dLive S5000 rigs drive Chicago’s Grant Park T-Mobile stage
Weaving a sonic tapestry of bluesy hard rock guitars, trap-influenced beats and EDM production, the Billboard-charting act Grandson (stylized ‘grandson’) was a highlight of day two at Lollapalooza 2021. The brainchild of multi-talented songwriter/musician Jordan Benjamin, grandson hit the stage to the sweet sounds of a roaring festival crowd. As one of the first major events to return, Lollapalooza 2021 became an example of what the future of live events may look like for the foreseeable future. According to festival officials, roughly 90% of festival goers (~385,000) showed proof of vaccination while an additional 8% demonstrated a recent negative COVID test for entry. Analyzing health data a few weeks after the event, Chicago Health Officials have gone on record noting Lollapalooza was not a 'super spreader' event. In keeping with the spirit of ‘the show must go on’, a duo of networked Allen & Heath dLive Digital Mixing Systems brought grandson’s triumphant set to life, gracing both monitor world and FOH at Chicago’s Grant Park T-Mobile stage.
“dLive is the most flexible console system on the market today,” noted Tib Csabai, grandson FOH engineer. “It sounds wonderful and I love the amazing DEEP compressor models built into the channel strips. The onboard effects are the best of any console I’ve ever used.” Unique to Allen & Heath XCVI-powered consoles, the DEEP processing architecture embeds processing, such as vintage compressor models, directly within input and mix channels. This approach allows the engineer to utilize powerful and creative tools on the fly and without the latency and license burdens generally associated with external plug-ins.
Csabai continues, “Of course these sonic tools aren’t of much value if you can’t easily get to them—luckily the dLive user interface is simple, powerful and designed to adapt and implement processing quickly.” This approach is what Allen & Heath dubs their Harmony User Interface. The capacitive touchscreen interface on dLive feels instantly familiar, responding to every pinch, swipe, drag and drop exactly how you’d expect. The touchscreen is complemented by physical button and rotary controls, allowing the creativity and immediacy of tactile control over key processing functions, working in harmony with the visual feedback displayed on the screen.
For grandson’s set on the T-Mobile stage, FOH position was covered via a dLive S5000 with a DM0 MixRack. Monitors were handled by a second dLive S5000 with a DM64 MixRack. The two consoles were networked via a gigaACE digital split, enabling a 128x128ch 96kHz audio connection. Chicago-based full-service audio visual production company V2 Productions provided the consoles and monitor package rounded out by Shure PSM1000 IEMs.
“It was great to be back in action,” adds grandson monitor engineer Chris Rubi. “And dLive allowed me to deliver consistent sound across one of the most iconic festivals out there. I agree with Tib on the DEEP plug-ins and how they capture the nuances of classic gear and give us a crazy amount of power to shape things just how we need them to be. I’m definitely a fan.”
“We are seeing a lot of engineers shift over to dLive when the gig requires ‘mission critical’ audio in challenging environments and in a small footprint,” says Allen & Heath USA Marketing Director Jeff Hawley. “It makes no difference if it’s the S5000 like Tib and Chris chose for Lollapalooza or the super compact CTi1500 and C1500 that will be used for the grandson tour. You get universal showfiles with no conversion, the same DEEP plug-ins at all levels, Dyn8 engines fully available across the range—no skimping on mixable channels or effects or features as you move up and down the line like with other desks. It is great to see dLive as a go-to in these types of festival scenarios, but it is even more exciting to see events in general slowly but surely coming back around in a safe and sustainable way.”