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Title: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Bennett Prescott on September 26, 2008, 02:08:15 am
I have made no secret of my positive feelings towards Allen & Heath's digital offering, I've wanted to really get my hands on this desk ever since it was introduced as a pre-production model a few years ago at, I believe, InfoComm. Not only is Carey Davies a great guy and LAB contributor, my homeboy Michael Palmer is now their National Sales Manager, and big props to Dave Lewty for truly outstanding support on his end. In any case, I bought Michael a boat and a house in the Bahamas, and he agreed to let me take this baby out for a spin.

The console arrives as a control surface with touchscreen and some local I/O, as well as a rack that contains all the "stage" I/O and the mixing brains, plus two power supplies. The control surface unfortunately came with a bum supply that wouldn't come up, and no backup built in or shipped with it, so A&H had to next day me one at, I'm sure, considerable expense. They were fantastic about it, and shit happens, so I really don't hold it against them.

Two ethernet cables connect the surface to the stage rack, one for audio and one for control. The audio runs over Ethersound, which is certainly nice, I don't know what protocol the control runs or whether it is possible to build in redundancy, and how much.

The iLive is available in three different surface configurations, primary differences being number of channel faders. The stage rack is modular and can be loaded however you want, and the surface has three bays in the back that can be loaded with analog or AES I/O. Mine came loaded with all outputs in the surface, and a 48x16 mix rack. I would have preferred a few inputs on the surface for playback and announce and that sort of thing, but the whole stage rack is sitting at FOH with me anyway so there's no real point.

Photos:
http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/88.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/90.jpg

The iLive is laid out with an angled top section that contains prolific indicators for selected channel functions. Preamp, insert, gate (with sidechain, EQ, Comp (with sidechain) and limiter/de-esser (with sidechain). The touch screen provides control for advanced console functions, as well as basic channel overviews and detailed screens for EQ, dynamics, etc.

Closeup of the selected channel control section and touch screen:
http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/86.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/87.jpg

Every channel has a fader, buttons for assignment, mute, PFL, and select, a rotary encoder, and a 12-segment LED meter.

Closeup of channel controls:
http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/89.jpg

The iLive 144 surface has banks of 16, 12, and 8 faders. It can be laid out however you want, with four available layers to each bank, but mine was laid out so that I had 16 input channels, a 12 fader master section, and 8 more input channels for a total of 24 per "layer". Layers can be switched independently (or linked together in a menu), so for instance I can leave channels 1-24 up on fader banks 1 and 3, while I switch my masters bank down a layer to get at my matrixes, auxes, or FX returns.

Messing around on the surface I discovered 8 built in FX, the ability to load the surface out to at least 64 inputs, and a very responsive interface.

http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/84.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/85.jpg
http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/91.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/118.jpg
Title: Saturday Night iLive
Post by: Bennett Prescott on September 26, 2008, 02:23:27 am
The show is the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA. I'd had this show earmarked ever since I'd gotten word I could probably borrow an iLive sometime, since I think it's the perfect application for this kind of desk. The Big E, as it is called, is three weekends and two weeks of shows with two stages, the Comcast Arena Stage seats 6,500 or so and runs one A-B level act per day Friday-Sunday. The Comcast Court of Honor stage seats 1,800 or so and alternates two bands for four shows a day the entire duration of the fair, one of the bands changes out every Monday and Friday or Saturday. The entertainment is a minor part of the fair, this past Saturday there were nearly 151,000 people on the ground for the rides, agricultural activities and competitions, and other fun nonsense. Trying to leave the fair at the end of the day is occasionally a hopeless task.

The iLive unfortunately didn't get used until weekend two due to the aforementioned power supply failure, but so far we've already put Malo (latin rock, and our "house band), Tiffany (that Tiffany, from the '80s), A Taste of Honey (Bass-guitar driven funk from the 80s), and Jypsi (country) on it. Finishing up the whole fair is Esteban (from the home shopping network). During the week soundco owners and LABsters Bill Forbes and Scott LaRochelle run the show on the Court of Honor stage since their main stage is shut down, on the weekend it's me at FOH and professional wrestler Keith Lussier on deck (he gets a Ramsa 840).

Aside from a few minutes at trade shows and in the shop, I walked up to the iLive blind on Saturday. Bill had swapped it in the night before and mixed the "house band", Malo, on it but we had a new act "Jypsi" due to go on at 3. Naturally, there was no stage plot and no band. Stage plot showed up around 2:30, band showed up around 2:59. Four women with DIs across the front, three of them sing, bass, drums. Fortunately, the bass rig and drum kit were shared with Malo, so I didn't have to do much to them. Bill had started me off with a scene for Malo, so I set up a new one for Jypsi, and we were off.
Title: Actually Mixing On The Thing
Post by: Bennett Prescott on September 26, 2008, 02:47:47 am
Bill had laid the groundwork for my mix for the first band, so I was just making tweaks... getting my tom gates in a little tighter, adjusting compressors and finding that nasty thing in the lead guy's voice with the EQ, etc.

I called Dave on his cell with a few configuration questions before the noon show, mostly I wanted to get some more VCAs up on my center fader bank and bury my L, C, and Sub faders but leave a "main out" fader up on the top layer. It's great that the iLive is so configurable as to what fader in what layer does what, and really nice that I can have more than 8 VCAs (I used 10, and dedicated the extra 2 to Vox FX and Other FX, which saved me a bank switch). As long as the console is already set up the way you want it (and it was 95% there for me) it's super easy to walk up to and use, but you do have to go into the menus if you want to change it. Dave was super helpful and walked me through it quickly and got the concept right in my head so I'm comfortable doing it myself now.

For the aforementioned 3:00 band that showed up at 2:59, I put their three vocals on channels 22-24 so they were on the top layer on my rightmost fader bank. For their four DId instruments I put them in 25-28 on the second layer of my leftmost fader bank. Since the banks can be switched independently, I spent most of the time on the second layer of my leftmost fader bank, which kept everything important right at my fingertips. If I needed to make changes to the kit or bass I just paged back a layer, but that was pretty dialed in so I pretty much didn't have to touch it. Vocals practically had their own layer on fader bank 3 that only needed to change if I wanted to get at my FX sends, which were conveniently all on layer 4 of that bank.

In any case, I had an easy job of it since half the band was already dialed. I wiped out all my unused channels, brought up their vocals and DIs quickly, and saved to a new scene. Recallability is all sorts of fun, I may have been sharing a few physical channels between bands but I could adapt all the settings to compensate for different styles and volumes... comp the hell out of that bass, and loosen up the gates on the kit since their drummer blew.

And Now, Bennett Hedges About Sound Quality:
OK, not really. The iLive sounds really good, to be honest. It's crystal clear, I had no problem getting the vocals out front and giving every instrument some space. Everything came out of the PA the way I was hoping it might, and I spent my time correcting imperfections in the source rather than fighting a slightly muddy mixer. Congrats, guys.
Title: Things I've Liked A Lot So Far
Post by: Bennett Prescott on September 26, 2008, 03:08:23 am
First of all, look at how great these channel labels pop out under direct sunlight!
http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/82.jpg
Now THAT's what I'm talking about when I ask for clearly visible displays on digital consoles.

Even better, when there's a little less light each channel has a multi-color backlight that is user-adjustable, but defaults to channel type (inputs are one color, groups another, auxes another). In the dark, the console is lit up like a christmas tree. Fortunately there's an LED dimmer right on the front so you can get it down and the it's super easy to find your way around on:
http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/95.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/97.jpg

Now, the iLive feels like it has a lot of analog design heritage to it. It's very easy to walk up to and use, there's lots of control, the learning curve is really just tiny. For some of the more advanced features I had to hit a manual, but for 90% of mixing tasks I was ready to go in 30 seconds.

The iLive also features a LOT of fader flip (which you can set to go to v-pots instead), which is intuitive most of the time. Find an output, press its corresponding blue "mix" button and you're looking at everything from that output's perspective. It's easy to use this to mix monitors or effects, and pushing an output's mix button to deactivate it returns you to FOH mode. I like it a lot, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that more than once I was in an FX send fader flip and thought I wasn't, ended up with a LOT of wet and it took me a few seconds to realize why I wasn't getting more lead vox.

The metering is also really great... not so much the channel meters, although they're fine generic seeming meters (and a gain reduction meter would be really really nice there as well), but the selected channel controls meters are fantastic. When you're setting your compressor threshold, for instance, there's a little red LED to tell you where your threshold is set, but then all the other LEDs in the snazzy looking arc act as an input meter so you can easily determine where you're setting your threshold relative to your input signal. Same thing with the gate and limiter, although if you set the limiter section to de-ess mode it shows you depth instead.

Another thing I like a lot is each dynamics section has a little histogram that shows you past gain reduction activity. I use it all the time to see how much I'm taking off the lead vocalist, or if the tom 1 gate fired while I was adjusting the tom 2 gate. Fantastic idea, I'd like to see more of it.

http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/110.jpg

Speaking of dynamics, great dynamics! And lots of them! The gate is simple, clean, and does exactly what you ask of it. The compressor is simple and gets out of your way. Having a sidechain built in for that is especially nice. Not only that, but having an adjustable (and side-chainable) limiter section right after the comp was also great. I set it to de-ess on some female vocalists and it was a lifesaver there, but one band had a guitarist who was all over the map. I comped him 2:1 and took 8dB or so off, and then slapped on a limiter on top of that to take another 3 or so off when he really got out of control. After that (well, plus a little doubling effect) he sat right where I put him in the mix. Limiter sounds good, too.
Title: Things I Haven't Liked That Much So Far
Post by: Bennett Prescott on September 26, 2008, 03:29:12 am
Unfortunately, in moderate sunlight while the channel scribble strips are clearly visible, the LEDs and touch screen wash out. The touch screen's no so bad, actually, but the LEDs all but disappear, even at full brightness. I kind of need them to mix.

The channel scribble strips, additionally, are only 5 characters. You'd think that wouldn't be such a big thing, but having 5 characters instead of 6 like I had on that other digi desk was actually kind of a pain. Try indicating "Second Band Stage Right Guitar SM57" in 5 characters. 2SRG7? G2>57? One more character lets you do "GT2>57" which is, like, way better. Imagine what I could do with seven character!

Additionally, while moving an input fader, the scribble strip display changes to the position of that fader in decibels. That's all well and good, but then I can't see what fader I'm controlling after all. This was annoying more than once... I'd rather just not have it at all. The fader is right there, I can see right where it is... or should be. I've also noticed that if I take a row of faders and line them all up perfectly so they think they're at 0dB, they don't line up perfectly on the console. They're always plus or minus several dB... so it's hard to quickly throw faders where they need to go, which means a lot of mixing with my eyes, which is never good.

While the physical interface for the console is very polished and usable, and overall one of the best I've seen (and I'd say the best in this price range), the interface behind the touch screen is not as polished. It could be a lot more information dense, it could be a little shallower (I shouldn't have to dick around two layers deep on the touch screen so much), and it could be higher contrast. For instance, here are shots of a couple of channel screens, I think you'll see what I mean:

http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/100.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/101.jpg
http://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/102.jpghttp://www.bennettprescott.com/images/digi_ah_road_test/Thumbnails/104.jpg

There's a lot of wasted space, some controls (especially the graphs on the overall channel screen) are very hard to interpret quickly, and some graphs (the EQ!) are oddly squished so they're an abnormal aspect ratio, which makes it very difficult to quickly get an idea of exactly how big a cut or a boost I'm making. For the compressor especially, engaging the "soft knee" only appears to change the ratio and threshold on the screen, it should round off the knee... in general the whole screen interface feels a little rough and could definitely use a graphic designer. It's usable, but there's too much of a disconnect between what my eye is seeing and my ear is hearing.

Back to the subject of sound quality, while the mixer sounds great during normal operation, when it clips it REALLY clips. Like, clipping a Mackie mixer bad. You can hear it, but unfortunately it's hard to see since the clip indicators on the channels only stay on a second or so, and if you're a bank away there's a clip indicator per bank so you should know where to go, but it only stays on for a second as well, so by the time you've heard it and reacted you can't see it anymore. Get to the right bank and then you have to wait, watch the board, and hope it happens again (or that you were able to identify the channel by ear). I was unable to find any menu option to extend this.

Additionally, while I found it a little easy to clip the front end, I also managed to clip some of the internal processing. That just shouldn't be... once I get the signal in, I should be able to beat it up however I please as long as I bring it back down so I don't clip my analog output on its way out of the desk. I found myself having to worry a bunch about gain-staging internally... on a digital console! That was annoying, especially because the clip indicators didn't stay on long enough for me to figure out what was clipping. I managed to catch a compressor doing it once, or else I never would have looked for it.

Finally, the internal effects are a little lackluster. They do the job, and they offer reasonable amounts of control, but I spent a lot of time looking for reverbs that didn't sound like, y'know, a ton of generic reverb. It was very hard to find a 'verb that complimented vocals especially, and while there were tons of helpful presets for brass and percussion and doubling and flanging, there were only one or two (if that many) for vocals. I'm not sure I ever found one that really worked the way I wanted it to, and I'm not sure I can really describe what it was doing that I didn't like, but I know I can do better and the console wasn't letting me.
Title: Next Steps
Post by: Bennett Prescott on September 26, 2008, 03:52:50 am
Seeing as I'm on this desk again in... 8 hours, I'd better get to bed and get some sleep. I'll try and update from my phone in between shows as other thoughts come to me. I'll check the Road Test forum to see if there are any questions, as well. And of course, if anyone is in the area and would like to come see for themselves, give my cell phone a call, I'd love to see you!
Title: Re: Next Steps
Post by: Mike Palmer on September 26, 2008, 05:31:37 pm
Bennett, thanks for the review, I have a few comments.

On your comment on the fader values on the scribble strips.

You can turn those off, so they never go to levels, they always display the channel number/name.


Try the 480L Reverb, its an amazing multi-layered reverb that really does sound great. the other jewel in the FX is the VOC. 2 tap delay very nice delay unit.


you do know that you have 1/3 octave graphic on every output also right?? As well as delay with temperature compensation and comp/limiter/de-esser and 4 band parametric (thats 32 totaly btw)


If you do not want to flip between faders send and faders operating input level, you can turn that function off in the routing feature and have the AUX sends send on ROTARIES, that way the faders never flip to AUX or FX send levels.

Go into the fx or the aux, push the routing button under the screen and on the right side of the screen is a button called "send faders on rotaries" when you do that, the knob above each channel fader sends the aux or fx level instead of the fader flipping to that level.

we also now have the offline/online editor on the website go there and download if you want.

Also when you are PFL'ing a channel if you hit the select button on any of the processing (parametric, comp, gate, etc) you can PFL that particular processor and find out exactly where you are driving the signal.




Title: Re: Next Steps
Post by: Bennett Prescott on September 28, 2008, 09:31:20 am
Mike,

I did find that option in the menu. I'm playing with it both ways, I think I work better with it off, but I can see if I was mixing, say, theater or a corporate show where I have to hit precise gains I'd want it on... of course, then I could just use the (very easy to use) automation.

The delay is very nice, and super easy to use. Having the tap tempo button right on the touch screen is cool, and it works. I'm liking the reverbs on percussion and horns, but I still haven't found one I'm in love with on vocals. They're all good, but I'm not getting "great". I'm starting to blame me.

I'm using both the parametric and the graphic on the mains and auxes, plus the dynamics on the auxes. Nice feature to have. The parametric is my array compensation EQ, and I gave the BE the graphic on faders. Is there a way to stereo link them across the mains? I've been setting one and then copying it over.

Know about the fader flip or rotary encoder option, prefer it on faders... once you forget which mix you're on once or twice it's habit to check from then on and then it's a lot faster to use the faders.

Still love the desk, even in the driving rain this weekend (well, not the desk, I'm in a tent). It's nice to be able to spend most of my time on the surface and only have to go to the touchscreen for deeper config stuff or setting up FX. The touchscreen is very usable, and the little keyboard that pops up to set channel names, etc is handy. No need to truck one around.

I don't know if I mentioned it earlier, but the color coded channel scribble strips are a great idea. Easy visual confirmation that you're on the right bank, or not on the right bank, or going for your FX returns when you want sends. Also, it looks cool in the dark.

We've got Esteban for two days this weekend and I got his BE up and running on the board, completely comfortable, in 5 minutes. He was comfortable to sound check almost immediately, explaining what was on each bank and how to mix FX with fader flip took the rest of the time.
Title: Re: Next Steps
Post by: Bennett Prescott on September 28, 2008, 12:08:10 pm
An annoying thing about automation... There's no confirmation dialog when either saving or recalling a scene. We're using scenes for each band, with totally different mains EQ, channel settings and routing, etc. I have made changes to my current mix, gone to save them, and hit recall instead of "Store All" in my haste, wiping out all my hard work. I haven't yet stored over an entire scene from another, but that would be even more tragic. Please add a clearly worded warning dialog!

Additionally, stereo channel settings are not stored in scenes. I made two keyboard channels stereo for another BE and now they're stereo in the scene for the band I'm mixing too! Fortunately they're channels I'm not using, but there's absolutely no reason to make stereo channels so complex and special.

Safing channels from automation is, fortunately, simple and works.  
Title: Re: Next Steps
Post by: Darren Scaresbrook on September 28, 2008, 12:42:40 pm
Hi Bennett,
If you go to the preferences page you can turn on the confirmation dialogue box for saving/recalling scenes and shows.
Also, check how you are saving, as the ilive lets you save only some, or all of the parameters in a scene dependant on your needs.
Which version firmware are you running? The latest 1.32 adds some very nice features.
Cheers,
      Darren
Title: Re: Next Steps
Post by: Bennett Prescott on September 28, 2008, 02:55:14 pm
Found it, much better now. I'm running 1.31... What does the extra .01 gain me?
Title: Re: Next Steps
Post by: Toby Mills on September 28, 2008, 11:58:53 pm
Bennett

Version 1.32 gives you the offline / online editor capability.
It is very nice, I used the online editor on saturday to give a drummer control over his own IEM mix using a laptop (you can connect up to 16).

The drummer was blown away and I didn't have to worry about constantly adjusting his send.

I've personally found the verbs to be pretty outstanding.
As mike says, the 480 patch is really something special.

I've had the usual 'digital console' problem with ambient light a couple of times and now just make a cardboard sheath that extends over the top and sides of the screen to stop lighting reflecting off the surface. Its also pretty common to black the roof of the tent when using a digi desk, why oh why are they always made out of white canvas? Even throwing a black drape over the outside of the tent makes a huge difference.

Have you found yourself having more fun mixing with this console than usual?


Cheers and have fun.

Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Bennett Prescott on October 01, 2008, 10:50:20 am
Well, that show is over. Can't say I'm happy to have to get back to a daily routine, it was nice to worry about nothing but shows for a few weeks, and hang out with old friends while working together under fire.

The iLive was a joy to mix on right through the last show, and as much as I hated to see it go, it was a joy to pack up as well! It took myself and my buddy Tony all of 15 minutes to completely un-patch and pack up FOH. There's a lot to be said for small and light...

http://bennettprescott.com/images/bige2008/Thumbnails/83.jpg

Rewind 48 hours, though, and we had Esteban on stage for the last weekend. I've worked with his engineer before when he was mixing Dian Diaz, so I had an idea of what was needed walking in, which was nice. Alex thought the iLive looked "cool", which I took to mean he was happy to see it, so we went over his rider and I built him a  scene. I then gave him the 5 minute tour (bus and VCA assignments, here's how to use the aux-fed subs, here's how to use the FX and how to adjust them) and sound check began. He was fine almost immediately, aside from a few small questions and a false move (that channel's still on because you're in FX-on-faders mix mode) there were no major hiccups. By the end of the first show he was happily mixing away and no longer stopping to think twice before making an adjustment. If that's all I have to do to get guest engineers up to speed on a fairly powerful digital desk like this, I'll be happy.

The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful. Switch scenes to "Malo", mix Malo. Switch scenes to "Esteban", babysit Alex. Rinse, repeat. Automation safes kept my announcer channel (with the excelleny Charley Van Buskirk) and my playback channels freed up between shows, so all Keith (my monitor guy) and I had to do was move a few mics and channels around between sets.

Nothing else comes to mind right now, so here are some final weekend photos:

http://bennettprescott.com/images/bige2008/Thumbnails/33.jpghttp://bennettprescott.com/images/bige2008/Thumbnails/35.jpg
http://bennettprescott.com/images/bige2008/Thumbnails/39.jpghttp://bennettprescott.com/images/bige2008/Thumbnails/50.jpg
http://bennettprescott.com/images/bige2008/Thumbnails/52.jpghttp://bennettprescott.com/images/bige2008/Thumbnails/79.jpg
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: drewgandy on October 03, 2008, 12:32:34 am
Bennett Prescott wrote on Fri, 26 September 2008 01:08


The console arrives as a control surface with touchscreen and some local I/O, as well as a rack that contains all the "stage" I/O and the mixing brains, plus two power supplies.



Do I read the specs correctly that the "stage" rack weighs 93 lbs empty and the actual working pieces in the rack weigh 57 lbs? It looks to be a shock rack but isn't that a bit heavy for a 9 space rack?  

drew
Title: Re: Things I Haven't Liked That Much So Far
Post by: Michael 'Bink' Knowles on October 06, 2008, 10:37:37 am
Bennett Prescott wrote on Fri, 26 September 2008 00:29

...I also managed to clip some of the internal processing. That just shouldn't be... once I get the signal in, I should be able to beat it up however I please as long as I bring it back down so I don't clip my analog output on its way out of the desk...


That's a great idea! Which digital consoles currently implement it? The A&H iLive isn't unusual in this respect.

Of course, the idea would only be practical in the digital realm. Allowing the user to boost every band of EQ like crazy (for instance) in the analog realm while staying within channel headroom limitations would take far too much circuitry.

-Bink
Title: Re: Things I Haven't Liked That Much So Far
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on October 06, 2008, 12:04:43 pm
Michael 'Bink' Knowles wrote on Mon, 06 October 2008 09:37



That's a great idea! Which digital consoles currently implement it? The A&H iLive isn't unusual in this respect.

Of course, the idea would only be practical in the digital realm. Allowing the user to boost every band of EQ like crazy (for instance) in the analog realm while staying within channel headroom limitations would take far too much circuitry.

-Bink


While I am a neophyte about things DSP it would take a lot of processor headroom to anticipate overload for every process, but there is a capability to monitor actual overflow of internal accumulators. I was involved with one early digital efx engine we used in inexpensive powered mixers and such. The digital boys used the overflow flag to light a LED, but the early low bit rate platform with gobs of HF pre-emphasis was easily overloaded, and differently for different presets.  

Since I was just an analog puke, I connected that overflow LED line to a simple FET shunt limiter and got a lot more usable headroom with that early digital black box. Since it was an effects only path, building in some unconventional limiting was less objectionable than being hissy and/or clipping all the time.

I have given this some general thought for digital consoles. Summing bus overload becomes a matter of limiting, a simple multiplication in the digital domain. More difficult is manipulating the input signal but there are already mic preamps with digital gain control.  If this was set up to transparently cut input or output gain to prevent clipping, you get the unintended consequence of turning down the overall level when you boost one narrow frequency band into saturation.

I guess it depends on the nature of the overload, but there is no magic solution for simply too much gain/boost for the path. Clipping the channel with less than unity contribution to the mix bus, means you can transparently adjust the gain structure down and then up to unity without changing the mix. However beyond unity feed to the bus It will hit the limiters somewhere in the chain.

Digital consoles are more powerful but you can't make them operator proof and give the operator so much control. A different EQ meme where instead of literally boosting/or cutting a frequency you dial in a target spectral balance, might be harder to screw up but some will miss the literal control.

I am inclined to just stop boosting when saturation occurs, but this could prevent some EQ for effect (?), and you wouldn't want it to go back and un-tweak your EQ settings.  Most of my though was done in the context of a recording environment so I was thinking of a global lock after controls were set and tested for expected levels. A saturation detector with long hold time advised you if you hit the wall during a take.

The future hasn't happened yet so who knows, not me.

YMMV

JR

Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Bennett Prescott on October 06, 2008, 02:09:09 pm
drewgandy wrote on Fri, 03 October 2008 00:32

Do I read the specs correctly that the "stage" rack weighs 93 lbs empty and the actual working pieces in the rack weigh 57 lbs? It looks to be a shock rack but isn't that a bit heavy for a 9 space rack?

Drew,

Nothing struck me as particularly heavy (both pieces in cases are an easy two man lift), but the stage rack does appear to have some sort of metal framework (steel? Aluminum?) surrounding it that could add some weight, said framework also appears to hold the rack rails.
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Jim Duyck on October 06, 2008, 04:54:50 pm
is it just me, or does the casing A&H provided seem to be rather low end for such expensive equipment???
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Bennett Prescott on October 06, 2008, 08:14:06 pm
It didn't strike me as anything but good quality, but I don't know whose it is, or whether it is provided by default.
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Toby Mills on October 06, 2008, 08:19:49 pm
+1

The roadcases with the I-Live are very high quality.
The only thing (which I believe they have now addressed) were the wheel locks on mine failed.

The cases are made by a company not far from A&H UK I believe, someone did say but I'll have to look it up.
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Mike Palmer on October 07, 2008, 04:11:19 pm
None of you guys mentioned that the Cases are FREE!!!


any other console mfr. include the cases for free??


Are the  best you can buy UH NO.... but the price is great!!!
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Jim Duyck on October 07, 2008, 11:33:53 pm
cool.   Cool
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: drewgandy on October 08, 2008, 05:06:03 pm
Bennett Prescott wrote on Mon, 06 October 2008 13:09



Nothing struck me as particularly heavy (both pieces in cases are an easy two man lift), but the stage rack does appear to have some sort of metal framework (steel? Aluminum?) surrounding it that could add some weight, said framework also appears to hold the rack rails.


Part of what makes digital consoles appealing is that they can be smaller and lighter; sortof.  I was hoping the smallest option of iLive would be capable of a one man setup.  I guess I'll have to check that out when I do an iLive demo.  

Thanks

drew
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Peter Morris on October 09, 2008, 07:56:27 am
I have the iLive80 on demo at the moment – and yes one person can set it up (provided that you don’t have to lift the mix rack). Last time I picked up an analog desk with that many functions it took 8 of us!  It’s absolutely ridiculous - such a small surface with 48 plus inputs.

What I have at the moment has 64 inputs + 16 out puts on the rack, with 16 in + 8 out on the surface.

You can’t use all of these with the 80 surface at the same time but you can configure 80 inputs and outputs however you like.

Currently it’s configured with 48 in + 8 x Aux &, LR on the stage rack with another 8 in on the surface. I also have LR, 8 x DCA’s, 6 x EFX, 8 x AUX on the surface…. and it looks not much bigger than an over grown Mixwizard!

I think part of the trick with the iLive is how you set the surface up.  I find that after using analog desks for so long that the AUX and EFX sends on the rotary knobs more intuitive than the fader flip option.

Peter
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Mike Palmer on October 10, 2008, 03:08:32 pm
I have an iLive 112 and I can easily set it up by myself.. No problem.

It fits perfectly in a minivan too.


Title: Re: Things I Haven't Liked That Much So Far
Post by: John Chiara on October 12, 2008, 10:35:49 am
[quote title=John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Mon, 06 October 2008 12:04]
Michael 'Bink' Knowles wrote on Mon, 06 October 2008 09:37



I am inclined to just stop boosting when saturation occurs, but this could prevent some EQ for effect (?), and you wouldn't want it to go back and un-tweak your EQ settings.  Most of my though was done in the context of a recording environment so I was thinking of a global lock after controls were set and tested for expected levels. A saturation detector with long hold time advised you if you hit the wall during a take.

The future hasn't happened yet so who knows, not me.

YMMV

JR




I am curious as to when a mix person needs to do a whole bunch of boosting anyway. I never encounter a mix where boosting much of anything helps..usually the opposite.

John
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Özgür ÇAKICI on October 23, 2008, 04:08:02 pm
I am a freelance. I use generally  PM5D or M7CL.
2 times i use the i144. EQ, comp-gate and also Fx's are better than M7CL! close to  PM5D.
Especially FXs, especially 480 is great.

But monitor mix are very hard, difficult. Also no flip mix mode Sad

Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Bennett Prescott on October 23, 2008, 07:08:14 pm
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Peter Morris on October 23, 2008, 08:36:40 pm
Hi Bennett

I had an opportunity to watch a bunch of audio engineering students try to operate an iLive for the first time.

After that I reconfigured the console so that all of the Aux and EFX sends are on the Vpots.   I like this much better than the fader flip, and for a first time user it’s the way to go. I think AH should make this the default setting.

I put the L & R masters so they appear on every layer – It’s not really necessary but you can now see them no matter where you are - it seems to make people feel a little safer.

It now “drives” just like analogue console for FOH or Monitors - very simple and logical.

To further simplify things I  “fixed” the EFX return level and removed the return fade. The channel send is on the V pot and there appears to be only one EFX master on the fader. (There may be some issues with this approach if you are using groups instead of DCA’s – turn the group off and you will still have efx)


Peter
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Ryan Garnett on October 24, 2008, 10:58:40 am
In the digital domain is not everything represented by just a number? (or well a sequence of bits that represent a number). If that's the case, digital clipping occurs when you've reached the "biggest number" that the system allows. So ultimately, just make the "biggest number" even bigger and then you should have ungodly amounts of internal gain before clipping, and then at output time, just attenuate things back down to reasonable analog output levels. I suppose this would cost more, as instead of having say a 16 bit or 24 bit signal path, you might now need 32 bit and the components and such would be more expensive...but at least you'd have gobs of headroom right?
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on October 24, 2008, 12:01:16 pm
Ryan Garnett wrote on Fri, 24 October 2008 09:58

In the digital domain is not everything represented by just a number? (or well a sequence of bits that represent a number). If that's the case, digital clipping occurs when you've reached the "biggest number" that the system allows. So ultimately, just make the "biggest number" even bigger and then you should have ungodly amounts of internal gain before clipping, and then at output time, just attenuate things back down to reasonable analog output levels. I suppose this would cost more, as instead of having say a 16 bit or 24 bit signal path, you might now need 32 bit and the components and such would be more expensive...but at least you'd have gobs of headroom right?


It took me a while to find what post you were responding to..

Yes, inside the digital domain you can add more bits with each extra bit doubling the dynamic range, or use floating point math where you have a fixed resolution and scale that up or down for near infinite headroom.

More useful for real time live use to apply limiting or clip at the point of overload, relative to full scale.

It is appropriate and useful to build in some digital headroom for processes that need it, but in some ways this problem is the same as in analog consoles. You headroom is ultimately defined by the output. While I guess you can always do worse than that.
------
In response to Bennet's specific complaint.. I see two possible mitigations. If there are some extra artifacts being generated beyond simple clipping, Some effects can have have math headroom issues. it seems software tweaks should be able to improve that.

Regarding the problem of having to page through multiple layers to find the offending control, one idea I had a long time ago was to have the control surface snap to the channel or layer when it detects audibly significant overload.  This feature might be distracting to some, so should be user optional. I never ended up pursuing that project so there may be practical problems with just adding this to a finished hardware implementation.

One very powerful benefit about operating in the digital domain is the ability to incorporate nonlinear decision making to help us much slower humans.

JR

 
Title: Re: Next Steps
Post by: Dylan Shepherd on October 29, 2008, 07:14:21 am
Toby Mills wrote on Mon, 29 September 2008 13:58


<snip>

Have you found yourself having more fun mixing with this console than usual?


Cheers and have fun.
<snip>




Hey Toby,

Good to see you around!

Are you still doing IEM/Monitors for Jimmy Barnes?

Think last time i saw you was over here at an outdoor fest on the central coast ??
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Thomas Mikarlsen on October 29, 2008, 08:44:18 pm
Toby Mills wrote on Tue, 07 October 2008 01:19

+1

The roadcases with the I-Live are very high quality.
The only thing (which I believe they have now addressed) were the wheel locks on mine failed.



We had our iLive delivered with the same kind of flimsy wheel locks. A&H were happy to supply us with decent ones free of charge. The cases are excellent, they will last a lifetime.
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: gordon mcgregor on December 07, 2008, 06:47:19 pm
I've been asked to stand in at a church for the next few weeks to give the regular guy a break,    they have a brand new Ilive 80. Today was my first shot at it and I have to agree with most everything that Bennett said in his review.  I was using a patch and configuration that was already set however it didn't take much to see how I could alter things to suit my taste and way of working. The one thing that could catch you out till your used to it is mixing away happily only to discover that you are on a different mix (aux out or FX send) Only nearly happened once during the service but when I was getting the 10 cent tour it happened a couple of times.
Overall it seems a good system and at least with the small console it would be no problem to move single handed as long as there aren't too many stairs, though I do wonder what the SD8 is going to do to its market.
One question is it possible to delay the local monitor output as the desk is stuck away in a really awkward position largely out of the sound field of the speakers and I was thinking of tsking in some near field speakers, running the system by laptop isn't an option just now as there are several cd track playing cues most services and a recorder needs to be started for the preach
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Mike Palmer on December 09, 2008, 04:14:46 pm
Gordon, yes it is possible to add delay to the local PFL/IEM monitor mix.

Under PFL there is a Delay tab, you can choose between feet (with temp compensation) MS or Meters.


If when you have an AUX or an FX selected, if you push the routing button under the touch screen.

you will see a Routing view for the Aux or the FX whichever you have selected, on the right hand side of the touch screen there is a touch button called "mix on rotaries" if you press that (per FX or PER AUX) it will put the Aux Mix or the FX mix on the rotary encoders above each channel, instead of the send  being on the faders.

My preference is to put Aux's send on faders and FX sends on rotaries, but that is just my preference.


Feel free to contact myself or Dave Lewty at the office
Dave is our iLive Product Specialist/sales manager
his email is
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: gordon mcgregor on December 09, 2008, 07:13:49 pm
Thanks Mike, I'll give the nearfields a shot next time, the mix button thing will probably not be an issue as long as I pay attention, I don't want to change too much as I'm only doing this for about 6 weeks or so. The church band have a rehearsal on Thursday so I get to go and play more in a less pressured situation .  Liking the desk so far, just wish the church had thought about its install, just now its like buying a 50" TV then standing behind it and watching the screen on a mirror at the other side of the room.  Hopefully I won't have to do too much as every thing is more or less patched etc, though Christmas is coming along with the inevitable "special" service so it may be a "Wish me luck Scotty" scenario next Sunday evening. Gordon
Title: Re: Allen & Heath iLive 144
Post by: Toby Mills on December 22, 2008, 05:45:12 pm
So Bennett
having now road tested the I-Live and the Profile.
Which was your favourite.