11/09/2015 Marlow/Amsterdam

Plus 4 Audio relies on Digital 9000 to bridge the gap between artists and broadcast

Now in its 14th year, Plus 4 Audio has established itself as one of the UK broadcast industry’s foremost audio providers. Specialising in satisfying the complex, technically challenging requirements of some of the country’s highest profile – and best loved – shows, Plus 4’s investment in the latest audio technology helps to keep it at the top of its game.

Strictly Come Dancing, The Voice, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, The Royal Variety Performance, The Graham Norton Show, Alan Carr - Chatty Man, Sunday Night at the Palladium… these are just a few of the marquee British television programmes and broadcasts in which Plus 4 Audio plays a vital role. These – and many others – all need tailored audio solutions which must sound flawless and work with cast iron reliability.

“We offer the same level of expertise and attention to detail, whatever the size of the production. It’s our aim to really stand out from the crowd by offering unparalleled service,” says Plus 4 managing director Stewart Chaney.

The beginnings of Plus 4 go back to 2000, when Stewart was working freelance and realised that, with digital audio getting properly into its stride, there was a need for a top-end supplier who would offer the latest equipment and a corresponding level of service. Forming the company to deliver this service coincided with a groundbreaking televised singing contest that formed the basic template for the many that have followed. The show was Pop Idol, broadcast over two series from 2001 to 2003, which Stewart and his team looked after for another company.

“We were interested in supplying the professional music side of broadcast with tour quality equipment, but in a smaller studio environment, so audiences were getting a gig experience and artists were getting the equipment they expected,” says Stewart. “We were bridging the gap between tour management, artist liaison and broadcast. You had rock ‘n’ roll, theatre and broadcast attitudes all in one space, so we sat in the middle and translated between them, as it were, and have continued to do that ever since. Televised music and light entertainment is our core market and we keep growing every year.”

Being at the centre of three production disciplines, it’s important for Plus 4 to keep up with the latest technology for all of them. The latest is Sennheiser’s 9000 series digital wireless microphone system which, being aimed at the broadcast, musical theatre and high-profile live event markets, is a perfect fit for the Plus 4 portfolio.

“With government continually cutting the amount of available RF spectrum, products like the 9000 Series are starting to make a big impact,” says Stewart. “For us, it’s about having premium products and the ability to respond to any situation with maximum flexibility. Sennheiser is the best name within the broadcast environment so, for our major clients, the 9000 series was the obvious route for uncompressed audio.

“Our 9000 series system is currently at the Royal Shakespeare Company doing some live transmissions with sound supervisor Andy Rose. He was very keen to get onboard with it and it’s proving very effective.”

As with all such new technology, Stewart is aware of the importance of user co-operation and feedback: “We believe it’s our responsibility to get involved, support the product and help to push things forward, so we’ve got future-proofing and we can carry on as an industry. It’s a product I only see growing and we’re having really exciting conversations with Sennheiser about further development.”

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