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Mixed reactions at Prolight + Sound 2024

Mixed reactions at Prolight + Sound 2024

Mixed reactions at Prolight + Sound 2024

With just six weeks having passed since the behemoth that was the ISE show, Prolight + Sound knew it would have its work cut out from an exhibitor and visitor point of view. To the organiser’s credit, it did seem to have tried hard, citing 500 exhibitors in attendance from 54 different countries and introducing new areas and networking events as well as an expanded, bilingual education programme dedicated to current industry topics.

Alvaro Fontanals Salgado from DAS Audio was in a good mood.
Alvaro Fontanals Salgado from DAS Audio was in a good mood.

Audio remained in just the one hall, but within that hall visitors could find the new Image Creation Hub and new Immersive Audio Dome, which integrated an Adamson loudspeaker system and Fletcher Machine multichannel audio rendering processor. But while the hall definitely looked smarter than last year, there were still some very obvious large open spaces. Barring the second day, it was also noticeably quieter and smaller than the two lighting halls across the way.

Paul Hadfield from Dubai-based distributor Provision AVL was marking his 20th year in attendance. “Frankfurt certainly has a place within the industry but if I'm completely honest, it's a little underwhelming, particularly due to having attended ISE quite recently. But we're here to support a lot of the brands that we represent in the Middle East, such as GLP celebrating their 30th anniversary, and while the footfall is a little underwhelming it's great to see the effort a lot of the manufacturers are still putting into the show. We’re pleased we’ve made the trip.”

Stefan Wieland was enjoying his first outing with Vari-Lite on the Ultralite booth.
Stefan Wieland was enjoying his first outing with Vari-Lite on the Ultralite booth.

The outdoor demo area has always worked to the organiser’s advantage as most other European exhibitions don’t have the capability to effectively host such endeavours. Hence, there was a steady flow of listeners across the four days. This year, however, a few manufacturers, including RCF, DAS Audio and dBTechnologies, decided to go one step further by opting for their own dedicated stages. “We’re back after a five-year break and the outdoor demo is critical for us because it's the only exhibition where you can showcase like this. It’s the show’s USP and it always has been,” Philipp Wrede from dBTechnologies confirmed. “Plus, we’re particularly pleased that we’ve seen so many young customers watching the show and then asking us about the system, how to get hold of it and where they can hear it again, so that’s very encouraging.”

Exhibitors and visitors recollect fondly the glory days of PL+S and MusikMesse, and there’s no doubt it still serves an important role in the AVL calendar for many. Robe’s substantial booth wowed a constant stream of visitors with a series of daily performances in celebration of its 30th anniversary, and Adam Hall was running regular shuttle buses back to its HQ for an impressive Surround Experience Show in addition to hosting its Cameo booth in Hall 12.1.

Gaby van der Blom introducing the new addition to its professional HK Audio Concert Sound line: the Contour X 210 LT point source long throw loudspeaker.
Gaby van der Blom introducing the new addition to its professional HK Audio Concert Sound line: the Contour X 210 LT point source long throw loudspeaker.

The days of back-to-back product launches for press on the first day are long gone at exhibitions, but there was one new launch on the opening day, as Gaby van de Blom from HK Audio explained: “We had a great launch event for the Contour X 210 LT and I feel that there's definitely been a lot more visitor traffic. I'm really hoping that the show will continue because for us it’s really important we reach the people we don't see at ISE, such as those from the MI sector.”

The visitor stats are not yet official but there’s a distinct feel that the show is becoming more localised as the years go on. “Compared to last year, we are missing the international guests,” commented Adam Hall Group’s Markus Jahnel, “we have a lot of export business in Asia but I’ve only seen two of our Asian distributors here. I’ve spoken to a few other exhibitors and the feeling is the same. It's not my dream show anymore, unfortunately.”

One recurring topic of conversation was that four days is overkill for a show of this size, and would be much more attractive if presented as a two- or three-day outing. Seeing the signage announcing the 2025 dates as running from the 8–11 April, therefore, was unsurprisingly greeted with a heavy sigh by many.



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