Allen & Heath dLive Pulling the Strings for Eva Dahlgren & Royal Swedish Orchestra

dlive at royal swedish orchestra
Photo by Peter Fredriksson

After several Covid-enforced cancellations, the long-planned collaboration between Swedish pop legend Eva Dahlgren, conductor-arranger Hans Ek, and the Royal Swedish Orchestra finally took place in August with two sold-out concerts at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm.

With a wealth of experience in classical-crossover productions, Peter Fredriksson, monitor engineer and owner of PFL Nordic, was handed the task of managing the show’s complex monitoring requirements.

“With this combination of orchestral and electronic sources, the monitor setup is critical to ensure everyone can hear the electronic instruments as well as the acoustic ones,” he says. "There are 100 open mics so we have to keep the volume as low as possible on stage. We deployed IEMs for Eva and her band, and for the orchestra, we used small studio monitors placed near the musicians, but we also offered on-ear headphones which allow in some ambient sound.”

Fredriksson’s favoured mix position played a key role in his choice of mixing platform for the production. “For this type of show I prefer to mix monitors in the middle of the orchestra with the band, so I need to keep the footprint of the setup to a minimum,” he says.

Fredriksson opted for an ultra-compact dLive CTi1500 Control Surface, partnered with an IP8 Remote Controller at the mix position, connected to a DM0 MixRack. Onstage analogue I/O was provided by four DX32 Modular Expanders, connected to the DM0 via a DX Hub and gigaACE card. Additionally, a trio of DX012 Output Expanders were used to feed the various in-ear and wedge systems on the stage via AES and analogue.

Photo by Lars-Göran Ehn

“As we had to place the DM0 underneath the stage we used the DX Hub which is a neat solution,” he says. “Instead of taking four CAT cables from the DM0 up to the stage, we only needed one for the four DX32 units that are placed on stage meaning we don't need any bulky sub-snakes on the stage.”

To capture the full dynamic range and timbre of the orchestra, Fredriksson kitted out the four DX32 Modular Expanders with PRIME modules, delivering 112 PRIME mic preamps and 16 PRIME outputs all exploiting the latest 32-bit/96kHz AD/DA converters. "We updated to the PRIME I/O cards a couple of years ago,” he says. “You can really hear it when you have this many inputs running, everything is so clear and heavy EQ tweaks are really not necessary.”

A Dante card, fitted in the DM0, was utilised to feed the PA, and a Waves V3 card was used for virtual soundcheck functionality. The final card slot in the system was also put to good use by Fredriksson. “We used a superMADI card to split the signal to FOH via coax while using the optical out for multitrack recording,” he says. “We also received backing tracks via optical, so we had 3 discrete connections sending and receiving on the same card!”

An IP6 Remote Controller was deployed for use by Hans Ek, the show’s conductor. “Hans requires separate mixes for his IEM and wedges, so we gave him an IP6,” Fredriksson adds. “It’s set up so he can change the layout with just one key press, enabling him to easily create his own separate in-ear and wedge mixes.”

“The dLive system sounds so good and is flexible with the remote stage boxes, various surface sizes and the IP controllers letting us set up different controls where needed,” Fredriksson concludes. “We really use everything in the system, we’re maxing out the busses, all ports/connections in the DM0 are occupied, and it still works like a charm!”