British sound rental company SSE Audio Group and California-based Sound Image have announced the launch of United Audio Companies (UAC), a new transatlantic joint venture.
The aim of the partnership is to enable both firms to improve the international support they offer to their clients in both Europe and the US, who will benefit from a common touring infrastructure and around-the-clock support, meaning acts can work seamlessly in both regions.
“It’s not just a US Company operating via an EU satellite office or vice versa in the US,” explained SSE Audio Group MD John Penn (pictured, left), “it’s two full-service national PA companies with a full complement of staff, service facilities, vehicles, production managers and their long-developed support networks that are made available to the touring production – in addition to the equipment inventory and crew.
"It means that when a tour hits a snag, SSE in Europe or Sound Image in the States are far more likely to resolve the issue quickly.”
Each of the partnering companies has introduced common technologies so touring acts will have a simple transition when they travel between the continents. All productions will have additional local contacts assigned to assist planning and coordination, as well as reduce down time.
Neil Diamond’s current world tour is the first to officially use UAC, although both companies have been testing the waters over the last year with acts like Linkin Park, Tame Impala, Culture Club, Pharrell Williams, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Maroon 5 and Billy Idol.
As part of the move towards common technologies, SSE Hire has invested in the JBL VTX system. This, together with SSE’s extensive L-Acoustics inventory, means clients can now use either system on both sides of the Atlantic.
SSE’s new JBL system has been deployed for the first time on the European leg of Neil Diamond’s tour, following his successful North American outing in April and May with Sound Image.
Commenting on the new venture, Dave Shadoan (pictured, right), president of Sound Image explained: “Sound Image and SSE have very similar company philosophies. We both continue to invest heavily in today’s leading technology and we both put a heavy focus on our personnel and service. That is what sets us apart.”