Michael Palmer (left) of Allen & Heath distributor American Music & Sound, and Soundcheck Austin operations manager Greg Morton
Austin, Texas, home to the SXSW music festival, is said to have more live performance venues per capita than any other city in the U.S. Rehearsal facility Soundcheck Austin, which offers 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 setups.
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,” Morton says. “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.
“The iLive has a nice, warm tone quality, which says a lot about the preamps they use,” Morton continues. “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.”
Morton also reports that his staff and visiting engineers have easily acclimated to the iLive system. “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 says. “Hit the channel select button and everything is right in front of you. It’s got your gate, your compressor, parametric, preamp, highpass 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.
“For a facility like Soundcheck Austin, it’s really a great console,” Morton 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.”