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Rene van der Linden: PA legend

Rene van der Linden: StagePro founder, Rent-All/Sales-All account manager and debauched frontman of Warlock

Say you want a (sound) revolution

An integral spoke in the Dutch PA wheel since the mid-‘70s, Rene van der Linden has done much to make the L-Acoustics V-DOSC line array an industry staple. Now account manager, audio systems, for Sales-All and Rent-All, he spoke to David Davies about his 40 years spent at the cutting edge of live sound

GRADUATING FROM playing guitar in a “strictly non-professional” rock band, to pioneering the then-nascent L-Acoustics brand at StagePro, to his current role as audio systems account manager at Sales-All and Rent-All, Rene van der Linden is synonymous with the Dutch live sound industry. But it is for his long

association with L-Acoustics’ groundbreaking V-DOSC line array system that he is perhaps most highly fêted. Introduced in 1993, the V-DOSC’s reliability and highly targeted coverage capabilities have led to it earning an enduring profi le in dance, rock, classical… indeed, pretty much any genre you care to mention. For the 2014 edition of

PSNLive, Rene agreed to look back on his 40-year career in live sound – one that he is happy to admit has been blessed with its fair share of happy accidents…

How did you come to be working in live sound? I had been playing guitar in a band called Warlock in the late ’70s – on a strictly amateur basis, I might add! – and had been looking to purchase a larger, more professional PA

28 l PSNLIVE 2014

for our gigs. A conversation in my local music store in Utrecht led to a recommendation that I seek out a then-new rental and sales company called Ampco, from whom I purchased my fi rst Martin Audio PA system. I really struck up a rapport with the Ampco team and that ultimately led to my fi rst role at a PA company, working mainly in the fl ightcase department, from 1978. Having been in my own band,

it was fascinating to ‘cross the fence’, as it were, go into the real world and start working with some famous names. But by the mid-1980s, I was ready to see if I could do other things in pro audio. Around 1987, I happened to have an enlightening conversation with Ed Wijnker, founder of a loudspeaker company based in Hoorn called Stage Accompany, which was really starting to produce some very high-end systems. Wijnker was in the process of establishing a network of companies to support the Stage Accompany brand, and that led to my company, [sales/rental operation] StageShop (part of the Stage Accompany Franchise group), fulfi lling this function in the Netherlands. Over the next few years, we involved the Stage

and we knew right away that it was going to be a revolution in pro audio.

Hardstyle dance event Qlimax 2013: powered by L-Acoustics (and our satanic skeleton overlords)

Accompany products in a number of great projects – including an installation at [legendary concert and cultural venue] the Melkweg in Amsterdam and a tour with [German power metal band] Helloween.

Although this was an exciting period, it was arguably only a warm-up for your all-important 1991 encounter with a certain French loudspeaker brand… The boss of Chevin Research, Martin Clinch, with whom we had been working as a distributor, recommended that we go and listen to the loudspeakers developed by a new company based out of Paris… and that turned out to be L-Acoustics.

In the meantime, you had founded pro-audio company StagePro with partner Ben Brouwers, with whom you had already worked with Stage Accompany… As luck would have it, StagePro was in a period of transition at that point. We didn’t want to carry on with Stage Accompany for various reasons, and were considering working with the d&b brand instead. So we went to Paris for a demo, where we encountered a system comprising four boxes, hung underneath each other, which was very unusual at that time. We were invited to walk back about 50m from the boxes, they turned on the sound… and wow! We were astonished. It was the V-DOSC system in its earliest incarnation

What was it about the system that so impressed you, and how quickly did StagePro start to serve as a network partner? Dispersion, coverage, quality and overall impact of sound… it was just so clearly steps ahead of what we had heard up until then. But there were a couple of factors that prevented us working with the brand right away: fi rstly, the system wasn’t completely fi nished; and secondly, [L-Acoustics founder] Christian Heil had not at that point decided whether to rent it himself or supply via a European network. In the end, he decided upon the latter, and we started to work as a network partner about two years later.

These were still early days for L-Acoustics, but was there a specifi c event when you thought, ‘Ah, this system is really starting to break through’? Yes – the Escape dance event in Amsterdam, which was really one of the Netherlands’ fi rst dance music shows, in about 1993 or ’94. We had agreed to trial the system in the main hall

Photo: Dave Robinson

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