home > news


DATE: December 15, 2009

UK sensation, Florence and the Machine, carried a combined iLive FOH and monitor system on its European tour in September, which included dates in the UK, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Holland and Austria. iLive was subsequently specified on dates in the USA and Canada, and hired in from SRD Systems in Kent by management production company, Brit Row, for a special performance as part of the Electric Proms at Camden’s Roundhouse.

Dave McDonald, FOH engineer, discovered iLive on the discussion forum of audio professionals’ website, www.crewspace.com. It led him to pursue the idea of using iLive on the Florence tour. He said:

“With iLive, I can turn up to any type of venue and just plug it in. It’s so simple and it’s got expensive-sounding FX, good gates and good compressors. The pre-amps are really great and the headroom’s amazing. I don’t use outboard gear at all and I like having everything in one box, plus promoters love it because you’re using the smallest footprint possible.”

Monitor engineer, Cam Blackwood, commented on his first impression of iLive: “On our pre-production day I couldn’t believe how intuitive and simple it was. All the menus are on one button; with other desks there are lots of buttons and you can’t get back to the page you were on.”

iLive has only one version of firmware, so it is possible to transfer show files between systems via USB key. iLive-T systems were used in the USA and Canada but a majority of the time, FATM’s engineers used an iDR10 MixRack linked to an iLive-112 FOH control surface using Allen & Heath’s proprietary 64-channel bi-directional ACE (Audio and Control over Ethernet) link, providing control and audio over one cable, with an EtherSound digital split to an iDR0 minirack and an iLive-112 Control Surface on monitors.

Blackwood used the system to create 6 in-ear mixes for the band. He said:

“It’s so easy to flick between everyone’s mix. If you want to get to the graphic of any channel you just listen to the mix, hit the EQ button and it changes the board into a graphic EQ, then you hit the button again and it takes you back to the mix. It feels like I’m actually mixing - it’s just brilliant! When you’re on other desks it takes a little time to hear the EQ’s but on iLive it has a totally analogue sound and the EQ is so smooth.”

The engineers highlighted one small but impressive feature whereby when the PFL button is pressed, a light indicates which channel to plug into on the stage rack. McDonald said:

“If you’re at a festival, the majority of the problems come from people patching at speed and that’s what creates delays. That little light is genius!”

“When you really start pushing the desk it’s not digital and it’s not analogue - it’s something completely different!” McDonald concluded.
EtherSound: ethernetworking professional audio (www.ethersound.com)
EtherSound is an elegantly simple and open standard for networking digital audio using off-the-shelf Ethernet components. Fully compliant with IEEE 802.3, EtherSound is a deterministic network protocol with high data capacity at mixed sample rates and powerful control functions. EtherSound's latency is stable and easily calculated: the point-to-point transmission time between an audio input and an audio output in an EtherSound network is six samples (125 microseconds at 48 kHz), independent of the number of channels transmitted.

As Ethernet standards evolve, EtherSound is able to keep pace easily, since the Network and Data Link layers are implemented via FPGA's (Field Programmable Gate Arrays). EtherSound licensing programs are available to manufacturers and qualified implementers.
Current adopters include: Allen & Heath; Apex NV; Archean Technologies; Atelier 33; Audio Performance; AuviTran; Barix AG; Bittner Audio International GmbH; Bouyer; CAMCO; DiGiCo; Digigram; Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd; InnovaSON; InOut Audio Communication Systems; Klein + Hummel; L-ACOUSTICS; Link Srl; Martin Audio Ltd.; MC2 AUDIO LTD; MEDIACHIP - Sistemas Multimédia, SA; NetCIRA by Fostex; Nexo; Opaz; Out Board UK; Peavey Electronics Corporation; Pinanson; QSC Audio, Inc.; Richmond Sound Design Ltd.; Technologies YOUCAN; Tesi; VTG Audio; Whirlwind; Wisycom srl; XTA Electronics; Yamaha Corporation.
Qualified implementors who offer third party engineering support to product developers include: AuviTran; Barix AG; Lab X Technologies, LLC.
Stardraw Control software uses the EtherSound API to enable control and operation of multiple devices from separate manufacturers across EtherSound networks.

EtherSound is developed, patented and licensed by Digigram. Using current 100 Base-T Ethernet hardware, EtherSound networks provide bi-directional transmission of up to 64 channels of 24-bit digital audio at 48 kHz (or 32 channels at 96 kHz), plus bi-directional control/monitoring data. EtherSound networks can accommodate more than 60,000 networked audio devices in daisy-chain or star architectures, or a combination of both. All daisy-chained devices can send and receive all channels concurrently.

Click images to enlarge