The recent “Lightwork” tour of Europe and the UK in support of the album of the same name by Canadian progressive metal pioneer Devin Townsend was supported by front of house engineer Christophe Edrich and monitor engineer Sam Chadwick delivering their mixes on Allen & Heath dLive C1500 control surfaces, sharing a CDM32 Mix Rack between the two.
Supplied by STS Touring Productions and Pulse PA, the engineers state that the C1500s were chosen for their combination of small size, feature set and sonic quality, with Chadwick (who has previous experience touring dLive with Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy) explaining, “The C1500/CDM package is incredible for touring. Although the venues we’re playing are similar capacities, the differences in stage size etc are significant. But the CDM is easy to fit in anywhere and I’ve never had a set-up this size that’s so functional and so ‘musical’, for the want of a better word.
“We’ve got the gigaACE networking card in the CDM32 so that we can run both C1500 surfaces on the single MixRack and we’re breaking out into two DX168s on the drum riser (with an additional DX168 at FOH providing additional I/O where necessary), which are daisy-chained. It’s all very streamlined and it’s been totally flawless for the whole tour.”
All dLive systems support MultiSurface mode, enabling the use of up to two surfaces with a CDM MixRack or up to four surfaces with a DM MixRack. With preamp gain tracking and compensation, plus options for each surface’s access to the MixRack’s 128 input channels 64 busses and 500 Scenes, MultiSurface is suited to sub-64 channel FOH/monitor applications, parallel mixing (for instance, discrete main stage and B-stage control surfaces) and multi-operator sub-mixing on larger shows.
While Chadwick has programmed scenes for each song in the set, and sometimes switches between scenes every few bars to ensure an optimized IEM mix, Edrich takes what he describes as a “more old-school” approach at FOH.
“I really like mixing in a very hands-on way,” he says, “I have an IP8 Remote Controller working in conjunction with my C1500 – I love having those few extra faders for my FX returns and tracks that I need access to regularly. Even though it’s a small-format surface I find the C1500 very tactile and great to mix in this way with.”
Neither Edrich nor Chadwick rely on external effects, employing dLive’s built-in processing capabilities, with both singling out the Dyn8 EQ/multiband compressor for particular praise. “I love the Dyn8,” Edrich notes. “I have them on inputs, sub-groups — it’s really useful for Devin’s vocals because he uses a lot of head-voice, which adds a lot of resonance, so the Dyn8 keeps it really controlled and clear.
“I have a subgroup with Dev’s voice that I can use to compress everything between 350 Hz and 4 kHz — that band is compressed by Dev’s voice, so they’re ducked when he sings. Super-useful. I’m at the point where I really have no need for external effects because the dLive is so good and everything’s rock-solid, with no added latency at all. It’s a really fantastic all-in-one touring system.”