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Pinnacle Audio Gets Theatrical with dLive

Over time, Wisconsin-based Pinnacle Audio has come to specialize in regional theatrical audio.

Wisconsin-based Pinnacle Audio specializes in theatrical audio, often using Allen & Heath dLive desks on projects.
Wisconsin-based Pinnacle Audio specializes in theatrical audio, often using Allen & Heath dLive desks on projects.

Theresa, WI (June 21, 2024)—Lots of regional audio providers decide what their specialty might be and then go after it; for Wisconsin-based Pinnacle Audio, that process was a little bit reversed—as was the process of discovering what gear would work best for that niche.

Like many live sound pros, owner and lead audio engineer Matthew Pea started out handling audio in his high school auditorium, later attending Madison Media Institute before founding Pinnacle Audio. It was then that he began working with the organization Kids From Wisconsin, featuring 22 singers/dancers backed by a 14-piece band—and a specialization in regional theatrical audio began.

“When I started with Kids from Wisconsin, they had an (Allen & Heath) iLive mixer,” he recalled. “I became so familiar and happy with the workflow that I just stuck with Allen & Heath.” Since then, Pea typically chooses Allen & Heath consoles, particularly the flagship dLive system: “I can work much faster on Allen & Heath desks compared to other consoles; you can pick and choose different ways to do the same thing, depending on how your brain functions. Routing, for example: you can do it through the routing screen, or using the physical mix buttons.”

Engineer Gives Arm’s Length A Hand

Over time, he became such a fan of the desk that he even convinced a local high school to upgrade to a dLive system, and reports that the difference in sound quality was evident before any adjustments were made. “The school’s directors commented on the improvement right away,” Pea recalled. “I told them ‘I haven’t even done any processing yet!’”

Still, there are other aspects of the desk that he says simplify the tasks he deals with in the day-to-day of theatrical production.  “The update function is great,” he said, discussing dLive’s ability to change a parameter on multiple saved scenes simultaneously. “I also use a lot of global safes and recall filters, as well as crossfade times.” The added benefit of triggering QLab sound effects directly from the console also streamlines his process, allowing him to control both levels and audio cues from the same device using custom MIDI strings.

Pea’s level of focus has since led to numerous awards for theatrical production, including several Jerry Awards, which recognize excellence in high school theater in Wisconsin. His work on a production of Frozen, which was selected to perform at the International Thespian Festival, highlights his dedication to creating immersive sonic landscapes.