Plasa 2011Official figures for the 2011 Plasa show indicate that more than 12,000 visitors attended the Earls Court event to see more than 500 product launches across its full spectrum of audio, A/V, lighting and staging.

The word on the floor was t hat the show was quieter than last year, but it was still able to deliver…

It was certainly busy for much of its four days, with good foot traffic and plenty of interest prompted by some significant launches. Partcularly notable on the audio side were new mixing consoles from Midas and Cadac – Midas taking the wraps off its compact VeniceF-16R and Pro2/Pro2C desks while Cadac showed the prototype of its impressive CDC Eight.

‘The CDC Eight attracted the most wonderful comments and compliments from professional engineers, installers, theatre technicians and the many Cadac enthusiasts at Plasa,’ said Cadac International Sales Manager, Vincenzo Borrelli. ‘It was the subject of a lot of attention throughout the show, particularly from other desk manufacturers; something that is especially complimentary. Indeed, reaction to the entire new product range, including the CDC Four digital and Live1 and S Type analogue desks, was astonishingly good; the feature sets and quality we were able to demonstrate clearly hit the right note. This is the most successful Plasa show for Cadac in years; perhaps the best ever.’

Richard Ferriday and Midas Pro2‘We launched three new products and had a crowd of people around the consoles throughout the show,’ agreed Midas Brand Development Manager, Richard Ferriday. ‘We were taking orders constantly and had people from across the world – it’s been a really good mix of people.’

Indeed, Midas confirmed early sales of its Pro2 immediately after the show.

The most entertaining launch has to have been that of the MC2 E100 – Richard Fleming’s science experiment get-up and an amplifier that can boil water and cook toast ensured a good audience for the unveiling of flagship of the E series – the company’s most powerful four-channel amplifier and first class-D switch mode model. Meanwhile, across the hall, Lab.gruppen’s compact and ultra-efficient E Series of installation power amplifiers brought a healthy shade of green to the show.

There must be something abut amps and ‘E’s...

‘Plasa this year was surprisingly good,’ says MC2 Group Sales & Marketing Director, Bill Woods. ‘I haven’t seen the numbers yet but it seemed to me that visitor numbers were down. Despite that, I met with many of our international distributors, met some new companies with whom we should do business in the future, and had a successful launch of our class-D E100 amplifier. Our High Tea demo seems to have been liked by the press corps – who even applauded us as our kettle boiled water and the toaster popped the crumpets. We know how to make tea at MC² Audio!’

‘Plasa 2011 provided a timely platform to formally launch two new products to market; E Series – Lab.gruppen’s install-centric 1U energy-efficient amplifier range and the Lake LM 44 Digital Audio System Processor,’ said Mark Flanagan, Communications Manager for TC Group’s professional audio brands. ‘In terms of our marketing and approach to the show, we are  pleased with the results and of the level of international interest in these two exciting products. However, it would be a fair to say that we felt the show was a bit flat in terms of atmosphere and there also seemed (anecdotally at least) to be less excitement in the show from many of the major players in the industry. In many ways, Plasa feels increasingly less like an international destination and more like a regional UK-centric show. I’m not sure how that reconciles with how it markets itself today. There’s a sense that it doesn’t provide the same level of new business opportunities as other European trade events and with the high costs involved, it’s not the most cost effective way of developing our business. In the current economic climate, bang for buck is the critical factor.’

There was still plenty to see and there were more than enough people meet. But that’s not a useful analysis…

Trade shows of all shapes and sizes invitably invite criticism – a situation made worse by critics’ inabilty to agree on what changes they would make. Some would close shows others value, many would suggest shows merge but rarely agree combinations. And all of this has only been heightened by present global economic concerns. Right now, the biggest European 'known unknown' is the future of the AES show.

While international events struggle to maintain international attendance, regional shows step in to serve local industries. And where a trip to show might have been a perk, it’s now essential staff only. It is a complicated picture...

Against this backdrop, Plasa can be justifiable satisfied. But certainly not complacent.


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