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Sound Concepts and Bright Ideas Reboot Mainland Audio-Visual Sector

With the expectations of home AV users higher than ever before, professional standard audio and video systems are now making the leap from soundstages to living rooms, according to exhibitors at Prolight + Sound Guangzhou.

Photo: Big screen winners: Showgoers get a lesson in maximising visual impact.
Big screen winners: Showgoers get a lesson in maximising visual impact.
Photo: Big screen winners: Showgoers get a lesson in maximising visual impact.
Big screen winners: Showgoers get a lesson in maximising visual impact.

As you might expect, all the very latest audio and illuminatory products were on show at this year's Prolight + Sound Guangzhou, China's largest trade event for the professional lighting and sound industries. While the sector remains almost synonymous with technological innovation, the growing specialisation of many within the industry has spurred increased segmentation in terms of the products and services on offer. In line with this, this year's event showcased a wide range of products particularly tailored to the needs of certain sub-sectors, including education, cinema, concert halls, theme parks and tourism.

Majoring mainly on the music and entertainment front, Shenzhen's Little Giant Acoustic was primarily attending the event to promote its 24-channel digital mixing console. Introducing the system, Zheng Gujing, the company's General Manager, said: "One of the problems of using imported digital mixing systems is that their operational interface is always in a foreign language, whereas the Little Giant has a native Chinese operating system.

"It's a highly intelligent unit, offering four scene-switching functions and auto-adjustable sound volume. It also comes with a built-in multi-track sound effect card for use when recording and facilitates audio debugging via tablet computers to optimise sound adjustment and on-stage monitoring. Most importantly of all, though, it's smart and easy to use."

Photo: Little Giant’s big mixing console.
Little Giant's big mixing console.
Photo: Little Giant’s big mixing console.
Little Giant's big mixing console.
Photo: Driving sales: The new Epson projector.
Driving sales: The new Epson projector.
Photo: Driving sales: The new Epson projector.
Driving sales: The new Epson projector.

Just as Little Giant was looking to take a lead on the audio front, a fellow Shenzhen-based business – Kemai Information Technology – had similar aspirations in terms of visual presentation. An accredited mainland agent for Epson, it was debuting the Japanese electronics giant's 15,000-lumen laser projector at the event, with the equipment continuously projecting a pin-sharp racing car over on the company's stand.

According to Key Account Manager Wang Longlong, the laser projector uses Epson's proprietary 3LCD technology, an innovation said to reduce visual degradation, improve luminosity and provide access to a wider colour spectrum. Highlighting the product's other benefits, he said: "As well as being energy-saving and environmentally friendly, it also delivers enhanced light output and sharper images, ensuring all audiences get the optimum experience."

Surge in Demand for Residential AV

One notable feature of this year's event was the drastic expansion of the number and type of AV products on show that targeted the home-entertainment sector. Long-tipped to be a growth sector, many exhibitors were clearly hoping to get ahead of the game, with several innovative new systems all jostling for visitor attention.

Among those that were hardest to miss were Zongson Sound Technology's 5.1 and 7.1 cinema speaker systems. Attracting the most attention, the 7.1 option comprised a range of primary, centre, left-right surround sound, rear and bass speakers.

Certain that home buyers were now ready for such a premium system, a company spokesperson said: "Across the mainland, consumers, in line with their rising incomes, are taking their leisure interests more and more seriously. As a result, the demand for top-of-the-range audio-visual home-entertainment systems has soared. Product quality is seen as increasingly important and many consumers are willing to pay a premium for an enhanced viewing and listening experience.

"With both our 5.1 and 7.1 home cinema sound systems, an immersive stereo feel is delivered, which takes the user experience to the next level. The system particularly proves its worth when watching 3D movies, musical events or live TV shows."

Zongson also had on offer its M4 high-fidelity speaker system, an audio installation ideal for private cinemas and home theatres, with a sound set-up that can be customised in line with movie genre, user preference and operational environment. Wall-mountable, it is said to deliver outstanding sound quality, which is all the more remarkable given its stylish, narrow proportions.

Photo: Home-style, multiplex-feel: Zongson’s cinema-standard entertainment system.
Home-style, multiplex-feel: Zongson's cinema-standard entertainment system.
Photo: Home-style, multiplex-feel: Zongson’s cinema-standard entertainment system.
Home-style, multiplex-feel: Zongson's cinema-standard entertainment system.

Echoing the sentiments of the Zongson spokesperson, Little Giant's Zheng also sees mainland buyers as now having heightened expectations of their home AV systems. In fact, he believes many of them are also unwilling to compromise in quality terms when it comes to audio performance on-the-go. With this in mind, his company has now introduced a range of high-quality mobile speaker systems, which he maintains still deliver a premium audio experience while also being easily portable.

For a truly top-of-the-range interactive experience, though, he recommended the company's JRX Home Theatre KTV Audio System. Consisting of twin 6.5-inch speakers, 12-inch low frequency speakers, a microphone and an amplifier, this compact set-up is said to be easy to operate and ideal for family musical gatherings.

Custom-Made and Intuitive

Moving from speakers to microphones, the Sanren Sound Equipment Factory had on offer a range of professional standard audio input devices, with the TS-189 said to the southwest Guangdong-based company's current bestseller. Outlining the unit's technical specifications, Sales Manager Liang Suying said: "Based on a four-antenna two-channel single reception setup, our highly sensitive proprietary diversity circuit reduces frequency cutoffs to the very minimum. In total, eight mikes can be simultaneously in use on the same frequency band without generating any interference."

As well as being based in the same part of Guangdong as Sanren, Sange Electronics also had a similar commitment to product quality. Keen to underline the company's premium positioning, Sales Co-ordinator Li Jianwen cited its BM-8500 wireless microphone as bringing a new level of professionalism to on-stage presentations.

Evangelical as to its performance credentials, he said: "Thanks to the innovative design of its diversity reception circuit and its automatic frequency sweeping function, which allows it to initiate an infrared search for the optimum frequency, the BM-8500 is hugely reliable. Even after seven or eight years of use, it will never let you down, with many of our customers happy to testify as to its durability and its robust construction."

While professional sound and light systems are clearly essential in many business, entertainment and social environments, all too often they can be undermined by poor or inappropriate stage setups – a deficiency that Pinyuan Performance Equipment is only too happy to remedy. Outlining the services offered by the Guangzhou-based company, Sales Manager Gong Yuanle said: "Essentially, we provide a variety of stages, across a wide range of styles, none of which will ever let you down.

"For our part, we offer a one-stop service, covering everything from product design and stage production to training on the optimum use of AV products. We can even custom-build stages for clients whatever their exact requirements may be."

Given that this year's event attracted more than 1,300 exhibitors, achieving stand-out was a challenge even for hardened AV professionals. Despite that, three businesses, in particular, managed to command far more than passing attention from the many showgoers who had made their way to the Import and Export Fair ComplexOhmsen Audio, Baocheng Audio Equipment Factory and the Alida Professional Audio Factory.

Operating out of Foshan in central Guangdong, Ohmsen Audio impressed many with its range of six-channel transformer-base amplifiers. Capable of delivering cinema standard Hi-Fi, sound quality is said to be undiminished even under low-impedance load conditions.

Photo: High-volume business: Next-gen amplifiers.
High-volume business: Next-gen amplifiers.
Photo: High-volume business: Next-gen amplifiers.
High-volume business: Next-gen amplifiers.
Photo: Walky and talky: Wireless microphones.
Walky and talky: Wireless microphones.
Photo: Walky and talky: Wireless microphones.
Walky and talky: Wireless microphones.

The Baocheng Audio Equipment Factory, meanwhile, was also looking to wow showgoers with its selection of high-end amplifiers. The S Series, the latest range from the Enping city-based business, impressed many with its robust build and unrelenting quality, assets that have already made it a firm favourite among musicians, performers, bar managers and club owners.

Finally, the Alida Professional Audio Factory, another ambassador from Enping's high-tech sector, seemed to find a ready market for its compact ZED FX mixing console. Capable of producing up to 16 delay effects, the deck is said to be so easy to use that it can be operated by just one person, with no need to have a sound engineer on standby.

The 16th Guangzhou International Professional Light and Sound Exhibition (Prolight + Sound Guangzhou 2018) took place from 10-13 May at the China Import and Export Fair Complex, occupying a 130,000-square-metre space. The show featured more than 1,300 mainland and overseas exhibitors.

Jian Bin, Special Correspondent, Guangzhou

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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