SQ Mixes it Up With Carrot Top

Since November 28, 2005, Carrot Top has been drawing sold-out crowds at the Luxor with the most lavish stage production in stand-up, all of which is now orchestrated with the aid of an SQ-7 digital mixer from Allen & Heath.

“When I told my friends I was going to be a comedian, they laughed,” Carrot Top, aka Scott Thompson, 54, has famously said. Now the joke is on them as he continues to rack up miles and smiles on what is surely the longest running stand-up act in the country. While he is widely defined as a prop comic, he actually dives into his onstage trunks filled with all kinds of gadgets and geegaws only twice during his show. In between he does straight stand-up, and that’s where the show is heavily imbued with exceptionally elaborate sound design.

“Hardly a few seconds go by without something being punctuated by a snippet from a popular song, a cartoonish screech, a blast of confetti, or some other effect”

“Hardly a few seconds go by without something being punctuated by a snippet from a popular song, a cartoonish screech, a blast of confetti, or some other effect,” says Thompson’s production and tour manager Dan O’Leary, who has been with the show for 23 years. “This is stand-up scored like a musical when it comes to our sound.”

O’Leary found himself in a position at front of house not all that long ago where he was exceeding the capacity of his aging console. Casting about for a solution, he chose an Allen & Heath SQ-7, purchased from Sweetwater Sound, as a replacement earlier this year.

Beyond the immediate gain in sonic quality the SQ-7 offered, O’Leary notes that having Allen & Heath’s SQ MixPad app—which provides offline editing and online wired or wireless control of his SQ-7’s main mixing functions—was a necessity, not a luxury.

“The SQ-7 and I reside in a tiny little room off to the side where I have to view the show through a small window,” O’Leary explains. “I can only manage the basics from the board in there. With SQ MixPad I simply walk out into the room and handle the fine-tuning. There have been countless times when I’m onstage and something pops-up as well. With the app I use my phone to link to the desk and make a change.”

The scope of Carrot Top’s show has rock ‘n roll dynamics. There are wedges and a subwoofer onstage, and an endless stream of cue lines to hit. “I’m using 15 of the SQ-7’s outputs,” O’Leary adds with a sense of almost geographic wonder. “We record every show with the desk too. This console is perfect for Carrot Top’s experimental spirit. I keep building and refining our control right along with his act.”

Allen & Heath Announces 3rd Installment in 96kHz Mixer Trilogy: Avantis

Allen & Heath has revealed its new 96kHz digital mixer, Avantis, the third to be based on the company’s XCVI FPGA engine. Avantis puts Allen & Heath’s next-generation technology in a 64 channel / 42 configurable bus console, with twin Full HD touchscreens, extensive I/O options and processing from the company’s flagship dLive mixing system.

ALLEN & HEATH ANNOUNCES THIRD INSTALLMENT IN 96KHZ MIXER TRILOGY: AVANTIS

“Joining dLive and SQ, Avantis completes our trilogy of next-gen 96kHz consoles,” says Rob Clark, Allen & Heath’s Managing Director. “Avantis takes many of the features that have made SQ and dLive so popular, putting them in a standalone 64-channel mixer that offers a new UI experience, connectivity with our Everything I/O ecosystem, and the dPack option which gives you access to our advanced dLive processing options if and when you need them.

“On top of that,” adds Rob, “we’ve taken a new approach with the industrial design, coming up with a full metal chassis that’s super-strong, lightweight and looks fantastic.”

Encased in its alloy shell and tubular frame, the Avantis control surface is centered on the two Full HD touchscreens and their corresponding rotary controls.

“Having two touchscreens isn’t a new concept, but we realised we could use it to unlock exciting new possibilities, which led us to develop Continuity UI,” says Andy Bell, Allen & Heath’s R&D Director.

“Within seconds of getting hands-on with Avantis, engineers are going to appreciate the seamless flow between the physical controls and the on-screen software. You can work gains and pans on the rotaries, then at the touch of a soft key switch to EQ or dynamics across the whole strip. The console also provides a highly configurable FastGrab tab on the right-hand side of each screen, offering another way to quickly and easily access control of aux sends, EQ, compressor and FX on the currently selected channel or spot channel.

“Ultimately, with Continuity UI, the engineer decides how they’d like to work, not the mixer.”

While many users will choose to pair Avantis with the 48 in / 16 out GX4816 audio expander, Avantis is part of Allen & Heath’s Everything I/O ecosystem, which means whether you’re an owner/operator looking to build a compact system, or a rental company with existing Allen & Heath stock, Avantis allows true flexibility by connecting to a huge range of audio expander hardware. Avantis is also compatible with Allen & Heath’s range of ME Personal Mixers and IP hardware remote controllers.

ALLEN & HEATH ANNOUNCES THIRD INSTALLMENT IN 96KHZ MIXER TRILOGY: AVANTIS

For local I/O, Avantis is well equipped with 12 XLR analogue inputs, 12 XLR analogue outputs, plus AES (Stereo In, 2x Stereo Out). Two additional I/O Ports allow Avantis to benefit from the full range of current dLive option cards, including Dante (64×64 and 128×128), Waves, gigaACE, MADI and more, expanding the scope for system integration, FoH / monitor splits and multitrack recording.

Right out of the box, Avantis is loaded with processing tools designed to meet the demands of most users and applications, including compressors, EQs and Allen & Heath’s acclaimed RackExtra FX units (12 slots). Upgrading to dPack expands Avantis further with additional dLive processing including the Dyn8 dynamics engine (up to 16 instances), DEEP Compressors, and the Dual-Stage Valve preamp. dPack purchasers will automatically receive all future DEEP and FX updates free of charge, future-proofing their investment.

“In the gap between SQ and dLive, the mixer market is littered with 48kHz ‘old-school’ consoles,” says Nic Beretta, Allen & Heath’s Head of Product. “Avantis brings next-generation performance across the board. Customers in venues, houses of worship, touring and the rental market are going to be seriously impressed by how well this ticks the boxes. It’s a really exciting mixer at a compelling price.”

Full details and spec at allen-heath.com/avantis

Avantis pricing as follows:

Mixer only: USD $9,999 MSRP
dPack add-on: USD $1,499 MSRP
GX4816 Remote Expander: USD $3,999 MSRP

Introducing the Brett Williams Sessions

Press Release, Stockholm 2019-09-25

We are happy to present a brand new Nord Live Session featuring Brett Williams – a series of exclusive performances from US keyboardist Brett Williams (Marcus Miller, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Keyon Harrold).

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of having the in-demand keyboard player Brett Williams and special guest Kate K-S visit Stockholm for an exclusive Nord Live Session. The Brett Williams Session series contain impressive live performances blending genres such as jazz, funk, gospel and folk music. Brett combines stunning trio jams featuring drummer Morgan Ågren and bass player Gustaf Hielm with more stripped-down duo performances with gifted singer/songwriter Kate K-S.

Introducing the Brett Williams Sessions

The opening episode is a funky piece named “Tonin'” where Brett is jamming out on some vintage EP and B3 sounds backed by Morgan Ågren and Gustaf Hielm. The Brett Williams session was recorded live at RMV Studios in Stockholm, September 4th 2019 and the remaining episodes will be published in the coming months.

Brett Williams
Pittsburgh born Brett Williams began working with the multi-Grammy-award-winning bassist Marcus Miller at the age of 22 and has been touring with him ever since. Brett is also featured on Miller’s latest Grammy-nominated recording, Laid Black. Through this opportunity, Brett has had the pleasure of playing with many talented artists and musicians — among them, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mumford and Sons, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Chris Thile, Kevin Garrett, Snarky Puppy and Robert Glasper. He has performed all over the world, including the United States, Europe, South America, Africa, China and Japan. Brett also has played at many esteemed festivals — the North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, Vienne Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival and Newport Jazz Festival. Earlier this year Brett released his debut EP “S3asons”. 

Kate K-S
Australian born Kate K-S moved to Brooklyn, New York at age 25 to pursue her career as a songwriter and recording artist. Until recently she worked as a side-woman for artists such as Mavis Staples, Joss Stone, James Morrison, Kesha, Macklemore, Cyndi Lauper and Ghost Face Killah (Wutang Clan) on keyboards, voice and saxophone. Kate is releasing her debut EP ‘Somebody’ in 2019.

BRETT WILLIAMS SESSIONS: “TONIN'” 

Allen & Heath Nominated for NAMM TEC Awards for Outstanding Technical Achievement

Allen & Heath is once again among the pro audio and sound production nominees spread across the 23 technical achievement categories comprising the 35th Annual TEC Awards. With its dLive Mixing System joining five others in the Large Format Console category, Allen & Heath’s SQ Digital Mixer Series has found a spot among the six contenders within the Small Format Console category.

“This year the TEC Awards have attracted quite a number of truly innovative submissions,” Allen & Heath USA marketing manager Jeff Hawley said recently. “As one of our industry’s most notable showcases, the entries have grown in both number and the degree of technical evolution. We’re seeing future trends playing out across this stage that are unique, and sometimes just plain amazing.”

ALLEN & HEATH NOMINATED FOR NAMM TEC AWARDS FOR OUTSTANDING TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT

Presented annually by The NAMM Foundation in conjunction with The NAMM Show, the TEC Awards recognize the individuals, companies, and technical innovations behind the audio heard in recordings, live performances, films, television, video games, and multimedia. Final voting for this instalment of the enduring awards show begins this November. Winners will be announced in Anaheim, California on Saturday, January 18, 2020.

The SQ Series won in the 34th TEC Awards Small Format Console category, along with seven other award wins last awards season, including the MMR Dealers’ Choice Awards ‘Product of the Year’.

“Both of the major Allen & Heath product updates nominated for TEC Awards were largely focused on live monitor mixing workflows and features,” notes Hawley. “The SQ Series V1.3 brought software additions like a Listen bus and External Input to PAFL, which paired with new I/O hardware and network cards to expand FOH / Monitor split options. Monitor engineers also loved the new MCA (Mix Control Association) and Talkback Group functionality in dLive V1.8. Our teams pushed the tech envelope this past year and it is an honour to be in such good company once again.”

The 35th Annual NAMM TEC Awards will be held in conjunction with the 2020 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California.

23dB Productions Launches New Studio Employing Connectivity Solutions from Focusrite

After five years spent building a successful and respected brand for its work in music production, live-sound recording and mixing, and podcast production, 23dB Productions now has a new studio facility in Ft. Lee, New Jersey. A backbone of their workflow is their arsenal of Focusrite interfaces: the ISA Two microphone preamp; multiple Clarett 8Pre Thunderbolt audio interfaces; the Scarlett OctoPre eight-channel mic preamp; and a highly portable Scarlett 2i2 interface. No matter what the project is, in the studio, on the road or on location, Focusrite is how 23dB Productions – and its co-owners Fela Davis (Above Left) and Denis Orynbekov (Above Right) – connect to the world.

23DB PRODUCTIONS LAUNCHES NEW STUDIO EMPLOYING CONNECTIVITY SOLUTIONS FROM FOCUSRITE

There’s plenty to connect with. Since they began in 2014, 23dB Productions’ portfolio has grown to be sizable and diverse. It includes The Art of Music Tech, a video web series interviewing legendary engineers, producers, and musicians such as Leslie Ann Jones, Jeff Bova, and Matt Knobel, among others. They’ve also mixed live and in the studio for such acclaimed and diverse acts as Swiss Chris, Ron Carter, Jose Feliciano, Meshell Ndegeocello and Christian McBride, for whom they also now produce the Low Down podcast and show on Sirius XM Radio’s Real Jazz channel. Their mobile recording services have been deployed at Live Nation NYC venues Music Hall of Williamsburg and Bowery Ballroom, and they’re involved with archiving for the Jazz Museum’s oral-history initiative Harlem Speaks, an interview series whose guests have included bassist Reggie Workman, historian and scholar Dan Morgenstern, writer Stanley Crouch, and NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

With that kind of client range, sonic quality and reliable performance are critical, and Focusrite provides plenty of both for 23dB Productions. “The Clarett interfaces are fantastic, both as mic pre’s and as converters,” says Orynbekov, who has recorded, mixed and mastered tracks for MTV’s Real World Explosion, PBS Roadtrip Nation, and Best In Ink on Oxygen. “It lets us operate at 24/96 when we choose to, and we’re able to run two or three sets of monitors through it. It’s our main interface with the Logic software we use for recording and editing.” Outside the studio, the Scarlett 2i2 is a lightweight but powerful portable interface for remote projects, including recent multitrack projects for Atlantic Records. “We’ve been using Focusrite gear now for a little over three years, and it’s changed how we work,” says Davis. “We have access to the same great mic pre’s and converters in the studio and on location, which means we have consistently great-sounding results on every project. Compared to what we had been using before, everything now is so much easier with Focusrite, because the sound is always right there, you don’t have to work to get it, so we’re more productive. Focusrite has been as good for our business as it has been for our sound.”

The Green Rocks Red Rocks Amphitheater with dLive

A mainstay at pop and reggae festivals around the world, The Green recently performed at Colorado’s famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre, supported by a duo of Allen & Heath dLive S Class consoles. The Green, a Roots reggae and indigenous Hawaiian band, has frequently topped the Billboard Reggae Charts and earned a number of ‘Best Reggae Album’ awards since their formation in 2009.

Denver-based IPG Tech provided two dLive S5000 Control Surfaces and two DM48 MixRacks outfitted with fibreACE and Dante audio networking cards to cover FOH and monitor mixing and multitrack recording duties at the large outdoor venue with seating for over 9,000 fans.

THE GREEN ROCKS RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE WITH DLIVE

FOH engineer Matt Lawrence specified dLive, noting its reliability and internal dynamics and effects processing power. “I’ve mixed on dLive all around the world and never had issues,” says Lawrence. While internal dLive effects like snare plates, a transient controller, an automatic double tracker, stereo chorus and stereo tap delay were all used for the performance, Lawrence says the OptTronik compressor was a standout. “With the new DEEP OptTronik [‘2A-style compression] through a huge PA with five-part harmonies on vocals—you can’t beat the sound and feel. The DEEP 16T was also a go-to compressor and found its way onto a number of channels in a reggae setting like this.” Speaking to what it’s like mixing at such an iconic venue, Lawrence adds, “The reverberation off of the rocks and the crazy night sky and the vibe of the show certainly took things to another level for sure.”

“The desk is super intuitive and it was exactly how you’d want a show to go,” notes System Audio Technician Lee Putnam. “Being able to use dLive Director software before the show to get the design and layout of the desks set in advance is such a time saver. I also love the peace of mind of having redundant links and power supplies with dLive S Class, especially in a complex outdoor environment like Red Rocks.”

THE GREEN ROCKS RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE WITH DLIVE

Monitor engineer Ross Chergosky adds, “I dug in on drums and vocals with quite a number of effects. It was so nice not having to worry about running out of processing and spaces for in-ear mixes all with compression and gates across the board. From the monitor mixing perspective, things can get wacky really quickly with layers of processing in other consoles and systems.” Chergosky concludes, “dLive is nice with a fixed latency and not having to worry about the computer load and not having to do math.”

Introducing the Mike Bereal Signature Sound Bank

Press Release, Stockholm 2019-08-28

We are proud to present the Michael Bereal Signature Sound Bank for Nord Stage 3 – 25 unique patches created by legendary gospel keyboardist/producer Michael Bereal! 

The sound bank is based on the Nord Stage 3 factory sounds and includes Michael’s custom Acoustic and Electric Pianos, Layers, Synth Leads, Synth Brass, Strings and much more. A unique patch collection from one of the finest musicians in gospel music! 

Introducing the Mike Bereal Signature Sound Bank

“If you want to have fun and if you want to create a vibe like no other check out my signature sound bank for the Nord Stage 3!” 

DOWNLOAD

The Michael Bereal Signature Sound Bank is compatible with Nord Stage 3 and available for free download at nordkeyboards.com.

ABOUT MICHAEL BEREAL 

Multi-talented Gospel veteran Michael Bereal is based out of Los Angeles, CA and is one of the most influential musicians/producers in contemporary Gospel music. Michael has worked with artists such as Snoop Dogg, Faith Evans, Charlie Wilson, Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Mary Mary, The Soul Seekers, Dave Hollister, Donnie McClurkin, Kim Burrell, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Beverly Crawford, Tank, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Bishop Charles E. Blake, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Ernest Pugh, Kurt Carr, Juanita Bynum and Norman Hutchins. Read more

TEASER VIDEO

Introducing the Mike Bereal Signature Sound Bank

Beartooth Fly High with dLive Wings

Ohio-based hardcore act Beartooth, are currently travelling around the world, taking on festival season, with two dLive Wings set-ups.

dLive Wings is becoming the go-to mixing system for many touring engineers due to its flexibility and compact format. Danny Harvey (FOH engineer) explains, “The size of the C1500 is ideal for travelling, being able to fly with it is amazing and having that much power in two fly cases is perfect for international acts, making their sound consistent all over the world.”

BEARTOOTH FLY HIGH WITH DLIVE WINGS

“I love the way dLive sounds and how easy it is to customise everything. At the bigger festivals I always manage to get positioned front middle on the FOH tent due to the C1500’s small footprint.”

Supplied by V2 Productions for their US dates and Captured Live for shows in Europe, the band’s set up consists of two dLive C1500 surfaces, paired with two DM48 MixRacks, covering both FOH and monitors. Additionally, the FOH console is equipped with a Waves card, used for multi-track recording and virtual soundcheck.

Harvey also makes full use of the consoles internal features, including the onboard DEEP plug-ins, commenting “I use the 16T on my drums and groups, 16VU compressor on my vocals and the Dyn8’s multiband compressor on various groups and my main LR – they sound great and help keep the size of our set up down to a minimum as there’s less need for outboard rack FX. I can put all these processors on every channel without needed any extra gear.”

The band themselves have also noticed a consistency in sound across each show and the difference dLive has made, Harvey explains, “When we changed to dLive the band noticed such a change in their IEMs, everything was a lot clearer and having the DEEP plugins and the multi-bands on their LR mixes was game changing.”

“All in all, dLive is small, powerful, consistent, user friendly and it sounds great!”

Introducing the Rai Thistlethwayte Sessions

Press Release, Stockholm 2019-06-26

We are thrilled to present our exclusive Rai Thistlethwayte Sessions – a phenomenal live session series featuring Rai Thistlethwayte (KNOWER, Thirsty Merc, Oz Noy, Christian McBride)!   

Introducing the Rai Thistlethwayte Sessions

The Rai Thistlethwayte Sessions contain eight episodes of brilliant performances ranging from funky soul to 80s’ pop vibes and jazz – all featuring the brand new Nord Grand. First out is a funky piece called “Chase The Clouds” with Morgan Ågren behind the drums and Gustaf Hielm on bass.

The sessions were recorded live at RMV Studios in Stockholm, May 2019 and the remaining episodes will be published in the coming months.

Rai Thistlethwayte
Rai is a one of Australia’s most respected musical talents: a highly accomplished pianist, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. His band, Thirsty Merc, has sold over 250,000 albums in Australia, and has been nominated for 5 ARIA awards. Aside from his work in Rock and Pop, Rai performs as a solo artist, based around his love of Jazz, Soul, and Groove music. He has released 4 Solo EPs and has toured Australia and the U.S. since 2012. Some of his notable collaborations have been with ARIA award‐winning guitarist James Muller, Trumpeter James Morrison, and Grammy Nominated U.S. jazz bassist Christian McBride (Sting, Wynton Marsalis band). Currently based between Sydney and Los Angeles, Rai tours globally with U.S. Funk/Electronic band KNOWER and New York based guitarist Oz Noy. Thirsty Merc has just completed 72 shows for their ‘Summer 2019’ Tour and Rai is performing select solo shows in Australia to close out the year.

RAI THISTLETHWAYTE SESSIONS: #1 “CHASE THE CLOUDS” 

Introducing the Rai Thistlethwayte Sessions

Allen & Heath Perform at Coachella with Billie Eilish and Kanye West

Celebrated as a premier cultural event and arguably the most well-known music festival in the world, Coachella 2019 did not disappoint. According to Pollstar, “Besides the undeniable talent of the 2019 artists and the energy of fans coming together to revel in their shared love of live music, the sets that were extra special this year were because of innovative production and the artists sharing their hearts, connecting with fans and creating a moment.” Allen & Heath’s dLive Digital Mixing System played its part at the festival, supporting buzz-worthy sets by breakout pop artist Billie Eilish and Kanye West’s special Easter Sunday Service.

ALLEN & HEATH PERFORM AT COACHELLA WITH BILLIE EILISH AND KANYE WEST

Cited by Variety as one of the truly must-see Coachella acts, Billie Eilish lived up to the hype. Sound Image supplied a pair of S5000 Control Surfaces and DM64 MixRacks to handle both front of house and monitor duties as the teen superstar wooed her fans in two packed and highly energetic shows.

Jeff Hawley, Allen & Heath USA Marketing Manager commented, “Billie has been out with dLive for her last sold out tour and now in support of her Billboard-topping When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? album, with Coachella being a great way to really kick off the new tour. Engineers like Drew Thornton and Salim Akram (Billie Eilish FOH and monitor engineers) are out there showing just how powerful, robust, and scalable the dLive really is—tackling fly dates with the compact C1500 one day and jumping up to 168 fader strips on an S5000 to drive huge shows such as Coachella, on the next.”

dLive was also an integral part of Kanye West’s innovative Sunday Service, the debut public performance of his gospel-themed interactive experience. A dLive C3500 and DM64 MixRack were positioned just a few feet away from Kanye on ‘the mountain’ along with over 20 Allen & Heath ME-1 Personal Monitor Mixers which fed in-ear mixes to the accompanying choir members and live musicians.

ALLEN & HEATH PERFORM AT COACHELLA WITH BILLIE EILISH AND KANYE WEST

“We worked with Kanye’s team to design a system that is flexible enough to keep up with his ever-evolving technical and artistic needs,” notes Allen & Heath Live Sound and Touring Manager Mike Bangs. He added, “The ability to have great sounding effects right in the box with dLive’s DEEP processing, having a multitude of options and formats for easily expanding I/O as needed, and the plug and play ME personal monitoring made for a smooth setup, even in the middle of a field. We are very proud to have played a part in making this special performance a highlight of Coachella 2019.”