British rock band Skunk Anansie has recently wrapped up its 25th anniversary tour along with an Allen & Heath dLive mixing system at front of house.
With a string of European festival and headline shows, the milestone tour followed the release of Skunk Anansie’s brand-new live album, [email protected] and finished with a run of UK performances.
Long-time Allen & Heath user and front of house engineer, Ben Hammond, comments, “dLive is just the perfect console for me. I’m able to lay out each show file the same way so the shows are always consistent, whether it’s an outdoor amphitheatre or large indoor arena.”
The full set-up (owned by Hammond) features a dLive DM64 MixRack and dLive S5000 surface fitted with a Dante card for virtual soundcheck and multi-track recording, and an AES 10 out card, which feeds Hammond’s loudspeaker management processor.
Rather than using external hardware, dLive’s on-board processing, FX and compressors, are more than enough for Hammond, who currently utilizes 13 of the 16 RackExtra FX available in order to enhance Skunk Anansie’s larger-than-life rock anthem style, commenting, “I use a lot of the built-in effects on dLive. As an example, I start with the Hall 480 reverb on Skin’s vocal, which adds a nice bit of weight and then I add two EMT 250 reverbs on snare and toms. A.D.T is also on pretty much everything; it’s on the bass, the guitars, keyboards and all the vocals, and it adds a nice big stereo spread and just excites everything a little bit.”
“One thing I adore about this console is that I can send groups to FX sends. I send the kick drum subgroup to Hypabass and also manually ride the tom group send when I need them to sound big and impactful,” adds Hammond.
Hammond also makes use of dLive’s DEEP plugins, particularly the vintage Peak Limiter 76 emulation, “I have this over a drum ‘smash’ subgroup, in ‘all buttons in’ mode, with a big old 80s style reverb inserted over it. For 10 seconds in one song, it gives me an absolutely mental smash where we need a huge, huge drum part to come in, it sounds amazing.”
dLive’s intuitive layout and flexible operation is another reason Allen & Heath is Hammond’s go-to console brand, stating, “I think muscle memory is really important. When you walk up to a console, you shouldn’t need to learn how to use it, you should be able to put your fingers on it and instantly recognise the controls and seamlessly create your mix.” He adds, “I don’t use snapshots, scenes or anything, I simply watch the show and know all my cues and moves and dLive’s easy workflow allows you to do this, which is why it’s the best choice for this tour – and all my other shows.”
Hammond adds, “All in all, dLive is my go-to console of choice. It suits my mixing style down to the ground and it’s just the most enjoyable console to mix with.”