales director, Ben Sinclair says, “I am really enjoying the success our TL-A line array lifters are having at the moment. There is huge satisfaction in knowing that your product has really changed the way people lift their sound Systems. We designed these lifts 4 years ago and they have gone from strength to strength with 3 different versions now available lifting between 220kg to 450kg of line array. In my opinion these lifts are a necessity for any audio pro company with line array.”
All VMB’s lifts are BGV-C1 certified and include the company’s Auto Lock Security (ALS).
D.A.S. has also fared well with regards to the international situation. The company has reported that sales have remained stable, as a result of foreign markets picking up the steep downturn in the Spanish market. However, according to D.A.S. a number of large projects are on standby until after the elections. Marketing manager Roberto Giner, elaborates: “Afterwards, regardless of who wins, the company expect things to get even tighter as the new government will have a lot of expense cutting to do. Most rental companies are on hard times as the municipal and regional governments promoting festivals and events are one of their biggest clients, and nowadays, they simply aren´t paying. So in a nutshell, few rental companies are buying.”
Despite these concerns, D.A.S. has seen many of its products doing well in 2011. “The Convert 12A and Road series stage monitors have been doing very well since their debuts at ISE and PL+S,” Giner comments. “In Spain, most of the products that have been bought by rental companies, have been auxiliary products, such as monitors, systems for side-fills, drum-fills, etc. so these have really fit the bill for the those companies that purchased products for the summer season.”
D.A.S. also has a number of product launches coming soon, including its DASnet remote control and monitoring software, the production versions of the Convert 15A powered dual source units, as well as some new products aimed at the installation market.
One of Outline’s key products is the iSM 212, a self-powered, DSP-controlled, full-range loudspeaker designed for stage monitoring applications. LF are reproduced by a pair of 12 inch reflex-loaded transducer, whilst the HF utilises a 1.4 inch throat compression driver fitted with a 3 inch titanium diaphragm, exiting the cabinet via a folded wave guide (an Outline patent).
In light of the company’s success in the region, Outline’s Michele Noselli believes that the current attention being directed towards the economic downturn is not only exaggerated but potentially painting a false image of the current financial situation:
“To be sincere, although there’s a lot of talk about “crisis”, it’s possibly been the most-used word over the large year. At the moment we haven’t felt it, and our turnover is rising thanks to recently launched products. There are also quite a few markets (not only emerging ones) on which we are not yet as ‘present’ as we could be, and we consider this to bode well for the future. Also, according to recent figures, it appears that other Italian brands with the “germ of innovation in their DNA” are faring well and things are going even better for loudspeaker manufacturers, who – it’s certainly no secret – supply the most acclaimed foreign brands in the world (American, German, French and others)."
Adagio.pro has seen a number of positives in the current market, despite the state of the global economy. The company’s product manager Marc Rovira Lage, explains: “The current market situation forces the sales towards small to medium sized products, which are now more successful than ever. In installations there’s no need to have oversized equipment “just in case.” They prefer to have the usual audio system and rent whatever they may require in exceptional cases.
“If we talk about rental companies the situation is very similar for them; competence is really hard and councils and government (the main clients for most of the rental companies) are spending less money on events and live concerts so they have to adjust the quotation to the basic needs.”
FBT is a market leader in the world of portable pro audio equipment, with a wide range of polypropylene moulded speaker solutions for many applications and market segments. Its 12,000 sqm factory in Recanati, Italy, houses every stage of the production cycle along with the R&D, sales, warehouses and deliveries. The company's new MITUS powered systems are designed for live sound, as well as permanent installations.
Founded in 1972, Master Audio has become known for creating advanced solutions for demanding sound reinforcement situations. Its main focus today is on active speaker systems and line arrays with the latest digital technology inside.
Master Audio’s MA line array systems are designed to provide optimised solutions, utilising cutting-edge technology. This philosophy of innovative design is also employed across the company’s range of active and passive speaker systems and PA systems.
As a manufacturer of professional loudspeakers, Beyma was founded in 1969, initially serving only the Spanish market. However, the company now trades on a global scale, competing with many of the markets major players.