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Craig Morgan’s FOH engineer Robert Harmon test drove Allen & Heath’s dLive S5000 and refused to give it back.

With a career spanning 19 years, 12 songs that have made Billboard’s country charts, and word of a new major label record deal in the offing, country artist Craig Morgan is on the road this summer, touring with new gear in the form of an Allen & Heath dLive S5000 console/DM0 MixRack at front of house, an SQ-7 for monitors, and 4 x DX168 I/O expanders on-deck.

“I had been looking for a new console since last year,” Morgan’s FOH engineer Robert Harmon related. “I narrowed down my search to three, but none of them worked out. Then I ran across a console I didn’t recognise online. It looked high-end. It turned out to be an Allen & Heath S5000.”

“Having logged thousands of hours on a GL2400 and other Allen & Heath analog products in the past, I have to admit my mind was having a hard time wrapping itself around this new digital offering.”

Harmon agreed to try the desk following a conversation with Allen & Heath’s Eastern Regional Sales Manager, Kevin Madden. He wound up using it for two shows and never gave it back, choosing to send the company a cheque instead. “They told me it could be customised any way I wanted,” he recalled.

From left-to-right: Monitor engineer Marshall Bastin, Craig Morgan, and FOH engineer Robert Harmon with the Craig Morgan tour’s FOH dLive S5000 console from Allen & Heath.

“I heard that before, but this time it was true. Using a show file I wrote at home, it loaded correctly the first time and sound check went quickly for starting at zero. I configured the desk to mimic the layout of my old one exactly, that made the transition seamless.”

“I also brought things to the top surface I never could before. I always wanted my matrix out with my VCAs and channels, and I didn’t want to sift through layers and layers constantly. I was able to do all that, plus retain the familiarity of my old desk.”

“Everything felt the same, but now I had so much more right at my fingertips, and the complexity of making that happen was about as difficult as using a smartphone.”

Marshall Bastin lends direction to the Allen & Heath SQ-7 now residing in monitor world, while four Allen & Heath DX168 expanders bring 96kHz I/O to the stage. “The SQ-7 sounds like a dLive but has a smaller screen,” Harmon added. “Like everything else we bought from Allen & Heath, you get a lot more than you pay for.”