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Hot Audio Visuals

Without Audio Services, the sound of silence would be deafening. And nobody’s buying silence by the box. The Audio crew sure knows boxes, having packed and unpacked gazillions in practically every format at the warehouse and in the office. And whatever this box office is selling, it must have some real blockbuster potential with all the people lining up to get in: The Audio team’s headcount nearly tripled over the last five years. That’s good news because there is much to do besides coordinating with the other in-house services, locations and the people in warehouses and offices. 

Make no mistake, the Audio crew doesn’t just pack boxes; it painstakingly composes their contents to orchestrate the perfect system for every gig. Every nuance is finessed just right for the event, be it Rock am Ring or the Niederwombach Street Festival. This used to be down to fussing with microphones, speakers and cables, but today every sound tech also has to be a network engineer. Take, for example, Dante. The Italian poet-philosopher has nothing to do with staging events today; it’s just that an ingenious audio network happens to bear the name of the Divine Comedy’s author. The similarities don’t end there, though. Like Dante, who had to descend to the pits of hell to arrive at the celestial spheres of heaven, raw audio signals must navigate a labyrinthine netherworld of signal processing circuit boards before they emerge fully formed as divine ear candy. These Audio engineers know how to tweak every tone because they’re not too proud to go back to school to hone their chops. 

This crew nows how important it is to stay grounded. That’s not easy to do when something as groundbreaking as audio 3D comes along. “This is Dolby Surround multiplied by a factor of 100,” says Martin Ramrath, Global Director Audio Services, adding that we have wave field synthesis to thank for this. For readers who snoozed through physics class, I recommend Google. Audio 3D means you don’t have to necessarily go to a concert to enjoy a realistic concert experience. The sound system teleports you into the orchestra pit, amidst the horns, percussion, piano, sopranos and the like. Customers are desperately seeking jaw-dropping effects. And satis&fy can now deliver entire virtual acoustical environments. Every sound wave, nook, cranny, cubbyhole and object in the room is measured for the program to compute an all-in, fully spatialized audio experience for audiences to enjoy. 

Of course, True Colours also tracks the latest industry trends. As the Audio crew knows, the hottest thing in sound isn’t always a technical innovation that can be heard. Audio gear not only has to work great; it also has to look good. While a black boxful of speakers was good enough back in the day, today it has to a stylish bit of room décor or a designer piece. Audio is going visual, from elegant columnar speaker arrays to stainless steel stands like those that satis&fy has designed. Of course, the fairest, finest and most fabulous of what the annual spring industry fair Prolight + Sound has to offer is also to be found in Audio Services’ designer boxes.

satis&fy is constantly evolving. Its resident audio experts no longer toil away in isolation in their individual departments; they team up to make the most of human and material resources. This is good for satis&fy and for customers who insist on nothing less than the best. Com channels are wide open; decisions are reached quickly. Take, for example, Audio Services’ ability to provide multi-cable systems that have evolved with decades of experience at satis&fy. One ­chubby cable beats 20 skinny cords; one compact connector is more convenient than a dozen or more plugs. satis&fy’s developers have even come up with custom designs for mixers, amplifiers and microphones. 

Although industry leaders such as L-Acoustics, d&b and Nexo rely on satis&fy’s Audio specialists as beta testers, they have remained as down to earth and simpatico as ever. “Audio has made huge advances in the past 100 years, but we’re still at the point today where it’s cardboard that’s moving air,” says Martin Ramrath. And if you want to hear how good that can sound, simply ring the doorbell to Audio Services’ box office.


Photos: Yannik Farr

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