Richie Hawtin’s recent tour of the US and Canada, an educational initiative created
to inspire new generations of producers and performers of electronic music, was
powered by a unique combination of Lab.gruppen and Lake processing.
Over 12 days and eight cities, the innovative music technology tour touched down at
colleges and hot spots in eight major markets across North America from Boston’s
Berklee College of Music to Montreal, Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco and Los
Angeles. During the day, events were staged in lecture theatres at colleges and
universities, while at night the tour played in up to 5,000 capacity clubs such as the
Palladium in Los Angeles, as well as in a number of 1,000 person rock and roll
Ever the innovator, Hawtin is constantly pushing the frontiers of performance and
technology. He is well known for DJing techno sets making use of laptops and
digital mixing equipment, and his current setup is no exception. His longtime audio
tech Johannes Kraemer has designed a truly unique monitor rig that was inspired by
a desire for the purest audio quality possible.
The system runs at 96kHz throughout, with only one A/D conversion and one D/A
conversion taking place in the signal chain.
“The reason we chose the PLMs is that we’re big fans of 96kHz signal transmission
and for the clarity of the signal chain and Lab.gruppen totally delivers that. There
are details you just don’t hear at 48kHz with the usual signal chains. The PLMs have
plenty of power and great bass channels limiters, which suits Richie’s very dynamic
style. I love the low latency on the desk side and the fact we can fire it with Dante.’
“There’s no EQ at all on the monitors,’ says Kraemer, “and even the crossover
between the double 18-inch subwoofers and the high bass is set to a 12 dB per
octave slope as this gives more flexibility when increasing or decreasing the sub
level because the acoustical crossover is only like the electrical crossover point
when sub and high bass are equal. The subs are fed from a mono aux send on the
When asked to describe the pristine quality of audio in the DJ booth, Kraemer
comments: “Our DJ booth sound is a kind of a reference on the scene, and when
other DJs know that they can play on our setup, they skip their riders!’
Kraemer has worked with Richie Hawtin for many years, for the first time in 2000
and then with a stronger collaboration from 2008 onwards. He learned his trade as
an electrician in the highly disciplined environment of large-scale power plants, and
became passionate about quality audio through working with rock and roll bands in
his local area around Cologne.
He developed his concept for the current monitor setup as a result of the highly
advanced digital technology available today. “I explained my ideas to Richie, and
we experimented and rehearsed at length to improve the sound from the source.’
According to Hawtin, “Electronic music is innately tied to the technology used to
create it as the tools evolve, so will the art.’ His state-of-the-art Lab.gruppen and
Lake DJ monitor system is clearly no exception.