With a self-contained operation that played about 265 live dates in 2011, multi-instrumental country music artist Amber Leigh recently acquired an Allen & Heath iLive-T112 digital mixing console with a companion iDR-48 MixRack.
“It’s really important for us to have consistency and to be self-contained, so we needed something we could travel with whether we’re on a bus or an airplane,” says Holland Ryan, the band’s sound engineer. Playing fiddle, guitar and mandolin while blending country, Irish and bluegrass influences into a seamless pop-country sound, Leigh splits time between her south Florida base and Nashville.
Ryan first became familiar with the iLive while mixing at the Old School Square Performing Arts Center in Delray Beach, FL. “In redoing our sound system there, it worked out that the iLive was best for our needs and budget,” he notes. “I had some training on it and learned what a great system it is. So when Amber and I realized that we needed a console we could carry everywhere with us, it was an easy choice.”
With the flexibility afforded him by the iLive system, Ryan handles both the front of house and monitor mixes for the band. “There’s really no reason not to,” he explains. “We’re a five-piece band with 37 inputs, and everyone being on in-ears means the monitor mix will be consistent night after night. With the iLive, it’s almost too easy.”
Leigh adds the artist’s perspective, stating, “With the iLive, each night I step on stage, I know my monitors will sound just as incredible as they did the show before, and that the audience will get to hear the show the way it should sound every time.”
The band’s output requirements fit easily into the architecture of the iDR-48 MixRack. The FOH outputs start with the standard left/right stereo, with frontfill and subwoofer outputs added as needed. Ryan also uses another stereo output to record each show.
On the monitor side, there are stereo outputs for seven IEM mixes (five band members, plus Ryan and a crew tech). “There’s also one extra sub output for the drummer’s butt-kicker, which still leaves us extra outputs for a videographer plus anything else that might happen,” he says.
But beyond the basics of inputs, outputs, size and weight, what Holland Ryan really likes about the Allen & Heath iLive system is its flexibility and sound quality. “I really do love the flexibility of the surface and how easy it is to use,” Ryan states. “And as far as sound quality, it’s really clean and clear, equal to if not better than any other digital desk, even the more expensive ones. In fact, we plan to use it for recording Amber’s next album.”
To accommodate that need, he specified a Dante interface card when purchasing the iLive-T112. This allows a separate split of all inputs to be sent to an outboard recording device. “Obviously, we’ll be using it for live tracking,” he says, “but with the clean sound of the preamps and effects, it just makes sense for studio recording as well. We can’t wait to get started on that.”
Allen & Heath
American Music & Sound