Allen & Heath dLive System Packs A Heavyweight Punch On Devin Townsend’s Lightwork Tour

Canadian progressive metal pioneer Devin Townsend recently completed a European and UK tour in support of his latest album, 2022’s ‘Lightwork’, taking in shows from Oslo to Milan, Lisbon to London. Throughout the tour FOH engineer Chris Edrich and monitor engineer Samuel Chadwick handled their mixes on Allen & Heath dLive C1500 control surfaces, sharing a CDM32 Mix Rack between the two.

Supplied by STS Touring Productions and Pulse PA, the C1500s were chosen for their unique combination of small size, comprehensive feature set and excellent sound as Chadwick (who has previous experience touring dLive with Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy) explains, “The C1500/CDM package is incredible for touring. Although the venues we’re playing are similar capacities, the differences in stage size etc are significant. But the CDM is easy to fit in anywhere and I’ve never had a set-up this size that’s so functional and so musical, for the want of a better word.

“We’ve got the gigaACE networking card in the CDM32 so that we can run both C1500 surfaces on the single MixRack and we’re breaking out into two DX168s on the drum riser (with an additional DX168 at FOH providing additional I/O where necessary), which are daisychained. It’s all very streamlined and it’sbeen totally flawless for the whole tour.”

All dLive systems support MultiSurface mode, enabling the use of up to two surfaces with a CDM MixRackor up to four Surfaces with a DM MixRack. With preamp gain tracking and compensation, plus flexible options for each Surface’s access to the MixRack’s 128 input channels 64 busses and 500 Scenes, MultiSurface is ideally suited to sub-64 channel FOH/MON applications, parallel mixing (for instance,discrete main stage and B-stage control surfaces), or multi-operator sub-mixing on larger shows. 

While Chadwick has programmed scenes for each song in the set – and sometimes switches between scenes every few bars to ensure the perfect IEM mix – Edrich takes what he describes as a “more old-school” approach at FOH.

“I really like mixing in a very hands-on way,” he says, “I have an IP8 Remote Controller working in conjunction with my C1500 – I love having those few extra faders for my FX returns and tracks that I need access to regularly. Even though it’s a small-format surface I find the C1500 very tactile and great to mix in this way with.”

Neither Edrich nor Chadwick rely on external effects, preferring to use the dLive’s impressive built-in processing capabilities, with both singling out the Dyn8 EQ/multiband compressor for particular praise. “I love the Dyn8,” confirms Edrich. “I have them on inputs, sub-groups – it’s really useful for Devin’s vocalsbecause he uses a lot of head-voice, which adds a lot of resonance, so the Dyn8 keeps it really controlled and clear.

“I have a subgroup with Dev’s voice that I can use to compress everything between 350Hz and 4kHz on the backing tracks – that band is compressed by Dev’s voice, so they’re ducked when he sings. Super-useful. I’m at the point where I really have no need for external effects because the dLive is so good and everything’s rock-solid, with no added latency at all. It’s a really fantastic all-in-one touring system.”