Lab.gruppen made its debut appearance at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in Boonville, California, with the event’s main FOH powered exclusively by the company’s PLM 20000Q amplifiers.
Although Sacramento Production Services has been responsible for supplying audio for the three-day event for sixteen years, last year’s SNWMF was the first time they specified Lab.gruppen amplifiers. “It’s our first year using the Labs and the first time we used Lake Processing on this PA. We built it and sent it out specifically for this gig,” said Sacramento Production Services’ FOH engineer and system tech Dwaine Wise.
This year’s system was made up of 24 Martin W8LCs, 14 Martin W8LC double 18 subs and 2 Martin W8Cs as front fills. “All that off of just nine PLMs,” added SMS’ sales and production manager, Keith Wackford. “And everybody raved about how much more musical the PA was – plus our client said this was the best this PA ever sounded.”
Wise claims that in previous years up to double the rack space was required to handle the show: “Cutting down on our racks was a big thing. We used to have to roll out four of them to do twelve a side. This time, when we were packing the truck we were like, are we forgetting something?”
He also commented on the role that Lake processing played, adding: “Being able to monitor the amps from FOH and actually knowing exactly what’s going on – not just that an amp is clipping, for example, but why it is, and monitoring the temperature of the amps – on a summer festival gig that’s huge.”
In addition to the optimised workflow, Wise was keen to express his delight with regards to the power of the amplifiers. “There’s a lot of reggae on the bill, and the more volume you can get, the happier people are. Before having the PLM 20000Qs, we just didn’t have that amount of power, and to get it we’d really have had to ramp up the number of amp racks we brought out,” he stated. “We had a band come in first thing Sunday morning and their engineer asked ‘How loud can I make it? I said ‘you know what? I don’t know. Let’s see what you can do with it.’ He started mixing at 120 dB A-weighted at 10 O’clock in the morning and the system just kept cruising, no problem.”