Engineers Peter Fredriksson (monitors) of PFL Nordic AB and Hans “Surte” Norin (front of house) of Taking Care of Audio AB, both based in Sweden, have been working closely with componser, arranger and conductor Hans Ek to present his technically demanding live shows throughout Scandinavia — most involving a symphony orchestra, multiple vocalists, a three-to-five piece band and, on occasion, a choir — utilizing Allen & Heath components that include PRIME preamps and the dLive digital mix platform.
“We tour around and take our gear to the top-class orchestras here in the Nordics, and we use local PA on-site,” explains Fredriksson. “Over the years we have built up a very neat and specialized dLive setup for projects like this.”
At the heart of the touring rig is a pair of dLive CTi1500 control surfaces that come in under the critical 23 kg airline weight limit when flightcased, partnered with a pair of compact 128-channel/64-bus DM0 MixRacks. The digital split between systems is handled via Allen & Heath’s proprietary gigaACE protocol, with MADI and Waves cards installed for virtual soundcheck and external recording.
With so many channels devoted to vocals and classical instruments where reproducing nuances across a wide dynamic range is critical, the duo also evaluated Allen & Heath’s PRIME input and output technology, a circuit design with 32-bit/96 kHz converters and extended dynamic range. “When the PRIME preamp modules were released, we had some in for testing,” Fredriksson says. “We instantly realised that this would be a real game-changer, especially with high channel counts.”
After the successful evaluation, facilitated by Swedish A&H distributor Benum, PFL Nordic AB and Taking Care of Audio AB invested in 114 PRIME input cards and two PRIME output cards for their four DX32 modular expanders, delivering a total of 112 PRIME input channels and 16 PRIME output channels for the system. In addition to the PRIME outputs, four portable DX012 output expanders are deployed with a mixture of AES and analog outputs feeding In-ear monitors and stage monitors for Ek and the multitude of performers.
“I added the ability, via an IP6 remote controller connected to the MON system, for the conductor [Ek] to mix his own monitors with two separate mixes, one for wedges and one for in-ears,” adds Fredriksson. “Using the scene recall filter functions to change between two scenes, he can easily switch between the mixes with one button press, and I can take control of his mix if required.”