Since its launch in 1987, SXSW (South by Southwest) has grown into one of the largest festivals of its kind, presenting parallel film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences which take place across Austin, Texas. Allen & Heath was there in force for 2022 with a team presenting a number of daily show recap videos, rig rundowns and exclusive engineer interviews, tips and tricks from key Allen & Heath-equipped venues throughout the festival. Operating from their home base at the British Music Embassy’s (BME) new Cedar Street Courtyard location, realtime ‘backstage’ content was posted to their new dedicated ‘Allen & Heath @ SXSW 2022’ webpage (https://www.allen-heath.com/sxsw)
Provided by Texas-based Epicenter Productions and supported by UK-based live events campus Production Park, the BME Cedar Street Courtyard featured a trio of Allen & Heath dLive consoles. A S5000 was at FOH, a connected S5000 also covered monitors, and a compact dLive CTi1500 provided production and continuity functionality. Powered by a trio of MixRacks (one DM64 and two DM0), gigaACE cards provided 96kHz 128×128 interconnects alongside Waves and Dante options as needed. A DX32 96kHz Modular Expander housed 16 channels of the company’s PRIME preamp inputs, offering next-generation DC coupled gain stage preamplification which eliminates the LF distortion typical of AC coupling, vastly improving low frequency linearity and phase response. 16 channels of PRIME output channels will also be nestled within the DX32 frame, featuring improved inter channel cross-talk which results in optimal stereo field and depth. An Allen & Heath SQ-5 served up a broadcast mix feed of the various acts throughout the duration of the event.
“The dLive source expander and dual threshold expander tools really were put to use at the BME this year,” noted Jez Dabbs, Subfrantic Audio Specialist and FOH engineer. “The gates and presets that were already in the dLive are amazing and the new DEEP plugins from the V1.9 update took things to the next level. We’re getting it to sound better and better all the time. We were also amazed at the stability of the desks. We rarely turned them off in the last week and even with all the dust and the rounds of different engineers and show files and setups, everything was rock solid.”
With thirteen of The Austin Chronicle’s “101 Essential Acts at SXSW” performing throughout the week at the British Music Embassy Stage, the venue is a key outlet for scoping out upcoming bands and musical trends. “Getting a chance to do our part to support up and coming acts from a wide variety of genres via the British Music Embassy Stage is really amazing,” notes Allen & Heath USA Marketing Manager Jeff Hawley. “Not only was the festival a great way to get media attention for musicians and artists of all types from around the world, but we of course got to shine a light on the technical crew and the the support staff and live sound companies doing such great work on the ground in Austin and the touring engineers who are out with the bands ensuring the shows sound their best. We always come away from the event with new friends and great connections being made and the 2022 run was extra special as we returned in person in a big way for everyone.”
Continuing the trend from previous years which featured a range of audio systems in addition to the British Music Embassy, Allen & Heath videos and social content from SXSW 2022 also highlighted diverse applications such as the compact Qu Series at an intimate comedy club setting and an Avantis / GLD / SQ Dante-enabled system supporting livestream broadcasts for the local NPR station and famed Studio 6A (former Austin City Limits) venue. A special live session of the ‘Allen & Heath Mini Masterclass’ training program was produced from the Cedar Street Courtyard venue, featuring Allen & Heath Pro Live (dLive | Avantis | ME) Product Specialist Jack Kenyon and Allen & Heath USA Live Sound / Touring Manager, Mike Bangs. Smaller corporate event ‘rig rundowns’ with the analog ZED mixers and the dLive C1500 were also part of the 2022 content series.
“Whether you are an established engineer looking to pick up some new tips on quick festival changeovers or seeing what compressors and plug-ins are showing up out in the field—or you are an aspiring audio beginner looking for a peek behind the audio production scenes,” adds Hawley, “our goal was to have you covered with this year’s content from SXSW.”