The Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, recently upgraded its analogue FOH mixer to a new digital system, selecting Allen & Heath’s iLive from a shortlist of options.
During the evaluation stage, the Theatre’s engineer, Jay Christie, approached PA company and installation firm, SRD Group, to request a demo of the iLive system.
“Jay was looking at various digital options but iLive came out on top because it is so flexible, easy to set up and install, has DCA groups, and unlike many other smaller consoles, has a Touchscreen,” explains SRD’s Stuart Roberts.
“I also liked the fact that the EQ, gates and compressors are all laid out on the front of the surface rather than hidden in a Touchscreen menu, making set up and operation quicker than other consoles we tested,” adds Christie.
The Theatre selected an iDR-48 MixRack and iLive-T112 Control Surface from Allen & Heath’s choice of 7 surface and 5 rack options. The catalyst for the upgrade was the annual panto production, which was engineered in-house for the first time. The venue decided they needed a reliable and technically more flexible desk to manage the season.
“iLive’s software enables us to recall parameters in different scenes, programme and save the show, and then recall the files each night, which makes running the production very easy,” explains Christie.
One CAT5 cable runs from the iDR stage box to the back of the auditorium, and another single cable runs from there to the stalls so Jay can run the surface in either position depending on if it’s a theatre or a live band show.
“I love the fact we can move mixing positions! The previous analogue multicore meant that rock and roll shows had to be mixed from the top of the circle, which is a terrible mix position. With iLive we can mix downstairs in the stalls from a new touring desk position, which has definitely increased the sound quality of our shows,” he explains.
The venue never had the budget for outboard gear and with the old system Christie was making do with 4 gates, 4 compressors and limited graphic EQ over outputs.
“With iLive, we have graphic EQ’s over every output giving more control and enabling the sound quality to improve. Having compared iLive to other desks, I also highly rate the onboard FX, which I believe have more clarity and are richer, plus there’s a large bank of options, which is growing with each software release,” Christie concludes.