Located in the Texas hill country, just west of Austin, the Crossroads Saloon and Steakhouse is billed as one of Fredericksburg’s most impressive restaurants and entertainment venues.  Crossroads offers live music Thursday through Sunday with dancing on a traditional wooden dance floor and regular appearances by local and national touring acts.  To support its live music, Crossroads recently upgraded its audio system with an Allen & Heath GLD-80 Chrome Edition digital mixer with an AR2412 AudioRack and AR84 Expander.

Josh Johnson, an independent front-of-house (FOH) engineer manages Crossroads’ audio system, mixes many shows and coordinates with each band.  He says Crossroads’ previous digital mixer, a 48-channel desk, was too large for the venue’s enclosed mix booth and it didn’t have the audio quality needed for Crossroads’ national acts.  Johnson, who has worked as a FOH engineer since 2008, had mixed on a GLD-80 several times in the past and recommended it to Crossroads.  

Johnson says the GLD-80 is extremely flexible and makes it easy to mix the wide variety of music played by the many different bands at Crossroads.  He starts from a standard setup but creates a custom GLD-80 “scene” with fader assignments, DSP settings and monitor mixes chosen for the needs of each band.  For quick access to groups like drums or instruments, Johnson assigns them to GLD-80 layers.  He also uses layers for DCAs, aux outputs and matrix feeds to the house system and monitors.

Crossroads’ GLD-80 includes a Dante card for multi-track recording and Johnson records many performances from a matrix output.  He saves each band’s scene for return performances and saves the entire GLD-80 configuration to a USB thumb drive for backup.

The GLD-80 has a wide range of built-in DSP including EQ, compressors and effects.  Johnson uses the GLD-80’s multi-band compressor for vocalists with uneven range or to reduce unwanted pickup from nearby instruments like cymbals.  He likes the GLD-80 Chrome Edition’s emulations of classic compressors and its new “Space Echo” effect.  

Crossroads’ mix booth is partially enclosed with glass and off to one side of the stage making it difficult to hear the band properly and mix the show.  For this reason, Johnson set up the GLD-80’s wireless iPad app which allows him to walk the house to check level and coverage.  He also says the GLD-80’s compact size “really cleaned up the footprint” in the mix booth and its built-in DSP effects allowed him to remove a whole rack of analog compressors and equalizers.  

Johnson says substitute engineers who come to Crossroads are able to learn the GLD-80 quickly.  He adds, “Everybody says there’s a dramatic improvement in headroom and sound quality.  The sound of the desk is much warmer than our previous mixer and the engineers are raving about it!”