With more live performance venues per capita than any other city in the country and home to the SXSW music festival, Austin, Texas is arguably the live music capital of the U.S.
With more live performance venues per capita than any other city in the country and home to the SXSW music festival, Austin, Texas is arguably the live music capital of the U.S. Soundcheck Austin, the leading rehearsal facility in town with six fully equipped practice spaces, has taken delivery of six Allen & Heath iLive-T112 digital mixing systems and one iLive-T80 to serve each room in the facility with tour-grade digital mixing set-ups.
Michael Palmer (left) Allen & Heath Sales Manager and Greg Morton, Operations Manager of Soundcheck Austin.
Operations Manager Greg Morton, a long-time touring engineer, is responsible for filling the needs of Soundcheck’s clients, most recently Lauryn Hill and Edie Brickell, among others. “Typically, the clients coming through here don’t carry their own consoles, so they use what we have available in the room,” he states. “Many of these artists haven’t yet had a lot of exposure to the iLive, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. They sound great, the learning curve is fast, and they are easy to use. We’re really happy with our decision.”
Morton also notes that the iLive design offers excellent flexibility and depth of features. “I really like the design of the MixRack, with inputs, outputs and DSP all together in one place,” he notes, “Any input, any output, can be anything, anywhere, at any time. You can lay the console out pretty much any way you want, and that kind of flexibility is really important with all the different artists we have coming through. A few minutes of reprogramming and we can put those inputs wherever the client prefers.”
Getting a quality sound from the iLive has proven to be just as easy – another critical factor in serving an ever-changing group of artists and engineers. “The iLive has a nice, warm tone quality, which says a lot about the preamps they use,” says Morton. “When we took delivery and set one up, I put a CD through the system, and it sounded really nice right out of the box. It’s a lot warmer sounding console than a lot of other digital desks I’ve used.”
In terms of getting both his staff and visiting engineers acclimated to the iLive system, Morton reports nothing but smooth sailing. “For touring engineers, a console is a console; they really just need some basics,” he states. “For instance, Edie Brickell’s engineer had never used an iLive before. I sat down with him for all of 15 minutes, gave him a basic rundown of the console, and he was off and running, labeling channels, setting up comps and gates, and getting set up. Very easy, and he ended up being really happy with it. The same thing happened with Lauryn Hill’s engineer.”
Morton sees the iLive’s channel strip design as the key to its fast learning curve and ease of use. “I really like the channel strip on the T112,” he relates. “Hit the channel select button and everything is right in front of you. It’s got your gate, your compressor, parametric, preamp, hi-pass filter… all the DSP you could ask for. For my staff guys, who are mostly from an analog background, it was an easy transition, because you can just grab a knob like on an analog console. Plus, it’s got a touchscreen if you like to work that way. Again, very easy.”
Overall, Greg Morton is very pleased with the decision to bring the Allen & Heath iLive on board. “For a facility like Soundcheck Austin, it’s really a great console,” he concludes. “They have an incredible number of features for the price point, they sound great, and they’re very easy to use. Frankly, we haven’t had a single problem or complaint. After a couple months experience with them now, I’m confident in telling our clients that we will be providing them an iLive, and they’re going to love it.”