As part of a major audio upgrade, the historic Thomaston Opera House in Thomaston, Connecticut, recently added an Allen & Heath dLive S Class digital mixing system with an S5000 surface, DM48 MixRack and DX32 expander.
The Opera House is home to the Landmark Community Theatre which performed “Spamalot,” “Hairspray,” “Grease,” “Mamma Mia!,” “The Diary Of Anne Frank,” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” during its 2017 season.
The Opera House’s new audio system was designed and installed by DNR Laboratories of Watertown, CT. DNR’s Ian Jones (“Dr. Jones”), who also acts as an independent front of house engineer, recommended the dLive and mixes many performances at the Opera House.
“The dLive is the perfect console for a theater of this type,” says Jones. “For Hairspray, we had around 50 mics and I could put any of them anywhere on the desk. And all of this can be changed for each scene easily and quickly, so I don’t have to bounce back and forth from bank to bank or layer to layer.”
Jones uses the dLive’s internal DEEP EQs and compressors to shape individual vocal microphones. “Then, I bus all of those mics down to a single subgroup,” he says. “And, I EQ the subgroup to get rid of any feedback.” Jones adds, “I love the new dLive firmware revision that gives me 64 multi-band compressors and dynamic EQs that I can use for mics or basically anything.”
Beyond basic shaping and adjusting, Jones uses dLive effects to enhance instruments and voices. “I use the pitch shifter to fatten things up,” he says. “All of a sudden, my section of four strings sounds like twelve or a single backing vocal sounds like a chorus.”
Transients are brought under control and fine-tuned via the built-in Transient Controller. “Especially when you’re doing a rock show type of performance you need a lot of punch and clarity,” he says. “So I create a drum subgroup and use the Transient Controller to boost the attack. Then I adjust the sustain and input and output gains to taste.”
“Functionality and tools like this are the most important things to me,” says Jones. “With the dLive, I don’t have to beat the console into submission to do my job. And I have yet to find something that I want to do in a theater environment that I can’t do on the dLive. It’s what glues the entire system together.”