L-Acoustics, d&b audiotechnik Form Joint Venture To Develop Live-Sound Platform

The goal is to advance industry standards around Milan AVB standard

Industry-topping live-sound audio-technology companies d&b audiotechnik and L-Acoustics have announced a collaborative project to jointly develop a software platform designed to promote development, configuration, and management of Milan AVB networks.

Dubbed Milan Manager, the resulting software will be a neutral and free-to-use solution that eliminates branding affiliations to foster universal acceptance. It’s intended to address some of the challenges that, according to the venture’s announcement, “currently discourage widespread adoption of Milan AVB technology.”

The software is scheduled to be officially launched at InfoComm 2024 in June in Las Vegas.

Although d&b audiotechnik and L-Acoustics will lead initial development, the two companies say the project will also actively encourage additional contributors, emphasizing inclusivity and collective industry progress.

Inroads in Sports Venues

The joint effort is notable, coming from the two best-selling live-sound brands in the pro-audio industry, which are considered arch competitors in the touring-sound sector. Both are widely considered to be highly “rider-ready” brands — that is, broadly acceptable on contract riders to most leading music and other touring artists and ensembles. Post Malone, Paramore, and Pink are among the top-selling music artists touring with L-Acoustics systems; Björk, Coldplay, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, for example, take d&b systems on tour.

Both brands have also made substantial inroads into sports-venue sound. d&b systems are installed at Wembley Stadium, T-Mobile Park, and U.S. Bank Stadium, among others. L-Acoustics PA systems are deployed at State Farm Stadium, Allianz Arena, Amon G. Carter Stadium, and other venues.

The move comes at a time when several leading brands in the live-sound and installed-sound sectors have consolidated. For instance, Clair Global, one of the largest sound-reinforcement providers in the world, has in recent years acquired competitors Eighth Day Sound, Brit Row, and, most recently, ATK Audio, long-time provider of the live sound for the Super Bowl Halftime Show production.

Competing Collaborators

In what the announcement calls a “remarkable departure” from traditional competition stemming from the companies’ shared commitment within the Avnu Alliance, L-Acoustics and d&b audiotechnik are co-designing a software platform.

“This collaboration reflects the commitment of the two manufacturers to removing barriers and paving the way for broader adoption of Milan AVB, the most stable and open networking technology,” the announcement says. “Both companies believe in the high performance reliability of Milan AVB to enhance the artist’s art and the audience’s emotion. This project is a testament to their combined dedication to advancing technological standards in professional live events.”

As part of the effort, L-Acoustics and d&b audiotechnik are also collaborating with noise-analysis and -mitigation firm SoundPLAN on the key issue of noise impact, working to define an exchange format between professional-audio manufacturers’ software and environmental noise-simulation software. Noise issues are regularly cited in the proposals for new and updated sports venues.

“Our two companies each have individual value propositions for our customers,” says d&b audiotechnik CEO Amnon Harman, “and we will continue to enjoy healthy competition. However, we are also excited to be cooperating on technical standards that will provide value to our industry. This new form of competing on one side and cooperating on the other side results in higher-quality products, faster development times, and better functionality for all our customers.”

Says L-Acoustics Group CEO Hervé Guillaume, “This groundbreaking collaboration underscores our shared commitment to advancing technology that improves workflow and delivers a memorable experience that connects artist and audience, and a safe and comfortable experience for crew and neighbors. Together, these projects will create benefit for the entire industry, reinforcing our collective strength.”

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