PUR and FRIENDS 2022 live concert took place at Veltins-Arena, originally known as Arena auf Schalke, an impressive indoor football stadium in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Over 68,000 fans celebrated two notable occasions – the 40th birthday of PUR, and the 20th anniversary of the German band at Schalke.
With every seat sold out, the audience was treated to an extraordinary performance by PUR and an array of distinguished acts including Peter Maffay, Max Giesinger and Cassandra Steen, among others. DiGiCo Quantum 338 consoles, supplied by TDA Rental, were deployed at FOH and in ‘monitor world’ with KLANG technologies harnessed for in-ear monitoring.
Patrick Eckerlin has been with PUR since 1995 and has gained expertise in various sound systems and consoles over the years. The FOH position that Eckerlin has held with PUR since 2001 is now equipped with a DiGiCo Quantum 338 console, which he aptly describes as the ‘sound centre’. “Previously, I relied heavily on external effects and plug-ins from third-party suppliers,” Eckerlin said. “Now, I exclusively use the on-board processing of the Quantum 338, so you could say I have become more minimalist in my mixing approach. I had around 80 input channels at Schalke, and I noticed that the sound quality has not deteriorated without external plug-ins. In fact, it has improved significantly!”
According to Monitor Engineer, Dirk Happel, the Q338 console has features that set it apart from other consoles. “The almost unlimited internal routing alone is a dream!” he exclaimed. “The Mustard processing and the Spice Rack are a real gain. However, as soon as you switch to a Mustard, it intentionally alters the sound, much like high-quality analogue outboard devices. As a result, one must be mindful of this and rely on their ears instead of visual cues.”
As an experienced and returning user to the DiGiCo world, Happle was quick to observe that the 32bit pre-amp cards represented a significant advancement in input signal quality. “The concept of Optocore has inspired me once again,” he continued. “I find it impressive how signals can be sent back and forth between the consoles, another rack can be looped, output cards on the racks can be used for both FOH and monitor, and internal work can be done at 96k while outputting at 48k on the MADI split for recording purposes, all without any problem.”
Happle is also using a DMI-KLANG for in-ear monitoring. “KLANG is definitely the logical evolution of in-ear monitoring,” he explained. “It cleans up the sound so wonderfully, making it easier to place challenging signals like a Leslie or the audience mics in the mix. It offers full control via the Quantum 338, including automation.”
Happel is using KLANG to change levels, as well as the positioning and the width of signals from song to song. “This simply depends on the arrangement and what needs to go where to make it sound and feel right,” he continued. “Within the mixes, the individual instruments of an artist stay pretty much in place but, especially in the lead singer’s mix, there’s a lot of movement. For example, the two electric guitars are playing almost identically and would be panned pretty hard left right, with a small amount of width – a pretty classic setup. But a single acoustic can take a much wider space together with a piano, maybe in the background but filling the arrangement the way the instrument is intended to. Not all instruments play in all the songs. Sometimes they have leading roles, sometimes just a little sparkle here and there. KLANG gives me the ability to place these sources not just in left and right, but in a 3D space, delivering emotion and the way it should feel. It’s a lot better. And I mean a lot! When I first started using KLANG, I was uncertain whether it was the right decision, but after a few days of practice and preparing simple stereo mixes for the pyro operator and my backliner Colleagues it was so clear. There is no way back to stereo.”
Happle also found the hardware integration of KLANG through the DMI slot in the console resulted in a reduced number of connections and cables, thus minimising the possibility of technical glitches or malfunctions. “The seamless integration with Quantum 338 is a real pleasure. This is what I wished for when I first heard the KLANG:fabrik 10 years or more ago,” he added. “By incorporating KLANG via the DMI slot, I can fully concentrate on producing an outstanding mixAs I always say ‘less connections, less touble’, which fully describes my positive experience with KLANG.”
With DiGiCo Q338s handling the PUR band as well as a total of 15 guest artists all performing on a 360-degree stage, the PUR and FRIENDS 2022 concert proved to be an enormous success, with PUR frontman Hartmut Engler expressing his elation by stating: “Finally back at Schalke and in front of a full house – you can’t really ask for more!”