Adlib’s Harry Brown found himself on the end of a challenging request from Chicky Reeves, sound engineer for established artiste Howard Jones, who turned to Adlib for console, personal mixing and wireless systems – all of which crucially, packaged in such a way that they would fit within weight & size restrictions imposed by taking the system on an aircraft – still fully catering for the performance requirements of Howard & band.
Following Chicky’s initial challenge, Harry liaised with Tour Manager Rob Roberts to establish how the console system, personal mixing and wireless systems would need to be packaged. They landed on a solution comprising an Allen & Heath dLive console package, paired with ME-1 Personal Mixers. These were supplied along with Sennheiser Evolution Wireless systems to match existing channels of wireless that were already part of the show.
The CDM48 Mixrack provided enough I/O to encompass the show’s channel count, whilst still being a very compact partner to the C1500 – the smallest console in the dLive range. ME-1 personal mixers allow the band to mix their own audio on-stage, providing the most compact and quickest set-up time possible. These are powered via PoE from an ME-U switch/hub, connected directly to the CDM48, allowing performers on stage access to all 48 channels of audio to create their personal mixes. Implementation of the ME-U hub also meant less individual power supplies/cabling on the stage, de-cluttering the band’s setup – very welcome to Howard who likes to get out from behind his keyboards during the show.
Having established weights and dimensions of the equipment necessary to cover the show’s audio needs, it was still to determine whether this equipment could fit on a plane. Given the weight requirements to minimise excess baggage charges, the tour grade heavy-duty flightcases that Adlib’s in-house team normally manufacture were out of the question – the solution required something smaller, and much lighter. Harry turned to Scott Dixon cases, who supply a set of products purpose-designed for the console and Mixrack. They also provided a customised version of their rack design to fit the wireless systems. These packaged the systems adequately, whilst meeting the size and weight restrictions possible. The resulting compact system packs down to just four cases, the rack cases all having wheels and pull-out suitcase handles for easy transportation.
The system immediately went into action on a string of dates throughout the UK and Europe, putting the system through its paces, and a few airports.
In addition to the ease of transportation, the personal mixing system also meant a reduced equipment and personnel footprint on the tour, bringing both costs and set-up times down.
Whilst the specified Allen & Heath dLive system ticked all the boxes, taking the time to understand the wider needs of the show was a crucial part of the solution Adlib provided. Harry said “The thing that it all boils down to is understanding the issue at hand – the problem the customer is facing. This is a bespoke solution. Everything is exactly as they need it. No more, and no less. So they can go off and do that tour, and not worry about it. It makes sense for them.”
Rob Roberts, Tour Manager for Howard Jones concluded “Harry and all the staff at Adlib went above and beyond to put together this system for us, quite a challenge given the very specific requirements and tight turn-around time we’d given them. From all of my experiences with Adlib over the years, I knew we were in safe hands.”
As for the dLive system itself, he added “it ticked all of the boxes for what can be quite a demanding show from an audio perspective. Howard really enjoys mixing up his live setup, often changing it to meet the needs of each gig individually. Having a small core setup that flies with us means that we can ensure consistency and quality wherever we are, and the flexibility of the dLive system means that on shows where a brass or string section is added, we can seamlessly integrate a larger control surface and extra stage boxes just for the night with minimal reprogramming.”