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Allen & Heath Shines at SonRise Music Festival

The sixth annual SonRise Music Festival returned to the Virginia Beach oceanfront, with talent including American Idol finalist Colton Dixon and the rock bands Disciple and Anthem Lights. To maintain the frenetic pace needed to prepare, soundcheck, and move 20 acts across its stage over a two-day time span, the faith-based event called upon the flexibility and speed of dLive C3500 and SQ-7 mixing systems from Allen & Heath.

“We were working with 10 artists per day,” related front of house engineer Sonny Smith of S&S Production Services, which did sound and lighting for the festival. “Even with a 7 A.M. start time we had our doubts as to whether or not the acts opening for the headliners would have time for soundcheck. We wanted to give everyone that opportunity, but time was clearly not on our side.”

Jacob Porter (Left) and Sonny Smith (Right) of S&S Production Services preparing the Allen & Heath dLive C3500

Calling upon an Allen & Heath dLive C3500 deployed onstage for monitors and an SQ-7 installed at front of house, Smith and monitor engineer Jacob Porter developed a strategy that would provide them with the speed they needed to make lightning quick changeovers during both soundcheck and the show itself.

Within their plan, both desks shared the networked power of an onstage CDM32 MixRack via a gigaACE connection. Outfitted with a Dante card as well, the dLive C3500 was utilized in conjunction with a secondary Dante rack that was configured pre-show at S&S’s shop for Colton Dixon and some of the other artists who wanted to manage their selection of IEMs.

“This setup streamlined our operations,” Smith explained. “Everyone could just plug right into our system, and they’d be up-and-running in a flash. Even with all the acts we had to accommodate there was no need for double-micing or doing any repatching. With the speed we gained in terms of turnovers, there was time for every band to do a proper soundcheck. If everyone gets a soundcheck within these festival situations, you know the whole show is going to sound better as a result.”

Colton Dixon performing at the SonRise Festival

In total there were 10 wedge monitor mixes onstage, and 10 IEMs, making the dLive C3500 / CDM32 combo a logical choice based upon its generous system I/O capacity and mix processing power. Back out front, the SQ-7 was configured with custom layouts that brought an air of user-friendliness to guest engineers using the console.

“The C3500 and SQ-7 made our lives easier in terms of setup, routing, and our ability to keep up with the flow,” Smith added. “All within a context that kept things simple and highly adaptable.”

Images by Melissa Dawn Photography