Production manager and front of house sound engineer Brian Hardaswick started hearing buzz about Allen & Heath’s dLive series in early 2020. “I hit up Sound Image and they had them in stock, so I decided to try out mixing with some multitracks,” recounted Hardaswick. “I fell in love with it right away.” Unfortunately, the ensuing COVID pandemic prevented Hardaswick from taking the console out on the road. “I ended up going to our rehearsal space twice a week for six to eight hours just to practice mixing by myself on a PA.”
Two years later, as live music made its comeback, Hardaswick finally had the chance to take his dLive system on a headline tour with acclaimed heavy rock band In This Moment. “I was blown away by the console - how true the FX are, how responsive the gate and compression is,” noted Hardaswick. “Every little nuance and every little change I make is audible.” Hardaswick also remarked on dLive’s intuitive workflow. “I just sat down at the controls, and it made sense right out of the gate. It’s amazing that the fader layout is fully customizable with a simple drag-and-drop interface.”
The complete system for In This Moment’s tour includes an S5000 control surface, along with a DM64 MixRack - which features 64 mic preamps, 32 line outputs, and a powerful 128-channel 96kHz FPGA processor. Hardaswick also has a 128-channel WAVES3 module installed, which he uses for multitracking and virtual soundcheck with a computer. “The virtual soundcheck feature is an incredible tool. I love how easy it is to switch back and forth between playback and live mixing - especially at festivals when I don’t have much time to dial things in.”
In This Moment lead vocalist Maria Brink poses a unique challenge for Hardaswick, as her live performances involve use of a headworn microphone and lots of movement through noisy crowds. “The dLive’s DYN8 processor is huge for her, because there’s a lot of noise I need to take out - but I don’t want to remove anything important from her actual performance.” The DYN8’s DEEP multiband compressor and dynamic EQ allow for the plugins to only be active in affecting the signal when particular thresholds are hit at specific frequencies. “Her vocals have so much diversity. Sometimes she screams, sometimes she whispers, and I have to keep all that audible. DYN8 allows me to pull certain frequencies during screaming vocals, but also to emphasize frequencies when she’s whispering to make it feel more present and ‘in-your-face.’”
Hardaswick also lauded the built-in parallel compression that is available on every input and mix processing channel on dLive. “I used to have to burn my groups to get a compressor wet/dry mix,” explained Hardaswick. “It’s great that I don’t need a bunch of outboard gear - everything I need is right there.”
This year, In This Moment supported fellow heavy rockers Slipknot on their arena tour. They also performed at the Welcome to Rockville heavy metal festival at Daytona Beach, and are headlining at the Blue Ridge Rock festival in Virginia.