INTERVIEW

4 Sep 2023

STATE OF THE MARKET

by Jason Allen

A view from the frontline

James Pavey started his career as a sound technician in Sydney in the 1990s. Making the move to Melbourne during a chilly winter in the early 2000s, he moved sideways into video, then into a Production Management gig at the under-construction Federation Square. Moving through production and operation at the new-defunct Shed 14 at Docklands and in AV for Clifton Productions, James moved to the sales and distribution side of the industry five years ago, and holds the title of Business Development, Victoria, at AVECorp.

AVECorp are a one-stop-shop solutions provider for the AV, install and production sectors, carrying 25 brands across lighting, audio, rigging, staging, and lasers. Based out of Dandenong in Melbourne, they’re a family- owned company that’s been trading since 2000, and have recently added Adam Hall lighting brand Cameo to their stable, along with Proel and Axiom audio lines.

Advertisement
Axiom AX2065.1

 James’ day-to-day is at the frontline of sales, support, and customer service, looking after current customers while drumming up new business. As such, he deals with installations, integrators, hire, and production customers, granting him a broad view across most of the industry, in most of its disciplines. We sat down with James to get a view on that state of the market just over half-way through this year, and what he sees as driving demand through the next.

Install and Integration

“Demand has been good all through winter,” reports James. “The mid-tier integrators that we deal with that typically work with customers such as churches and gyms have been very busy. The bigger integrators have been working on a lot of town halls, and integrated communication solutions for councils and business, in both new builds and refits.”

Advertisement

James sees the majority of refits being driven by a demand for front-end usability and back-end automation. “The jobs that are ripping out most of their old infrastructure and replacing their back-end are doing so because they want the user interface at the front-end modernised,” explains James. “This is in the form of iPads and touch screens for the end-user, triggering automated processes in the background. In terms of our products, this means something like an LD Systems ZONE X 1208 DSP going in. It’s got 12 analog ins, 8 analog outs, Dante, and eight GPIOs.

It’s programmed and controlled from Xilica Designer software, and compatible with Xilica X Touch user interfaces. From the integrator’s perspective, that’s an environment that’s easy to programme. The ZONE X even comes with Xilica Designer templates that are easy to modify and add to.”

LD Systems IPA424T

Having your installation run on an IP backbone is now par for the course. “Network audio connectivity is a given now, and Dante is very important,” observes James. “Almost every install we’ve been involved with lately has the system processor or other devices outputting through a network connection to the amplifiers, and occasionally to the loudspeakers themselves. From our side, we’ve got the LD Systems I IPA 424 T four channel power amp that you can fit with an X-EDAI expansion card that gives you Dante and control over Ethernet. That gives you 4 x 240 W @ 4 Ohm or 70V/100V, switchable per channel, which is great for flexibility and scalability.”

Going fully IP is making life easier for the integrator, and for James. “AV over IP is much easier now than it used to be,” remarks James. “In a lot of cases now, it’s plug’n’play. There’s a lot less tech support and programming support requested from our end. Everyone pre-programmes the gear before going on site, so if there is any tech support needed, it’s in the relative calm of the office. In addition, IP cuts down on cable, clutter, and cost, while giving you scalability for future upgrades without much disruption. Integrators also love remote support and monitoring; get an email that there’s a fault, and tunnel in through a port without leaving your chair.”

Hire and Production

AVECorp’s three main lighting brands are Beamz, Chauvet DJ, and Cameo, each offering different price points and capabilities for different market sectors. James sees battery operated, wirelessly controlled fixtures as a major driver of the current market. “Battery powered wireless lights are proving very popular, and we’re selling a lot of them into production,” imparts James. “They’re getting more powerful, and easier to use. The ease-of-setup and cost savings in labour are undeniable. We’re just about to land the new Cameo ZENIT B200 battery powered, IP65 rated outdoor wash light. It runs 21 15W RGBW LEDs and puts out 6,600 lumens. Cameo say it can run for more than 20 hours on a charge.”

IP65 ratings are another market driver, with production companies replacing their ‘indoor’ fixtures with lights that can do both. “It’s not just about surviving outdoors,” notes James. “We’ve got nightclub customers replacing their movers with IP65 versions because the need to service them diminishes greatly. They don’t get choked with dust, or particles from hazers. We’re seeing fixtures like the Chauvet DJ Intimidator Spot 360X IP moving head going into this space, which is all about inventory simplification and less servicing.”

On the audio side, James observes that production companies buy to maximise their ROI, seeking out products that are good quality, well-made, and durable. “A good example is the ICOA range from LD Systems,” offers James. “They’re powered, coaxial, and can be sued as mains or monitors; it’s really easy to rotate the horn 90 degrees. There’s range of 12”s and 15”s (plus a 15” and an 18” sub) with different options, including Bluetooth, which is great for dry hires. They also go into installs, with their range of brackets.”

LD Systems ICOA 15 inch

Just added to AVECorp’s range are line array options from Proel under the Axiom brand. “Axiom have the dual 6.5” AX2065 and dual 10” AX2010A in powered or passive, and the powered AX800ANEO dual 8″. The dual 8” is proving popular in club installs, with multiple venues in Sydney taking it on. The clubs like to have a bit more power and headroom on hand in their audio systems than they usually need. Better to have it and not need it than the other way around, I always say!”

Speaking of line arrays, James and the AVECorp gang are currently in the middle of a national roadshow to launch LD System’s MAILA (Modular All-Round Intelligent Line-Array). It’s a scalable system made that is built from four units; an amp module, a top box running 5×1” titanium tweeters, a low-mid powered column with 4x 6.5” woofers, and a dual 15” sub. The roadshow kicked off in Brisbane on 22 August, swung through on 29 August, visits Melbourne on Tuesday 5 September and finishes in Perth on Wednesday 20 September.

LD Systems MAILA

“I first heard MAILA at PL+S in Frankfurt,” recalls James. “I’m quite critical of mid- range performance in PA systems. I really concentrated on listening to the snare crack, and MAILA punched me in the chest. It’s a really lovely, powerful PA and scales as small or as large as you need it. For the roadshow, in each city, we’re doing an AVECorp tradeshow from 3 pm, then the MAILA launch at 6, complete with live band.”

More info at www.avecorp.com.au

Subscribe

Published monthly since 1991, our famous AV industry magazine is free for download or pay for print. Subscribers also receive CX News, our free weekly email with the latest industry news and jobs.