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EDM-USA: A round-up of America’s increased adoption of UK amps in dance music.

Posted by | October 02, 2017 | , | No Comments

It seems to be happening all across the States – one festival after another, one underground event at a time.  If you want the highest performing audio that will just run and run in all conditions, you turn to the UK brands – XTA, with their APA amplifiers, and MC2 Audio with their E Series and new Delta Series.

Time and again this year we’ve seen the highest profile events specifying Funktion One speakers, powered by the best in British amplification – APA, E Series and Delta.

Let’s run though a 2017 timeline and check off just a few of the highlights of the year so far…

March 2017 – Ultra Music Miami

The “MegaStructure” at Ultramusic 2017

Now seen as the world ranked #1 dance music festival on the planet (and voted as the top choice by DJ magazine), Ultra Music tops the line-up with live headliners such as Chase & Status, Justice, Ice Cube, Major Lazer, and world-class DJs including Carl Cox, Alesso, Jamie Jones and Adam Beyer to name but a few.

Sound Investment  – the AV install and rental company who operate nationally in the States with one of their five facilities being in Miami –  supplied the Funktion One Vero system for the “MegaStructure” with its vast mobile rig that flew above the main stage replete with lighting and video panels that could be lowered to just a few metres above the audience, turning the vast dance arena into a dancefloor of thousands.

Armin-van-Buuren @ UMF

The new V221 subs, offspring of the F221 subs made famous as part of the “Dance Stack”, were powered exclusively by MC2 E Series amplifiers – namely E90 and E100.  Todd Konecny of Sound Investment had this to say about their choice to go with the British amps:
“These subs produce the cleanest deepest bass imaginable, but only if driven by amps with enough long term delivery not to crap out or drop the power mid-bassline!”

E90 and E100 driving the V221s

 

V221 Subs flanking the stage

Notable for their ability to supply huge amounts of power (an E90 can deliver more than 8000W per channel into 2 Ohms) and maintain performance for long periods, E Series have long been Funktion One’s choice of amplification across their entire line-up.
“Bringing audiophile quality to dance events is difficult to achieve, but I think this is as close as you can get on anything like this scale!” Todd added.
That wasn’t it for Ultra this year though – moving down a notch in size, but not in stature, it was time to Get Lost…

March 2017 – Get Lost @ Miami Music Week

The Get Lost 24 hour event, which has now established itself as a cool alternative to the mainstream EDM crowd-pleaser of Ultra, keeps the venue location under wraps for as long as possible to ensure that it’s a discerning crowd only in attendance – a crowd that will appreciate the carefully curated (and long – it’s a full 24 hours!) list of talent.

Get Lost 2017 – Photo: Bethan Marsh

This year’s lineup included more than 40 of the biggest names in underground dance such as Ellen Allien, Guti, Guy Gerber, and Damian Lazarus  – the organiser and DJ/producer.  In conjunction with One-Source Productions based in Philadelphia, a UK based company – Cheshire Event Production – stepped up to fly in some XTA APA amplification to make sure the Get Lost crowd got what it deserved – a top class sound system which was going to run without a break for over 24 hours and be able to deliver uninterrupted audio power for the duration.

Olly Wayman, MD of Cheshire Event Production, was quick to heap praise on the amps.
“These amps are in high demand!  They’ll be flying to Ibiza this summer to fuel the BBC’s coverage of the best of the dance events and this time they’ll be fully networked up with Dante – they sound amazing and their ability to run incredible power into the most taxing loads, and for long periods puts them head and shoulders above anything else I’ve used.  I love them!”

Early August 2017 – Elements Music and Art Festival, NYC

One-Source Productions shipped out to Brooklyn, NYC to provide an epic staging and audio experience to an expectant crowd who flocked to this distinctly urban boutique festival now expanded for the first year to a two day at Hunts Point in the Bronx.

One Source showing their new APAs on Facebook!

APA was proudly in control on the “Earth” stage, and with one of the headliners being none other than Damian Lazarus – organiser of the Get Lost party – the bar was set pretty high for an uber-cool weekend of classy music and hip pop-up shops.  We used to call those “stalls” but that’s not hipster enough 😉

Earth stage @ Elements, ready to go…

Joe Adkins, from One-Source has been delighted with APA:
“We are really loving the APA amplifiers!  The power and sound quality that you get from the APA is matched by no other. The amp network is so easy to use and has us up and running in no time…we can’t wait to try the new DPA and DNA amps!”

“…the festival was well laid out, minimal sound bleed and beautifully planned. The stages were amazing and the sound was crisp and loud.” Said one happy festival-goer, gushing about it in his facebook review.  Such is the popularity of this growing, touring festival,  it’s now expanded for the first year to a two day at Hunts Point in the Bronx, NYC.

Lit up and rocking all night @ Elements

Mid August 2017 – Eclipse Festival, Oregon

This one off a kind festival (it’s not like we can depend on a total eclipse this time each year!), was just the sort of thing that Symbiotic Experiences, the organisers,  specialise in – an all-encompassing sensory escape with a focus on an event linked to the environment and the Earth.  A little like a “capsule Glastonbury”, with a mix of arts, installation pieces, music stages and with the added bonus of the totality that cannot be booked or bought!

Night time at the Eclipse – look at those subs! Photo: Oz Jefferies

The eclectic nature of the event included suitably diverse music stages – and our friends Audio-Feed from the UK were there, along with Audio Sans Frontieres who part funded the venture,  with a sub-set of the system they would end up using later in the month at the festival that cannot be named (!).

View across the lake at night @ Eclipse. Photo: Eric Allen

Their Evo system from Funktion One was driven exclusively by APA and Oz Jefferies, MD of Audio-Feed, was reassured that this system was going to reward all the festival goers with audio of a calibre to compliment their one-time eclipse experience:
“This really had to be something special and our system didn’t disappoint!  APA delivered effortlessly the most transparent sound and deepest boundless bass – getting this power and performance from one amp is just stunning!”

“The eclipse wasn’t bad either.”

What everyone came for, as well as the music! Photo: Oz Jefferies

Late August 2017 – Ooligan Alley @ B*****g M*n, Nevada

Ooligan Alley @ BM – ready to kick it on the “Playa”… Photo: Oz Jefferies

So as part of their “non-commercialisation” of the festival that cannot be named for legal reasons, the annual burn in the Nevada desert served up hot, hedonistic delights of mammoth proportions and more sand storms and twisters than usual this year!

That’s a tower of subs and they’re all powered by APA! Photo: Oz Jefferies

Our man on the ground, Richard Fleming was there to assist with the set-up of “Ooligan Alley” an established player on the “Playa” courtesy of Audio-Feed again, and with their ever more impressive Funktion One system shipped in direct from the UK, complete with APA and MC2 amplification.

APA early on in proceedings (note the lack of sand!)

Richard commented, on his return (getting info out of the event is notoriously difficult due to its isolation being part of the experience):
“I saw and heard some incredible things, and APA really did the business!  Working through the night as the driving force behind the subs, but with transparency and control so amazing they can be used for the most demanding and revealing mid high sections, such as the Evo 6s, bringing out the best in them too. The best hi-fi you’ve never heard – the desert environment is as close to acoustically dead as you can get outdoors and it really can separate the boys from the men!”

Control Tower was the main DJ outpost this year at Ooligan Alley. Photo: Oz Jefferies

Ooligan Alley had a new layout for 2017  – keeping their air travel theme, they moved emphasis away from their famous cockpit DJ booth to a “control tower” theme with some spectacular additional sculptures which came into their own as the light faded each evening at this week-long (arguably the longest festival of its type in the world) celebration of creativity, self-expression and plenty of dance music.

Full burn – kicking off at BM2017. Photo: Oz Jefferies

The harsh environmental conditions could finish off lesser amps – but Audiofeed’s Oz Jefferies was quick to reiterate his confidence in the gear:
“This will be the third time the amps have powered the amazing Evo system here, and they’ve never put a foot wrong – despite the sand and the extreme changes in temperature and humidity.  They just sound incredible all the time!”

Audio Feed posted this on Facebook – APA before and after their trip to the Nevada desert!

Late August 2017 – Robot Heart @ B*****g M*n, Nevada

Yep – it’s that same festival that cannot be named but, amazingly , yet more MC2 amplification being used to keep the burners dancing all week long.  Know Audio of Oakland, California celebrated 10 years of returns to the “Playa” this year with their “Robot Heart” truck of immense audio proportions, powered by MC2 amps!

Robot Heart Vehicle at BM 2017 – Credit: Know Audio

This formidable vehicle might at first look like a throwback to “soundsystems” of the 1970s but don’t be fooled by that “wall of sound” of subs – it’s certainly not just for show – with E Series amps on duty driving the custom designed wing mid-high sections that flank each end of the truck with a total power approaching 60kW!

Pascal Pincosy, from Know Audio, explained a little more:
“We are using MC2 amps for all the mids and highs on the bus. The mid-high horns were custom-built for Robot Heart, and were originally designed by Mark Wayne of a company called Harbinger, which competed against Apogee and Meyer Sound back in the mid-80’s.”

Robot Heart at BM2017. Photo: Christian Lamb

This isn’t the first time E  Series have been chosen by Know Audio for a stint on the “Playa” at BM either  – as Pascal was keen to point out:
“We chose the E25’s for their sonic clarity and their reliability. There’s no room on the bus for a sealed air conditioned room like most camps use for their sound systems, so it’s really important that our amps perform perfectly even when clogged full of alkaline dust. We’ve had the E25’s for 3 years now without a single failure, something that can’t be said for any of the other brands that we’ve used on the “Playa”.”

With the formidable APA-4E8 being joined this summer by its baby brother the APA-4E6 (20kW and 12kW respectively), APA is an amplifier force to be reckoned with.  Recent firmware updates have adopted it into the AudioCore software stable and with the new DPA range of amps coming very soon, XTA and MC2 should be at the top of the list for anyone serious about supplying the best audio performance available today.

“Not just all note long, all night long!”

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