Pro audio, musical instrument, and consumer electronics distributor American Music and Sound continues to grow, this time by taking on US distribution for two highly-respected brands specializing in in-ear monitors and hearing protection.
Westone Audio has been a pioneer of premium in-ear solutions since 1959, with proven leadership in the audio industry through a rich history of uniquely focused innovations and decades of knowledge, including the invention of the first custom in-ear monitor for stage use.
Etymotic is a world leader in development of technology addressing hearing health since 1983. With a basis in the scientific research conducted on auditory ear canal response, Etymotic invented the first insert earphone, the ER4. The ER4 is still a benchmark in In-Ear-Monitor (IEM) development as it was scientifically designed to be a truly accurate earphone.
Westone Audio and Etymotic are subsidiaries of Lucid Hearing, and both companies continue to innovate in the pro audio space.
“We are absolutely ecstatic to have Westone Audio and Etymotic added to the AM&S family of brands,” noted Kris McDougall, Senior National Sales Manager for American Music and Sound. “Their decades of experience and superior brand equity in the in-ear monitor space, combined with our industry-leading sales and distribution competencies, are a real recipe for success. Furthermore, their solid grasp of both the Pro Audio and Consumer HiFi markets pair beautifully with our existing offerings in both spaces.”
“We are more than excited to partner with AM&S to bring the Westone Audio and Etymotic music brands to an even wider audience,” added Tal Kocen, Vice President of Consumer Product for Lucid Audio. “We know they will use their expansive retail relationships to share our deep legacy as both the inventor of the first custom in-ear monitors and the gold-standard of audio.” ///
Inspired by over three decades of research and development into the physics and psychology of perception and loudspeaker design, BASSBOSS provides an extensive range of loudspeaker products designed to excel in mobile, concert, festival, and nightclub applications. Leveraging the expertise of BASSBOSS Designer David Lee, paired with the strategic vision and leadership of CEO Lian Amber, the brand has reached new sales and branding heights in recent years. In order to continue this trend, BASSBOSS has appointed American Music and Sound, a division of Exertis | JAM, as their exclusive distributor for North America.
“It is our honor to team up with Lian and David and the passionate team at BASSBOSS,” said American Music and Sound VP of Pro Audio, Rob Impala. “I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the jaw-dropping sonic performance of BASSBOSS myself—and had the company on the AM&S radar for some time. It is exciting to kick off the partnership and begin to connect our extensive network of dealers with this hot best-in-class product.”
American Music and Sound is firmly established in the Music Creation and Pro Audio markets, providing US distribution for many leading brands such as Allen & Heath, Focusrite, Hercules, Nord, Reloop and Xone. With the addition of BASSBOSS, AM&S has further strengthened its ability to provide the highest quality products to its customers.
“As passionate believers in the power of music to bring people together, BASSBOSS has focused on developing products that offer exceptional performance and value,” notes BASSBOSS CEO Lian Amber. “We are extraordinarily excited about our AM&S partnership as it will allow us to bring the intensity and quality of our designs to a wider audience of future BASSBOSS Family, and expand the range of products we produce.” With her deep experience in the music industry and Designer David Lee’s revolutionary products, AM&S looks forward to the expansion of the BASSBOSS brand.
Front of House engineer Clint Rowland was looking for a mixer that was both compact and versatile for his tour with Swedish music sensation LÉON. “I wanted to streamline our setup, and avoid the complications of an analog split,” recounted Rowland. The final system included a compact Allen & Heath dLive CTi1500 19” rack-mountable control surface, along with a CDM32 MixRack for FOH.
Rowland remarked that the smaller footprint of the CTi1500 was not an obstacle in mixing a large-scale tour. “I have all my groups and DCAs on the top layer. If I need to adjust an individual channel, I can always bank down and tweak parameters as needed.”
Next to the stage, monitor engineer Julian Higareda was working with a dLive C3500 surface and a CDM48 mixrack – which fed back to Rowland via a digital Dante split. “We used the same Dante network to patch in our wireless mics and for our FOH/Monitor split” explained Higareda. “Having that Dante versatility and simple integration was a big deal for us on this tour.”
Both Rowland and Higareda noted that the dLive’s DYN8 engine, which features a multiband compressor and dynamic EQ, came in handy during LÉON’s performances. “It’s just a game-changer,” said Rowland. “Especially with the way LÉON sings – she uses her entire range and she uses it differently from song to song. I used to be constantly adjusting the EQ and dynamics for each song, but the dLive did all that work for me.” All dLive systems can support up to 64 instances of DYN8, inserted on input or mix channels.
For changing quickly recalling settings, Higareda made use of the fully granular scene controls on dLive. “I loved how easy it was to build scenes and change them so quickly. I didn’t have to dig in to make updates, I could do that in real time with the built-in Update function.”
“We continue to see hip uses of CTi1500 around the world,” commented Allen & Heath USA Marketing Director Jeff Hawley. “In this case Clint and Julian not only designed a system around meeting the basic needs of the tour, but also around the musical needs of the artist. Being able to put dLive to work in taming and enhancing vocal dynamics, achieving an optimal song-to-song mix balance, setting up scenes to consistently manage those changes night after night…really cool!”
In future tours, Rowland wants to expand on his dLive system with some additional components. “The goal is to dig in deeper and maybe take advantage of some DX or DT stateboxes for additional I/O” explained Rowland. “This system has made me look like a rock star, and it’s made things more convenient on all fronts. This is how we’re rolling from now on.”
This year’s NAMM show was back in full force, with a return to in-person exhibits and visitors from around the world. Those attending the Loudspeaker System Showcase had the opportunity to hear an Allen & Heath Avantis console at the center of the arena rig – run by veteran audio engineer and co-host of Signal to Noise podcast Michael Lawrence. In collaboration with the producers of Live Sound International magazine, the showcase is a way for a wide range of loudspeaker manufacturers to provide a true side-by-side listening comparison in a controlled environment.
Avantis, the third mixer based on Allen & Heath’s 96kHz XCVI FPGA engine, supports 64 input processing channels and 42 configurable busses, so even the application of configuring outputs to a number of independent PA systems was handled with ease. “I used the open bus architecture of the Avantis to configure several mono matrices,” said Lawrence. “Each matrix runs the same source to a different manufacturer’s sound system via an Allen & Heath DX012 stagebox.” Aside from providing flexible system outputs, the DX012 12 XLR output analog/AES portable DX expander is perfect for feeding IEM systems in a compact 1U form factor.
Lawrence also made use of the console’s internal signal generator for testing and tuning. “I can easily send pink noise to each system so that we can level out the SPL between them for a more accurate comparison.” In this unique use case, Lawrence noted that he appreciates the flexibility and customizability of the Avantis. “I really like that I can get all my systems on a single layer. In the past, we’ve done this same setup with other consoles and I was constantly banking between layers to access the channels I needed. I’m also really big on color coding and labeling, which was simple on this desk.”
The Avantis at the Loudspeaker System Showcase wasn’t the only Allen & Heath console seeing arena action at the NAMM 2022 show – the outdoor Arena Plaza stage featured a dLive S5000 and DM64 system for FOH, paired with an Avantis at the monitor position.
“We always have a great time supporting official NAMM events like the Loudspeaker System Showcase,” notes Allen & Heath USA Marketing Director Jeff Hawley. “Allen & Heath was all over the show with more consoles in more venues than we’ve ever had. I joked with many of our staff, reps, dealers and fans at the show that they should be careful as they walked around since they were likely to trip over an Allen & Heath desk around each corner. We’re humbled to see just how pervasive the full range has become and look forward to jumping up another notch when NAMM 2023 rolls around!” ///
FOH engineer Rob Drayton was first introduced to Allen & Heath’s dLive series at a tradeshow a few years ago, and he was immediately grabbed by its power and simple workflow. As Drayton noted, “I was like, man… this is cool!” He later got some hands-on experience with Allen & Heath’s SQ and Avantis series mixers, and was impressed by how easy it was to produce a good sounding mix.
When it came time for Drayton to eventually go on a national tour with Grammy Award-winning artists Bryan and Katie Torwalt, he knew that a dLive would be the right choice – given that a CTi1500 surface would give them a small form factor without compromising on processing capabilities. “I need something that has the capacity to do both Front of House and Monitors,” Drayton added. “But that I could also load in myself without needing a second person.”
The final system for the Christian songwriters and worship leaders’ tour included the lightweight 19” titanium rack-mountable CTi1500 dLive surface, along with a DM48 MixRack and several wireless systems in a single rack case that could easily be transported. “I could roll the whole thing in, pop the cover off, run one cable, and that was it,” said Drayton. “I enjoyed challenging the status quo of larger consoles, this was simple and sounded great.” The CTi1500 also housed a Dante card that allowed for easy multitrack recording of every performance, as well as virtual soundcheck playback.
Drayton noted that, despite all the processing capabilities he had at his fingertips with the 96kHz dLive FPGA, he didn’t need to tweak the channels very much to get the sound he wanted: “On other desks, there’s so much (channel processing) that I need to do. With dLive, it just sounded quite good as it was.”
The compact 12-fader CTi1500 handled both FoH and monitor duties, as the 128-channel, 64-bus dLive mix engine had enough power to double-patch all the inputs internally without needing a separate monitor console.
Drayton is not alone in opting for a more portable system for tours. “With DEEP processing like the BUS compressor, Source Expander, and tools like DYN8 right in the desk, more and more engineers are grabbing a dLive and hitting the road while their outboard gear stays behind,” said Allen & Heath USA Marketing Director Jeff Hawley. “We’re witnessing a new trend in the industry, and the dLive CTi1500 is leading the way.” ///
Burbank, CA – Founded in 1973 by five-time Grammy Award-winning engineer and producer Allen Sides, Ocean Way Audio has proven itself as a leader of innovation in high quality studio equipment. And now, following their recent announcement of the AeroWaveTM series point-source loudspeakers, Ocean Way has successfully brought their signature studio quality audio to live sound reinforcement.
The much-anticipated AeroWaveTM series was designed and engineered by Ocean Way’s team of industry veterans, including Cliff Henricksen (Director of New Technologies), Bruce Marien (Director of Engineering), Ernie Woody (Director of Production and Operations), and CEO/Owner Allen Sides.
Following the launch of AeroWaveTM, Ocean Way Audio has appointed American Music and Sound, a division of Exertis | JAM, as their exclusive live sound division distributor for North America. “We are honored to partner with Allen and the Ocean Way Audio team,” said American Music and Sound President, Patrick Sullivan. “We had the great opportunity to spend quality time with Allen and truly understand the power of the AeroWaveTM system. During that process, we found that the company DNA of both Ocean Way Audio and American Music & Sound are firmly rooted in the same cause, bringing amazing audio experiences to our customers. We are so excited to bring the AeroWaveTM solution to our extensive network of dealers and integrators nationwide.”
American Music and Sound is firmly established in the Pro Audio market, providing US distribution for many leading brands such as Allen & Heath, Focusrite, Novation, and Nord. With the addition of Ocean Way’s live sound products, AM&S has further strengthened its ability to provide the highest quality products to its customers.
“We are delighted that the American Music and Sound team appreciate what we have accomplished,” said Ocean Way CEO Allen Sides. “We look forward to working with their representative network and to a long-standing relationship. AM&S are a leading distributor, and we are very pleased to be working together.” ///
When Calvary Chapel of the High Desert in Hesperia, CA was looking to upgrade their entire PA system, they contacted E2i Design – a total solutions provider that specializes in full-service House of Worship technology and installation.
“We’ve got a very deep bench – everything from IT, audio, video, lighting, streaming, construction, and architecture,” said Evan Hamilton, CTO of E2i Design. “We can pick up a project at basically any phase and run from there.”
The church was managing with 26-year-old technology, but sought something more powerful and user-friendly for volunteers. “They were unhappy with the flow and format of their existing console,” noted Hamilton. “They also were looking to add a separate mixer to handle broadcast and streaming of their services.”
The design team at E2i, led by Install Manager Jason Horn, suggested Allen & Heath as the optimal solution for their mixing consoles, specifically two 64-channel Avantis desks; one handles their FOH and monitor mixes, while the second is dedicated to broadcast/streaming. “Avantis, bang-for-the-buck, is the number one desk on the market right now,” said Hamilton. “These were probably the 25th and 26th Avantis consoles we’ve put in – we’re always happy with them.”
The third mixer based on the Allen & Heath 96kHz XCVI FPGA engine, Avantis puts next-generation technology in a 64 channel / 42 configurable bus console, with dual Full HD touchscreens, a super-flexible workflow with Continuity UI, extensive I/O options, add-on processing from the flagship dLive mixing system, and a rugged full metal chassis. With two I/O Ports, both capable of 128×128 operation at 96kHz, Avantis was a top choice due to its capacity for expanding and connecting the Calvary Chapel system via an optional Dante card and the possibility for future expansion via MADI and gigaACE if necessary.
For connections at the stage, they went with five of the Dante-enabled DT164-W wall-mounted I/O boxes – adding network flexibility and reducing cabling significantly. “They had 60 channels of analog snake. We pulled all that out and replaced it with a single CAT6 cable,” said Hamilton. All DT stageboxes simply connect to a single Dante card in the FOH Avantis. The FOH console ultimately connects to a newly installed array of d&b ALi60 loudspeakers which are powered via d&b 40D amplifiers.
Since the installation was completed in late March of 2022, Hamilton has received plenty of positive feedback from the users at the Church. “We didn’t realize how bad our sound and operations were until E2i Design installed this system,” noted worship pastor Blake Ormonde. “The ease of use with the Avantis boards for our volunteers has been a game changer. The clarity of our new system is top notch and has provided better quality worship for our congregation to engage in. We couldn’t be happier with the new install!” ///
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.”
Kentucky based AVL consulting and installation experts JCA Media continue to push the audio, video and lighting technology envelope with their latest upgrade project for the Finley Stadium / Citizens Bank Field press box and connected facilities at Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Kentucky. At the heart of the more than nine miles of combined AV cabling across the venue, JCA Media selected an Allen & Heath dLive CDM32 MixRack, a compact dLive C1500 surface and a plethora of remote control options to provide the audio mixing heavy lifting.
“While it is a large building, it is primarily a football system with a few open mics needed for the main PA,” notes JCA Media Project Manager Alex Peake. “The PA mix comes from an Allen & Heath IP8 Remote Control, an 11-1/2” wide motorized 8-fader remote that works with the dLive system. The main PA operator just wanted quick level control for the stadium announcer mic, ref’s mic, and music—a sidecar sort of functionality which the IP8 handles with ease. A dLive C1500 Control Surface lives in the broadcast room where the crew can quickly tweak EQs and compression for the broadcast mix to be a little more hands-on there. It’s really cool just how flexible dLive is when it comes to both control and I/O options, especially since there are two broadcast rooms, a classroom on the second floor, and the President’s Suite on the third floor that all have I/O requirements as well. We used DX168 remote I/O units in each location that flow in and out of the CDM32 to give me the needed connectivity in those rooms. Audio control in each of the spaces is handled by wall mounted IP1s or the more tactile IP8s.”
“These IP1 and IP8 units are so powerful,” Peake adds. “They are a quick way to give control of a dLive or Avantis or even an AHM. We connected them via a standard TCP/IP network connection and easily interface with other controllers and computers—all on a standard ethernet infrastructure. Campbellsville has an IP8 in front of the Play-by-play operators. Layer A is the monitor mix for Play-by-play 1 while Layer B lets Play-by-play 2 adjust their monitor mix. This is a pretty cool application with two of the six IP8 fader layers used as a monitor mixer for multiple folks.”
“When they play stingers or commercials that show up on the huge stadium display and PA, they didn’t just want that audio mix to be managed in the Tricaster,” noted Peake. “They instead wanted to bring it out to fine-tune via the dLive along with their play-by-play mics and ref mics that then would route back to the Tricaster. Dante allows us to pull from the Tricaster media pool and send to the dLive to combine and mix as needed and roundtrip it back to the Tricaster program feed. This routing used to be much more technically complicated in the previous system design, but now Dante and dLive combine to add the power and flexibility and simplicity they need.”
dLive Director is also in use across any zone in the venue which requires audio control. From exterior tailgating zones and over to the press box and various interior zones, access points for dLive Director offer audio control where and when it is needed. A multi-platform editor and control software for dLive, dLive Director allows for system configuration offline before the game starts and full control of the mix live using a Mac or PC laptop or touch tablet. “If someone doesn’t have quick access to the dLive C1500 in the broadcast room,” Peake notes, “they can pull it up right where they are on their Mac and run what they need to. Pretty much wherever we have a screen, we’ve got access to Director—and therefore access to the dLive.”
Named after Campbellsville University’s longest serving football coach, Ron Finley, the Finley Stadium / Citizens Bank Field press box contains a wide array of state of the art AVL gear. With over 20 Danley cabinets, Shure QLX-D microphones, a Blackmagic 288×288 Videohub, nearly 50 Green-GO comm drops, Panasonic PTZ cameras, Lyntec power control, Winsted production room command consoles, and lighting from Chauvet and The Light Source, Finley Stadium is equipped to excel in live, streamed and distributed audio and video well into the future.
With combined record sales of over 70 million units, 100 years of performances across world stages, and storied histories spanning from gospel to classic rock, the Little River Band and The Oak Ridge Boys each meet the definition of musical icons. After a search for a more modern and flexible mixing console to serve the diverse needs of both acts, Nashville based Brantley Sound wholeheartedly recommended the Allen & Heath Avantis Digital Mixing System.
“Little River Band had been carrying a [non-Allen & Heath] console for quite some time at monitors,” noted Brantley Sound Director of Operations Zachariah Orbin. “Avantis checked all of the boxes and then some when it came to finding a next-level replacement. Its compact design, overall ease of use, and horsepower under the hood were primary factors in that decision.”
Avantis is the third console based on the XCVI engine, pioneered by the Allen & Heath R&D team using next generation FPGA technology, with parallel virtual processing cores generating enough power for 88×42 channels of processing (including FX returns) at a 96kHz sampling rate. The massive power of XCVI (25 billion operations per second) allows Avantis to its high channel count full audio processing duties, variable bit depth for ultimate precision and noise performance, virtually infinite mix headroom thanks to a 96 bit accumulator, and class-leading latency at an ultra-low 0.7ms.
“We set it up for a day of rehearsals and I used that time to get the console in-between the artist and their inputs,” adds Orbin. “Immediately their was response was an overwhelming, ‘Yes, this is it!’” Speaking to his approach during the demo process with the band, Orbin explains how he 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.
“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. I love this desk!”
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.”
While outfitted with a robust suite of native dynamics and effects by default, an optional Avantis dPack provides an upgrade of additional dLive processing including Dyn8 (up to 16 instances), DEEP Compressors, the Dual Stage Valve Preamp, plus more models as they’re added. Trusted by platinum selling artists on sellout tours, DEEP puts incredible emulations directly within Avantis’ input and mix channels with no third party gear hassles, no burning of effects slots, and no issues with latency or with phase coherency. Avantis dPack also delivers Dyn8, a powerful processor boasting 4 bands of dynamic EQ and 4 bands of multiband compression. With endless applications including taming vocals, tightening sub-groups or adding sonic glue to a mix, dPack enables 16 Dyn8 engines for inserting on Input and Mix channels.
“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 EQ’s, 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 1kHz, 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.”
Asked to sum up his thoughts on Avantis, Hunt adds, “It’s amazing that a desk that is this compact can be so powerful. The two very large touch screens are less than an arms reach away and with 24 easily accessible SoftKeys programmable for a large variety of functions, I’m not hunched over my desk hunting for stuff when I need it. We’re really happy with the rig all around.”