Remington Smith, Crossroads’ FOH Sound Engineer, says, “We found we couldn’t beat the sonic quality or the amount of I/O we were able to achieve with the dLive.” dLive is Allen & Heath’s flagship digital mixing system. The dLive S Class was created for professional touring, broadcast and premium installation. dLive C Class makes the power of dLive available in an accessible, compact format, making it ideal for corporate AV, houses of worship, regional rental companies and theaters.
Crossroads created an innovative and cost-effective mix of dLive S and C Class systems, networked together across the campus to bring a volunteer-friendly, expandable and touring-class audio solution to their congregation.
One of the key benefits of the unified mixing system across the church is the ease of use and quick training for audio staff of all levels. The consoles provide a fully customizable mix interface that reflects their own mental map of the show and can be quickly configured from preset venue layouts and/or scenes.
For power users and more complex church productions, every input or mix can be assigned to any and every bank and/or layer, with virtual scribble strips allowing for clear naming and color-coding of inputs and mixes on the fly as needed.
Multiple assignable SoftKeys and pages of assignable rotaries add easily-accessible tactile control beyond the multitouch touchscreens and faders. An extensive set of user permissions allows for multiple user profiles, providing system access as needed — restricting and protecting critical settings and making mixing easier for non-technical operators. Crossroads’ contemporary worship services feature a live band with three to six vocalists, recorded tracks, and an occasional string section.
The church holds three services each Sunday in its 1800-seat sanctuary, in addition to hosting Christian music concerts and holiday events. Worship services are broadcast live on the church’s website crossroadslive.tv using a dLive C Class C3500 Surface, DX32 Expander and DM0 MixRack. At FOH, Crossroads uses a dLive S Class S7000 Surface with DM64 MixRack. Smith commented, “One of the beauties of the dLive is that it is so flexible. I’m able to create a work flow that makes sense.” He uses dLive layers to manage the church’s microphones, recorded tracks and other sources, and dLive scenes to set up a “starting place” for different songs. The S7000 includes a Waves card but Smith says, “For the most part, we are using the dLive’s internal effects which always maintain the same latency thanks to the FPGA Core.” dLive DEEP Processing provides an array of bespoke algorithms including graphic EQs, preamp and compressor models and filters which can be inserted on fly without burning FX slots and without the setup, latency and phase coherency issues associated with external plug-ins.
The dLive MixRacks house the XCVI FPGA Core engine, each with 36 parallel virtual processing cores generating enough power for 160×64 channels of processing at a 96kHz sample rate. Six parallel mixing engines within each Core calculate over 10,000 cross points per sample, while the FPGA router has the capacity for 3,000 x 3,000 audio paths.
These 25 billion operations per second allow for a fully configurable 64 bus architecture, variable bit depth, virtually infinite mix headroom, and a class-leading latency of less than 0.7ms. The church’s loudspeaker system is configured as an LCR-sub setup, but Smith makes use of the dLive in 5.1 mode. “That gives me control over divergence to my center speakers and the ability to really shape the stereo image within the house,” he said. He uses the 5.1’s LFE (low frequency effects) output for subs.
An additional C3500 Surface with DM64 MixRack mixes monitors. “We do from 9 to 14 in-ear mixes for any given service and up to 5 wedge mixes for special events,” Smith said. The monitor MixRack also serves as a matrix router for the entire system receiving local sources from the stage and audio sources from a second DX32 in the church’s video suite. Smith explained, “All of our signals come into the monitor DM64, and they’re routed to FOH and broadcast using Allen & Heath gigaACE cards, which are rock solid and redundant.”
The system is capable of providing dozens of audio points and hundreds of system inputs and outputs (over 800 total) via the MixRacks and can easily be expanded to include portable stage boxes (AudioRacks) and/or wall panels as the church’s needs grow over time. Utilizing Ethernet Layer 2 and deployed in either a Star or Cascade topology, Crossroad’s distributed audio design is ready for whatever the future may bring. Crossroads purchased their dLive system from Narrow Road Pro of Vancouver, WA. “We evaluated a lot of different mixers,” Smith said. “But I can’t say enough positive about the dLive. It is really a phenomenal desk. It has far surpassed my expectations.”