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GENIUS! #7: Klas Dalbjörn and the Lab.gruppen PLM Series

Jon Chapple 10 February 2015
Klas Dalbjörn, Lab.gruppen

Klas Dalbjorn is fondly known as ‘The Brain’ by his colleagues at Lab.gruppen, where he currently holds the position of product research manager, a company he joined as an engineer back in 1992.

Dalbjorn (pictured) holds an MScEE degree from Chalmers in Gothenburg specialising in electroacoustics and digital signal processing, and it was here, in the 1980s, that he first began working with Lake Processing, an avenue of research that was to change the face of the company and, arguably, the live sound market.

The Lake FDP-1 was an early Lake implementation, allowing emulation of long convolution filters. Working with the Lake FDP-1 to be able to evaluate filters to compensate for speakers within rooms, his academic work brought him into contact with David McGrath, one of Lake’s founders.

Lab.gruppen PLM10000Q“This gave me the knowledge and courage to approached Lab.gruppen in 1991 with the promise that I could design a really good loudspeaker processor for them. Dan Bävholm, one of the Lab.gruppen founders, knew that they would eventually need to incorporate this into the amplifiers, so I got hired and I started working in February 1992, actually thinking I could do it in a few months. At this time Lab.gruppen was still small and all previous design efforts had been made by the founders themselves. Luckily they knew that things don’t happen overnight and I was allowed to spend most of my time to work on this ‘product for the future’.

It took five years, in fact: the innovative loudspeaker processor, the DSP24 (which emulated four 8192 FIR taps at 48kHz); while the industry wasn’t quite ready for such a sophisticated device in 1997, it marked Dalbjorn out as a superior technical talent on the rise.

“Around 2003 my work task focus shifted towards defining and specifying new products,” he continues. “I was quite sure that I didn’t want Lab,gruppen to deliver an ‘amplifier with DSP inside’ – I wanted to create a ‘loudspeaker processor system with amplifier blocks inside’.”

Lab.gruppen PLM amplifiers, U2 360° tourAnd so it was in 2007, PLM (Powered Loudspeaker Management) introduced the world to Lab.gruppen’s most powerful four-channel amplifier platform, integrated with the industry-leading digital sound manipulation features of Lake Processing. The result was a seamlessly unified sound reinforcement core that offered unprecedented flexibility, pristine digital filtering and delay, plus effortless ability to drive difficult loads. When compared to conventional approaches using separate components, the PLM Series afforded significant advantages in sonic performance, user functionality, rental inventory practicality, and long-term cost savings in a package that has since gone on to power some of the biggest tours on the planet, including U2’s mammoth 360⁰ Tour (rack after rack of which are pictured above right).

In his role as product research manager, Dalbjorn continues to nurture product ideas for the Lab.gruppen and Lake brands. In 2014 – as Lab.gruppen celebrated its 35th anniversary – Dalbjorn helped introduce two new amplifier platforms, D Series and PLM+, both of which feature new technologies straight from ‘The Brain’ including Rational Power Management (RPM), a technology that ensures the most efficient and logical use of total amplifier resource.

www.labgruppen.com

Hail to the boffins! Genius! is all about celebrating those clever people whose inventions have transformed the world of professional audio. Mailed out with the February print edition of PSNEurope, the 36-page supplement is also available to read in handy digital-edition form. Read it online, or download as a PDF, at www.psneurope.com/introducing-genius.

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