Rastatt, Germany – In the wake of a lengthy restructuring process, the French company Innovason SAS has been dissolved. The good news is that the Innovason brand has been saved by Lawo AG who now owns all the product and trademark rights. The move, which follows Lawo’s acquisition of the majority shareholding back in April 2008, marks the end of a juridical process which resulted in the liquidation of Innovason SAS on 2nd November 2011. The Innovason brand will henceforth be managed from Lawo’s HQ in Rastatt, Germany.
According to Marcel Babazadeh, Innovason international sales director, the move is 100% positive for the brand and its customers. “It’s the best of both worlds,” he remarked. “Now that the Innovason products have become part of the range offered by Lawo in Rastatt, it means that the continuity of the brand is guaranteed. At the same time it benefits from everything that Lawo has to offer with it’s more than 40 years of experience in professional audio technology.”
“Furthermore, Lawo is committed to maintaining the heritage and history of Innovason,” continued Babazadeh. “Our focus for the future is on the continued development of the Eclipse platform. The difference is that we will be able to pursue this development with more resources available to us than ever before, which is fantastic news. It is the ideal climate in which to nurture and perpetuate the pioneering spirit that has characterized Innovason products since the beginning.”
A number of former Innovason key employees will take over responsibility within the new structure at Lawo including the ‘father’ of Eclipse, Hervé de Caro, now product manager for Eclipse; Nicolas Gozdowski who will continue in his role as service engineer; Benoit Quiniou in R&D; and of course Marcel Babazadeh who remains the international sales director.
Lawo CEO, Philipp Lawo, is pleased to have secured the future of the Innovason brand by bringing it fully into the Lawo operation. “I have believed in the brand from the beginning,” he declared. “I admire innovation – which has always been a driving force for the development of Innovason products. However, despite Lawo’s intervention in 2008, the company was still not able to realize its full potential. Now that the brand is fully integrated into the Lawo structure, I am confident that together we can achieve success. I’m also delighted to welcome the new colleagues on board, all now key members of the Lawo team responsible for Innovason. It is the end of an era for Innovason in its former structure, but the dawning of a new chapter of innovations. We’re all looking forward to a new and promising future in the live sound market together.”
Plougoumelen, France – The weekend of 20th-22nd May saw the inaugural edition of the Friends Of Mine festival held against the stunning backdrop of Capesthorne Hall near Manchester. FOM Fest boasted a fantastic line-up for a first-time festival. Organisers had no hesitation in drawing from the rich pickings of the Mancunian music scene over the years with acts such as Kid British, Badly Drawn Boy, The Buzzcocks, The Fall, Dutch Uncles, Bad Lieutenant, The Cribs (OK, so they’re from Wakefield) and of course the inimitable Charlatans amongst many others. The weather might not have been too kind, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of festival goers who braved the elements to support the cream of the crop of ‘local’ bands who, for once, were all playing in their own back garden! Paul Nicholson from Red Square Audio / Midas ProSound handled the audio requirements across the festival’s four main stages, including a fleet of three Innovason Eclipse digital mixing consoles to equip the main stage.
Paul, who also engineered some of the bands, selected two Eclipses for FoH in order to be able to flip-flop between acts, and a third Eclipse on stage at the monitor position. Innovason engineer, Eddy Josse, was on hand at FoH to assist visiting engineers with setting up the console and answer any questions they might have, while Andy Reeves looked after monitor world.
“The consoles did a sterling job and were incredibly well received by all of the engineers who used them, both at FoH and monitors,” confirmed Paul. “Almost everyone commented on how easy they were to use, which is so important in a festival set-up where the pressure is really on. From a sonic point of view, I truly think that Eclipse is one of the best-sounding consoles on the market today, and the combination of the Eclipse with the APG Uniline system made for jaw-droppingly great sound.”
The integrated multitrack M.A.R.S. recording system was also put to good use throughout the festival. “M.A.R.S. is just such a great tool,” enthused Paul. “It was there for any of the bands who wanted to make use of it – and many did. Just a couple of mouse clicks ensures that up to 64 tracks are recorded onto the internal (removeable) hard drive. All the engineer has to do is download it onto their PC / Mac, mix it, and put it on YouTube or whatever they or the band want. We recorded Bad Lieutenant’s set and then played it out over the main PA when we were setting up the next morning – it was exactly, but exactly as if they were there on stage again. Fabulous!”
FOM Fest was deemed a success by organizers and festival-goers alike, despite the severe weather conditions on Sunday which were such that the Big Top and Lake stages were obliged to close. However, the cheerful, family atmosphere was appreciated by all, as was the outstanding sound quality on all four stages, especially the main stage.
Australian surf/roots artist Xavier Rudd is currently in the middle of his “Koonyum Sun” world tour which spans the UK, North America, Australia and Europe. The European and US legs of the tour are being handled by Concert Sound Clair and Clair Brothers respectively. Concert Sound supplied an Innovason Eclipse digital mixing console for monitors for the first UK part of the tour and Clair Brothers has supplied one for the US leg. When the tour returns to Europe in November, they’ll be going out with a pair of Eclipses from Concert Sound supplied by Red Square Audio.
Production manager Simon Skeet, who started off using the Eclipse on monitors before handing over to engineer Lenny Goncharov, has thoroughly enjoyed using Eclipse. “The first thing to say about Eclipse is that it has proven to be both reliable and stable,” he noted. “From an operational point of view, the flexibility of the control surface and the ability to configure it however you like enables me to mix on a layout that I’m comfortable with, and the smooth encoders and faders are a pleasure to use. Sonically the board sounds very good indeed, and the on-board effects engines are truly impressive.”
Lenny Goncharov who took over from Skeet on monitors for the US leg agreed, and also added that the M.A.R.S. recording facility was a great feature. “It is such a timesaver, especially during – or rather prior to – sound checking,” he enthused. “With M.A.R.S. – which is really easy to use, by the way – I can get most of the sound check done before the guys even show up, and when they are here, it’s just a question of fine-tuning. It’s much quicker than a traditional sound check. That makes me happy, and the band even happier! I also love that once programmed, the Eclipse is incredibly fast access, especially for monitors.”
“I’m really looking forward to the new version NOVA 2.0 software,” added Skeet. “All the updates and new features it will bring will make the console even nicer to use, and more importantly, easy to set up. Hopefully by the time we get back to Europe we’ll get two consoles both running on NOVA 2.0 – then we’ll really be cooking on gas!”