UKSV Scales Up with EM Acoustics

The world of corporate audio-visual is always challenging and fast moving, and the need to provide clients with the best possible sound reinforcement solutions keeps AV companies at the top of their game.

Hampshire-based UKSV is doing just that, with a recent system purchase of loudspeakers from EM Acoustics. Located in Ringwood on the edge of the New Forest, the company has been in business for more than 30 years and originally specialised in general AV support of local hotels and businesses. Over the last 15 years or so the business emphasis has evolved from more of a production company into a creative communications agency solution. UKSV now has separate departments covering many different activities, such as communications, and digital media, while still majoring on live events.

“We made a conscious decision a couple of years ago to locate offices in the centre of town for better accessibility for our clients, while our warehouse facilities are actually about a mile down the road,” says Senior Operations Manager Nick Dean. “Over the past few years we’ve expanded and developed into a full service provider, so in addition to sound solutions which is our mainstay we also provide lighting, stage sets, and staging as well as full technical support for corporate conferences and award shows.

“We have some major blue chip clients for whom we provide bespoke production services, and we take a lot of pride in sending out only the best equipment. However, as the company grew over the last few years I began to feel that from an operations point of view our sound solution was probably our weakest link.”

UKSV had been used to sub-hiring in speaker systems from time to time to meet demand, but Nick and fellow Senior Management Team members felt this wasn’t an ideal business situation. So they researched the market very thoroughly for 18 months or so looking specifically for loudspeaker systems that they could purchase, and considered various options.

“One of our freelance sound engineers and strategic partners, Gary Dixon, suggested that we look at EM Acoustics,” explains Nick. “He’d used their systems while working for other companies. He thought they sounded great – and that was just the stage monitors! He was impressed with the clarity of the HALO-C system that’s installed in the Royal Albert Hall gave in such a demanding venue.”

Gary had used an EM Acoustics sound design for another company also. “He suggested that we demo an EMS system on a show, which we did because he was aware that we were looking to purchase,” says Nick. “Our event went really well and the sound was really clear. The producer on the show who’s also our MD came up to us and asked: ‘What was that Gary? It sounded fantastic!’

“So we used it again on another show for IBM in the Sofitel at T5, and again it was spot on. It was clear, it was crisp – it was perfect. We then made a decision to go for it, so we put a spec together for Leo Humphrey at White Light to quote us on.”

Nick and fellow Senior Managers had examined the business case for an EM Acoustics purchase and worked out the return on investment. It stacked up, and consequently UKSV took delivery of an EMS system from White Light shortly before Christmas, designed to cater for their customers’ needs in a very flexible way both now and with a view to the future. The speaker system is made up of six EMS-121X 12-inch two-way full range models and four EMS-115 single 15-inch quasi-bandpass subwoofers for the majority of front of house duties, plus six EMS-81X compact 8-inch two-way full range and six EMS-51 ultra-compact two-way speakers which are used mainly as fills depending on the event requirements. Everything is powered by three DQ10 switchmode four-channel advanced system amplifiers with full DSP onboard.

“We knew we had a big event coming up in Dublin in January, so we opted for a system that would do all of that straight away, as opposed to a smaller system that we would need to add to on a dry hire basis. We wanted it to be as flexible as possible, and to work in different environments from venues such as the Heathrow Sofitel Terminal 5 to much smaller rooms, but with the same level of quality throughout,” continues Nick. “For some large shows, like Grosvenor House for example which is around 1,100 seats, we may be supplementing a house rig or doing the whole thing ourselves without needing to sub-hire anything in. Another job where we’ll use the whole system is at the Hilton in Park Lane – usually a conference during the day with walk-up stings for presenters, followed by a turn-around for an awards show and gala dinner in the evening.

“At the other end of the scale we may be doing intimate events for as few as 50 people. For a typical small event such as a London investment banking meeting we’ve found that a pair of EMS-81 or EMS-121X plus some fills are more than enough for good coverage and clarity of speech, and if there is music playback we’ll also put some EMS-115 subs in. The speaker system we have now gives us a lot of flexibility to be able to do break-out workshop environments as well.

“But we always have the option to bring in extra EM Acoustics equipment if needed from EM’s dealers with whom we have great relationships – if we are very busy and without having to turn clients away. We know exactly what we’re getting, we know it’s going to be totally compatible with our systems, it’s a very familiar situation.”

As well as serving the UK market UKSV has also worked fairly extensively abroad, and in recent years has increased its activities on the European continent. Key to this new business has been word of mouth endorsement and a network of good connections, particularly in the pharmaceutical sector where the company has acquired new clients, and that has work picked up steadily even against a background of an uncertain political and economic climate.

“The system is very scalable to the various sizes of events that we do and can be augmented for very large jobs – it really is future-proof. Our business plan is aimed for growth and we’ve had a great start to the year, in fact we’ve already added four clients as well as a lot of repeat business.

“The feedback from the shows we’ve used it on so far is very positive, and certainly the clarity has been noticed by our guys and clients alike. From what we’ve seen so far, the EM Acoustics system has been a sound investment.”

From what we’ve seen so far, the EM Acoustics system has been a sound investment.

Nick Dean

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