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Frankfurt Music Messe/Pro Light and Sound show 2006. Any bigger and you'd need a passport.

Any idea what this is? The front of a new amplifier? A new phase alignment device for a speaker box? An executive stress-relief mattress? We'll get to this funky retro art product statement later.
Any idea what this is? The front of a new amplifier? A new phase alignment device for a speaker box? An executive stress-relief mattress? We'll get to this funky retro art product statement later.

The 2006 Frankfurt show seems to get bigger every year. Obviously the music/production industry is growing and becoming even more sophisticated, but there are there are many questions that need to be answered, such as, how many ways can you make and badge a speaker box? How much truss? Can we get more flashing lights? Read on to get a thin slice of Messe without suger.

Get on a Plane and 30 hours later, you're at gear junky heaven.

Unless you have personally been there, nobody can effectively communicate just how big the Frankfurt Music Messe/Pro Light and Sound show really is. It literally is kilometres of multi story Boeing Hangers full of exhibits. The logistics behind it is phenomenal and only in Germany could such a vast seamlessly organised flow of people, exhibition equipment and stock all show up ready to go with not a thing missing. Even the catered food was pretty good, though expensive.

One of the kilometres of all weather elevated walkways. The pointy building is the manager's office.
One of the kilometres of all weather elevated walkways. The pointy building is the manager's office.

The show has over 100,000 visitors from 120 countries and is so big; it's impossible to see the whole thing, so you find yourself just focusing on your favourite specialities.

The square building is a service centre. Under it is the Messe railway station. On the other side there are several more kilometres of exhibition halls.
The square building is a service centre. Under it is the Messe railway station. On the other side there are several more kilometres of exhibition halls.

Obviously our interests were Nexo, Camco, Verlinde Stagemaker, RCF, DiGiCo, Sommer Cable, Quest and Optocore; all of these products have a big profile in Europe and it could be argued that they are at the front of the pack.

Here are a few holiday snaps of the show.

There was a fresh crop of digital live mixing desks from the major manufacturers. You can see this market heating up. There was a lot of traffic making its way around all the new digital console manufacturers.

Traffic Jam at DiGiCo
Traffic Jam at DiGiCo

Fighting for space (among the humans) on the DiGiCo stand is the D5-Live. This show saw a number of new digital offerings from the other big name desk manufacturers. One looked like a pinball machine, and was bigger and heavier than an analogue desk… Please explain?

Another one looked really good but didn't actually work (yet). One more had the complete “Flash Gordon” vibe, seemed to work but was monumentally expensive. Another couple had promise and of course there was DiGiCo and Yamaha. The two market leaders. Looks as though it will be a while before they have company.

Legends come in threes at Messe
Legends come in threes at Messe: L-R Chris Kennedy from Australia's Norwest; the company that's audio production staged two Olympic games and one Commonwealth. Bruce Jackson, all-round audio guru and designer of the marvellous Dolby Lake contour system and Bob Doyle of DiGiCo fame (and audio industry icon). Not to mention the Soundtracks recording console in the background because that makes four.

RCF has had a procession of growth and product breakthroughs since their divorce from the Mackie/EAW conglomerate, to become a market leader in its own right. Apart from manufacturing some of the most advanced speaker components you can buy, they are also doing a fine job of designing their own speaker systems. Powered with new generation PWM switching amplifiers, these new ultra-high-powered boxes are really going to make (sound) waves in the mid to upper market. Watch this space.

Taking a good look. He'll be seeing more of this self-powered 2,000 watt RMS sub bass
Taking a good look. He'll be seeing more of this self-powered 2,000 watt RMS sub bass
How about a multi purpose speaker box that weight 23 Kg and is powered by a total of 1,200 watts? All Neo, of course.
How about a multi purpose speaker box that weight 23 Kg and is powered by a total of 1,200 watts? All Neo, of course.

Nexo have not been sitting on their hands either. The new Geo-D system is shaping up to be the “Big Bad Wolf” and blow your house down whether flown or ground stacked.

The amazing new Nexo Geo-D system was blowing everyone away
The amazing new Nexo Geo-D system was blowing everyone away
The view of the new Nexo Geo-D system from behind
The view of the new Nexo Geo-D system from behind
Up close with the new Nexo Geo-D at Frankfurt Pro Light & Sound
Up close with the new Nexo Geo-D at Frankfurt Pro Light & Sound
The new Nexo Geo-D is ground stackable and ready to roll out on a dolly
The new Nexo Geo-D is ground stackable and ready to roll out on a dolly

Nexo is becoming consolidated internationally with Yamaha taking over distribution in the USA and Nexo's patented technology is finally becoming appreciated for the milestone in audio history that it is. Geo is so advanced that one day in audio circles, time and tech will be measured in… BG and AG (Before Geo and After Geo). You can laugh, but the Nexo stand was the most crowded stand of all.

With all these line array boxes hanging, we forget that there are thousands of Nexo PS-Series boxes in Australia. Little multi-purpose boxes are still the most popular choice.
With all these line array boxes hanging, we forget that there are thousands of Nexo PS-Series boxes in Australia. Little multi-purpose boxes are still the most popular choice.

Camco were making a big hit with their new Vortex and Tecton series UCA card and accompanying software. Camco have has the amplifier Win CAI remote control and monitoring software for sometime now but this new advance takes amplifier intelligence to a new height.

Frankfurt Music Messe/Pro Light and Sound show 2006
The new Camco Tecton series has brought the power and sonic quality of the Vortex into the price bracket we can all afford. The best thing you can do for any speaker box is power it with a Camco amplifier. With Tecton, you can still plug in a card and make it not just think, but act.
Frankfurt Music Messe/Pro Light and Sound show 2006
Software to control amplifiers is not new but with Win CAI, it gets a whole lot easier.
Frankfurt Music Messe/Pro Light and Sound show 2006
With a UCA card in your amplifier, it starts to get really smart. Who need a system controller, with this on your laptop ?
Frankfurt Music Messe/Pro Light and Sound show 2006

The Fun doesn't stop at Frankfurt . It will take you a month to get through the 25Kg of brochures you inevitably pick up. At the Messe/Pro Light and Sound exhibition, you can overdose on every possible music and production gadget known to man and then more. We will look at some of these products and developments in more detail in subsequent Filter articles.

Remember the test question in the opening teaser?

Hasn't been in production for a while and never will be again. It's rude, environmentally obscene on every level, totally impractical… But, I wish I had one.

Frankfurt Music Messe/Pro Light and Sound show 2006

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