As the world’s most famous outdoor electronic music festival, ULTRA has won “Best Music Event” by the International Dance Music Awards (IDMA) six consecutive years, from 2005 to 2011, “Best International Dance Music Festival” by the Ibiza DJ Awards in 2008 and “Best Festival” by the Village Voice Media New Times consecutively five years running from 2005 through 2009.
Originally created as a pure EDM (electronic dance music) festival in 1999, ULTRA has grown through the years to present not only the genre’s hottest, biggest and best headline artists—The Prodigy, Swedish House Mafia, The Chemical Brothers, Tiësto, David Guetta, deadmau5, Underworld, Kraftwerk, and Avicii to name a few—but also crossover headline bands like The Cure, The Killers, New Order, Duran Duran, The Black Eyed Peas, Erasure, M83, and even Madonna, who performed in 2012.
As one of the biggest and best festivals in the world, it needs the best kit in the world behind it, hence why the audio ran on a backbone of Lake Processing. Behind the audio were Beach Sound from Miami, Florida, a full service concert production company that handles festivals, concerts and corporate events of all shapes and sizes.
“We go back to the original Lake processors,” said Neil Rosenstock, Head of Audio at Beach Sound. “And we have owned a number of Lab.gruppen amplifiers in the past, including several FP 6400 units, so when Lake moved over to become part of Lab.gruppen, we were confident it would retain all the qualities that made it famous, and then some. We had tried out the LM 44 on our last festival, and just loved the EQ and routing capabilities. The converter is the best and the sound quality is unmatched.”
Now a D&B and L-Acoustics house, Beach Sound were confident that a backbone of Lake for Ultra Music Festival would provide the flexibility and feature set required for a gig this size, as Neil testified.
“We used four LM 44s – three at Front of House and one for monitors. At FOH we were using both analogue ins and outs, as well as AES ins and outs. The flexibility of the LM 44s meant we could have a combination of Dante and AES routing between the units.”
Of course, with Lake Processing now an industry standard, events the size of Ultra Music Festival have been made easier for the audio team behind it, with visiting engineers expecting to see the familiar interface of the Lake Controller when they step behind the desk.
“We use Lake products on all of our front end EQ,” said Neil. “It definitely adds a comfort factor to guest engineers, as they can just grab the tablet and walk around, change levels and EQ at the zone that they are working on without being tied behind the console. That kind of familiarity is invaluable, especially for an event the size and scale of Ultra Music Festival.”