Breaking Boundaries in Audio: A Look at the Latest Offerings from ISE 2024

Every year, the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) expo brings together the best and brightest in the audiovisual industry to showcase their latest innovations.

This year was no different, over 73,000 visitors descended on the Fira Barcelona to see the 1400 exhibitors. With Pan Acoustics, Adamson Systems Engineering, JBL, and BSS unveiling exciting new products that promise to revolutionize the way we experience sound, Billy Mak and Lee Stevens made the 30-hour trip to beautiful Barcelona to take a closer look at what these companies had to offer and what exciting new technologies were setting the market alight in 2024.

Straight into the show, we were greeted by Harman, a huge imposing stand in one of the multi-Technology Halls, the buzz around Harman was huge this year, every time we visited, even on the last day it was shoulder to shoulder with people. The main brand highlights causing this stir were BSS, JBL, and their newly acquired brand, FLUX::  JBL, carried wowed attendees with their Venue Synthesis Software, with a constant stream of people crowded around, all gushing with compliments at this amazing software. The pride on the JBL team’s face when they had their biggest competitors from Europe and North America, doing lots of head nodding and determined to break it, but failing, was priceless.

At the centre of this huge stand, BSS OMNI was dominating and clearly was the showstopper, OMNI features two flagship processing devices, the 512p and 256p, which deliver exceptional DSP power and high Dante/AES67 channel counts, up to 512x512 at 96kHz. As well as the 2 cores BSS OMNI offers two I/O expansion devices, the 32e and 16e, which provide I/O flexibility. Each audio I/O port is “format configurable” as either analogue or stereo AES3 digital. Furthermore, certain audio I/O ports and all GPIO ports are “direction configurable” as either inputs or outputs - all easily managed through the software on an individual port basis.  

Over in the one corner of the Harman stand, there gathered another crowd, people cueing patiently waiting to don a set of AKG headphones and have their immersive senses blown away, by the market-leading FLUX::, and their SPAT Immersive Audio rendering Engine. Lee caught up with Hugo Larin, Senior Business Development Manager and long-term friend, who expressed his excitement about joining the Harman family, and the future collaborations.

Tucked away in the Audio Hall was Pan Acoustics, who have long been known for its groundbreaking directional audio technology, and at ISE 2024, they didn't disappoint. One of their standout experiences was the Pan Immerse 4D Audio Demo space. Built upon an ACS System, Pan Acoustics showcased the P 8-CX, P 10-CX, Pan Beam 04 and the stunning AMT family of speakers. Demonstrating a truly 3D experience, the ability to move audio on all axes made you want to reach out and grab the virtual sound object in front of you. Billy and Lee also had a cheeky sneak preview of the new Dante POE+ micro loudspeakers, which highly impressed, especially the new Dante and POE+ AMT… this space, more to come. 

The next stop was Adamson Systems Engineering who were making waves with their newly launched VGT-Series line array system, which promises unparalleled versatility and sonic quality, delivering a huge 151dB, from an onboard 10Kw 5-channel amplifier. One of the interesting developments was the new M140 mid-range compression driver, a completely new concept, designed to replicate a piston (the ideal loudspeaker) to deliver high SPL and undistorted mid-range frequency reproduction. VG also has selectable polar patterns between Cardioid, hypercardioid, and Omni, via Adamsons Ai Software over AVB Milan and AES70.

As with all of these global events, we have annual awards and social occasions, CMI was proudly nominated for 2 awards this year, Outstanding Business Development for Introducing CS Range to Australia, and Outstanding Entertainment Installation, for the thunderous new E Series system at The Corner Hotel.  

On the journey to the Audio demo areas in Hall 8, we came across one of the quirky highlights of the event for us, the History of recording and touring Audio. On display was gear from all through the ages including legends like the AKG mics used by The Beatles and Pink FloydDBX compressors used by John Lennon, Phil Spector, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Whitesnake, Judas Priest, Ringo Star, Def Leopard’s, and a beautiful BSS De-Esser used by Neil Young. All these were on proud display entwined between the likes of Mike Oldfield’s Midas console, George Harrisons VOX Guitar head, David Bowie’s PA system from the Ziggy Stardust Tour, Led Zeppelins monstrous WEM PA System and Jimi Hendrix effects pedals.  

As ever the global tech giants were out in force companies like LG, Samsung and Sony had some crazy technologies on display, LG had a new modular LED wall dominating their booth. Standing around 8m tall and 4m wide, each module is on articulators, giving the ability to move the modules back and forth while displaying an image, combined with mesmerising content, it was amazing to watch, we found out later someone purchased this for $2mUS. Samsung had people cueing for their stand, one in one out, to view their new mid-blowing clear UHD LED Glass. 

In conclusion, ISE 2024 was a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the audiovisual industry, drawing huge crowds from around the world, more impressively the large amount of fellow Aussies making the massive trip to ensure they are at the forefront of this tech. With the show growing by 30%, including a new Lighting Hall, 1 and a half times the size of Integrate alone, it's easy to see why this will continue to appeal to our entire industry. Set to expand again in 2025, if you can, we completely encourage you to be part of this technical extravaganza, to experience companies like JBL, BSS, FLUX::, Pan Acoustics, and Adamson Systems Engineering, who are leading the charge in the future of sound, which has never looked brighter. Whether it's pushing the boundaries of directional audio technology or delivering immersive listening experiences, these companies are at the forefront of innovation, shaping the way we experience sound for years to come. 

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