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Allen & Heath Mixes It Up With Carrot Top

Production and tour manager Dan O’Leary deploys SQ-7 digital mixer to support elaborate show of props and cues at the Luxor in Las Vegas.
Carrot Top production manager Dan O'Leary at the helm of the Allen & Heath SQ-7 digital mixer

Since November 28, 2005, Carrot Top has been drawing sold-out crowds at the Luxor with the most lavish stage production in stand-up, all of which is now orchestrated with the aid of an SQ-7 digital mixer from Allen & Heath.

“When I told my friends I was going to be a comedian, they laughed,” Carrot Top, aka Scott Thompson, 54, has famously said. Now the joke is on them as he continues to rack up miles and smiles with his long-running stand-up act. While he is widely defined as a prop comic, he actually dives into his onstage trunks filled with all kinds of gadgets and geegaws only twice during his show. In between he does straight stand-up, and that’s where the show is heavily imbued with elaborate sound design.

“Hardly a few seconds go by without something being punctuated by a snippet from a popular song, a cartoonish screech, a blast of confetti, or some other effect,” says Thompson’s production and tour manager Dan O’Leary, who has been with the show for 23 years. “This is stand-up scored like a musical when it comes to our sound.”

Live at the Luxor: An Allen & Heath SQ-7 digital mixer and Carrot Top

O’Leary found himself in a position at front of house not all that long ago where he was exceeding the capacity of his aging console. Casting about for a solution, he chose an Allen & Heath SQ-7, purchased from Sweetwater Sound, as a replacement earlier this year.

Beyond the immediate gain in sonic quality the SQ-7 offered, O’Leary notes that having Allen & Heath’s SQ MixPad app—which provides offline editing and online wired or wireless control of his SQ-7’s main mixing functions—was a necessity, not a luxury.

“The SQ-7 and I reside in a tiny little room off to the side where I have to view the show through a small window,” O’Leary explains. “I can only manage the basics from the board in there. With SQ MixPad I simply walk out into the room and handle the fine-tuning. There have been countless times when I’m onstage and something pops-up as well. With the app I use my phone to link to the desk and make a change.”

The scope of Carrot Top’s show has rock ‘n roll dynamics. There are wedges and a subwoofer onstage, and an endless stream of cue lines to hit. “I’m using 15 of the SQ-7’s outputs,” O’Leary adds with a sense of almost geographic wonder. “We record every show with the desk too. This console is perfect for Carrot Top’s experimental spirit. I keep building and refining our control right along with his act.”

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