For over a decade, Southern California based full-service AV and staging company MixOne Sound has tackled live and virtual concerts, conferences and commercial productions of all sizes. Two of their most recent shows highlight rap rock trio Fever 333 and 10-time GRAMMY® Award winning superstar Chaka Khan. From ‘action!’ to the closing credits, an Allen & Heath dLive handily managed the broadcast mixes. 

“The transition from our previous console platform to A&H was super smooth,” notes MixOne Sound owner Spenser Bishop during a quick post-show chat. “By my second show on dLive I was totally comfortable, it was a lot easier to jump into than other consoles for sure. This is the first desk we’ve walked up to in a long time where we thought, ‘plenty of horsepower, sounds great, don’t need external FX processing’ and you just get to mixing.” MixOne Sound partners Gregg Hudson and Kevin Garcia nod in agreement before returning to wrap up the load-out of their last set of the day. 

The MixOne Sound broadcast and control room mix came together on an Allen & Heath dLive S5000 with SuperMADI and Waves cards, a DM64 MixRack with a gigaACE card at the stage and a DX32 Modular Expander packed with PRIME preamps. The house stage mix was powered by four dBTechnologies S118 subwoofers, two IG3T side fills, and a mixture of LVX XM 12 and 15 stage monitors. 

“If I had to highlight two features we really loved, I’d go with the onboard SRC and DEEP effects,” adds Bishop. “Whether I have Dante or Waves or I need SuperMADI to do inserts, the desk sees it and handles the sample rate conversions in and out. Nobody else makes it this easy. Perfect for studio and broadcast where we’re seeing a lot of 48kHz on other devices, but we’re able to keep things at 96kHz in dLive land. Multiple sample rates and multiple formats at once. Such a stellar feature.”

“Wait, I have to talk about the PRIME cards, too,” Bishop adds with a chuckle. PRIME preamp modules are a completely new Allen & Heath design, using the latest converter technology and ultra-linear components to best exploit the full potential of the 96kHz XCVI FPGA core, delivering next-level audio quality for critical audio applications. “PRIME is the closest feel and sound to analog I’ve heard from digital. And the pre’s that come on the desk aren’t far behind. I noticed mixing Chaka’s vocals today — the clarity, the low noise floor, all very clean and very true.” 

dLive’s DEEP processing architecture embeds class-leading compressors and processing emulations directly within dLive’s input and mix channels. An array of bespoke algorithms including graphic EQs, compressors and a 64 channel Automatic Mic Mixer (AMM) can be inserted on the fly without burning effects slots and without the latency, limitations and licenses associated with external plug-ins.

“DEEP rocks,” says Bishop. “The OptTronik DEEP compressor is great as a ‘one knob’ compressor, especially in a broadcast environment to keep things level without anything noticeably squashy going on. I have another go-to outboard optical compressor that I like, but I think the internal dLive OptTronik sounds better. Don’t tell [redacted] that I said that, though!” Commenting on how prevalent the OptTronik was throughout his mix, Bishop added,  “I had OptTronik running on almost every input with Chaka. And every output. It was awesome not being limited on how many instances I could run and not having to worry about phase and latency weirdness like on other systems and desks. Super fun to play with that many plug-ins at once and not have the ‘carwash’ sound other desks tend to get when they are hit that hard. dLive still gave us the high definition sound we need.”

Summing up his thoughts, Bishop notes, “dLive is allowing me to mix at a whole new level. It sounds like a studio desk, I can mix 128 channels at 96kHz, it is beyond stable and I’m not being limited with what I can do. And it has purple lights!” 

Photos: Steve Thrasher