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Allen & Heath iLive MixPad for Worship, Part 2

Feb 16, 2012 1:09 PM, With Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

From Sound & Video Contractor Magazine, this is the SVC Podcast Show 51 Part 2 with John Williams of Entertainment Arts. Show notes for the podcast are available on the website of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at

The First Baptist Church of Altamonte Springs, Fla., had a patchwork sound system, and they called Entertainment Arts of Orlando to upgrade and straighten it all out. John Williams is back to finish his account of how it all came together and how it works now, next up on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: All right, John Williams back for part 2 on the First Baptist Church of Altamonte Springs, Fla., and you got them started with a complete audio upgrade with an Allen & Heath iLive T-112 mixer and on the Mixpad application for iPad, what you eventually got on this mixer was a Dante card and why did you go with Dante since there are lots of other digital audio conveyance formats. You’ve got Ethersound and other competing topologies for this. What are the capabilities and what do you get from the Dante protocol on this?

John Williams: Well, there are a lot of capabilities with the Dante card. Ethersound is great, but it’s expensive. That’s one downfall with Ethersound, same with MADI. MADI is another great protocol to be able to record with to multitrack, but it’s also expensive because you need a MADI interface on top of your recording software, your Azio drivers and all those kinds of things. The great thing about Dante is before it was very difficult to try to multitrack a high number of channel count in any church because if you wanted to do 32 channels you would, most of the time, either need MADI with an interface or you would need a full ProTools rig with all the I/O interfaces and it would cost some serious money to do that. When Dante released what’s called their Brooklyn 2 module, it allowed for a 64-channel by 64-channel interface over IP protocol, which means you got 64 inputs and 64 outputs over a single Cat-5 cable, and the way that works is since it’s working with an IP protocol, they were able to take the Ethernet port on any computer and turn that into the audio interface. So come right out of the Dante module with a Cat-5 cable and into the Ethernet port on your computer and you’re sending 64 channels to the computer and you’re able to send 64 channels right back out to the Dante card, which goes right back into the iLive system. [Timestamp: 2:46]

Well, the physical hookup doesn’t get any easier than that.

It’s literally a plug-and-play card. Audinate made a great software called Dante controller, which pretty much works just like a matrix. You just intersect your points on where you want to send your audio from, what channel to what channel, and you click it and it gives you a green check mark and as soon as that green check mark comes up, your audio’s flowing. It’s really that simple. Now of course, I say any computer, but most of the time when you’re multitracking 64 channels of audio WAV files you want the computer to be fairly robust; probably you’ll want at least 4GBs of RAM on this machine and a pretty fast hard drive so you can multitrack that much channels, but other than that, most people who are to doing production are using Apple. You can pretty much walk into an Apple store, buy a MacBook Pro, and that’s going to be your recording computer. [Timestamp: 3:37]

And as you were telling us back in part 1, you got the Allen & Heath Mixpad app for the iPad. Now, when you got this did the church go ahead and buy iPads for all the band members or did that idea come as a result of the success with this first one? Before the app was released, there was a couple different factors that came in for the church buying iPads for each band member. They use a service called Planning Center Online, which allows them to access all their music on their iPad in PDF form. So they’re able to actually access their music with their iPads and they can mix now their in-ear monitors with their iPads. So there was a couple of features. So the church actually purchased the iPads prior to the release of the Mixpad app. So the band members could start getting to familiar with using iPad’s for their music and then we could later introduce them using their iPads for mixing their in-ear monitors. [Timestamp: 4:28]

And of course that’s always a function of the human element and there’s a wide variance in the level of technical expertise on the production people, so what sort of technical production crew do they have at the church?

Actually the church technical production crew is all lay-led ministry. There is one person on staff that oversees the technical direction for the church and does—one that answers all the technical questions and does all the training and things like that but everyone else is lay-led ministry, band members included. So picking something that didn’t have a lot of learning curve was key for the church. So that way they could train their volunteers easily on the Mixpad app and they train their band members easily on the Mixpad app so they could mix their in-ear monitors. It’s kind of like having your own Aviom system, which a lot of churches have except you’re not limited to 16 channels like you are with Aviom. You have access to all 64 channels on the iLive system. [Timestamp: 5:23]

Yeah, how exactly do the musicians apply the Mixpad app to their individual monitoring? Do they have those right there with them or do they just set it and forget it?

No, they actually each band member has a mic stand adapter for their iPad and so they’re able to view their music right in front of them and then they can switch over to the iPad and Mixpad app if they need to mix some different things in their ears. Which a lot of them do; your ears do change with temperature and a bunch of other things, so I’m not saying drastically but if they do need to make some tweaks, they can jump over to the mix pad app and they can change some things right there on the fly. [Timestamp: 5:58]

Yeah, that would be really handy if they were to come in with guest performers they’re not accustomed to playing with and their being able to mix their own monitoring really takes a load off the other audio crew people.


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