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Amsterdam Dance Event continues partnership with Pioneer Pro Audio

In 2016, for its 21st annual outing, ADE began its partnership with Pioneer Pro Audio to provide sound systems for all of the festival’s events in its 12 pop-up venues

Pioneer Pro Audio has continued its partnership with Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) this year, which is taking place over this weekend, October 16-20 2019.

Transforming the city of Amsterdam for five days, ADE is a leading conference, festival and cultural playground for electronic music. Seminars, product demonstrations, conferences, interactive workshops, and parties contribute to the festival’s eclectic programme of 1,000 events.

In 2016, for its 21st annual outing, ADE began its partnership with Pioneer Pro Audio to provide sound systems for all of the festival’s events in its 12 pop-up venues.

ADE’s brand partnerships manager, Gijs Matthee, commented on the partnership: “Because we bring the electronic music industry together, we need a really high standard of audio,” he said. “So, what we wanted was a really flexible, reliable partner who can help us achieve great sound in multiple venues across the city. The ADE audience is very discerning. That’s why we want to work with the best audio partners.”

Pioneer Pro Audio has worked extensively with electronic music over the years. However, ADE presents a unique sonic challenge, being that many of the sessions on the programme involve a mixture of presenters that need to speak to the audience as well as play bass-heavy dance music. Each of the 12 venues needs a sound system that can simultaneously serve both purposes.

With attributes making them adaptable for multiple applications, the XY and XPRS Series speakers were selected by Pioneer Pro Audio’s manager, Alex Barrand. Because the XPRS system features different EQ modes, it’s ideal for venues where the ADE sessions vary from mainly speaking, to more music-dominated presentations. “For the seminars when people are just talking, there’s no need to have low-end response pumping out of the system. So, we just put the XPRS series into speech mode,” explained Barrand.

“Later on, we can switch to Bass Plus mode,” he continued, “where you still get the vocal response but also when presenters are playing music, it engulfs the room more with the low-end.” And because the speakers have a tilt function, it’s possible to adjust their orientation to suit each session. “We’re able to tilt the boxes down, so when everyone is sitting down for the seminars, they don’t have the high-frequency shooting over their heads,” Barrand added.

Another advantage of the XPRS and the XY Series speakers is that they’re voiced almost completely flat. When installing them into a room with lots of reflection and in-house frequencies, there are fewer issues with having to EQ those frequencies out, explained Barrand. “The flat response not only produces a true replication of the music, but it also allows you the scope to EQ the system to actually become a part of the room, not work against it.”

Madeline Tellegen, ADE’s head of production, recalled how the speakers helped overcome challenges in one particular space: “The difficult acoustics in the lecture room for the ADE University at the Generator Hostel was well taken care of. The set-up with speakers on different levels, especially the XY-2s on the balcony, worked great.”

For the ADE Sound Lab, a large room hosted by Pioneer DJ for the duration of ADE, the ideal speaker to build a sound system around was the XY-3B. It has the highest output in the XY Series, great audio projection over long distances and a natural sound that can be focussed in specific areas, making it ideal for the product demonstrations and live sets by international DJs.

With so many sound systems to assemble in a few short days before ADE begins each year, time is always of the essence. The active XPRS Series, in particular, allows for speedy setups. With amplifiers built into the backs of the speakers, they’re ideal for use in venues such as hotels or cafes that don’t have infrastructure for large, power-hungry systems. “We don’t have to run all the usual speaker cables plus the amplifier,” added Barrand. “Using the active XPRS series, with its power factor correction, really minimises the load draw on the power of the venue. And it’s a streamlined, easy set-up thanks to the different modes, such as Speech Mode and Dance Mode.”

For more than 18 years, Richard Zijlma served as ADE’s general manager. Speaking in 2016, just after he’d overseen the first collaboration between the festival and Pioneer Pro Audio, he explained why he thought the two brands were a good match: “The partnership between ADE and Pioneer Pro Audio is so successful because we both want to set the standard in the scene worldwide,” he said.

With the myriad challenges of installing so many sound systems in different venues across a city, the success of the ADE project is down to teamwork, concluded Barrand. “Covering so many venues in such little time, it’s crucial to have the right team. Between Pioneer Pro Audio and our local installers, we’re able to put a plan in place and make sure there’s a team dedicated to each area to handle not just the installs, but also respond to any issues during the sessions.”