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Market report: Sound engineers


Insufficient set-up/preparation time Inadequate equipment

Deficiencies in venue infrastructure/ systems

Insufficient back-up/support None

18% 46% 13% 2%



These remain confusing days for anyone looking to chart a reliable course through the world of networking protocols

CobraNet and Harman HiQnet technologies (Graph E9). With Audinate sailing past the 100 licensees point some time ago, it is clear that the Australia-based developer has plenty of reason to congratulate itself.

ENGINEER REFLECTIONS The second half of the survey found engineers considering some longer-form questions that aimed to probe the underlying trends affecting their daily lives, and the overall developments currently shaping their industry. In general, their observations made for upbeat reading, although in a highly competitive and margin-intensive market it is unsurprising that some residual concerns were expressed. As an adjunct to E6, sound engineers were asked to consider the industry trend that has the most negative impact on their work. Given the slow nature of the economic recovery and attendant continuing focus, it is perhaps unsurprising that “pressure on margins” and “cost-cutting” emerged – by some distance – as the most popularly aired factors. The reasons offered for these

observations were similarly uniform. “Everyone is being squeezed to do more in less time for the same money,” observed one respondent, while another remarked that “regarding costs, we are being told this is the price [on offer] – take it or leave it”.

Economic difficulties on local, national and global levels were felt to have varying levels of impact on the situation. Engineers were then asked to consider which item of equipment they would like to purchase if funds allowed. As in previous years, high-specification digital desks and new loudspeaker systems dominated, with in-ear monitoring systems, power amplifiers and video controllers also receiving multiple namechecks. Anecdotal evidence encountered by PSNLive and PSNEurope has consistently suggested an enduring level of confusion about the pros and cons of various networking solutions. Organisations like the AES and the AVB-promoting AVnu Alliance have placed an increasing emphasis on education, but in the absence of one ‘all-conquering’ solution emerging there has lately been a sense of drift in the overall networking debate. Consequently, and to no

one’s great surprise, views on the overall level of information made available to the industry varied considerably – from “chaotic at best” to “very good”. Simplifying the information provided and ensuring that it is kept up to date were among the measures suggested for improving the situation. The survey concluded with a couple of far-reaching questions

(% of respondents in each group) Very much

To some degree Not really

2013 8% 2014 44% 13% 48% 46% 41% 38% 50%

2011 12%


WHAT NEW equipment or technological development do you think is going to be most important to the market and why? And what role (if applicable) do you expect to play in this?

We have noticed a definite increase in demand for body-worn microphones: high-quality audio capture mounted on the body combined with a need to reject the sound from the surroundings. People are also discovering that the sound quality of the wireless system is much less important than the quality of the mics.

To what extent is the rise of standards-based networking having on your product development process? Please elaborate with reference to any

specific developments that are “new for 2014”.

Networking in live audio is becoming still more important. However, the standards work has not yet come to an end when talking about microphones. There is still work to be done. Furthermore, the market is not pushing too hard for a solution. When the market is ready and the standards are right, the microphones will follow.

What is your greatest long-term concern with regard to the European live sound market?

Sometimes you get the feeling that people are so focussed on technology that they forget to listen to the sound: the sound of the technology becomes the reference, not the sound itself. You cannot process a bad microphone to

make it a good one. Also, what we have all learned from the loudness war should be transferred into other areas, like live sound – don’t squeeze it all because you can. Don’t process every signal that runs in your cables. Set the music free, set the voices free – and give us sound that lives, not dead sound.

Christian Poulson, CEO, DPA Microphones PSNLIVE 2014 l 9

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