Allen & Heath

Allen & Heath Levels Up at NAMM and NAB 2023

April 2023 was a busy month for Allen & Heath and their US distribution partner American Music & Sound. Starting with The NAMM Show in Anaheim, the brand presented its wide range of products in a sprawling booth in the convention center’s Pro Audio hall. The popular booth featured opportunities for hands-on mixing with everything Allen & Heath has to offer — from small format analog ZED consoles to powerful 128-channel 96kHz digital dLive systems. The booth also featured a dedicated section for the brand’s expanding AHM series of installation processors and peripherals.

Meanwhile, on the second floor of the convention center, Allen & Heath Live Sound and Touring Manager Michael Bangs offered multiple jam-packed live sound training courses to NAMM attendees. Those who could make their way into the crowded training room had the opportunity to learn about a range of subjects, including dynamics and frequency control, mixing high channel counts on a compact console, quick festival mixing changeovers, house of worship mixing, and modern workflows.

Astute visitors to the NAMM show may have also caught several Allen & Heath consoles in use at the various performance stages — including a dLive S5000 surface at front of house and an Avantis console at monitors for the show’s outdoor Arena Plaza stage operated by sound company Avante Audio. Another pair of dLive systems could be found in use at the Hilton stage (provided by DJE Production Services), as well as an SQ-5 for the lobby stage at the Sheraton hotel. At the Pre-NAMM Hang sponsored by Worship Musician, another Allen & Heath SQ-5 was in use supporting a special performance by guitar legend Doyle Dykes.

The A&H team did not leave NAMM empty handed, as the company’s versatile 64-channel Avantis console earned the brand a fifth consecutive Dealer’s Choice Award from Musical Merchandise Review for its feature-packed V1.2 update. The awards for Avantis V1.2 didn’t stop there, as the new console firmware also captured the Parnelli Award for Indispensable Audio Technology. “The Parnelli Award win for Avantis was certainly a highlight of the NAMM Show for us,” noted Allen & Heath USA Marketing Director Jeff Hawley. “Often referred to as being the Oscar of the live event industry, the Parnelli is a tremendous honor and a moment that we’ll all remember from NAMM 2023. We’ve been amazed at the continued success with Avantis and we plan to keep updates like those seen in V1.2 coming in the future.”

The Allen & Heath USA team also presented their annual sales meeting at the show, awarding top performing sales rep firms and individuals for their outstanding 2022-2023 activities. The company awarded the coveted ‘Bulldog’ awards to a special pack of tenacious and highly effective sales professionals. This year’s recipients included Zak Rickard (Geer Tech), Gilbert Perales (Brownestone), Jaylon Shane (Pro Tech Marketing), Dan Ankney (Online Marketing), Shawn McLoughlin (Audio Biz), Wes Pitzer (Highway Marketing), Chad Rigler (HWPco), Brooks Platts (HWPco), and Craig Kutteroff (Mainline Marketing). The Outstanding Sales Support award was presented to Julie Boatright of Audio Biz. Dennie Edwards (Highway Marketing) was awarded the Marketing Excellence award. Outstanding Performance awards (based on overall territory sales performance) were awarded to Audio Biz, Brownestone, Cadon Technical Sales, Excellence Marketing, Highway Marketing, HWPco, Mainline Marketing, Online Marketing, Pro Tech Marketing, and Richard Dean Associates. The Rep of the Year award went to Audio Biz.

“Congratulations to Audio Biz for their outstanding year and the Rep of the Year award win,” said Pat McConnell, National Sales Manager for Allen & Heath USA. “All of the Bulldogs, Julie, and Dennie also deserve a special thank you for all of their work in the last year. Combined with the sheer number of Outstanding Performance awards, these results point to the fact that we’ve got one of the greatest sales and support teams in the industry. We’re set to level up once again and I look forward to seeing who gets to stand on the awards stage in 2024.” 

Immediately following The NAMM Show, the Allen & Heath team made its way over to the Las Vegas Convention Center to host its largest ever booth at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show. The Allen & Heath booth at NAB once again featured products from each of the brand’s diverse product series, and was visited by a variety of attendees, ranging from longtime fans to curious newcomers. “It was really rewarding to see Qu consoles in use ‘organically’ across the NAB Show for training areas and breakout rooms,” adds Rob Impala, VP of Pro Audio for American Music and Sound . “We had a chance to catch up with broadcasters, church technicians, installers, consultants and engineers who rely on Allen & Heath to tackle a wide range of audio applications. As always, we were all ears when it comes to product feedback and requests from the field and we’re certainly energized and ready to get to work on releasing the next round of new and exciting software and hardware updates soon.”

Allen & Heath

Metro Club in Chicago Upgrades with dual dLive Consoles

The historic Metro club in Chicago recently celebrated their 40th anniversary, and the venue simultaneously underwent a major audio upgrade. “In 2021, we had changed everything about the PA – except the actual audio consoles,” recalled installer John Wagner of Ayre Productions. The staff at the club eventually told Wagner that they wanted to explore changing out the front of house and monitor consoles as well. “They inquired about Allen & Heath’s dLive platform, so we set them up with a demo.” Local sales rep Shawn McLoughlin soon brought in two dLive S5000 surfaces for the team to try out, and it was a perfect match. “dLive was leaps and bounds better than what they were using previously,” noted Wagner. “They really liked the sound and the workflow.”

“We’re a small venue that hosts a lot of big acts,” explained Ben Gordon, the venue’s monitor engineer. “So we’re always trying to minimize our footprint without sacrificing functionality. dLive hit all the marks for us.” Justin Yates, who runs front of house, appreciated the platform’s flexibility and ease of use. “We get a lot of guest engineers, some of whom aren’t familiar with digital consoles. With dLive, it’s easy to get them up to speed and mixing a show in a couple of minutes.” The team eventually decided to purchase two dual-screen dLive C3500 surfaces, along with a pair of CDM48 MixRacks. “Guest engineers are really excited to see the dLive consoles,” said Yates. “Even the folks who bring in their own console are curious and want to play around with a dLive.” 

The front of house and monitor dLive systems are each equipped with AES output cards, which allow them to feed the venue’s amplifiers using digital AES/EBU signals. “That’s been a long goal of ours – to be digital as much as possible,” noted Gordon.

Both Gordon and Yates were impressed by the dLive’s full gamut of DEEP processing and compressor emulators. “I really like the Hypabass sub-harmonic synthesizer” noted Yates. “I’ve been experimenting with that plugin to add thickness to my tom channels. I also like the sound of the different reverbs on dLive,” he added. Yates specifically likes the Mighty compressor, which is inspired by a classic transistor array VCA dynamics processor. “That one is so sick.”

“It’s the first time on a digital desk that the compressors actually sound different,” remarked Gordon. “On other digital consoles, you can switch through compressors without really being able to tell the difference. With dLive compressor models, you can actually hear the different characteristics. It’s been fun using them to blend sources into the mix.” For monitors, Gordon also likes using the dLive’s Source Expander. “It helps to clean up vocals for in-ear mixes. If you get the sidechain settings just right, you can eliminate a lot of noise bleeding into the lead vocal mic without missing a lot of articulation.”

Following a lull during the COVID pandemic, Metro has re-emerged as an A-list venue with an intimate feel – recently hosting big name artists like Metallica, Green Day, and Fallout Boy. “Front of house is about 30 feet from the stage,” noted Yates. “It feels like you’re right up there with the acts. I think that’s what makes it such a unique experience at Metro.”

Allen & Heath

Avantis Wins Fifth Consecutive MMR Product of the Year Award for Allen & Heath

For the fifth consecutive year, Allen & Heath has earned the Dealer’s Choice Product of the Year award from Musical Merchandise Review magazine. This time, for the company’s 64-channel Avantis mixing console, which recently received a major feature update to version 1.2.

Avantis features 64 channels of 96kHz FPGA processing, 42 fully configurable busses, 12 dedicated FX racks, two large full-HD touchscreens, and a strong but lightweight metal chassis.

Avantis is currently on tour with major artists such as Celtic rock group The Red Hot Chili Pipers, The Oak Ridge Boys, and LA Opera; and is also being implemented for unique broadcast needs like those of streaming platform Avantis has additionally been installed in several large houses of worship such as Calvary Chapel High Desert in Hesperia, CA, as well as many rental houses, dealers, and installations of all sizes in the last year.

The V1.2 update adds to the console’s already powerful capabilities – which now include a next-generation RTA that can be overlaid on the parametric EQ, integration with Sennheiser wireless microphone systems, and improvements to the console’s wireless control applications.

Consoles with the additional dPack processing package also now have access to even more sophisticated processing tools; such as a dedicated Bus Compressor, Source Expander, and a Dual Threshold Expander. All dPack plugins incorporate powerful tools from Allen & Heath’s flagship dLive series mixers.

This year’s award extends Allen & Heath’s domination in the category, with the company’s SQ and Avantis series consoles taking the honor every year since 2018.

“I believe the initial MMR Product of the Year win for SQ was a first in the history of the award for a mixing console,” noted Jeff Hawley, Marketing Director for Allen & Heath USA. “We were certainly feeling the ‘it is an honor just to be nominated’ vibe that year with the long odds for a win — right up until the results of an actual win came in. But we’ve seen amazing support from the dealer and rental and touring community, from engineers working in just about every genre out there that year and every year since. I’m sure the product team in Cornwall and the various service and support and distribution teams around the world will keep on doing our collective best to continue the trend of new products and product enhancements in 2023 and beyond. Thank you!”

Allen & Heath

Multi-platinum Recording Artist MAX Tours With SQ

American pop artist Max Schneider, a.k.a MAX, has recently been on a Fall tour with performances all across North America. To mix the tour, audio engineer and Signal to Noise podcast host Kyle Chirnside opted for a dual Allen & Heath SQ setup, with 48-channel SQ-5 consoles at both the front of house and monitor positions. Chirnside also added a DX168 16-input stagebox for expanded I/O.

“I wanted something small and compact,” recalled Chirnside. “I don’t need any external FX or plugins, I use the built-in processing of the SQ. We also will have to fly during this tour, so I kept everything under fifty pounds to meet the requirements for air travel.”

Even with a separate monitor console, there is no need for a dedicated monitor engineer on the tour – as each of the performers mix their own IEMs through the wireless SQ4YOU application. “We basically have a ‘ghost’ monitor engineer,” joked Chirnside. Chirnside also keeps an iPad near the front of house console, which can make adjustments as needed to the monitor SQ-5. But he noted that it’s only there as a contingency plan. “The system has been flawless.”

Chirnside makes use of the scenes function on SQ to create automations, allowing him to easily recall desired parameters and levels for each song. “It was so easy to set up, and I can trigger the scene recalls with the user-defined SoftKeys.” Chirnside fine-tunes each scene to make the live performances of songs sound as good as their respective studio recordings. “I do most of my work in rehearsal to figure out which reverbs or delays to go with. The gated reverbs and wide ADT doubler in SQ allow me to re-create the more electronic-sounding recordings. I really want everyone’s cell phone video of the show to sound awesome.”

To capture high quality recordings of performances, Chirnside utilizes the SQ’s built-in SQ-Drive function – which allows users to record either 2-channel stereo or up to 32 channels of multitrack directly to an external USB hard drive. “Awesome that I can do multitrack or main LR mix to my USB thumbdrive,” remarked Chirnside. “I can hand off those recordings to the tour videographer, or even use them for a virtual soundcheck to tune the P.A. – it’s been a super game-changer for me.”

Allen & Heath

dLive is Platform of Choice for Historic Cain’s Ballroom

In 2018, sound engineer Jeremy Grodhaus was looking for the right audio consoles for historic music venue Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he works as the A1. Their previous front of house and monitor consoles were growing long in the tooth, and Grodhaus wanted a platform that would tick all the right boxes while future-proofing them for years to come. 

“We get a lot of guest engineers of various different experience levels,” noted Grodhaus. “The console had to be relatively easy to walk up to and start mixing in a hurry.” He also remarked that the venue hosts a variety of corporate and non-music events, meaning “the new console had to be flexible.”

Grodhaus compared Allen & Heath’s platform to other manufacturers during the purchasing process, but nothing matched dLive’s value and intuitive workflow. “I hadn’t heard a bad thing about dLive, and I appreciated that the company was continuously updating firmware with new features.”

Cain’s full setup now features a dLive DM32 MixRack for front of house, connected to a 28-fader, dual touchscreen S5000 control surface. The DM32 houses a gigaACE card, which allows for a simplified digital split over to a DM0 MixRack powering the monitor console, a 20-fader S3000. In addition, two DX168 expanders were included – which allow for easily accessible I/O on stage.

Grodhaus also added a 128-channel Waves card in the front of house system, in case any guest engineers wanted to use external Waves plugins. A Dante card was included too, which allows for simple multitrack recording or live streaming.

“My thinking behind the setup was flexibility and redundancy” recalled Grodhaus. “The DM32 has a redundant power supply, and the two DX168s plus DM0 can easily work as a backup front of house system in case there’s ever an issue.”

Grodhaus has been using dLive regularly since the venue’s upgrade, and his appreciation for the platform has grown significantly. “The native processing is strong enough that I don’t feel like I miss my external plugins,” said Grodhaus. “The only thing I was lacking was a source expander, but that was thankfully added in a recent dLive firmware update and it has been very useful.”  

Since Cain’s hosts many guest engineers, Grodhaus also has the opportunity to hear their opinions on the new house consoles. “Everybody seems to be very favorable towards it,” he said.  “Even the guest engineers who bring in their own consoles are curious about it, and some mention their interest in purchasing one in the future.”

Allen & Heath

In This Moment Tours with dLive S5000

Production manager and front of house sound engineer Brian Hardaswick started hearing buzz about Allen & Heath’s dLive series in early 2020. “I hit up Sound Image and they had them in stock, so I decided to try out mixing with some multitracks,” recounted Hardaswick. “I fell in love with it right away.” Unfortunately, the ensuing COVID pandemic prevented Hardaswick from taking the console out on the road. “I ended up going to our rehearsal space twice a week for six to eight hours just to practice mixing by myself on a PA.”

Two years later, as live music made its comeback, Hardaswick finally had the chance to take his dLive system on a headline tour with acclaimed heavy rock band In This Moment. “I was blown away by the console – how true the FX are, how responsive the gate and compression is,” noted Hardaswick. “Every little nuance and every little change I make is audible.” Hardaswick also remarked on dLive’s intuitive workflow. “I just sat down at the controls, and it made sense right out of the gate. It’s amazing that the fader layout is fully customizable with a simple drag-and-drop interface.”

The complete system for In This Moment’s tour includes an S5000 control surface, along with a DM64 MixRack – which features 64 mic preamps, 32 line outputs, and a powerful 128-channel 96kHz FPGA processor. Hardaswick also has a 128-channel WAVES3 module installed, which he uses for multitracking and virtual soundcheck with a computer. “The virtual soundcheck feature is an incredible tool. I love how easy it is to switch back and forth between playback and live mixing – especially at festivals when I don’t have much time to dial things in.”

In This Moment lead vocalist Maria Brink poses a unique challenge for Hardaswick, as her live performances involve use of a headworn microphone and lots of movement through noisy crowds. “The dLive’s DYN8 processor is huge for her, because there’s a lot of noise I need to take out – but I don’t want to remove anything important from her actual performance.” The DYN8’s DEEP multiband compressor and dynamic EQ allow for the plugins to only be active in affecting the signal when particular thresholds are hit at specific frequencies. “Her vocals have so much diversity. Sometimes she screams, sometimes she whispers, and I have to keep all that audible. DYN8 allows me to pull certain frequencies during screaming vocals, but also to emphasize frequencies when she’s whispering to make it feel more present and ‘in-your-face.’”

Hardaswick also lauded the built-in parallel compression that is available on every input and mix processing channel on dLive. “I used to have to burn my groups to get a compressor wet/dry mix,” explained Hardaswick. “It’s great that I don’t need a bunch of outboard gear – everything I need is right there.”

This year, In This Moment supported fellow heavy rockers Slipknot on their arena tour. They also performed at the Welcome to Rockville heavy metal festival at Daytona Beach, and are headlining at the Blue Ridge Rock festival in Virginia.

Allen & Heath

Sacramento Rock Group Dance Gavin Dance Opts for dLive

Front of house engineer Travis Wade first mixed on a dLive under some chaotic circumstances. “We were only expecting about six hundred people at a Suicidal Tendencies concert,” recounted Wade. “About four thousand attendees showed up.” The rental company did not have Wade’s usual audio console, but they assured him that the available dLive S5000 would be simple to learn. “I ended up having my mind blown by the desk. It was super easy to get going. I didn’t find myself having to navigate through many pages to get to the parameters I needed.”  

Unfortunately, that concert only lasted about four songs before the crowd got out of hand and the production had to be halted for safety.

Since that fateful day, Wade has shifted to dLive for tours with Sacramento heavy rock band Dance Gavin Dance. Formed in 2005, the group has sold over a million records and performed in nearly 30 countries. “For this tour, I went with a dLive S7000 surface and a DM48 MixRack rented through Sacramento Production Services,” explained Wade. “It’s hands-down my favorite desk I’ve ever been on. I’ve worked on consoles by many different manufacturers, and nothing could beat what it was like mixing on dLive.”


For additional I/O at the front of house position, Wade uses a DX168 expander – which adds 16 dLive mic preamps and 8 line outputs, and connects directly to a dedicated DX port on the back of his control surface.

When it comes to channel processing, Wade is thankful that he doesn’t need an external server to achieve the right sound. “Everyone’s had that nightmare where the external digital FX processor goes down mid-show and your entire mix is gone,” said Wade. “That was a big draw for dLive for me – everything I need is built-in.”

In December of 2020, Dance Gavin Dance held a unique livestream performance from the historic Tower Bridge in Sacramento – which Wade mixed and captured through his dLive. “We had only 12 hours to load in, get the performances, and tear down before they had to re-open the bridge for traffic,” recalled Wade. “We didn’t have time for any errors.” Luckily, his dLive served him well – allowing him to mix and capture individual tracks to a computer via Dante. 

Dance Gavin Dance is set to perform next at the upcoming When We Were Young festival in Las Vegas this October, alongside other big name rock groups such as My Chemical Romance and Paramore. For future tour dates in Europe, Wade noted that he will be bringing along a C1500 dLive surface to maintain the same processing power in a more portable form factor: “It is under the weight limit for airlines, which means I can fly with it with no issue.”

Allen & Heath

Allen & Heath dLive to Handle Front of House and Monitors for Upcoming Maggie Lindemann Tour

Audio engineer and Tour Manager George Adrian was first introduced to Allen & Heath’s dLive platform at a music festival, when he saw a fellow engineer using one. “I was really blown away by the compact form factor,” he recalled. Adrian later began to realize the advantages of owning his own touring desk, and dLive was a top contender. After evaluating his options, he landed on a 20-fader dLive C2500 surface and a CDM64 MixRack, which features 64 dLive mic preamps and 32 line outputs. Although he obtained it just before the COVID pandemic, Adrian has already taken his new dLive rig out for several major live runs. “The palette of creativity and flexibility is unbelievable,” he noted. “I’m learning new things all the time, and the workflow makes a lot of sense to me.”

Next up for Adrian and his dLive system is an upcoming sold-out tour for American pop punk artist Maggie Lindemann, who released her debut album Suckerpunch in 2022. Adrian is preparing to simultaneously run both front of house and in-ear monitors for the tour – which will make full use of dLive’s flexibility and processing power. “I try to use minimal compression for in-ear mixes,” said Adrian. “So that means double-patching some of the inputs and sending a different processed version to the front of house mix.”

dLive’s DEEP plugin package also comes in handy for Adrian, including the new Dual Threshold Expander introduced in dLive firmware 1.9. “I like it a lot for drums,” he explained. “I use it on basically all my channels.” Adrian also makes use of the DYN8 Dynamic EQ for things like lead vocals and kick drums. “I like to be able to boost certain frequencies only when that frequency crosses a set threshold – and avoid just boosting everything in that signal at that frequency all the time, like you would with a static EQ.”  Adrian notes that Dynamic EQs can help a lot with minimizing feedback as well as minimizing the emphasis of undesirable bleed or spill from the stage or crowd. In the case of vocals, Adrian uses a fast attack to grab and control peaks and then uses the dLive’s OptTronik compressor to add steady compression and balance out the signal.

Adrian also has a Dante card installed in his dLive, which allows for flexible connectivity and expansion. “Using Dante, I can get audio to and from my SMAART rig, I can record multitracks, and also run Virtual Soundcheck,” he explained. dLive’s Virtual Soundcheck feature has become a crucial tool for touring engineers on a tight schedule, by providing input sources to the PA without needing the actual band present. “On this run, we’re gonna have limited time before each performance,” noted Adrian. “We have to get a soundcheck done pretty quickly, and I can even check the IEM mixes without the artists actually playing on-stage.”

Lindemann’s tour begins in March of 2023 with US tour dates, then moves internationally to Australia and Europe in May.

Allen & Heath

Allen & Heath shines at AES2022 Show

Acclaimed audio console manufacturer Allen & Heath had its largest presence ever at the highly attended AES show in New York City this year, with an expanded booth and multiple dLive training sessions. The main booth featured the full range of Allen & Heath products, from compact analog ZED series mixers and interfaces to their flagship dLive digital 128-channel mixing consoles. Customers had the opportunity to get hands-on experience with hardware, and receive advice from Allen & Heath’s expert staff.

Training sessions were offered as well, with veteran live sound engineer Shawn McLoughlin hosting four separate sessions on Allen & Heath’s dLive platform. McLoughlin provided an overview of dLive hardware, as well as practical tips and tricks for configuration and mixing. Students were left with a deep understanding of dLive and everything the platform has to offer.

This year’s Allen & Heath booth also featured the AHM series of audio matrix processors, which are aimed at commercial installations in schools, restaurants, houses of worship, and other similar environments. Along with the processors themselves, Allen & Heath demonstrated various hardware and software control interfaces, as well as the variety of expanders comprising the “Everything I/O” ecosystem. Booth patrons saw the complex AHM back-end in System Manager software, as well as the simplified controllers and Custom Control interfaces, available on proprietary touch panels or various mobile devices.

“It was great to join the well over 100 audio exhibitors at the Javits Center and get a chance to connect with new and existing Allen & Heath fans across the industry,” notes Allen & Heath USA Director of Marketing, Jeff Hawley. “As new products like the expanded install-focused AHM Series made their AES debut in the exhibit area, we had the pleasure of offering up a number of packed training sessions on advanced live sound techniques with our dLive Digital Mixing System. Cool tech, engaged audio professionals, a chance to reconnect with old friends and to make new ones—AES New York 2022 definitely checked all of the boxes!”

Allen & Heath

Allen & Heath QU Series Plays Multiple Roles at Highview Baptist

Four Allen & Heath Qu Series digital mixers perform a wide variety of jobs for Highview Baptist in the smaller and medium-sized spaces across its three-campus network in Louisville, Kentucky. Technical Director Rick Mead says these rooms host everything from band or drama rehearsals to large meetings and conferences. “So, part of my job is to equip each of these spaces, and the groups who use them, with the audio systems and other tools they need to be successful.”

Highview’s first Qu Series mixer was a Qu-24, purchased from Full Compass Systems to replace an older analogue console. Mead says, “Honestly, we were so blown away by what that little mixer could do that it changed our thought process for our smaller spaces.” Highview then added three Qu-16s and Mead continued, “One of the things I love about the Qu Series is that, for a small mixer, the features and hardware are great. The preamps are super clean and the digital processing for reverbs and effects is actually better than some larger mixers I’ve worked with from other brands.”

Highview also purchased three AB168 portable remote AudioRacks to use as stage boxes and a ME Personal Mixer system for in-ear monitors in their main sanctuary that travels to the smaller spaces as needed. “After I put in that first AB168, I decided I was done with analogue snakes,” said Mead. “And all my band members just love the ME-1s.” Mead often records events using the mixer’s multi-track Qu-Drive output linked to a PC running Waves Tracks Live. For training and setup, he plays back the recordings using the mixer’s virtual soundcheck (VSC) feature.


Mead used his Qu-16s for a recent youth retreat. “We had two separate bands in two different spaces and, for the last session, we needed to combine them. I had spent a lot of time doing things like dialling in the drums and didn’t want to start that process over. So, I saved my show file on a flash drive. Then, I brought up another Qu-16 in a portable rack, recalled my settings from the flash drive and configured a few more inputs. What could have been a complicated setup became fluid and simple.”

Mead comments, “Allen & Heath is the only manufacturer I’ve found that keeps a similar workflow and structure from their smaller mixers, like the Qu, all the way up to their larger consoles, like SQ and the new Avantis. That greatly simplifies training and helps us standardize our systems. My ultimate goal is for us to be top to bottom Allen & Heath.”