Playing SXSW is a big deal for any band, but if you’ve traveled thousands of miles from another continent, the pressure is only heightened. To give the artists playing the British Music Embassy Showcase at SXSW one less thing to worry about, Cato Music, the production company for the BME, deployed an in-depth audio system that centered around Allen & Heath dLive digital mixers inside the Latitude 30 club.

At the British Music Embassy, 10 to 12 bands performed each day of the festival, with a new band every 35 minutes during the afternoon showcase and again at night.  Each band wanted a quick setup to maximize their play time and many brought their own FOH engineer who needed crash-course training on dLive.

The mix position and stage were separated by a standing audience, making it difficult to do monitor mixing from the FOH position and limiting the routes for temporary cabling. Also, the designers wanted digital networking in part for a multi-track recording feed for the BBC, which planned to broadcast much of the British Music Embassy programming over BBC Radio in the UK. 

To meet these challenges, the team designed a fully digital system with a dLive S5000 mixer for FOH and a dLive S3000 for monitors.  They added a DM64 AudioRack on the stage for the monitors with a digital split to a DM32 for FOH. A Pakedge Ethernet switch routed Dante networking from the FOH dLive to two BBC computers for recording and to the line array processor.  A pair of Cat 6 cables (one redundant) above the Latitude 30’s ceiling connected the FOH dLive to its DM32 AudioRack and eliminated the need for an analog copper snake across the floor.  Audience coverage was provided by a pair of line arrays and bands had a choice of in-ear or stage wedges for monitors.

For each new band, the team used dLive drag ‘n drop setups for custom fader assignments and the FOH engineer’s choice of FPGA EQ and effects. Since most bands did not bring a monitor engineer, monitors were mixed on the dLive S3000 by Stephen Davies for Cato Music and Mike Bangs, touring specialist at American Music & Sound, Allen & Heath’s US distributor. James Duvall, commercial solutions specialist at American Music & Sound, was on hand to advise arriving engineers, together with Christopher Kmiec on FOH babysitting duty for Cato Music.

Visiting FOH engineer, Rachel Ryan, aka “MrSoundlady” concluded, “SXSW is hard enough on engineers and bands as it is, but the dLive made a normally crazy gig really pleasant and the sound was great! I'd love to get the chance to use a dLive again in a not so rushed situation."

Those weren’t the only A&H desks at SXSW, however. A GLD-80 was installed at the Threadgills venue to manage its roster, plus local PA company, Rock ‘n Roll Rentals, supplied Qu mixers to various smaller venues. dLive was requested for broadcast duties at the SPIN magazine party at Stubbs, where Chvrches, Deftones and Vince Staples played, and a GLD-80 Chrome system with Waves was used by Tommy Williams mixing Ry-X for his performance at St David’s Episcopal Church.