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THE BRIEFING Du Arena gets a revamp for Madonna’s concert p4 THE GUIDE The latest products to hit the market p38 THE HITLIST The best of this month’s videos and apps p46

WELCOME TO OUR NIGHTMARE Du Forum plays host to hard rockers Avenged Sevenfold

MICROPHONES & HEADPHONES The latest in audio recording and monitoring technology

PALME & EVENT SHOW REVIEW All the big news from last month’s trade shows

GEEKING OUT AND ABOUT The Middle East holds its first Film and Comic Convention in Dubai Vol: 6 Issue: 6 June 2012

An ITP Business Publication

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June 2012 Volume 6, Issue 6 02 Editor’s Comment 04 News round-up du signs four year licensing naming deal for Yas Arena and Flash Forum.

12 COVER STORY: Geeking out and about Fresh from hosting the Middle East’s first film and comic convention, ExtraCake’s Ben Caddy and Wicked Tents’ Alistair McDonald explain what it took to bring the ultimate geek event to Dubai’s International Marine Club.

18 Hitting above its weight Following on from Avenged Sevenfold’s recent concert at the Du Forum, Flash’s Haidar Shukri explains why he believes the venue has the potential to have more of an impact on the local music scene than the Du Arena.

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25 PALME Middle East 2012 review Sound and Stage rounds up the biggest news, as well as the winners of the Middle East Event Awards 2012.

31 Buyer’s Guide The latest and greatest in microphones and headphones.

38 The Guide 44 Web log

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With another PALME and Middle East Events Show out of the way, it seems appropriate to use them to reflect on the current state of the industry in the region. If comments from those exhibitors we spoke to are anything to go by, then there is a definite shift in demand for services. While Dubai has managed to retain its crown as the centre of events in the Middle East, it risks losing it to those up and coming cities, such as Abu Dhabi and Doha. While a number of companies reiterated their commitment to Dubai, as many said that they would be seriously considering expanding their operations elsewhere in the Gulf – one or two at the expense of their set up in Dubai. Something else that was noticeable at this year’s PALME and Middle East Events Show was the number of Africans. Organisers Informa had promised a new infusion of customers before the show, and considering that many of the biggest deals – at least in terms of value

– came from companies from Africa. Indeed, a deal signed by SES was easily one of the largest of the show; again from a Kenyan-based production company. However, it wasn’t all happy faces. Once again, the issue of Chinese suppliers came up time and again. And while I understand to an extent the frustrations of the Western firms, it would be unfair to exclude them based merely on accusations. That said, there is one area that the guys and girls at Informa do seriously need to consider, and that is sound. More than one major company was less than impressed with the sheer noise coming from some stands. Many of these companies had come to the show to do business, to showcase their products where they were meeting their potential customers. But as we were told on several occasions, it was impossible due to the noise coming from some audio exhibiters who were being less than neighbourly considering how loud they were allowing their equipment to be. Yes, it’s a trade show, and yes it’s an audio exhibition too, but the primary purpose of PALME is to do business. And if senior figures from key firms in the region’s industry can’t entertain clients on their stand, then why will they attend next year?

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THE BRIEFING The Yas Arena, now officially known as the The main PAhascomprised 12 to Electro-Voice Du Arena, played host a number of X-Line line array Xsubs. high profile acts,elements includingand PaulsixMcCartney, Metallica, and this month, Madonna.

Du bags naming rights to top Abu Dhabi entertainment venues Landmark four year deal to help solidify telecom operator’s presence in live events Flash Entertainment has sold the naming rights to Abu Dhabi venues Yas Arena and the Flash Forum to Dubai-based telecoms operator Du in a four year deal. The renaming of the venues, which are now officially known as the Du Arena and Du Forum, is seen as an expansion of the firm’s presence in the capital, as well as its association with live music. The operator has had a long history of sponsoring major entertainment events through its Du Live brand. April’s Red Bull X-Fighters at Jumeirah Beach Residence was the latest event to carry the Du Live branding. Du is hopeful the branding agreement will help to lift the firm’s awareness

04 SAS JUNE 2012

amongst Flash’s target demographic to a new level. “This move is a natural evolution for our entertainment platform, du Live! and a natural progression in our relationship with FLASH Entertainment,” commented Osman Sultan, chief executive officer at du. “Through this partnership, we are reinforcing our commitment to continuously supporting Abu Dhabi as the home of live entertainment in the Middle East. Simultaneously, we are enhancing our customer experience by bringing them even closer to the entertainment they enjoy. “Together with FLASH, our vision is turn two good venues into something

even greater, and we are very excited by the potential presented by this partnership,” he added. Speaking at the announcement, John Lickrish, chief executive of Flash Entertainment added: “Over the last few years, FLASH Entertainment have established the Arena and Forum on Yas Island as two of the region’s premium live event venues. “We have worked with du since 2008 and today marks a proud new chapter for both organisations,” he added. “We look forward to working side by side for many more years to come, bringing the very best live events to the du Arena and du Forum.”

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IN BRIEF MBC GRABS THE VOICE RIGHTS MBC has acquired the exclusive rights to produce and broadcast the international TV format “The Voice”, on multiplatforms, across the Middle East and North Africa (“MENA”) region. SPT Arabia- the producerwhich represents Talpa formats in the region will co-produce the show in its local adaptation. Ali Jaber, group TV director, MBC Group said: “We are pleased to announce this multi-year agreement today, in our capacity as the exclusive broadcaster of this international format that has gained much popularity and viewership across the world. We now offer the 3 strongest talent show formats in the region, across multi-platforms, and look forward to continuously bring the best of entertainment to our loyal viewers, browsers and followers”.

PROLYTE SIGNS DEAL WITH UNUSUAL Prolyte Group has signed a distribution contract with Unusual Rigging and Engineering. The agreement will see Unusual handling Prolyte’s sales and service in the United Arab Emirates. The partnership was announced at this year’s PALME Middle East trade show in Dubai. Alan Thomson, managing partner for Unusual Rigging and Engineering said the deal will enable his company to up its service provision. “I am delighted to add Prolyte products to our inventory,” he said.

06 SAS JUNE 2012

More than 14000 attend region’s first Comic Con

More than 14,000 people attended the first Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai last month, its organisers have revealed. The event, which took place over two days at the Dubai International Marine Club, was well received by attendees, exhibitors, and organiser ExtraCake. The firm said it was delighted at the response.

“We knew that there was interest, and we were hoping to get off to a good start from an attendance point of view, but we were delighted by the number of people who flooded the venue,” said Ben Caddy, managing director of ExtraCake. “The feedback we’ve had was fantastic, and it was great to see visitors of every nationality, age, and gender all together enjoying the same experience,” he added.

BILL WOODS JOINS FUNKTION ONE Funktion One has announced that Bill Woods has joined the firm as director of business relations. According to the firm, Wood’s expertise in working with distributors and dealers globally was what made the company to hire him. “Bill’s vast experience of working with distributors and dealers worldwide makes him the ideal addition to our company,” said Funktion One’s Ann Andrews. “As our business expands, we have found ourselves spread too thin. We decided we needed to add another sales person. Bill has been a friend of Funktion One for years, so it made sense to talk to him.” Woods added: “Having witnessed the

growth of Funktion One first hand as a supplier with XTA and MC2, I was very excited to be invited to join the team. As the company approaches its 20th anniversary, it is poised for further expansion, and I am looking forward to being part of that team.


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Burj to host 2013 Red Bull X-Fighters? The Dubai stop of Red Bull X-Fighters’ 2013 tour is unlikely to be held at Jumeirah Beach Residence following the unveiling of plans to develop the car park and area of the beach that hosts the event. Several other venues around the city are being looked at by the event’s organisers, with a location around the Burj Khalifa the most likely, Sound and Stage Middle East understands. Blink Events confirmed to Sound and Stage last week that it was considering alternative venues, but refused to confirm any locations. Mike Smith, head of production at Blink Events played down the significance of the development at Jumeirah Beach Residence, saying that any change would be due to the firm “looking for a different backdrop”. Ground work for the new development began last month. If the project goes to plan, it is extremely likely that it will be impossible for the event to be held at the venue.

Next year’s Red Bull X-Fighters is likely to take place in front of the Burj Khalifa after plans were revealed to develop the car park and beach at Dubai’s JBR.

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THE BRIEFING The main PA comprised 12 for Electro-Voice Madonna is set to perform the first time X-Line line array and six Xsubs. in the Middle Eastelements at the beginning of next month at the Du Arena in Abu Dhabi.

Newly renamed Du Arena gets revamp for Madonna concerts Organisers behind Madonna’s debut in the UAE said on last month they were transforming the concert venue ready for the performances due to take place on June 3rd and 4th. Flash Entertainment said the Queen of Pop will perform on an “all new stage design” at the recently renamed Du Arena on Yas Island, created specifically for her MDNA Tour. It said in a statement “the size and scale of which has never been seen before here in the UAE”. Running out of the 23 meter by 54 meter stage – the biggest ever built in the Middle East – will be an elaborate catwalk, pushing the superstar’s performance out into the crowd and closer to her thousands of fans.

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A complex pyrotechnic and lighting system has also been developed and the 25,000 fans each night will be able to watch giant LED screens that will be mounted onto the back of the cantilever-designed stage. Flash said many months of planning, development and infrastructure work had gone into enhancing every aspect of the venue experience. Grass has been relaid, gravel removed, tarmac walkways laid down throughout the arena and a central public plaza area featuring merchandise, retail and entertainment has been installed, Flash said. Mira Sadek of Flash Entertainment commented: “This is one of the most significant events in the history of regional live entertainment.

“With over 50,000 people coming to Yas Island to enjoy the concerts and cross-Island parties, we really felt now was the time to enhance the venue and focus on every little detail, from parking and entrances, to walkways and sight lines,” she added. “Since March work has been constant and we’re sure people are going to appreciate the changes.” Conscious of the warmer conditions in early June, Flash said water will be sold at a two-for-the-price-of one deal, Sadek added. There will also be a cooling dome within the public plaza area courtesy of Yas Marina Circuit and misting machines will run throughout the two nights of concerts to help keep fans cool.


12 SAS JUNE 2012

s at See u

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As the first comic con to take place in the region, the team at ExtraCake PRA and its production partners Wicked Tents, Byrne, Eclipse, JR Scenic, Electra, Flow, and Quickfix has set the bar high for future events. We speak to two key figures to find out more about what it took to pull off the first Middle East Film and Comic Con.

o many people outside of the Middle East, life in Dubai revolves around a never ending cycle of partying, and sunbathing on the beach. While for a small part of the expatriate crowd that might be true, the last five years have seen a slow, but steady increase in products and events for the region’s comic book, film and gaming fans. Perhaps the best example of this increase in exposure in geek culture was the first Middle East Film and Comic Con, which took place in April at Dubai’s International Marine Club. However, despite the rise in popularity of such events around the world since the first one launched in San Diego in the 1970s, it was still a gamble for ExtraCake, the firm behind the project. “Obviously, we hoped it would be successful,” says managing director at Ext-

raCake, Ben Caddy. “We knew there was demand there, but the numbers that turned up, and the atmosphere was overwhelming. What was probably the nicest thing was every nationality, every age, every gender was there. You only have to look at the madness of the cosplay competition. We had 50 year old Emiratis, sat next to 25 year old Indians, and whole Filipino families; all of whom were having the same experience.” As the first event of its kind in the region, it was also a challenge from a logistics perspective. “From a production point of view, it was amazing,” says Alistair McDonald, managing director of Wicked Tents, who was also event and logistics director on the project. “There was not one piece of equipment that was damaged. Nor was anything stolen. There was no fighting, and aside from


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one minor accident where a lady slipped down the stairs in front of the venue, there were no injuries. For an event that attracts The stage was a key feature of the 14,000 people, that’s nuts.” event according to the team. McDonald is full of praise for those that attended the event. “I little to worry about that the parking situthink it’s normal to expect collateral ation - which is something that at a typidamage at any event of that size. You’re cal event of that size would be have been talking about a mass volume of people. at best a minor headache, ended up being People can be careless, and they can accione of the main things we will need to addently damage things. There’s always godress.” ing to be an element of that sort of thing However, it isn’t just the organisers happening around any events site. that are full of praise. A quick look at the “We were just amazed that there was hardly anything,” he adds. “It there was so event’s Facebook page shows that those

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who attended the event were similarly over the moon with its success. “People are saying it’s the best organised event they’ve ever been too,” reveals Caddy, adding jokingly, “If they could have seen behind the scenes, they might not have been saying that.” The reality of the event is that it was two years in the planning. Originally slated

The venue was designed to create a festival atmosphere.


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After deciding to move the event from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, the firm looked around for the best place to host the event. “We looked at the obvious,” reveals Alistair McDonald, managing director of Wicked Tents, who was also event and logistics director on the project. “We identified a number of hotels that are quite well known within the region for having events of this nature. We actually liked Dubai International Marine Club as a location, because we felt that whether the crowds were large or medium sized, the venue would feel comfortable to be in. And as mentioned, because we wanted to create a festival atmosphere at the event, we did need a good mixture of indoor and outdoor space.”

Eclipse was one of the key partners at the event.

to take in Abu Dhabi duing 2011, the reality of the Arab Spring meant it wasn’t going to be possible to attract the right local talent, as well as offer the opportunity for geeks from around the region to attend. However, despite that initial set back, the extra year the firm gained allowed it to refine the concept. “In terms of the content, there wasn’t took much that changed,” reveals Caddy. “I think the venue and the way the event was set up, as well as the partners that we

were able to bring on board, changed and the impact it had upon that was dramatic. I think moving it to Dubai was absolutely the right decision.” While awareness that a Comic Con was planned was fairly high at the beginning of the year, it wasn’t until the team behind the Middle East Film and Comic Con booked the venue – the Dubai International Marine Club – that promotion went into full swing. “Once we’d locked down the venue, we proceeded with a little bit of advertising,” says McDonald. “The response was astounding. Facebook registrations went from 2,000 to 15,000 people within a week and a half. The level of interest was quite simply insane.” When it came to approaching the way the event was laid out, the team behind it made a conscious decision that it wouldn’t see to funnel people through from one end to the other as quickly as possible. “We deliberately tried to make it as much of a festival atmosphere as





The main tent was designed for screening many of the films on show.

The star panel included a mix of US and Arab talent.

Actor John Rhys Davies was one of the stars at the show.

Eclipse managing the press conference audio and video.

possible,” says Caddy. “We knew that the hardcore would be coming regardless. What we wanted to do was to create an event that would appeal to those with families. I think we achieved that. We

16 SAS JUNE 2012

had quite a few people who came in the morning, have a look around the stalls, sit on the lawn for a bit, go and catch a movie. Our plan for the future is to drive more of that.” McDonald adds: “The design of the event isn’t to drive people through, get them to spend, then churn them out the back end. It’s much more about making sure that they can take in the experience. Hopefully we retain them for the entire day, because we want them to stay around as Ben says, and experience the show. In my experience in

the events sector, it’s not often you find exhibitions like that. Often they direct their traffic through their exhibition, where as we want them to linger and discover new things.” One of the main challenges for the company was explaining to those who it approached either for sponsorship purposes, or as partners, what a Comic Con is. “It’s easy to tell someone who knows what a Comic Con is that it’s going to be successful, and that it’s going to be great,” says McDonald. “When we tried to talk to them about the content, they could

Wicked Tents supplied all of the temporary awnings and buildings.


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omm c o f n i 9947 Booth

Artist’s Alley was a popular feature at the event, and will be expanded next year.

tell that a lot of thought had gone into it. However, trying to put that same information across to someone who doesn’t necessarily know what a Comic Con is confuses them, and getting that message across to your potential sponsors, partners, and target audience is hard. “We can’t just focus on our core nucleus of geeks,� he adds. “We want people to step out of their comfort zone and explore what is going on around them. In order to

do that, you have to find a way to communicate what a Comic Con is.� One of the major issues within trying to convince people that it was a viable idea, and not just an event put forward by self proclaimed geeks, was that some people would scoff at the idea. “I lost count of the number of people I had been in during the lead up to the event where they would sniff at the concept,� says Caddy. “They would often think it was just for kids, or that it’s a niche market. I found myself often referring to Harry Potter. Someone would always say, I’m not really into that. My kids are into it, but I’m not - it’s all about wizards. But you often find they went to go and see Avatar, which is a film about ten foot tall blue aliens.�



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While some see th e the Du Arena, ow Du Forum as less of a venue than its ner In fact, it believes s Flash Entertainment certainly d larger relative on th Middle East’s live at the Forum could have more of an ’t see it that way. m impact on the all its big names... usic scene than the Arena with 18 SAS JUNE 2012


ften overshadowed by its larger sister venue, the Du Forum has always struggled to carve out a purpose besides catering for acts that have no chance of filling the Du Arena. Despite that, the teams at Flash and Comcast/Global Spectrum have been working hard to help the Forum establish a name for itself. In the past two years, the venue has played host to three rock acts: 30 Seconds to Mars, Beady Eye, and Avenged Sevenfold. The latter performed at the venue last month to a crowd of around 2,000 people – around 1/20th of the capacity of the larger Du Arena. Despite what was a disappointing turnout for the American hard rockers, the team at the forum are optimistic that the smaller size of the venue means they can hold events of that size and still make a profit. “There are certain artists – for example DJs like Arman Van Helden, and bands like 30 Seconds to Mars – that would not fill up the arena, but can generate a full house at the Forum,” says operations manager at Flash Entertainment, Haidar Shukri. “Its smaller size gives us more flexibility when it comes to the artists that we can choose. Sure, we would have liked a better turn out for Avenged Sevenfold, but if we didn’t have the forum, there is no way we could

LOCAL ACTS Because of its size, the Forum is uniquely placed within the region to provide a step between the hotel bars for many of the smaller acts that play in the country, and the more traditional large venues like the Du Arena, The Sevens Stadium, and Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Providing a way for acts in the region to step up is particularly important to Flash Entertainment, operations manager Haidar Shukri claims. “I think it is part of our remit to nurture the market in every sense.” However, it isn’t just the acts that benefit he adds. “It’s also the contractors that supply us with lighting, sound, and video service.”



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have taken a chance on them.” That ability to take risks is crucial to Flash, he reveals. “We approached them when we found out they would be touring in South East Asia. We try to bring acts over whenever they are in the region, whether that is Asia, or Europe. It’s a good stop over, and by bringing them here while they are touring anyway, it reduces the exposure from a financial side for us. Like I said before, it means we can bring a much wider selection of acts to the region than we would otherwise be able to.” Another aspect that has bolstered the Forum’s ability to host smaller concerts while remaining profitable is the recent purchase of a fully fledged stage kit. “We recently purchased a kit for use in the Forum,” says Shukri. “All of the staging that was used on the night of the Avenged Sevenfold concert is owned by Flash.” However, for the time being at least, the firm has no intentions of purchasing lighting and sound equipment,

he reveals. “The lighting and sound were all subcontracted. Eclipse handed the lighting on our behalf, while Delta Sound handled everything on the audio side.” However, as Avenged Sevenfold’s concert showed, even events planned by one of the largest names in live entertainment can fail to sell out. Admitting that there were issues with the sound on the night, Shukri says the firm is looking at ways to reduce the chance of those issues occurring in the future. However, he is quick to deny that the origin of the poor sound was to do with the sound engineering. “There was some talk about the sound engineer boosting the volume of the audio beyond what the system was capable of,” he says. “That isn’t true. “The system was more than capable of delivering more than 100 decibels,” he adds. “Delta Sound are by far – I feel – the best audio company in town. Their sound engineers are top-notch. They’ve done

Flash admitted the dome structure causes sound issues, and that it is looking to resolve it.

all the big concerts for us at the Arena. They’ve done Metallica, they’ve done Elton John, they’ve done everyone.” In particular, local support band Anuryzm’s sound suffered during the night. “It did sound muddy,” Shukri says. “If you ask me, the problem there was their use of an electric drum set. It drowned out all the other instruments. They also used their

own sound engineer, so that wasn’t Delta’s fault.” Avenged Sevenfold’s sound was also not up to its usual quality, though Shukri puts that down to some fundamental issues with the sound in the venue. “The venue isn’t very acoustically sound. Because it’s a dome structure, the sound tends to bounce around quite a bit. When you fill the venue, that

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Event Production mostly gets rid of the problem. But the venue wasn’t 100 per cent filled, and Avenged Sevenfold’s own sound engineer pushed the system. That’s the way they like it, and apparently he was happy with the sound.” However, the company isn’t planning on just accepting that the accoustic issues are there to stay. Shukri reveals the firm is planning on investing in some new equipment to cut down on sound issues. “We are currently looking at acquiring some sound baffles for the surfaces at the top part of the venue, where the tent structure arches. Hopefully for the next rock show, we’ll have them in,” he adds. Another issue was the number of people that had to be ejected from the venue. However, Shukri is keen to stress that those being ejected weren’t being removed for starting or being involved in mosh pits. “We’re actually quite okay with pits – especially for rock concerts where we know it’s just part of the gig, and how many of the fans enjoy them. We had them at the Metallica gig, and we let them do it so long as

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The stage is owned by Flash, but the lighting and sound were externally contracted.

they don’t hurt each other. “The reason why a couple of people were thrown out was because the chief of security for Avenged Sevenfold [Dan Abell] interfered with a couple of the pits – based on his experience of what to look out for in these situation – and that’s when we sup-

ported their own security team,” Shukri reveals. “Some of the people were almost getting hurt by the levels of pushing and shoving. It’s fine while they’re all in the circle, but when it starts to spill outwards toward those who don’t want to mosh, then that becomes a problem for us.”


IT WAS GREAT TO SEE YOU AT PALME 2012 PALME 2012 was the launching point for several new in-house developments by ShowTex Middle East. The ShowTex stand featured the latest technology in high quality track motors and accessories, ultra-fast roll up systems, inventive stage fabrics, and a special theatre section!


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Sound and Stage Middle East rounds up the tenth PALME Middle East and Middle East Event Shows in Dubai.

efore the doors opened to 2012 editions of PALME Middle East and the Middle East Events Show, organisers Informa promised to a complete overhaul of the type of visitors that would be attending the shows. Gone was the mentality of getting as many people through the door. Instead there would be a focus on quality over quantity at both of the trade shows.

Speaking to Sound and Stage Middle East at the show, an overwhelming number of companies exhibiting at the show commented that while they were speaking to less people than previous years; however, the quality of those they did speak to was higher. “We saw a lot of people on the first and second days, more so the first, while it quietened down on the last day, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary,” said

Glen Kershaw, sales manager at GSL Professional. Kershaw also pointed out a change in the type of people attending the show. “We’re seeing more GCC companies coming and speaking with us, which is good from our side. It’s a broad spectrum of people too. You’ve got people from the touring side of the industry, people from the permanent installation, through to consultants and contractors. JUNE 2012 SAS



“Last year was definitely more quantity over quality,” he added. “This year, we’ll have to wait and see if the leads we’ve had this year do turn out to be better than those from 2011.” One of the companies that walked away knowing PALME had been successful was SES Entertainment Services, with at least AED250,000 of dealss having been done, including one e AED100,000 deal from a Nigeria-based production com-pany. “We’ve had a fantastic show,” claimed Gordon Cooper, the firm’s director. Despite the large numbers of visitors and deals from the rest of the GCC and nd beyond, not everyone is planning anning on expanding beyond their traditional borders. One such firm is UAE production giants ProTec. “There seems to a be a lot of people from Africa, in particular North Africa and Kenya,” stated founder and head of projects Stephen Lakin.

MIDDLE EAST EVENT AWARDS 2O12 WINNERS Best Exhibition – Trade or Consumer F&E Aerospace for Dubai Airshow Best Event – On a Budget DABO & CO for BMW CSR ‘Stay Alert. Stay Alive.’ Best Special Event Innovations Unlimited ME for Black Ceremony Best Meeting or Conference MCI for 1st IOF Middle East & Africa Osteoporosis Meeting Best Corporate Product or Service Launch SALT & PEPPER Events for Drive Out Loud Mini Festival Best Music Event Chillout Productions for Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival

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Best Arts & Cultural Event David Atkins Enterprises for 12th Arab Games Opening Ceremony Best Sporting Event Abu Dhabi Sports Council for ADSC Calendar of Sport Events – 40th National Day Best Innovative Entertainment HQ Creative for Education Without Borders Opening Ceremony Best Exhibition Stand Design mamemo productions for Department of Transport stand at UITP

Blink Events for Red Bull X Fighters Best Contribution to Sustainability – Event, Venue or Company mamemo productions Best Meetings or Event Facilities within a Hotel Grand Hyatt Dubai Best Purpose-Built Events Venue Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre Supplier of the Year – Excellence in Technical Delivery Al Laith Event Services

Best Event Design WRG Qatar for 20th World Petroleum Congress, Social Function

Innovative Supplier of the Year Al Laith Event Services

Best Event Using a Temporary Venue, Structure or Space

Employer of the Year dmg :: events

“However, we’re happy with the UAE, mainly Dubai and Abu Dhabi.” Not everyone was happy with the number of people coming from outside the UAE though. “We haven’t seen as many Qatari’s as we would like to have seen,” commented Kershaw. Lakin also questioned exactly where the demand was coming from. “Over 50 per cent of the interest during this year’s show has been in our screens. Now, there are a lot of people showcasing screens this year, but there are only three rental companies. Almost all of the rest are Chinese companies looking to sell the equipment. Is the demand there? I don’t know.” One thing that wasn’t in doubt was the value of these sorts of events. Showtex stand proved a major draw, with managing director Sven Peters joking at one point that the reason the hallways were a little empty was because everyone was at his stand. “For us, shows like PALME are still




TOP THREE PRODUCTS OF THE SHOW Canvas & Wood Tipi One of the big draws was Canvas and Wood’s massive Tipi that was erected in the corner of the Middle East Events Show. The impressive structure reached well above any other stand d in the show, and while e it wasn’t as flashy as the e lighting rigs on display next door, it did attract a steady amount of interest and praise. Expect to see plenty of these at events later this year when summer finally departs our shores. HydroGrafx Admitting that they almost didn’t come to the show, Hydrographix will be glad they after their digidid afte water screen tal w grabbed the g attention of almost everyone walking past. Wedged between LED b screen manufacscre turers, the fact the unique product stood out is a testimony to the quality of the technology. It’s another product you should expect to see out and about when the next events season arrives in October. Transformers’ YrWall Showcasing what they had done for SoleDXB’s event nt the month before, Transformers’ YrWall grabbed a huge amount of attention during the show, with the opportunity for people to design their own trainers using the intuitive spray can interface. face.

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very important,” he said. “People see the products, they are amazed. I think if you an amazing product, thinks like budgets become a second thing. Being able to experience things can move things away from just being about the money.” Over at the Middle East Events Show, another stand that was stealing many visitor’s attention was

Transformers’ digital graffiti wall. The first of Luma’s YrWall’s to be brought to the Middle East, it originally made its debut at April’s SoleDXB Sneaker Summit, and proved to be a major draw for the firm. Another major draw at the Events Show was Canvas and Wood’s domineering Tipi. “We’ve had a lot of interest,” said Aron Bentley. “We’ve had enquires from firms looking to use the tents at club style events, through to hotels looking at using them for hospitality purposes.”


MICS AND HEADPHONES Sound and Stage Middle East takes a look at the latest in mics and headphones...

NEUMANN KK 204/205 MICROPHONE CAPSULES Neumann has showcased its new KK 204 and KK 205 microphone capsules at this year’s NAB show in Las Vegas. The new capsules, which are available in either cardioid or supercardioid patterns, are compatible with Sennheiser’s 2000 series of wireless handheld transmitters. According to Neumann, the acoustic features of the new microphone capsules are derived from its line of wired stage microphones. Both of the capsules have been designed to offer the tight sound control of the wired versions. The cardioid version is designed to ensure the best suppression of sound from 180-degrees to the rear, while the supercardioid version offers even tighter control over the direction of sound picked up, maximising the directivity of the microphone. One of the main areas of focus


during development was damping of pop sounds and handling noise, as well as a minimisation of internal noise.

“Neumann capsules have already been used in combination with the Sennheiser SKM 5200 handheld transmitter for the past ten years on some of the largest stages of the world, where the highest demands are placed on a high-resolution sound and transmission reliability,” said Wolfgang Fraissient, president of Neumann. “With the development of the KK 204 and KK 205 capsule heads, the Neumann sound is now also available for the Sennheiser 2000 Series,” he added. “The synergies between the key areas of expertise of Sennheiser handheld transmitters and Neumann capsule sound permit us to offer our customers a wireless system of absolutely uncompromisingly quality, even for the most demanding live applications.”

ALLEN & HEATH XD2-53S Allen & Heath has launched an updated version of its flagship Xone professional monitoring headphones, the XD2-53s, with a detachable coiled cable and several other new features. The headphones retain the XD-53s circumaural design to provide high-level isolation from ambient noise, which has proven to be a hugely popular feature amongst its DJ customers, such as Pete Tong. They contain 53mm diameter drivers, with high power neodynium magnet

design, 3500mW of power handling and high SPL capacity, which helps to ensure excellent sound reproduction, according to Allen & Heath. They also come with rotating ear pieces for easy one-ear monitoring, an adjustable metal reinforced headband, and folding design for ease of moving. According to Allen & Heath, the headphones are available now, and have a BY STAR D E S U suggested retail price of DING DJS INCLU G £148 (AED 860).






Sennheiser has launched what it describes as a ‘new class’ of wireless headphones, which uses uncompressed transmission technology. The RS 220 headphones, which fall into the manufacturer’s high end segment are aimed at users that need high quality sound reproduction, but also need the freedom afforded by a wireless set up. According to Sennheiser, the transmitter that comes with the RS 220 transmits signals using direct sequence spread spectrum technology, which it claims reduces the chance of interference from outside sources. “This is a frequency spreading process in which the output signal is spread to a width of 22 MHz by means of a specified bit sequence,” explained Mig Cardamone, business area manager at Sennheiser Middle East. “If interference occurs at one specified point within this frequency range, the output signal experiences no interference, as the data is transmitted with redundance,” he added. “As a result, the overall sound quality is maintained.”


SONY DWM-02 DIGITAL WIRELESS HANDHELD TRANSMITTER Sony’s DWM-02 is a digital wireless handheld transmitter which provides a choice of one, ten or 50 mW RF outputs. The transmitter operates for approximately five hours using two AA size alkaline batteries at 10 mW output power. Transmitter functions include input attenuator, RF frequency selection, RF power output, audio LCF frequency and a power sleep mode. The power sleep mode is located in the transmitter, and can be remotely controlled from the digital wireless receiver.


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Shure’s ULX-D range is aimed at end users that need a high level of sound quality, as well as the flexibility of an RF-based microphone system. Designed to be rugged, the range comes with encryption and advanced recharging options allowing it to be used in the most demanding of situations. Comprising of three pieces, the ULXD4 - a digital wireless receiver, the ULXD2 - a handheld wireless transmitter, and the ULDX1 - a wireless bodypack transmitter, the range has been designed with a wide range of uses in mind, from outdoor interviews through to large scale concerts. All products in the range support 24-bit/48kHz digital audio delivery, with a wide frequency range. A greater than 120gB dynamic range is also offered, reducing the amount of signal-to-noise experienced. In addition to being rugged and being specially designed to maximise battery life, the range also comes with optimised scanning to automatically identify the cleanest frequencies. They also deploy Shure’s gain ranging technology to optimise the system’s dynamic range from any input source.


Sony’s MDR-7520 headphones are designed for use within the studio, and have a number of features that make them ideal for the studio environment. They come with a 50mm driver unit replete with an LCP diaphragm. It features a closed ear design, that ensure that the only sound that should be heard is the sound coming through driver, though its lack of noise cancelling means they aren’t as useful in live audio situations. Its wide frequency response and high power handling capacity of up to 4,000mW makes them ideal for pro-level applications. In addition, they feature a stereo unimatch plug, gold connectors, and an OFC cord.



Vertical Array Systems IT`S NOT A STICK!

Vertical Array Systems Vertical pattern control is a requirement for highest sound quality and speech intelligibility, especially in difficult acoustic spaces. The TS400 system provides a smooth coverage over a very wide bandwidth in a 2.5 way design by using high-quality spaced and filtered woofers as array elements. Many high performance Plug & Play system combinations can be easily

created using the PSD215 and PSD 218 powered subwoofers, the non powered extension subs PSE215 and PSE 218 and the TS 400 array cabinets. The DYNACORD Vertical Array Systems meet the requirements for a large number of mobile applications and fixed installations delivering high sound pressure levels, outstanding audio quality, wide coverage and exemplary intelligibility.


DPA D:FACTO VOCAL MICROPHONE DPA Microphones’ latest vocal mic, the d:facto, has been designed as a bridge between live and studio applications. A vocal condenser microphone, DPA claims it delivers a natural sound, high separation, and ‘extreme’ SPL handling. According to the firm, it spoke with users of the cardioid 4011 and tailored

the handheld model to offer the same level of attributes. The result, the firm claims, is a supercardioid microphone with superb definition, excellent separation, and breathtaking natural sound. It’s heritage means the microphone is as comfortable in sound reinforcement and recording applications, as it is being used live. As with all other DPA microphones, it

features superior gain before feedback, an inbuilt three-step pop protection grid that effectively removes unwanted noise, and heavy duty isolation to cut down on handling noise. The microphone head can also be used on the DPA wired handle, and can also be unsrewed for mounting onto compatible wireless handles.

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This month’s hottest new products from DIS, PR Lighting, Peavey, Aviom, and Allen & Heath. DIS DCS6000 DIS has introduced a new camera control system for the DCS6000 Digital Conference System that is powered using a standard wireless router and an Apple iPad. The package, which consists of a camera controller which is preloaded with an algorithm for controlling up to four cameras via the Visca protocol, an iPad with the camera control application installed, and a router in case there isn’t a connection available. The iPad application has the ability to pre-set 400 seats per camera, as well as delegate names to the seats for each switching between speakers. The use of the iPad means that controllers are no longer limited to a position that

may hinder their ability to ensure the camera is facing the correct speaker. It is also possible to set the system to automatically switch the nearest camera to any microphone that becomes active.

Controllers can also set a time delay on the switch to that microphone to avoid capturing camera movement, as well as set a minimum number of microphones that must be active before switching to a wide shot.

PR Lighting LED Spot/Beam PR Lighting has launched its first two LED fixtures, one spot and one beam. The LED Spot 400 comes with a 16 to 38-degree wide zoom, while the LED Bean emits a six degree beam. The company claims both run quietly, and output less heat than other similar devices on the market. The company also claims that by using LED fixtures, it has been able to extend the life of the light itself to 50,000 hours operation at 6,8007,500K, which should mean the fixture will wear out before you need to think

38 SAS JUNE 2012

about replacing the bulb. They also feature seven dichroic colour filters, seven rotating gobos, and seven fixed gobos, all of which are easily interchangeable. In addition, they come with DMX controllable focus, electronic strobe, a pan area of 540-degrees and a tilt ability of 270-degrees, with auto position correction. Each has 14 channels when operating in short mode, 18 in standard, and 22 in extended mode. The spot weighs 14.5kg, while the beam is slightly less at 14.2kg.


PEAVEY IMPULSE 12D Peavey has launched the Impulse 12D powered enclosure. Targeted at a lower budget market than would traditionally be required for a device of this type, it features a true ribbon driver and 12-inch field-replaceable dual voice coil. The Woofer Servo circuit monitors back-EMF and controls the cone motion. This ensures its movement mirrors the driving signal from the power amp. In doing so, it results in a very low level of distortion, high power handling, and low frequency attack. The new ribbon driver provides 90-degree by 30-degree coverage, with what Peavey describes as sonically transparent reproduction. The enclosure uses Peavey’s IPR power amplifier technology to produce 1,200 watts of efficient

power while weighing only 17.6kg. According to Peavey, by using IPR technology, it can design its amps with lightweight switch-model PSUs, and high speed D class topology. The latter enables the devices to yield extremely high audio resolution, and is also very efficient. The enclosure comes with two input channels, and a line output. It also has a mix of I/O options, such as 1/4-inch jacks, RCA, and install ready Phoenix connections. The two input channels have mic/ line source switches and gain controls.

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Aviom SK6 Stage Kit Aviom used NAMM 2012 to launch the SK6 Stage Kit. The kit provides an enclosure for the company’s AllFrame product line to be used as a stage box in live applications. The AllFrame multi-modular I/O system has been designed to bring qualities of the firm’s Pro64 audio network to the stage. Though designed with installations in mind, the AllFrame is well suited for touring applications when combined with the SK6. The heart of the All Frame system is the F6 modular I/O frame. The F6 is a multi-purpose network frame that offers field-configurable I/O card slots. It also comes with Cat-5e and fibre optic connectivity. It can be configured to work with most applications through C4M mic/line inputs, and C40 output cards. The F6 is also future proof due to support for C4dio digital I/O cards. The SK6 allows up to six AllFrame I/O boxes to be used as drop-boxes in a stage environment.

Allen & Heath ZED Mixers Allen & Heath has launched two new additions to its ZED range of live sound and recording mixers. The two new models, the ZED-16FX and the ZED-18 come with a variety of new features. Each of the models have ten fully-featured mono channels, and three to four dual stereo channels. The number of channels are a response to demand for increased counts in a compact form. As with the rest of the range, both mixers have USB connections for send and return recording, playback, and effects. The mono mic/line inputs feature DuoPre two-stage preamp, three-band MusiQ EQ, and 100mm faders. The stereo inputs have two-band EQ, and input for extra sources. There are also four auxes from each mono and stereo channel. The ZED-16FX also comes with a built in FX processor. The processor has TAP tempo delay support, and a 24-bit conversion rate. It also benefits from 16 inhouse designed effects based on Allen & Heath’s iLive pro level touring systems.

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SNA to show EPL highlights

Sports fans will be able to catch highlights of their favourite Barclays Premier League teams on Sky News Arabia, the 24hour Arabic language multiplatform breaking news channel thanks to a deal between

the new Arabic news channel and Abu Dhabi Media. Sky News Arabia will broadcast the league highlights as part of a wider deal with Abu Dhabi Media, which owns the exclusive broadcast rights to


the Barclays Premier League in the Middle East. Viewers will be able to stay abreast of current and future seasons of the Barclays Premier League, enjoying clips of the latest action and previews of upcoming matches. Under the agreement, Sky News Arabia will broadcast significant highlights of the Barclays Premier League footage as part of its sports news bulletins, two hours after each match with pre- and post-match and half time footage available in real time. Furthermore, Barclays Premier League fans will be able to re-live the action whenever they want to by going on to Sky News Arabia’s website, which hosts all the broadcasted highlights.


1 Harris sells MESA; VP speaks 2 Sky Arabia signs distribution 3 MBC/WWE launch Arabic site 4 Madonna tickets released 5 First Middle East Comic Con takes place in Dubai MOST READ SOUND & STAGE NEWS STORIES

1 Madonna tickets released 2 MEFCC takes place in Dubai 3 Burj Khalifa to host 2013 Red Bull X-Fighters?

4 Rascal out of Sandance 5 Du snaps up venue rights




Eithad has teamed up with Flash Entertainment to offer Madonna fans another chance to purchase tickets to watch her first performance in the Middle East next month. The shows, which will take place at the recently renamed du Arena on June 3rd and 4th, had allegedly sold out of their 44,000 ticket allocation over the two days.


Think UAE confirmed that Dizzee Rascal missed out on performing at the season close of Sandance due to medical reasons. Tinchy Stryder replaced him in the line up. The rapper, who last played in the UAE in 2010 as part of Creamfields Abu Dhabi, was set to headline the event.









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An ITP Business Publication


An ITP Business Publication


Vol. 14 Issue 5 May 2012

The Middle East & North Africa’s ONLY monthly magazine for the broadcast and production industry

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June 9th to 15th, Las Vegas Convention Centre, Las Vegas, USA

America’s premier audio-visual, information, and communications technology event returns to the Las Vegas Convention Centre for another year. More than 925 exhibitors will be showcasing thousands of products and services on the showfloor, attracting more than 34,000 AV professions from around the world.


Funktion One’s Tony Andrews on 21st Century sound Industry veteran Funktion One’s Tony Andrews took to the stage last month at London’s Truman Brewery to discuss the state of audio quality today. He was speaking at the BrickLane edition of the popular TEDx series. During his time on stage, he took the opportunity to express his views on the values of high quality audio, stating: “Bad sound is a vexation to the spirit.” As a self-professed audio purist, Andrews also delves into the major concerns and potentially damaging effects of bad sound and the ignorance of many to its beneficial values. To watch the video his truly fascinating insight into the state of today’s approach to audio, please type the link below into your browser.

46 SAS JUNE 2012

App of the month

Midas Mixtender Midas has released its Mixtender app for the iPad. Designed to provide wireless remote control of the PR02 and PR02C digital mixing systems, it allows engineers to access fader levels, and output GEQ from an iPad. The app will also support the Midas PRO series, and XL8 digital systems when version 2 is released. The application allows engineers to view 64 input meters and 27 outputs simultaneously in real-time on the console overview screen. In addition, multiple iPads can be used on a single console at the same time with the ability to lock each device so that it can only access one mix. This allows each performer to control their own monitor mix on their own iPad without making any changes to other parts of the mix. The app also provides wireless control of all fader levels, including input faders, all bus contributors and masters, VCA, and MCV fader levels.

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SOARING FORTUNES France-based EUTELSAT has big plans for the future

THAT’S A WRAP! Revealed: The highlights of CABSAT 2012






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Off the record...

In light of the passing of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch last month, Sound and Stage bring you a roundup of the music world’s rememberance of him.

“I know, we should have tweeted and instagrammed every sad, happy and inspired thought, smile or tear by now. But honestly the last few days have just been a blur of deep emotions for our closest friend, band mate and really brother. I miss Adam so much. He really served as a great example for myself and so many of what determination, faith, focus, and humility coupled with a sense of humor can accomplish. The world is in need of many more like him. We love you Adam.”

Band mate Mike Diamond writing on the Beastie Boy’s Facebook page.

“RIP Adam.I’m devastated. Praying for Adam’s family from the legendary Beastie Boys. You’ll be missed!”

“Adam Yauch #RIPMCA. Thank you for Sabotage bass riff and many other great “Rip Adam. Words can’t grooves. Adam also express the sadness and worked for justice and loss. Ur humor, talent peace consciousness.” & gentle soul are just Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic via Twitter. irreplacable. Be at peace brother.” “We are so sorry to hear Legendary American Guitarist, Tom Morello via Twitter. about the loss of the Joseph Simmons, better known by his stage name Rev Run of Run DMC, via Twitter.

48 SAS JUNE 2012

Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch (MCA) a true legend & inspirational to everyone in weezers generation.”

Weezer via Twitter.

“Crushed to hear the news of Adam Yauch’s passing. A true pioneer of art. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.”

Justin Timberlake via Twitter.

“Prayers and all the love I could ever muster for Adam Yauch. What a beautiful man. God bless his beautiful soul. A class act all the way.”

Flea of Red Hot Chilli Pepper, via Twitter.

“Lollapalooza94 talked to Yauch almost everyday He was full of wisdom & encouragement for a freaked out kid like I was. Thank you.”

Lead guitarist and singer of Green Day Billie Joe Armstrong via Twitter.

“He told me once that he really liked the lyrics to ‘Bull In The Heather’. It surprised me that he had even listened to it. It meant a lot to me.”

Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon in an interview with NME.

Sound & Stage - June 2012  

Sound & Stage - June 2012 - Volume 6 - Issue 6 "52 Pages" ITP Technology Publishing, Dubai, UAE

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