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POOLgroup splashes out on Meyer Sound’s LEO

PSNEurope talks to Tim Humpe, the rock guitarist turned PA specialist who was instrumental in the German PA company’s decision to purchase two full LEO systems, adding to its already massive Meyer inventory.

German production giant POOLgroup GmbH has become the latest in a growing but still fairly exclusive club of high-profile rental companies to invest in Meyer Sound’s new PA technology. POOL, based 50km from the Dutch border in Emsdetten, has purchased two full LEO systems plus controllers, adding to its already massive Meyer inventory.

Tim Humpe, who describes his role as “taking care of the touring and entertainment business for POOLgroup, specialising in audio”, played a key role in rubber-stamping the LEO purchase. Humpe will be known to German music fans as the guitarist with 90s rockers H-BLOCKX, but he’s also worked as a sound engineer and producer too.

In 2009, as H-BLOCKX duties took a back seat, Humpe embarked on a freelance post with POOLgroup, and since January this year he has been working with them practically full-time. (“I didn’t give up being a rockstar,” he tells PSNEurope, “But sometimes a proper job is good too!”)
Through his touring with H-BLOCKX, Humpe had a lot of experience with Westfalen Sound, the PA house created in 1978 by Carl Cordier which formed the backbone of the POOLgroup when it was formed in 2009.
Humpe first heard LEO a year ago. “I flew over to Berkeley, California with Carl, to the Meyer HQ. We listened to LEO – and made the decision to invest not long after.”
POOL has purchased enough LEO kit for two complete systems: 48 LEO M mid-hi cabinets and 30 1100-LFC subs, along with 10 Callisto system processors.
Humpe says LEO fits with POOL’s strategy “about where to go next”. POOLgroup started out as the biggest rock ‘n’ roll touring company in Germany back in the ’70s, but now, like many of its peers, the company supplies a diversity of shows: public and corporate events, government shows, as well as the touring stuff.
As a massive Meyer client already – Humpe guesses the operation has “800 or so boxes: the whole product range, including 120 MILO” – it made sense to grow the business with the latest Meyer system.“LEO works for us, and for all our clients.”
This month (June), POOL will service five full-scale productions, two of which will feature the new LEO systems in an open-air set-up for German superstar vocalist Peter Maffay and violin champion David Garrett. Maffay and Garrett will swap venues over two particular nights during a six-week tour, each using an identical LEO set-up at each location: smart thinking. The LEO systems will then be deployed on various festivals and tours till the end of August.
“MILO is 10 years old, and we like that system, but this is a step forward,” says Humpe. “It’s a new generation of PA. LEO moves a lot of air and the sound is massive. The 1100s are +6dB louder than the 700s – and I like them better than the L-Acoustics K1 SB28 subs. “Production wise, for our clients, due to the enormous headroom and long-throw capabilities of up to 150m, you can get rid of delay lines quite often, so you save money on trucking and fewer boxes. It’s a step to the future.”
Reduction in costs is a major, if not the main, issue for clients today, Humpe asserts.
“Another cool thing is that LEO is linear – meaning it does not have an individual sound like most other systems. Even when it’s pushed to the edge there’s no change in tonality and I have all the options in the mix to shape the sound by using extreme EQ-settings, console plug-ins or special outboard gear – and LEO translates 1:1.”
LEO will serve the main stage at one of Germany’s biggest festivals, Deichbrand on the North Sea coast from 18-21 July, with POOL’s MILO/MICA supplied to the other stages. “And H-BLOCKX will be playing there!” Humpe reveals.
From reports of Way out West in Sweden and the Immortal tour in German, audiences know that LEO can deliver a superior sound. Better make sure those guitar parts are well rehearsed then, Tim…