British metalcore band While She Sleeps recently wrapped up a UK & EU tour supporting Australian act Parkway Drive, taking in 18 shows across 9 countries in rooms ranging from 3,000 to 12,000 capacity.
When FOH engineer James Hill got the call for the tour, he was keen to find a solution that would keep his mix position footprint to a minimum whilst still delivering the goods sonically. Enter a compact Allen & Heath dLive C1500 Surface paired with a DM64 MixRack, supplied by SSE Audio, providing 128 input processing channels and class-leading 0.7ms latency, all controlled via a rack-mountable control surface with 12” touchscreen.
“The C1500’s small format is great for squeezing into FOH areas as a support band,” Hill says. “During pre-production, I was scared about dropping down to 12 faders from my usual 17, but the customisation of the fader banks meant that 12 was perfectly fine and I could easily switch to what I needed when I needed it.”
He continued: “The stage end was 42 inputs hitting an analogue split into a DM64 stage box for the C1500. The monitor mixer had a limited input count, so the dLive at FOH was also used to route all stage talkbacks & different talk sends to reduce the channel count for the monitor mixer.”
Additionally, a Waves V3 card was fitted to the C1500 Surface which was utilised for multitrack recording and virtual soundcheck via Hill’s MacBook Pro. However, originally Hill had different plans: “I included the Waves card with the hire with the intention of using multiple plugins to help my mix, but I ended up using no external processing at all, the dLive’s built-in effects and processing were absolutely spot on for what I needed!”
Hill made effective use of dLive’s DEEP Processing, a comprehensive collection of zero-latency emulations of classic hardware processors. “The 16T compressor really added punch & depth to my drum shells and the parallel path option really gave extra impact for the metal band sound,” he says. “The BUS compressor was great for glueing together my mix on my stereo groups, and the Peak Limiter 76 gave a little bit of extra character to elements that required it. The Source Expander really let me dial in a clean-sounding mix on a pretty hectic and loud stage. As a support band, our stage space was limited even in the arena-sized rooms, but the Source Expander allowed me to bring that stage bleed down to a minimum allowing for clear, loud vocals without washy cymbals constantly in my mix.”
The tour may have now concluded, but Hill is already looking forward to his next chance to take dLive on the road. ”I had a great time using the C1500 on this tour,” he smiled. “I’m excited to try the console out on future tours and really dial in my mix as I discover more features of the dLive system.”