ISE 2024

6 Mar 2024

One show to rule them all – and in the darkness bind them

by Jason Allen

The 2024 edition of ISE was the biggest, most OTT show in its 20-year history. Far outgrowing its pure AV roots, the show has now added a dedicated Hall for lighting and staging, complete with smoke isolation, darkness, and lasers. It’s also added another Hall to boot. These additions are roughly the size of one and half Integrates, for example, meaning the whole show is roughly the equivalent of eight or nine of our homegrown shows.

The addition of this dedicated lighting and staging Hall now firmly cements ISE as your international ‘one and done’ show for anyone operating in production, AV, events, venues, corporate, UC and more. And the thing about the Australia and New Zealand markets is that we’re so much more generalist than other larger countries, and most of us operate across markets and disciplines. ISE has you covered, no matter what you’re into.

Touring through the newest additions, I could have actually spent most of my time between Hall 1 and Hall 7 (audio), with a couple of visits to Hall 3 (LED, AV, a bit of audio), and probably still not see all of just those Halls. I also talked to some lovely video processing people in Hall 5. Luckily, I had some helpers from Harry the hirer Productions who are deeply into video, media servers, LED, content capture and more – their coverage begins on page 61.


So first up, my standout product highlights!

Sound Devices A20-SuperNexus

Sound Devices A20-SuperNexus Receiver

A relatively unassuming 1RU rackmount unit that totally blew my mind. Sound Devices, well known in the film and TV industries for their ‘bag mixers’ and location sound recording equipment, have gotten into wireless in a big way. The A20-SuperNexus Receiver at the stand was a prototype and is a bigger version of the current A20-Nexus. This unit potentially replaces RACKS of gear. It receives and manages 16 channels of wireless audio transmitters out of the box and is expandable by software licensable to handle 32. It can operate anywhere in the world, and the unit links to your phone’s GPS to set what frequencies it can legally use where you are. It handles all the scanning, there’s real-time RF monitoring via the screen, and of course there is software. Transmitters sync automatically, and it’s ridiculously easy to change frequencies. The transmitter packs have either built-in memory or microSD card and can record with a time code strip sent from the receiver/ transmitter, so you can dump the files into any DAW and have a totally synced multitrack. And it does this using standard digital wireless audio, just ruthlessly managed!

L-Acoustics’ Chris D’bais with Xi Series

L-Acoustics Xi Series

L-Acoustics were showing off two additions to their high-end installation-focussed range in the X6i and X8i. They are equally at home in a high-end corporate AV install, an extremely well-kitted out home, or on a stage. This hybrid market, where the product is just as likely to end up in retail or a very nice yacht, has become the focus of a big push by L-Acoustics as they expand aggressively in that market.

The X6i and X8i feature slender, streamlined designs that seamlessly integrate into high-end architectural settings while providing clear, studio-like sound. These passive loudspeakers boast a 1.5’’ neodymium compression driver coaxially loaded by a 6” or 8’’ low-frequency transducer in a bass reflex cabinet. The 90° axisymmetric directivity imparts a smooth tonal response, free of secondary lobes over the entire frequency range.

d&b audiotechnik goes to Milan

d&b were showing the fruits of this (Avnu) alliance on the stand in the shape of their DS20 Audio Networking Bridge, the DS100M Signal Engine, and the D90 power amplifier. Product Manager Marcus Rembold explained that the two marques have been working together through the Avnu Alliance to provide a mutually operable solution for quite some time. Now these two market leaders are on the Milan AVB train, everyone else is going to have to get on too.

“Milan represents one of the most significant technological advances in the audio industry, and it’s been equally important for d&b to incorporate it,” said Marcus. “Our commitment to providing these solutions is evident in our approach, allowing users to embrace the future with confidence, while retaining the flexibility to choose between Milan and Dante.”

The DS20 Audio Network Bridge provides a seamless and cost-effective connection between d&b systems and Milan. Acting as an interface between d&b amplifiers and the Milan audio transfer protocol, the DS20 boasts 16 digital AES 3 output channels, 4 digital AES 3 input channels and an integrated, fully AVB capable 5 port network switch.

The DS100M Signal Engine is the Milan-enabled iteration of the DS100 processor with Dante. Extended functionality includes more audio channels via Milan, MADI, and word clock inputs, making it an essential part of a complete Milan system for both d&b Soundscape and matrix applications.

The D90, d&b’s new flagship amplifier, delivers increased system efficiency and power saving features. As well as providing maximum loudspeaker performance, it maintains lower internal temperatures at highest output, ensuring long and reliable operation. By incorporating Milan networking technology, its robust design allows seamless configuration for redundant system setups for audio signal transport, complemented by fallback capabilities for all inputs and device communication.

BSS Omni

BSS Soundweb OMNI

To say it’s been a long time coming is an understatement, but BSS have finally released a new open architecture DSP; Soundweb OMNI. And it’s big. The two flagship processors, the 512p and 256p, can deliver 512 in and 512 out at 96kHz. The two expansion devices, the 32e and 16e, have flexible I/O. Each audio I/O port is ‘format configurable’ as either analog or stereo AES3 digital. Certain audio I/O ports and all GPIO ports are ‘direction configurable’ as either inputs or outputs – all easily managed through software on an individual port basis.

And it was the new software at the heart of Soundweb OMNI and indeed the entire Harman range that Harman’s Nick Screen (Director, Account Management, APAC) and David Glaubke (Director of Global Corporate Communications) were keen to emphasise. The new AVX Software Suite streamlines Soundweb OMNI system configuration, control, and monitoring. The AVX Architect app simplifies system diagramming, device configuration, network management, and custom UI design while the AVX Control app enables easy access to custom UIs for controlling and monitoring devices across a multitude of platforms, including Windows, iOS, Android, and AMX Varia touch panels. And it’s going to be incorporated into Crown, JBL, and even third party workflows too!

Magewell Director Mini

Magewell Director Mini

I love finding tiny things at big tradeshows! And this amazing streaming and production studio in a box measures just 147.2mm long, 90mm wide and 28.5mm thick. It combines multi-input switching, graphics, streaming, recording and monitoring in one extremely compact device. It somehow incorporates two HDMI inputs, two USB AV inputs, three simultaneous live IP sources (SRT, RTMP, NDI HX2, NDI HX3), and can store media files. It can also handle chroma keying, graphics, titles, lower thirds, a scoreboard, timer, or stopwatch!

Holoplot’s CEO Roman Sick with their Best in Show award for X2

Holoplot X2

While Holoplot’s X1 powers concert and immersive audio in the Sphere in Vegas, the X2 has been designed to solve audio problems in almost every other application. The company’s amazing wave field synthesis and beam steering technologies are employed in the smaller, cheaper X1 optimised for speech, but is still pretty damn good for music. Anywhere with difficult acoustics, e.g. most of the world that has trouble with announcements or speech, will be improved by this slimline and easy to control revolutionary audio product. And to make a point, it won a Best of Show Award in the AV Technology category, marking three years in a row that Holoplot have taken home a trophy from ISE.

Hive APC40 control screen

Hive Media Server

I was extremely impressed by the modular and flexible Hive media server system, a relatively new company and product, but boasting staff and engineers from some other quite notable media server makers. I’m going to let media server expert Craig McPherson from Harry the hirer Productions tell you all about it on page 65 of the March 2024 edition of CX Magazine, but I’d like to point out that the product demo I got made me, a video novice, feel like I could do a show on it. Lots of its workflow reminded me of Ableton Live, and I sense a strong music production background in their staff, as they’d even made a customised control screen based on the legendary Akai APC40 controller.

EAW AC6s and SBX118s sold as kit with rigging hardware


Hang on, this advanced Adaptive column loudspeaker was released back in 2022? What’s it doing in here? Well, I love it when a business creates a product (or service) which does what it does very well, but then people start using it for something else entirely. The market initially reacted to the AC6 like it was a beam steering column (it’s not) and decided it was primarily for installation and speech reinforcement in difficult acoustics. But it goes down to 65Hz and is amazing for music, plus its Adaptive technology allows vertical coverage to be easily customised via EAW’s Resolution 2 software across the entire 20KHz to 65Hz operating range.

And a prominent US AV company started taking out first one column and sub aside, then two columns and subs aside for bigger music gigs. The results are excellent, totally controllable, and incredibly easy to deploy. So EAW had to release special rigging for them to be ground stacked in this manner safely, as they are pictured here with two ACS6s and two SBX118 subs, which they’re now selling as a kit that is flying out the door!

The humble Streamdeck

Honourable Mention – The Elgato Stream Deck

Speaking of things being used well outside the purpose they were invented for, I have to applaud the Elgato Stream Deck, in all four of its hardware models, for being the hardest working piece of tech at the show. Every stand had at least two, and some many, many more, and they were used to trigger every kind of demo on any kind of technology you’d find at the show. Originally invented for gamers to control their livestreams and free up their hands, we sang their praises back in CX149, July 2019. Stream Deck, we salute you!


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