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(excluding public holidays)

The professional company the professionals use

Better Sound Ltd

All about us

Customer Focus

As a facility provider (hire, installation, repair and sales) to the Broadcast, Commercial, Corporate, Entertainment and Film industries, we aim to maintain the best possible service to our customers by continuously reviewing our supply procedures.

 

Prior to leaving our premises, all equipment is subjected to quality control checks, which themselves are subject to regular inspection.

 

Although our main activity is the hire of professional sound equipment, we continue to build our sales department and aim to meet any requirements you may have - from spare parts and equipment accessories to complete sound kits.

Please contact our sales department for further information.

 

Our hire fleet consists of over 600 radio microphones of various brands and configurations, over 1000 microphones of different specifications for different applications, 50 recorders and 40 specialised PA systems.

 

The in-house repair department maintains and services all these items to their respective manufacturers' standards. It is able to offer a fast and efficient repair service for customer's equipment.

 

History

The beginning

Better Sound Ltd. was started in1962 by Michael Colomb, a BBC Film Department sound recordist and Neville Druce, an ex-BBC Research Department engineer.

 

Its purpose was to provide equipment not owned or available to the BBC and ITV at that time. Programmes supplied included Panorama, Tonight and World In Action.

 

Through the manufacture, hire and sales, these specialised products were designed to enhance and create better sound - hence the Company name.

 

Rapidly outgrowing its original base, the company moved to premises in Covent Garden, previously occupied by HM Customs & Excise for it's Bonded Film store. Better Sound now had the ground floor, shared with the offices of Metropolitan Window Cleaners, who held the royal warrant, and the basement where Charlie Chaplin had kept the original prints of his films in a specialised cool storage room.

 

Apart from live television cameras, outside recording was made with 16mm film cameras. If sound was needed, the sound recordist used a 1/4" magnetic tape recorder. The recording then had to be transferred to a 16mm tape so that the picture and sound married could be synchronised for final editing. Sound Transfers was created to facilitate this aspect of production and occupied the rear room of the HM C&E viewing theatre.

 

In 1965 the company then split into Better Sound Ltd. for rental and Audio Engineering Ltd. for manufacturing. This was to allow for further expansion with each organisation concentrating on their different activities.

 

With the burgeoning growth in film use for television during the 1960's and 70's,  we expanded into hiring out camera equipment and crewing services.

Audio Engineering continued considerable pioneering work in the development of equipment to meet the requirements of the new breed of documentary filmmakers.

 

Early products included the "Soundseal Blimp" and the "Crystamatic".

 

The Soundseal Blimp was a revolutionary lightweight fibreglass sound proof case for the noisy Arriflex ST 16mm cameras that were the portable cameras of choice.

This permitted on-location cable connection of the camera to the sound recorder, which, if both had the relevant modifications, allowed synchronisation and subsequent editing to be so much easier.

 

The Crystamatic was a sophisticated wireless system. It accurately controlled the speed of the camera's motor and marked and numbered the start and end of each "take" automatically. For the first time this enabled a mobile cameraman and sound recordist to move about independently, without a cable linking them together!

 

The pinnacle of all this activity led to the design of the Micron radio microphone. It quickly became a product of such huge world demand that its name became synonymous for radiomic use. At one time Better Sound had over 400 channels in it's hire fleet!

 

Inevitably, the growth by both companies created the opportunity to take over the whole building in Endell Street.

Eventually, even this was not suitable and Audio Engineering  moved to pastures new in east London.

 

With the onset of video cameras in the early '80s Better Sound decided to end it's camera section and focus on it's expanding reputation for providing a sound service without equal. Indeed, we were told by some television company's staff that they always hired from us in favour of using their own equipment as they knew they didn't have to worry about ours letting them down at a crucial moment in their programme.

 

In July 1999, Better Sound vacated Covent Garden, its "home" of 37 years and relocated to more modern and spacious premises in Kentish Town, London NW5. As the distance from our original location is only 2.5 miles, approximately 20 minutes (in today's traffic!), we are able to maintain and in some cases improve on our fast response times to meet customer's urgent requirements. Our new facilities (formerly a production studio and special effects workshop) also offer customer parking in our self contained yard (approx. 4,240 sq. ft.). The new building has allowed us to integrate five separate equipment checking and preparation areas into one sound workshop with direct connection to the hire department and reception. This has greatly increased our efficiency and thereby the quality of service we offer.

 

The company continues to offer professional sound advice and equipment for 'dry hire' - equipment without crew.

 

The future

We continually upgrade our range of products to satisfy our client's needs and to meet the challenges faced in the ever evolving technical and legal environment. So, should you have a specific requirement for kit not in our current hire stock, please don't hesitate to get in touch.