10-piece Texas soul band, Memphis Train Revue, has employed a new touring sound system designed around Allen & Heath’s iDR-32 MixRack, connected to a laptop in place of an iLive mixing surface.
“Eliminating the mixing console frees up a significant amount of floor space, and that can be the difference in getting the gig, whether it’s a club, theatre or ballroom,” says James Duvall of Creative Engineering & Solutions in Austin, Texas, who manages the house and monitor mixes for the band. “It saved us a lot of money, too.”
The iDR-32 MixRack provides all the inputs, outputs, processing and routing for the band.
“I love the fact that the iDR-32 gives me all those features in a rack-mount box that I can hide under the stage. I don’t carry any outboard gear at all, and there’s no sacrifice in functionality,” Duvall marvels. “When I was designing the system, I figured, why not push the envelope? Memphis Train Revue may be a covers band but that doesn’t mean this can’t be cutting edge.”
Duvall’s core mixing set up consists of the iDR-32 and his 13 inch MacBook laptop, Audio-Technica M2 in-ear transmitters and a Furman power station. Set-up time is greatly reduced as Duvall simply pulls up his in-ear mixes from saved snapshots, and connects to the house PA system with two XLR’s out of the left and right outputs of the iDR-32. The MixRack is connected to the computer using a Linksys Wireless-N router via a Cat5e cable.
Generally, Duvall mixes from monitor position, and when he ventures front of house, he uses an iPhone for control.
“The iDR-32 is a thoroughly professional solution. We get the same sound that we would with a standard mixing console but I feel like we’re a step ahead of what’s going on,” he relates. “I can see all my inputs and outputs on the MacBook, color-coded just like I would have them on an iLive surface, and since I’m running untethered, I can set up anywhere. I also run a virtual network control app on my iPhone, which lets me access my computer directly and ride faders and spin knobs; so when it comes to fine-tuning the room, I just carry my iPhone.”
Ultimately, the motivation was to make Memphis Train Revue a more attractive band to hire.
“The band is absolutely amazing but this set-up also gives us a huge competitive advantage. When our manager tells the talent buyers that we are not going to exceed the stage, and that we don’t even need any storage space, it really opens their eyes. In fact, we got two recent jobs in large part because of all the benefits the iDR-32 provides,” Duvall concludes.