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Genius!2: Bruce Jackson and Lake Contour #17

The engineer helped develop a high-performance speaker processing system that would be both flexible and easy to operate

Bruce Jackson was an innovator and pioneer in the truest sense of the word. His outlook, philosophy and vision helped change the shape of touring sound forever, an instrumental influence whose affect is still being felt, even after his untimely death in a plane crash in early 2011.

Jackson was a skilled engineer, and his extensive, star-studded live mixing credits include such names as Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Dianna Ross, Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, Barry White, Jefferson Airplane, Cat Stevens, Art Garfunkel and Lou Reed among many others.

After working with PA giant Clair Bros for many years in the 1970s, Jackson went on to establish Apogee in California, worked with fellow Australian Kim Ryrie to make the Fairlight sampling keyboard famous worldwide.

His most illustrious contribution to live sound began in the early 1990s, when Jackson and DSP algorithm creator David McGrath, with the support of Clair Bros, began development of a high-performance speaker processing system that would be both flexible and easy to operate. As a result of these efforts the Lake Contour speaker processor and Mesa Quad EQ system EQ were announced in 2001.

The Lake processor was rapidly adopted by professionals throughout the world for the outstanding quality and operational efficiency it brought to the live sound environment. In 2004, the innovations were combined with the launch of the revolutionary Dolby Lake Processor, a processor that became a standard in high-end live sound applications. A collaboration with Swedish amplifier manufacturer Lab.gruppen led to the arrival of the TEC Award-winning PLM Series, an amplifier platform that came integrated with Lake as standard.

Lab.gruppen purchased the Lake brand in 2009, and while they have continued to develop the original Lake Processing platform in new releases such as the PLM+ and LM Series, it all stems from the genius ideas of Bruce Jackson and his team, ideas that changed the shape of the live sound industry as we know it.

“Bruce Jackson was a true visionary,” said Miguel Hadelich, vice president of Enterprise for MUSIC (current owner of Lake), speaking in 2014. “He was someone who revolutionised user interfaces, a purist and perfectionist when it came to audio quality and a genuine guru when it came to user experience. What we see today with iPad control and so on, Bruce was envisioning this 20 years ago.”

Dave Myers, COO at networking technology specialist Audinate, noted: “Bruce was a big evangelist for Dante digital audio networking, seeing its potential immediately when we demonstrated it to him back in 2006. The Dolby Lake Processor was the first product in the world ever to feature Dante.”

Pictures: Top: (L-R): Bruce Jackson with David McGrath, Marcus Altman and Stewart Bartlett, the team behind Lake. Second: Lake Contour processors with touchscreen laptop interface. Last: Lake Controller software running on a tablet

Published earlier this year and sponsored by QSC Audio, Genius!2 is the second edition of Genius!, celebrating those clever people whose inventions have transformed the world of professional audio. The 30-page supplement is also available to read in a handy digital-edition form