API TV: Allen & Heath hits the road with Frank Ocean

American singer-songwriter Frank Ocean recently finished a European tour backed by an Allen & Heath iLive system at front-of-house.

Picked by engineer Dave McDonald, who has toured with the likes of Adele, AIR, and Florence & the Machine in the past, the system consists of an iLive-112 Control Surface with eight-in, 24-out, RAB2 ACE, linked to a modular iDR10 MixRack with 56-in, 24-out, RAB2 ACE and Dante. An analogue split between the iLive and monitor console was also put in place.

“I’ve been with Frank for 14 months now, starting off with club shows where there was a different console and different PA every night. For the tour, I’m travelling with an iLive-112 and iDR10 – my favourite mixer, which is flexible for what we’re doing," explained McDonald. "We are using 64 channels, as on stage there is everything from modular synths to old EV1 bass guitars to concert drums, so it’s quite a challenge. Combined with the set and plasma screens, the production is currently touring with four trucks. The production manager likes me because iLive is tiny and slots in easily so I’m no trouble.”

Kicking off in Berlin, the tour hit several cities across the continent, and offered a variety of venue and festival settings.

“I believe in the flow of a desk. Mixing is half about programming and study and research but the other half is about being artistic, and as an engineer you have to combine those two elements together. These days, a lot of boards have the technical side sewn up but don’t also have the flow like an Allen & Heath desk," McDonald continued. "In a live situation, when you have a spur of the moment idea, you don’t want to be searching through menus because by the time you get there that moment in the music is gone. With iLive, the flow is almost ‘analogue’ so you can jump on it straight away – that’s why I like to use it.

"Another reason is the size, and what you get in the box for the size is astounding. Also, the preamps are great, you can hammer them and throw what you want at them, they are really impressive.”

Frank Ocean will begin a major tour of the USA – again supported by an iLive system – in the autumn.

You can see the complete interview with McDonald below:

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