For live sound engineers, touring without carrying a mixing console can be stressful.
Artists like country music’s Chris Young know the mixers it is a critical aspect of getting their music in front of their fans.
“Every night is different, and that’s not always a good thing,” says Brian Tapley, who handles both house and monitor mixes for Young.
“You’re at the mercy of the venue, so it’s always nice to find something that’s easy to work with.”
Tapley was presented with a Allen & Heath iLive-144 digital mixing console at The Block nightclub in Ft. Walton Beach by venue’s audio supplier, TSC Productions.
Said Brendon Grimes of TSC, “Before the band arrived, I set up the surface according to Chris Young’s input list with the routing set up to the main PA. Brian [Tapley] had never used an iLive before.
So I gave him a quick tutorial, showed him some features…Within about five minutes, he went straight to sound check.”
“When I used the iLive-144 at The Block, I was really impressed,” say Tapley. “It just wasn’t that hard to figure out. The layout was a little intimidating at first, but after I got the rundown from Brendon, I was surprised at how easy it was to get a great sound.
The channel strips being left-to-right instead of up/down actually looks a lot stranger than it actually is. I found the iLive to be very intuitive. In fact, we’re talking about adding it to our rider.”
One of iLive’s features enjoyed by Tapley was the “EQ Fader Flip,” which lets the engineer convert the faders on the control surface into a huge graphic equalizer. “Have the graphic EQ for the house on the main faders is just brilliant,” he enthuses. “Having all the faders on the 144 all lined up, all the way across, with one button-push – I absolutely loved that. Very fast, very convenient.”
Tapley also noted that the iLive’s frequency indicator lights could serve as a useful tool to engineers for setting up room EQ without resorting to use of an RTA spectrum analyzer. “The frequency indicator lights can be useful in identifying feedback frequencies when ringing out a room,” he points out. “It would definitely speed up the process without leaving your EQ curve unnecessarily chopped up.”
According to Grimes of TSC, Tapley’s reaction is fairly typical. “When a recording artist comes through the Florida panhandle and plays The Block Club, it’s a great opportunity to show off the iLive,” he says. “This is a very rider-friendly board, and the touring engineers see that right away.”
Brian Tapley agreed, concluding, “2010 will be a busy year for us. We have a couple major tours coming up and a lot of headline…so we’re talking about carrying our own stuff, and that one night at The Block Club has made the iLive part of that conversation.”