Musikmesse & Prolight + Sound New Gear Round-up
The sound and lighting equipment industry gathered in Frankfurt, Germany, this week for the annual Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound exhibition. A whole host of new products were unveiled at the show, many of which are of interest to mobile DJs.
Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound are two separate, but linked, exhibitions that take place every spring at the huge Messe Frankfurt exhibition complex. Musikmesse is predominately an exhibition of musical instruments, but this does include electronic music production and DJ equipment, while Prolight + Sound covers the event-technology sector. Therefore equipment of interest to mobile DJs can be found at both shows; playback/mixing gear in Musikmesse and PA/lighting kit in Prolight + Sound.
In Musikmesse, the new gear releases of interest to mobile DJs were actually few and far between. It seems that most brands launched their latest offerings at NAMM over in the US earlier in the year and are saving their next set of launches for BPM here in the UK in September. Reloop did have a new product to unveil, the BeatPad2. This is the second generation of the brands dedicated hardware controller for Algoriddims popular DJAY 2 mixing software, which is available for Apple and Android tablets as well as Mac and PC.
Pioneer used the show to launch its new RM Series of active monitor speakers which are really aimed at bedroom music producers but also showed the recently introduced XDJ-RX. This is an all-in-one DJ mixer / playback controller squarely aimed at mobile DJs and designed for those who want creative mixing control and digital music playback without the need for a laptop.
Allen & Heath demonstrated its new Xone:43 four channel analogue DJ mixer, as well as the Xone:43C digital version, for the first time. Meanwhile, Numark used the show to showcase its flagship NS7III controller, which features three in-built high-resolution screens. The stand also featured Numarks new, and hotly-debated, Lightwave column speakers that feature built-in LED light bars.
The LiteConsole team also had a stand in MusikMesse, which they used to unveil a new product developed in conjunction with mobile DJ industry lighting veterans Abstract. The compact LED lighting bars, available in sets of two or four, clip easily onto the edges of a LiteConsole to quickly add more excitement to a DJs booth.
Over in Prolight + Sound there were a lot more exciting new products unveiled. One of the big new releases was the F1 Flexible Array from Bose. This is an innovative new portable PA system that lets you alter its vertical coverage pattern to create the best possible sound weather youre set up on floor level, up on a stage or even providing a sound system for a presentation made to an audience on tiered seats.
Another exciting debut was the new addition to FBTs popular Vertus series. The larger Vertus CLA406a column speaker and CLA118sa sub are designed as a step up from the popular Vertus CLA 604A and CLA 208SA, ideal for those looking for a system that allows the portable line-array column format to be applied to larger rooms for bigger parties.
Adam Hall also launched two new innovative portable PA systems, adding to its LD Systems range. Extending the popular Maui series, the new Maui 5 has a distinctive curved design and weighs just 10.9kg! Meanwhile, the innovative CURV 500 offers a modular array system based on new SMARTLINK technology that allows up to four array satellite speakers to be plugged together using a simple click-in mechanism. Adam Hall also used the show to launch a whole host of additions to its Cameo lighting range including 11 new laser projectors across three ranges: Ioda, Luke and Wookie.
Monacor used the show to introduce two compact and affordable new moving head lighting products: the Mini Beam is a 10W RGBW LED beam effect, while the Twist-1LED is a 12W white LED powered spot fixture offering 7 rotating gobos + white as well as 7 colours + white on an independent wheel. The company also launched a range of four new portable active speakers under its img Stage Line brand, which all offer class D amplification for the main speaker and class A/B amplification for the tweeter.
ADJ launched three brand new products; the first of which is likely to be of interest to many mobile DJs, while the other two are suited to those running very large mobile lightshows. The ADJ Kaos is a centrepiece fixture with three, tilting, lighting beam battens, each housing three 10W quad-color CREE LEDs. These battens are mounted on a rotating base, in a distinctive triangular arrangement. The result is an eye-catching lightshow of nine multi-coloured beams moving in all sorts of directions. The Vizi Beam 5RX is a new version of ADJs popular and powerful Vizi Beam 5R moving head, based on the Philips Platinum 5R 189W lamp, which offers output comparable to a traditional 575W discharge lamp. The new version offers the addition of motorised focus as well as a lower price point. Finally, ADJ used the show to debut its first ever LED video panel. The AV6 is a light-weight, powerful, but relatively affordable modular video screen solution that, while still outside the budget of most mobile DJs, may be of interest to those running large shows or who also offer AV production services.
Highlite International, the company behind the Showtec and DAP Audio brands, used the show to launch its latest catalogue, which features a whole host of new products. Of particular interest to mobile DJs are the new range of Dragon smoke machines, which have distinctive polished metal cases. The collection of foggers range from a compact 500W model up to a powerful 2000W machine; while the Dragon series also includes two vertical models (one with built-in LEDs) as well as a faze and even a snow machine.
The Pro Mobile team discovered a company at Prolight + Sound that will probably be new to most UK DJs, eXpand Stretch Covers. The German company has been around for a few years, serving its domestic market, but are now looking to expand and offer their products in other countries including the UK. eXpand offer a range of table, tripod and other stretchable scrim covers all of which are inherently flame-retardant, meaning that they retain their flame-retardance even after washing. A new product on display at the show has been designed for DJs using PA systems comprising top speakers mounted on poles above subs. The scrim attaches to the top of the pole and then expands out to sit snuggly over the sub. In addition to offering a surface to light with coloured LED lighting, this scrim has the added benefit of preventing guests from being able to use your expensive sub as a drinks shelf!
The highlights of the Chauvet DJ stand were the Intimidator Wave 360 IRC and Intimidator Spot 255 IRC. The Intimidator Wave 360 IRC takes the multiple tilting beam effect of the original Intimidator Wave IRC and mounts in on a fast rotating base to take the effect to a new level. Meanwhile, the Intimidator Spot 255 IRC is a feature-packed moving head spot fixture fitted with a 60W LED and offering innovative operating modes perfect for the mobile DJ market. Totem Mode allows users to limit the pan and tilt parameters to keep the lighting effects focused forwards on the dancefloor, while the Manual Mode allows the user to create a custom look and store it be recalled whenever the fixture is turned on. Finally, and most significantly, Delay Mode offers advanced Master/Slave operation allowing up to four fixtures to run synchronised movement variations, making it appear as though complex light shows have been programmed.
All-in-all, this years Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound saw the launch of plenty of new products for mobile DJs, which we can expect to see hitting retailers here in the UK over the coming months. Whats more, many of them represent significant new innovations; look out for reviews of many of them in coming issues of Pro Mobile magazine.