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Hi Ray. I came from using a soundcraft K2 analogue console that had easy to program mute scenes for theatre and so was thinking exactly as you are before I got the iLive. I quickly found out to forget about creating mute scenes! The way I work with theatre shows is to do the store all on first scene, then set up subsequent scenes to only record mutes levels and assignments. I don’t use the mutes at all however- I program using fader levels. There are many reasons why using fader levels is better than just having mutes stored – firstly visually it is very obvious which channels are on as the faders are up, down if off. When the scenes are then recalled your eye is automatically taken to the correct faders. If you have songs with different leads or difficult vocal balances the level scenes will give you consistent starting points – during rehearsals you fine tune and update the scenes as you go. It’s very quick to program provided you have scenes set up in advance (edited) to only contain mutes/levels and assignments. I usually video a shows rehearsal before pack in to work out where scenes need to be, and what is required in them. That saves a lot of time as you can pre program and name scenes in advance.
You do need extra time when programming at initial rehearsals so it’s a good idea to advise clients of that possibility. Just like lighting If you don’t get a scene right at one rehearsal it will still be wrong at the next one! The biggest problem is that there is no way to preview a scene without actually recalling it. Because of that I set up a scene safe DCA mute group for all radio/open mics and assign it to one of the user keys. Then if you need to check a scene just mute the DCA first, make any changes to the scene, and update. As the DCA is scene safe it won’t be recalled. Once the show is programmed fairly accurately I change the scene pref to auto advance on recall. This is a personal thing but if you have a lot of very quick scene changes then you can just step through them with Go. I also program aux/ fx send levels, and other advanced settings – such as assignments to different vocal subgroups as they change during the show (leads/ Backing vocals etc) and even strip assignments for certain scenes but seldom ever do a store all except to scene one which you update at the end of each rehearsal to store all other settings. This gives you the freedom to make changes to eq,dynamics, patching etc on the fly at any point of the show. Also remember – scene safes can be your friend – if you have a problem channel (crackling mic etc) then safe it and ride it manually. After working this way for a two years there is no way I want to go back to just mutes! Good luck!


Richard Howey
Audio Dynamite Ltd
Dual M-Dante/DVS, 17″MBP/Logic 9/Custom Mackie Control