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‘The punters were very happy’: How Pioneer’s XY-3B system fared up at a major London summer festival

This year’s Lovebox festival saw Pioneer Pro Audio’s brand new XY-3B system take pride of place at the event’s Fabric stage. Daniel Gumble went along to find out what the new range has to offer…

Upon arriving at Mile End Tube station for this year’s Lovebox, one could be forgiven for thinking they’d emerged from the underground, up the escalators and directly into the festival itself. The grey, slightly overcast conditions hanging moderately heavy overhead are at stark odds with the sights and sounds surrounding the station’s exit. Filling the air as I navigate my way to Victoria Park are the sounds of shrieking laughter and thickly inebriated conversations, while glaring splashes of glitter and neon permeate the horizon, with almost everyone in sight headed in the direction of the venue, other than yours truly, bedecked in minimal, brightly coloured outfits and spattered with body paint. For an introverted, 30-something indie boy, I feel ever so slightly out of place.

Around half an hour later I’m through the festival doors and backstage at the Fabric tent, where Pioneer Pro Audio’s brand new XY-38 system is currently in use. The stage is set up with 10 XY-3B (five per side) and 12 XY-218HS subs. For the DJ booth, four XY-218S and four XY-152 have been deployed, while two rear-fill clusters of two XY-122 project outside of the tent.

Though the system may be new, the relationship between Pioneer Pro Audio and Fabric is certainly not, I learn from chatting to the Pioneer crew milling about side-stage. Last year, the iconic London club installed an XY Series system into its Room Two, delivering results that evidently impressed.

“The club wanted a regular audio partner that could ensure its audio values were consistently maintained as it branches out with future live events,” Pioneer Pro Audio manager Alex Barrand told PSNEurope. “The positive response of DJs and clubbers to the Room Two install led to Pioneer Pro Audio becoming that partner. It’s a pretty unique relationship in that fabric will specify the use of our systems for all its external events in order to faithfully recreate the club’s special atmosphere. This year’s Lovebox was the first of a number of Fabric events we’ll be involved in this year. We used our brand new XY-3B system at this year’s Lovebox. Developed for the festival and touring market XY-3B is an extension of the XY Series, an example of which is installed at fabric Room Two.”

Over the course of the two-day festival, Barrand claims that the response from DJs, fans and engineers was overwhelmingly positive.

“We received excellent feedback from everyone involved,” he asserts. “For many of the protagonists there was bound to be a degree of uncertainty in advance because XY-3B is a brand new system, but tour managers, engineers and DJs alike put their trust in the judgement of fabric’s owners, did their jobs and gave it a universal thumbs up. Judging by the attendance in the tent and the reaction of the punters everyone was very happy. Lovebox was one of a number of events this summer where XY 3-B was being put through its paces – we prepared well and continued to monitor and tweak things as we went along, so the data we gathered was hugely valuable as well.”

With such strong ties to the EDM and clubbing scene on account of its partnership with Fabric, Barrand is also keen to point out that the new system is equally well suited to a vast and diverse array of applications.

“It’s certainly not limited to one generic area of use,” he continues. “The whole idea behind the system is that it is voiced as flat as possible to allow its fine-tuning for use across the widest variety of applications. Whether it’s dance, rock, thrash metal or drum and bass, the system is designed to allow end users to achieve the precise results they require, not by being voiced in one direction or another but rather by being as high quality and neutral as possible. To risk a metaphor, you might say it’s a high quality audio ‘blank canvas’ on which to start work – so the user isn’t having to ‘paint’ over anything first!”

Set for an official release date at the end of September, Barrand believes that the XY-38 represents a major addition to the company’s product line-up, suggesting there are huge opportunities in the offing for it to become a regular fixture at all manner of live events.

“XY-3B, as a festival and touring system, is an important addition to our range and definitely expands our scope in terms of enabling us to offer solutions for the widest possible range of applications,” he says. “Taken together with our existing range, you could argue that Pioneer Pro Audio is now a one-stop shop for a solution to meet any requirement. There are as many opportunities as there are diverse events. The system is flexible, of very high quality and therefore has the potential to provide a solution in pretty much any situation. As has already been said XY-3B isn’t restricted to one genre or field of application, so the opportunities are limitless.”

Of course, with any new product launch in this hyper-competitive area of the market, the real challenge arguably lies not in convincing people of the XY-3B’s capabilities, but in distinguishing itself among a diversity of already established, high-quality existing lines.

“When we were developing the system, our challenge was to aim way above the bar in every respect and we believe we’ve achieved that,” Barrand elaborates. “Now, the biggest challenge is probably successfully breaking into a tough marketplace. The market is populated with some very high quality systems and we need to demonstrate that this system is not just another good addition to the scene but something that in every sense meets the very highest expectations of excellence. Rising to challenges is the hallmark of Pioneer Pro Audio’s progress and we’re confident we can succeed with XY-3B.”

When we were developing the system, our challenge was to aim way above the bar in every respect and we believe we’ve achieved that

Alex Barrand

With a pulsating crowd growing steadily and more and more revelers descending upon the Fabirc stage, it’s time to let the crew get back to work and for PSNEurope to part ways and see the rest of the festival in action. And while the XY-3B has made its festival debut at the tail end of the 2017 festival season, if its Lovebox performance and subsequent feedback are anything to go by, it could well be set for a storming outing at festivals and live events of all shapes and sizes come this time next year.”

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