Nashville, TN (February 28, 2022)—No one knows if the Little River flows next to the Oak Ridge, but the legacy acts named after each—the Little River Band and the Oak Ridge Boys—definitely have a few things in common. Besides both being seasoned platinum-selling acts still on the road entertaining audiences, they’re also both served by Nashville-based Brantley Sound, which in turn recently hooked up each act with an Allen & Heath Avantis Digital Mixing System.
“Little River Band had been carrying a [non-Allen & Heath] console for quite some time at monitors,” said Brantley Sound director of operations Zachariah Orbin. “We set [the Avantis] up for a day of rehearsals and I used that time to get the console in-between the artist and their inputs. Immediately, their was response was an overwhelming, ‘Yes, this is it!’” Speaking to his approach during the demo process with the band, Orbin configured an easy A/B comparison by “using the free Director software, cloning EQ and dynamics from the previous console and setting them out on various channels and busses.” For the initial test, Orbin “didn’t engage them since I wanted to see what the Avantis would do naturally.” Using this method, the band could hear a close approximation of the previous desk, the more direct ‘flat’ Avantis mix and then an easy flip to engage Avantis preamp models and more advanced sonic tools.
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“I was excited when I could apply some of the preamp models in this manner on the fly and see how the band would react to them—all with positive responses,” Orbin notes. “Some of the features I appreciate the most is being able to use the console’s setup flexibility mid show, changing my workflow as I become more aware of the breadth of navigation possibilities.”
Marko Hunt, front of house engineer for The Oak Ridge Boys, shared a similar story about their recent transition to Avantis. “I had the pleasure of checking out one of Mike Bangs’ (Allen & Heath Live Sound & Touring Manager) dLive training classes a while back,” says Hunt. “One of the things I took away from Bangs was how simple and straightforward the dLive workflow is. I felt I could just go out and do a show. This type of workflow approach carries through to the Avantis. But the truth is it’s as simple or complex as you want to make it.”
“What struck me from the first show was the clarity of the preamps and how quickly I could dial in the vocals with the channel EQs, Dyn8 and great selection of compressors in dPack,” says Hunt. Keen to share a Dyn8 tip he recently picked up, he adds, “To get crisp side-stick on the snare, use the dynamic EQ by setting the high mid just above 1 kHz, set narrow and boosted several dB. Adjust the threshold so that when side-stick cracks, the peak remains—but when the snare is hit hard, the peak flattens out. Solves an age-old problem.”