Belgium’s Pukkelpop Festival has grown from a small one-day event to become one of the biggest festivals in Europe, with over 180,000 music fans attending over the course of the 3 day event to witness performances from the likes of The Stone Roses, Foo Fighters, Bjork, and Eagles of Death Metal.
Thanks to leading sound company EML Productions – now part of the PRG Group – all eight stages for this mammoth event were this year powered exclusively by Lab.gruppen amplifiers.
EML Productions have been behind the sound for the festival since the early days, and the relationship with Lab.gruppen is one that has also been longstanding, as Patrick Demoustier, Chief of Sound at EML, testifies.
“We first started using Lab.gruppen when we decided to change our systems some years ago,” said Patrick. “We did some careful A/B testing and comparisons, and we ended with an Adamson Y18 rig. There was only one company in Europe who were using it at the time, a French company, and they used Lab.gruppen amps. We had a demo with Lab.gruppen and were very happy with the results, so we decided to stay with the same amplifier and we have never regretted it. It’s a very reliable amp. We have added a lot more to our inventory, and in all that time, very few have gone to the repair shop. It’s just a very good product.”
At Pukkelpop, the company generally used three types of rack, mainly featuring the tour-honed fP Series and the flagship PLM 20000Q, the world’s most powerful amplifier platform.
EML’s A rack consists of two Lab.gruppen fP 6400 and an fP 3400, with the fP 3400 for the highs and the 6400s for the mids and lows. They also used a SpekTrix rig – a mini line-array system – with the rack consisting of three Lab.gruppen fP 2600, while the monitor rack consists of four fP 3400s.
“We do the main stage, which is a big set up,” said Patrick. “There is 32 Adamson Y18s as the main system, 16 Y18 as outfill, together with 40 subs, 16 in a cluster configuration, the rest on the floor. The Marquee and Dance stages are similar set ups, they both have a left/right main cluster. One stage uses 6 PLM 20000Qs per side, and the other stage is the fP Series – fP 6400 and fP 3400. The Wablief stage is a small stage, so we use the mini line array system there, and that is being driven by 12 fP 2600 Series.”
fP Series amplifiers have a hard-earned reputation for die-hard reliability and consistently superior audio performance, one that makes them perfect for a busy touring company like EML. The two flagship models of the fP Series, the fP 6400 and fP 3400, were the first to utilize Lab.gruppen’s proprietary Class TD output stage, a patented technology that combines the efficiency of Class D designs with the sonic purity of Class B topologies. fP Series amplifiers are a solid investment in proven performance – one that will recover its cost time and again.
“In total, we have used around 400 amplifiers on this site, and no failures so far!” Patrick said. “Put simply, an amp just has to work. It has to sound good of course, but if you have problems with your amplifiers, that’s the end of the show. It’s a workhorse, and it should just work.”
His enthusiasm for Lab.gruppen extends beyond the fP Series, and having used a number of Lab.gruppen PLM 20000Qs for Pukkelpop, he also has some great things to say about this model, which couples the world’s most powerful four-channel amplifier platform to the industry-leading digital sound manipulation features of Lake Processing.
“I think it was a good move for Lab.gruppen to choose to work with Lake, because Lake is seen as the best software for controlling amplifiers and crossovers, so that relationship, and the fact that the products work from Day 1, makes it a very compelling choice for rental and sound companies.
“I think that if we have to buy new amplifiers, it will be the PLM, there’s no doubt about that. The combination of Lab.gruppen with Lake Processing is just the best.”