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Live Sound

dLive Rolls with Million Dollar Quartet

Engineer Chris Wilson tackled FOH and monitors on the Allen & Heath desk.

New York, NY (May 11, 2018)—A national tour of the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet recently wrapped up, with its sound mixed nightly by FOH/monitor engineer Chris Wilson on an Allen & Heath dLive S Class S5000 with DM64 MixRack.

The show recounts the true story of a day in 1956 when Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley happened to play together at Sam Phillips’ Sun Records studio. Wilson was charged with bringing a rock and roll vibe to the theatrical piece, and he was up for it: “I’ve mixed theater and I’ve mixed rock-and-roll, but this show is different because it goes from theatrical dialog to full rock-and-roll, so, I have to marry the two for the audience while I manage monitors for the cast.”

Allen & Heath Bows PRIME I/O for dLive

Epicenter Productions of Bedford, Texas provided the console. To handle both FOH and monitors, Wilson split each input channel to the dLive’s Layer F for FOH and Layer A for monitors. On both layers, he kept DCAs on the right-hand fader bank as his master show control.

He also used dLive effects to help maintain the show’s 1950’s atmosphere. “I’m running a nice hall reverb on all of the Super 55 mics and a tap delay on Elvis and Johnny Cash to give them that nice, thick 55 ‘echo/slap’ feel on ‘Ghost Riders’ and ‘16 Tons,’” he said.

“I’ve implemented the automatic mic mixer on my dialog over-ear mics to keep them from comb filtering and cancelling. That really cleaned up the intelligibility. And I’m using the on-board compressors for each channel. The ability to put dynamic EQ and multiband compression on so many channels is mind-boggling!”

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The tour used wedge monitors exclusively. “We don’t use in-ears because the producers are very serious about being 1950’s period correct,” said Wilson, “but, we’re going from 800-seat to 4,000-seat rooms, so the stage set changes dramatically from day to day.”

To speed the setup, he adjusted monitors while walking the stage using the dLive’s Virtual Sound Check and the dLive Director software on his laptop. “With Virtual Sound Check, I know that I can get their mixes pretty much on point before they ever hit the stage,” he said. “And I’m hearing ‘This is absolutely a perfect mix!’ from the guys.”

Allen & Heath •