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Latin Pop Sensations RBD Hit the PRIME Time with Allen & Heath’s dLive on 54 Show Reunion Tour

Renowned Mexican pop stars RBD recently embarked on their highly anticipated reunion tour, entertaining audiences across the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia at stadiums and arenas in 26 cities. The 54-show tour kicked off at the Sun Bowl stadium in El Paso, Texas, in August, and includes dates in iconic venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York and the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. 

With an analogue split being used between the FOH and monitor systems, Miguel Tapia, FOH engineer and Senior Consultant for Allen & Heath’s Mexican distributor Representaciones de Audio, had free rein when it came to choosing a mixing platform to deliver his preferred sound for the FOH mix, so he opted for a dLive system, supplied by Clair Global, based around a DM64 MixRack and an S7000 Surface.  

The DM64 MixRack, featuring 64 XLR inputs and 32 XLR outputs, acts as the heart of the system, providing 128 input channels and 64 mix outputs coupled with a configurable 64-bus architecture, plus class-leading 0.7ms latency and phase-aligned signal paths, allowing for maximum flexibility. The 36-fader S7000 is the largest Surface in the dLive range and offers engineers a pair of 12” touchscreens and a plethora of configurable SoftKeys and rotary controls to customise their mixing workflow. 

To meet the 71 input requirement for the production, and with the analogue split allowing Tapia to choose which preamps feed the FOH mix engine, Tapia augmented the system with a pair of DX32 modular I/O expanders, utilised to exploit Allen & Heath’s next-generation PRIME analogue technology, between them housing four PRIME input cards and 2 PRIME output cards to offer a total of 32 PRIME preamps and 16 PRIME outputs in addition to the 64 inputs and 32 outputs offered by the DM64. The remaining slots in the DX32 were populated with AES input and output cards which were used to interface with a Cedar DNS8, and a Waves card was chosen for multitrack recording and playback duties. 

With a wealth of premium PRIME I/O on hand, Tapia unsurprisingly chose to use PRIME on the five lead and two backing vocalists but was also afforded the luxury of deploying PRIME for other high dynamic range sources such as guitar, bass and drums. Additionally, Tapia used the remaining PRIME I/O to interface with his beloved Neve Portico II Master Buss Processor as well as providing high-quality analogue feeds to the PA. “The PRIME preamps are just fantastic,” Tapia adds. “They deliver great headroom, a low noise floor and, most importantly, a great sound” 

With an ultra-flat frequency response from 1Hz up to 40kHz and an incredibly fast slew rate, PRIME delivers detailed and articulate audio to the mix engine at the highest possible resolution with breath-taking transient response, and full range linearity. Before a PRIME Input module leaves the factory, each unit has its eight individual preamps trimmed by hand to meet exacting requirements for feedback path and common mode rejection. 

Once the signal reaches the digital domain, Tapia relies heavily on dLive’s DEEP processing emulations of classic hardware and Dyn8 engine for his signal processing. “I absolutely love the native dLive processing, I think I use just about everything,” Tapia says. “I really like the Mighty compressor on snare and kit subgroup, and I also like the Dual Threshold Expander on drums. I use a lot of Dyn8 (multiband compressor and dynamic EQ), the transient controllers, the de-esser – and more!” 

“The dLive system has been fantastic so far, especially the PRIME Input Cards and Outputs,” Tapia concludes. “The dLive system is super robust and delivers a big, clear sound, making every show a memorable experience.” 

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