Denver-based Initial Production Group (IPG) is a full-service sound, light, video and media provider serving a nationwide clientele that ranges from corporate and religious events to the recent Professional Rodeo Cowboy (PRCA) awards ceremony in Las Vegas. Production Manager, MacKenzie Smith, mixes sound for many of IPG's clients using a newly-acquired Allen & Heath dLive S5000 Surface and DM64 MixRack.
"We've been sold on the advantages of digital mixers for some time," said Smith. "When you do a week-long event with different musical groups every day, things like scene recalls make life a lot easier." But when a new system was required, it was a recent demo by rep firm Pro Tech Marketing that convinced IPG that dLive was the right choice.
"What really impressed me was the flexibility," he said. "You can make any fader into an input, output, DCA, aux send – anything. That's phenomenal! The other digital mixers we've used don't have this kind of flexibility. And, everything you need is right in front of you, not buried one or two menus deep. So, you can just sail through the console using its drag-n-drop touch screens and we can move through a setup and sound check so much faster. They've really thought this through well."
IPG also provides Allen & Heath ME-1 Personal Mixers to the musicians at its events. "Every band I've put those on is blown away by the ME-1's flexibility," said Smith. "You can access 48 channels on each ME-1 and each button can be a submix, like drums, so every musician can do their own custom mix. Plus, labels from the dLive automatically populate into the ME-1s which is a huge time saver."
Smith uses Allen & Heath's dLive Director control software on a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 tablet to set up and operate some shows. "The iPad app gives you the basic stuff but the dLive Director lets me access everything from patching to effects processing to routing and channel assigns." He adds, "The dLive saves me from having to take so much extra outboard gear to a show. I've got all the effects and processing so whatever they throw at me I'm going to be able to handle. At a big, press-heavy show, I can dedicate 20 outputs for press feeds and still take care of everything else I need to do. And, being able to record 96k wav files directly out of the console is another great feature. They sound exactly identical to the original – crystal clear."
"We're already considering a second dLive in the near future," Smith commented. "I've had a lot of experience with other digital mixers but I don't know that I'd ever go back."