Taking Care of Business with iLive

With over 20 years as a regional sound company, Arsenal Sound of Bridgeton, New Jersey specializes in performances, events, and festivals. Concentrating on being a full service company, Arsenal also offers staging, lighting, event radios, and power generators. "It’s all about giving the customer what they need," says Al Miller, who manages the operation. "So when we’re making an equipment purchase, we think in terms of functionality and practicality."

Recently Arsenal has been streamlining its operation. “With the economy the way it was in 2010, we were looking to be lean, mean and get it done,” notes Miller. “I’m an old school analog guy myself, but for festivals in particular, digital has some big advantages. After doing a demo of the iLive-T, we bought three of them, and they’ve worked out really well for both front of house and monitors.” Specifically, Arsenal opted for two iLive-T112, one iLive-T80 consoles, and two iDR48 MixRacks, plus ACE cards to link the systems, and an ADAT output card to enable multitrack location recording.

 

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As far as teaching old dogs new tricks, Miller found it easy to adjust to the new surface architecture. “There’s an art in mixing, a way of shaping sound. With some digital desks, you’re so busy trying to figure out where your paint brush is, you never get around to painting the picture,” Miller explains. “When I mix, I want to really enter into it and get everything I can out of it. What I like most about the iLive is that it enables my style of mixing. It’s easy, and it’s intuitive. There was almost no adjustment for me.”

Miller has seen the same fast learning curve among touring engineers. In the first few months of ownership, Arsenal’s iLive consoles have already been used for such artists as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Manhattan Transfer, Terri Clark and Joan Osborne. “It’s interesting to watch these touring engineers if they’ve never used an iLive before. They just bring up their channels, add their compression, add in their gating, whatever they need, and go. None of them ever gets stuck. And sonically, it gets them where they want to go,” Miller reports. “In fact, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy did a live shoot for video and took the audio mix straight out of the console. It just sounded awesome.”

In terms of rider-friendliness, Arsenal Sound hasn’t met any objections. “In fact, most engineers are anxious to try it,” he report. “It’s an interesting thing. Most sound engineers will only tell you what they don’t like about a piece of equipment; it’s just our nature. But I’ve yet to have anyone get to the end of a show unhappy.”

Arsenal Sound also found a way to take advantage of the iLive’s compact size and light weight. “We have custom flight cases for the consoles, so I can pack this thing up by myself and be rolling out of the venue, literally in five minutes. Promoters love it when you can get in and out in a hurry. That means less labor cost and a better bottom line. It’s the kind of thing that gets you invited back.”

It’s safe to say that Arsenal Sound is pleased with their decision to purchase the Allen & Heath iLive-T consoles. “When time and permission is granted, we record our shows, then come back to the shop and listen for ways we can improve. So I can tell you, the iLive is very transparent, with no unwanted compression, no digital artifacts. It’s very fresh, just a great sounding board. We could have bought a console that’s two or three times more expensive, and a lot more difficult to operate, but why? The iLive sounds great, it does everything I need it to do, and Allen & Heath has been a great company to do business with. I can’t put it any simpler than that. ”