We've brought together an overview of some of Britain's best pro audio companies as part of our ongoing Best of British focus.
Back in August, we offered all UK-owned manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, installers, rental firms, studios, broadcast facilities, post production houses and other audio-related companies the opportunity to promote their business to the Audio Pro International readership in time for PLASA London 2013.
Now that the show is underway at ExCeL, we present to you a selection of top UK audio firms of all sizes and specialities, in alphabetical order...
Ace Vintage Systems
Ace Vintage Systems is a specialist in the classic Martin Audio Modular System, of which it has extensive stock. The large-scale concert sound system was used by major touring artists in the 1970s and '80s, and earned an enviable reputation. 'Ace' supplies it as a totally analogue system, from the microphone to the loudspeaker. It is a small independent British company, using British loudspeakers and talented British engineers.
Adlib was established in 1984, and as each decade has gone by, a new dimension has been added, resulting in a well-stocked production and corporate facility. Adlib believes its personal touch is the key to its success. Utilising leading brands such as L-Acoustics, Coda Audio, Soundcraft, Midas, Avid, Digico, Martin Professional, Clay Paky, Panasonic and Christie, Adlib invests heavily in the latest technology to service a loyal and established touring clientele. Adlib has a "thriving" sales and installation division, providing "unrivalled" technical support to rental companies, live venues and education establishments, along with an in-house manufacturing facility.
Aspen Media (stand C4)
UK distributor Aspen Media is hosting stand C4 at PLASA for DirectOut Technologies, a developer and manufacturer that specialises in MADI broadcast equipment. Visitors to the booth will be the first in the UK to see the latest in the ANDIAMO series of converters, a new EXBOX.BLDS MADI auto-switcher, and two "exciting and innovative" products that were unveiled on the first day of the show. The full range of DirectOut’s unique product line can be found on the stand.
Astar Studios was opened five years ago by international songwriter and producer Andy Ross, who aimed to make high-end recording affordable for all, and bring services relevant to the modern day music industry under one roof. Astar has achieved this thanks to innovations in studio design and business practice, including introducing the UK’s first ever 0% Recording Loans Scheme. The studio was purpose built inside an industrial unit and designed to combine versatile live room acoustics inspired by the sound of analogue studios of the ‘60s and ‘70s, with the latest digital control room technology.
Audica Professional is a manufacturer that combines "leading-edge" design and acoustic engineering in flexible audio solutions for commercial background music, corporate AV and audio communications. The company’s MICROseries range includes multi-zone control electronics, amplifiers, ultra-compact ceiling and surface-mount loudspeakers, as well as an active subwoofer. Applications include retail outlets, bars and restaurants, hotel public areas and guest rooms, board and meeting rooms, houses of worship, theatre in-fill, galleries, museums and visitor centres. In addition to its key UK market, Audica Professional exports its products to around 40 countries worldwide.
With a proud heritage stretching back to 1997, Audient continues to develop "exciting and innovative" products for the audio recording market – solidly built with high sound quality and features. With a philosophy of providing world-class, affordable and accessible technology, and the aim to capture and enhance creativity, Audient has built a strong community of creative users in professional and home studios worldwide. It offers a highly versatile versatile product range, from the flagship ASP8024 studio console through to the portable desktop interface iD22. Audient operates from its headquarters in Hampshire, England.
CableJog (stand C1)
CableJoG, designer and manufacturer of cable testers for the audio, lighting, video and data networking industries, hac been exhibiting at PLASA since 2004. Its range of cable testers starts with the AudioJoG Pro 3, which is aimed at artists with guitars and amplifiers, through to custom built 19” rack units for hire companies needing to test hundreds of different types of cables. This year, CableJog is unveiling the AVjog in 19" rack mount form, which is an ideal tool for dealing with the evermore-complex AV connections.
Since 1971 Calrec Audio has manufactured high quality live-to-air mixing consoles, relied on by some of the world’s most successful broadcasters. Calrec’s reputation for build quality, reliability and audio performance has made them an industry benchmark across the world, the company says. "Consistently pushing technology barriers," the Apollo platform introduced Bluefin2, the next generation of award-winning FPGA technology. It provides over 1,000 channel processing paths on just one DSP card. Calrec‘s Hydra2 provides a solution for easily sharing network I/O resources and control data.
From intimate theatre shows to major open-air festivals, EasyProductions’ expertise in sound installation has graced successful events from as far and wide as South America and Asia. Providing experienced personnel for high-profile live concert shows – most recently satisfying the widely varying demands of Jane McDonald, Peter Andre and Rat Pack Live – EasyProductions’ expertise can be extended to lighting, staging and AV.
Founded in 1958, pro audio loudspeaker specialist Fane is a family owned and administered business, with a UK head office that deals with global sales, and manufacturing (assembly) carried out in China. UK components are used for critical parts, such as the cone, and the firm is adamant that although it builds its products in China, they are made to a UK quality level – Fane’s technical director spends 70 per cent of his time in China to ensure this. Although it cherishes its history, the company is a modern loudspeaker designer/manufacturer – many of its classic models have been redesigned to recreate the sound using advanced materials.Article continues below
Click here for more information on Fane.
Funktion-One is a British inventor and manufacturer of high performance loudspeakers. The company is driven by an unwavering desire to achieve the best possible audio quality – regardless of the size or nature of the challenge at hand. Intent on sonic accuracy, its technological approach avoids the use of system EQ and compression driver mid-range, and its loudspeaker systems maximise efficiency and have "excellent directional control," the firm says. Led by pioneers and extended by a network of skilled distributors and rental partners, Funktion-One enjoys success and notoriety in a range of markets – including installation, live, stadia and DJ.
Click here for more information on Funktion-One.
HD Pro Audio
HD Pro Audio is a supplier of professional audio visual systems. ISO 9001-certified, the HD Pro Audio team has successfully delivered quality products and complete solutions to installers and rental companies for prestigious venues and developments, along with major live events. HD Pro Audio is a main dealer for SSL, Yamaha, Midas, Avid, Digico, L-Acoustics, Funktion-One and EM Acoustics, and provides specialist digital audio networking and programming support. With years of experience, the HD Pro Audio team is highly qualified to design and assist with all professional audio visual requirements.
HHB Communications (Source Distribution - stand E30)
Founded in 1976 and located in London, HHB Communications is a global leader in the supply of professional audio technology. Serving in the broadcast, recording and media production sectors, HHB’s unique expertise is also recognised by major manufacturers and innovators, many of which have appointed the company as exclusive distributors of their products. The specialist division, Scrub, serves the needs of the television and film post production industry from premises in the heart of Soho.
Click here for more information on HHB Communications.
JoeCo (stand F2)
Since 2009, Cambridge-based JoeCo has offered high-quality, fail-safe solutions for capturing or replaying multi-channel audio in live environments, without a computer. Used worldwide in performance, broadcast and film/TV, the award-winning, 1U, rack-mountable 24-/64-channel BlackBox Recorder captures audio directly to USB2 drive/Flash drive (BWAV files) for instant re-purposing or archiving. Analogue and digital I/O options include MADI and Dante. Multiple systems can be stacked for larger recording projects. A Player software upgrade turns the BlackBox into a powerful, dedicated, multi-channel playback device (switch between Recorder or Player modes as required). JoeCoRemote now offers remote control of BlackBox systems via iPad.
John Hornby Skewes & Co (JHS)
With nearly 50 years' experience serving the industry, JHS is one of the UK's leading independent trade distributors. JHS' Pro Audio Division portfolio includes German sound reinforcement manufacturer HK Audio's extensive range, including the LUCAS Nano 300, Linear 5 and Elements Plus lines. JHS is also the exclusive UK and Eire distributor for the Lewitt microphones brand, which features a range of professional quality live and recording mics. Other JHS-distributed brands include Tannoy (VQ LIVE), Lab.gruppen (touring amplifiers), Lake, and LA Audio.
Mediaspec is a pro audio reseller providing solutions to the education, music, television and film post production industries throughout the UK. With more than 16 years experience, it is a main dealer for a large portfolio of products from Avid, Apple, Yamaha Apogee and many others.
Orbital Sound is a major supplier of sound and communication systems and design solutions for the theatre, live event, industrial, exhibition, visitor attraction, film and television industries. With operations serving the North American, European and Far Eastern markets, the company provides professional audio solutions for sale or rental to clients in any part of the globe, coupled with high levels of technical support. Orbital's sound systems are synonymous with theatre, including Broadway and London's West End musicals, international spectaculars, bus and truck tours, regional theatres, and educational companies. Established in 1993, Orbital has grown steadily to become a leading world player, coupling experience in professional audio with a commitment to supporting customers and encouraging technical excellence.
Click here for more information on Orbital Sound.
Originally set up as a supplier of components to live sound giant Turbosound, Precision Devices (PD) is now a big name in its own right, and continues to make transducers and drive units for countless touring companies worldwide. The firm is focused on delivering high end, quality products, and offering world-class 100 per cent UK manufacturing. PD believes firmly in supporting British industry and works closely with skilled craftsmen to deliver the best results possible. It has the ability to custom manufacture models, as well as adapt its core range, with a full confidential bespoke service also available.
Click here for more information on Precision Devices.
"A leader in the UK consumer electronics marketplace," AVSL Group – Audio Video Sound and Light – started out as a distribution company in 1998, while the firm's QTX brand, which covers professional sound and lighting solutions, has only been around since 2009. But that doesn't mean it has little to offer. QTX's audio offering is already pretty extensive, with highlights from the range including seven different lines of passive and active speakers, as well as power amps, mixers and microphones – all manufactured in China, but designed, specced and quality-controlled at AVSL's UK base.
Click here for more information on QTX.
RG Jones Sound Engineering
Founded in 1926, RG Jones has provided sound systems for rental and sale for 87 years. The company's technical expertise is backed up by a 24 hour call-out service. Its portfolio spans the entire spectrum of the industry from Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and UK Athletics. It is the only UK sound company to be awarded The Royal Warrant to Her Majesty the Queen reflecting the work, provided to Buckingham Palace and other Royal Special Events. RG Jones' "unrivalled" reputation enables it to utilise quality equipment and highly qualified engineers with an emphasis on environmental and safety responsibilities.
RH Consulting is an award winning professional audio consultancy, offering audio system design services, project management, business development and compliance advice. Its international team has been involved with some of the largest and most complex audio projects in the world, the firm says. Clients include manufacturers, distributors, venue owners and systems integrators worldwide. RH can intervene at a number of levels, and it describes its single best skill is "the ability to articulate complex ideas and processes in clear, unfussy language."
Soho Square Studios
Soho Square Studios is an award-winning facility, creating sound for TV, radio and film. The studio was founded in 1990 by composers Alan Coates and Kim Goody under the name The Voice and Music Company. In May 2011, the company re-branded to Soho Square Studios to reflect the increase in work for clients in the advertising and film sectors. Recent work includes Justin & The Knights of Valour, Embarrassing Bodies and advertising campaigns for Direct Line and Kellogg's.
British microphone company Sontronics was founded nearly ten years ago by musician and audio enthusiast Trevor Coley, whose desire was to create a range of microphones delivering professional-quality results at affordable prices. It has since grown into an internationally respected brand. All Sontronics products are designed and developed in the UK and beta-tested with the help of top British producers, musicians and studios, including Flood, Paul Epworth and the engineers at Abbey Road Studios. Every mic is covered by a Lifetime Warranty, and they also offer non-warranty repair, servicing and ribbon replacement.
Click here for more information on Sontronics.
The Mic Store
Based in Batley, West Yorkshire, The Mic Store won the Audio Pro Industry Excellence Award in 2010 for Best New Company, and is an Audio-Technica Centre of Excellence. It sells microphones and "anything to do with them" to all market sectors – live, install, broadcast, camera, wired, wireless, worship, education, public sector – and has a dedicated team of professionals who have been in the industry for many years. Most of the staff are active, or have been active musicians, producers or engineers. Its main service area is the UK, but it does also handle clients from all over the world.
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