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Amptec celebrates 20 years

With a series of well-attended seminars and workshops, a museum and lots of new products, Amptec celebrated its 20th anniversary, notes Marc Maes.

Amptec was launched in 1990 by CEO and managing director Bart Willems, concentrating on sales, installation and maintenance of professional audio gear. Two years later, Amptec added broadcast products to its inventory. “The breakthrough came when we introduced DAT recorders on the Belgian professional audio market,” remembers Willems. “And this pioneering position put Amptec on the map as a distributor for digital audio products.”

Over the years, Amptec has expanded its distribution activities and added brands such as Yamaha, DPA, Digidesign, Waves, d&b and Lawo to its catalogue.

Throughout this, the company’s client group has remained consistent and loyal – including broadcast companies, recording and post-production studios, audio rental companies and theatres – while distribution through specialised MI dealers has continued to grow with brands such as Native Instruments, Universal Audio and Moog.

“The main element, however, is that Amptec has been faithful to its initial credo: being extremely client-oriented and supplying extra added value. Our clients want solutions – we want to be the company that responds to the needs of professional audio users,” reveals Willems, explaining the prosperous growth of the company, which today employs a staff of 30.

With fixed installations in leading concert venues such as Brussels’ Ancienne Belgique and Luxembourg’s Rockhal, configuration of mobile units for public broadcasters VRT, RTBf and Videohouse, outside broadcast, recording and post-production facilities and radio studios, Amptec boasts an impressive reference list, completed by audio equipment supplied to leading rental companies such as Imec, PVL and Eurovoice.

To highlight the 20th anniversary, the company organised Amptec Days, on 21-22 April, in its spacious offices and warehouses in Diepenbeek. “It’s an experiment for us, a challenge to see who’s prepared to move from behind their desk,” explains Willems. “We have assembled some interesting and popular topics for masterclasses and workshops, and I’m happy to see that the response, with over 600 visitors, is great – over the two days we’ve had a constant flow of traffic. A ‘proud to be loud’ evening for the key accounts, and a party night for employees, their family and friends completed the event.

Eddy Bogh Brixen, who headed the masterclass on small room acoustics, was enthusiastic about the turnout. “I have the feeling that audio people in the Benelux want to get the best out of things. And although my masterclass was about more general aspects of acoustics, I got some very interesting questions and feedback on acoustics in control rooms and vocal booths of recording studios,” he says.

One of the products introduced during Amptec Days was the WavesLive Multitrack plug-in, presenting the cross-over between studio and live engineers before an audience of professionals. A beta-version of the software was demonstrated ahead of the 1 May official launch. “Waves already has a solid reputation in the field of studio applications and plug-ins, with WavesLive we are crossing over to live audio,” says Jesse Brustolin, Waves European product specialist. And, of course, there will always be guys who take all of their hardware on tour, but take a look at the studio where plug-ins were launched 15 years ago and have become a standard today – the same will happen with live audio as well.”

On the second floor of the Amptec building, former Jet studio owner and now Ancienne Belgique engineer Staf Verbeeck headed the mixing workshop. He demonstrated various applications of the Digidesign D-control console during his sessions. In the adjacent room, the Amptec Museum looked back on the company’s history, combining tongue-in-cheek paraphernalia with true audio history.

 + During the evening part of the event, Matthieu Le Failler of Innovason was at the heart of the live sound with his Eclipse desk, and oversaw the mixing, recording and ultimately EtherSound distribution of the content to the workshop where participants could make comparative microphone listening tests, or try their own hands at mixing.