Read about SSE's 30 years - and more - of history
SSE was founded as Sigma Sound Enterprises in 1976 by husband and wife team, John and Heather Penn.
The world of public address systems has changed radically in the last 30 years and SSE has been at the forefront of that change.
In December 1975, at what is recognised as SSE's first PA hire, the mixing console was a WEM Audiomaster - with five channels controlled via rotary faders!
That's compared with the consoles used by SSE today, such as the Midas XL8 digital console with 90 channels.
In the early days SSE was based in Nottingham, where John and Heather had gone to college, initially from the garage at home.
The company's first premises were the former stables of Players Cigarettes, with the less than salubrious address of Rear of Hartley Road.
From the very beginning SSE was involved with the manufacture of speaker enclosures and flightcases as well as PA hire. This meant the business could respond to the growing demand for rentals without over reliance on the less than sympathetic banks of the day.
Within a year the premises were outgrown as a handful of cabinets had expanded to enough gear to fill a 40ft trailer.
SSE's breakthrough as a rental company with a national profile came in 1977. SSE had supplied PA to a support band called Darts. As this nine-piece doo-wop revivalists hit the big time, SSE expanded to supply them. On the back of a string of hits, tours of pubs were replaced by tours of the largest venues of the time.
A PA in the Park - SSE in 1978 with the Darts at Mallory Park for BBC Radio 1 Roadshow
Other artists on SSE's books in the early years were Scouse rockers Deaf School and emerging punks The Undertones and The Buzzcocks.
SSE began to develop its reputation as a pro audio sales outlet, building distributorships alongside its own manufacturing. Soon SSE were supplying JBL speakers, MM mixers and TAC/Amek mixers alongside many others.
In the early 1980s John Penn worked closely with Amek and provided constant feedback on the requirements for road desks. Eventually John joined Amek and Chris Beale - an SSE client - took over the day to day running of SSE's rental business.