Breaking barriers of sound and language at Auto Shanghai 2023
Berlin-based pro audio company, HOLOPLOT, is celebrating a year in partnership with Creative Technology, part of NEP Group and a globally renowned provider of cutting-edge technology to the events and installation market. Creative Technology was the first UK HOLOPLOT Partner and the decision to join forces with the brand was, says Creative Technology UK’s Head of Audio, Mark Boden, quite simply because the HOLOPLOT system was like nothing they had heard before.
“We went to an early demo, and we were really impressed with X1’s directional abilities,” says Boden. “We’d looked at various systems that claimed similar abilities before, but they just never really cut the mustard. HOLOPLOT does.”
“We’ve known about the science involved in the system, and been interested in it for a long time,” adds Philip Barret, Director of Audio at Creative Technology US. “Over the years, there have been products that sort of addressed what HOLOPLOT now does, but they didn't solve any of the physical limitations of a conventional speaker system – either as a line array or point source. We see HOLOPLOT very much as a roadmap to the future, and we feel it's important for us to be involved.”
For HOLOPLOT, partnering with Creative Technology has brought them the knowledge and experience of a worldwide integrator, live events technology solutions and services supplier, culminating in the UK’s first fixed X1 installation at Lightroom in London.
“Creative Technology can marry all these disciplines together and also think of new application scenarios for their clients, with everything coming back to the ability to control sound in a way that hasn’t been possible before,” says HOLOPLOT’s Head of Sales, Ryan Penny. “That may be for live performances, immersive setups for art exhibitions or themed attractions and amusement parks, installations into sports arenas, Houses of Worship, transport hubs, the corporate market for conferences, the hospitality sector or the education market - whatever the application, creating quality, precision audio coverage, or dealing with challenging acoustic environments becomes a thing of the past.”
For Creative Technology, as the company name denotes, involvement with any product range is about being creative with technology. But, significantly with this latest partnership, it is also about being the interface between the manufacturer and the end user, as Lee Dennison, Head of Marketing and Client Services at Creative Technology London attests: “My relationship with HOLOPLOT goes back four years. Knowing the people behind the product is important and meant there was immediate trust once Creative Technology UK decided to come on board with HOLOPLOT. The potential of the technology was quickly shared internally with customer demos taking place at Creative Technology in the USA, Middle East and Scandinavia. The incredible flexibility of the system means we’re seeing a multitude of very real applications and its creative potential for our clients.”
The Creative Technology team has also been developing real world scenarios that look beyond the now familiar immersive solutions, including the corporate, live, and experiential environments for simultaneous translation and audience separation.
“The system can offer our clients so many advantages over conventional sound systems, particularly when you're a company like us that sells ceiling to floor LED that imposes restrictions on loudspeaker placements,” Barrett notes. “This is where we can finally get away from the speaker drop or the vertical hang. We can create coverage in the room using less physical real estate and even have the potential to hide the system behind said screens without loss of audio quality thanks to HOLOPLOT’s compensation algorithms.”
In the US market, where rigging labour costs can be prohibitively expensive, by cutting down the amount of inventory in the air, HOLOPLOT offers significant advantages. “With other systems, we spend twice the money and hang twice the number of speakers so that 40% of the audience can get a slightly better experience. HOLOPLOT is not that, it’s a huge step beyond,” Barrett continues.
In the US, X1 has found favour with car manufacturers, with Creative Technology deploying it at car shows to focus audio exactly where it is needed. “The area we have to play with in these situations is relatively small,” explains Barrett. “The way X1 can be programmed to deliver audio means it’s incredibly flexible, which the designers love. In the case of Subaru, for example, we define where we want the sounds to appear with the designers and they simply slot the audio in as they want to.”
Another notable US project was the Epic Games Developer Conference this March where two X1 systems were deployed; one for an environmental space, the other for presentations. “We created different size presentation areas, depending on how large the crowd was and how much overspill from the main presentation zone that meant. We could turn parts of the system on or off, redistributing the audio depending on the number of people that were out there trying to hear the presentation.”
Creative Technology is continually educating its customers on the possibilities of HOLOPLOT’s evolutionary approach to audio at events such as the UK’s annual Festival of Technology, and interest is high.
“With a large proportion of the audio enquiries that are coming in, they start off with ‘Could the HOLOPLOT system do this?’ and more often than not the answer is a resounding yes,” concludes Boden. “The word is out there, people want to know what they can do with it, and we have some exciting projects coming up. It’s going to be a very busy box!”
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