dLive vs Avantis

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This topic contains 20 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Chris Chris 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #105639
    Profile photo of ChopinGuy88
    ChopinGuy88
    Participant

    Greetings to everyone here – signed up to be able to ask this question amongst experienced A&H users.

    I’m music director for a large Catholic church in Houston, TX, and we’re looking to move away from/upgrade our Soundcraft Vi3000 which has had some expensive repairs over the last year.

    We’d be upgrading to all A&H with either C3500 or Avantis (dpack) at FOH and a SQ5 for broadcast (or we could do 2x Avantis at FOH and broadcast). FOH console outputs to a Meyer Galileo processor and full Meyer Mina line array and fill system.

    The majority of our worship is very straight forward – piano, organ, cantor, some choir mics, and an instrument or two. We do have some contemporary worship where channel counts would begin to push into 24-30 channels depending on the setting. Nothing crazy.

    My main concern with the C3500 is the platform being 6+ years old, and the real world advantages it has say over the Avantis in our use case. In some ways, like the displays/interface, the Avantis seems to have the advantage.

    Any thoughts / experience / input would be appreciated.

    #105643
    Profile photo of SteffenR
    SteffenR
    Participant

    I remember a Houston based install that was mentioned somewhere… maybe you can arrange a visit there?

    A hands-on test is the best thing you can do to compare both systems.
    Possibly the other install can arrange a contact to a dealer that can provide a test for both systems.

    #105645
    Profile photo of ChopinGuy88
    ChopinGuy88
    Participant

    Thank you, Steffen. I am aware of another Catholic church in town that just moved to an Avantis, and our A/V contractor has a couple C3500s in the field.

    Suppose I was asking this more from the objective perspective given what I outlined in our use case. Technically either of these consoles are far more capable than what we need to mix in our setting. The Vi3000 (though it is dated at this point) is more than what we need, but it will certainly be nice to gain the newer internal processing capabilities on these consoles.

    #105649
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    I think the DLive is way overkill for the situation you described. I also want to make sure that you understand that with DLive, getting a surface (like the c3500) is only half of the system. You also have to have a Mixrack like the DM32/DM48/DM64 or CM32/CM48/CM64. So while the surface might only be slightly more expensive than an Avantis, when you add the cost of the mixrack, the price soars to well more than double the cost of the Avantis (which is should because the Dlive is more than twice the system).

    The Avantis on the other hand is fully contained in the console (ie no other hardware required). It has 64 channels and 42 busses (although 2 busses are the PAFL circuit, so there is really only 40 that are interchangable). It has 12 FX racks and 16 instances of the Dyn8 (dynamic eq and multiband compressor). While you need to pay close atention to the specs (like buss count), it really seems like this would be plenty of system for your use.

    THe DLive on the other hand has 128 channels, 64 busses, 16FX racks and 64 instances of the Dyn8.

    Either is a great choice. Our church currently runs an Avantis for both our FOH and stream needs and we offload the monitors to a Behringer X32 Rack. We are thinking of upgrading to the DLive (to run FOH and Monitors) while allowing us to move the Avantis to streaming only. This would effectively give us 64 channels for each function (because we like to separate out FOH, monitors and streaming with each having their own dedicated channels). Currently we struggle to keep the channel count at 32 or below. We easily have 40 inputs (but haven’t needed all 40 at the same time which is why we can get by with the current setup). In our case, the added capacity of the DLive makes perfect sense. But in your use case, I don’t see the need for the DLive capacity.

    #105650
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    I just wanted to clarify my post. I probably wasn’t as clear as I should have been, but you can’t really edit the post.

    Our church has a single Avantis console. We split the capacity/functionality of that console into two parts – FOH gets channels 1-32 with an allocation of busses and FX and the stream gets channels 33-64 with a different allocation of busses and FX (more than FOH actually because we run the stream in stereo while FOH is mono due to our speaker setup). The stream audio tech actually sits at the console to mix (wearing a headset to mix with) while the FOH audio tech mixes with either the Director software or a Apple tablet from the congregation. This is actually the best way to mix FOH because our FOH position is located in a high balcony that is completely outside of the speaker coverage.

    The X32 is connected to the system via Dante and has 32 channels coming into it that we use for monitors. We have 8 stereo monitors outputs (a mix of wireless for singers and wired for musicians) and two mono wedges for a total of 10 unique monitor mixes. The band uses mobile devices to control their own monitor mix, although the FOH audio tech can also make changes if the band member is new or otherwise struggling with the mobile app.

    I hope that clarifies what we are doing. I really hopeful that we can get this upgrade for a ton of different reasons (getting the streaming console outside of the sanctuary, getting monitors off of the X32 Rack, moving the mixing station down to the congregational area, etc, etc, etc.).

    #105665
    Profile photo of Scott
    Scott
    Participant

    @mcaporale The number of outputs is the thing to really consider. I helped a church setup a new system last year, and recommended dLive due to the 64 output buses vs 42 on Avantis. They chose Avantis which has worked well, although they now are trying to do more, and have run out of outputs.

    Additionally, they later wanted spotify to feed into the lobby during the week, so they had to purchase some additional equipment so that they didn’t have to leave the Avantis powered up all week long. This is another place dLive would have had the advantage, since the mixrack could remain powered up and the surface shutdown when the sanctuary isn’t in use. IP-1 controllers could have also been installed to help in this situation.

    Avantis has newer and larger displays, but compared to dLive it is still missing a lot of things. I’m sure that those will come in time since it is only at version 1.1, but at the moment they aren’t there. dLive and Avantis are very similar in operation so training-wise, they won’t be all that different from one another. Both are great platforms.

    Again in my opinion, the biggest consideration is the number of output buses for a church. Think mains, subs, fills, live streams, cry rooms, lobby feeds, other feeds. Make sure that you have some left over to grow into. dLive has 64, and Avantis has 42. Stereo feeds eat 2 of these at a time. Many focus only on the number of inputs, and think 64 is more than enough while overlooking the outputs.

    #105671
    Profile photo of ChopinGuy88
    ChopinGuy88
    Participant

    So I tried to edit a reply here, and it got deleted as spam – not sure what the deal is with this message board system. Trying again here.

    Thank you both Brian and Scott for the thoughtful replies.

    Brian – I am aware that the dLive family is a surface & mixrack configuration. In our case it looks to be about $28K more expensive to go with dLive over Avantis. We could actually do 2 Avantis consoles (FOH and broadcast) and 2 GX4816s for less than dLive.

    Scott – our output utilization is very basic – as our Crestron control system does all the audio splitting/sends for our zones like you brought up. Right now on our Vi3000 the only buses we have coming off are the mains and 4 fill zones that still go through the Meyer Galileo for processing (it just allows us to control the output of these zones from FOH if needed).

    Clearly the advantage of dLive seems to be in processing power. Given the generous 16FX racks and 64 instances of Dyn8.

    Does the Avantis have the RTA features like dLive – also does the Avantis have the Shure wireless control like dLive? Those are two very useful tools I see in dLive’s favor.

    #105685
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    The Avantis does not have RTA or wireless support (it’s not really control, but rather informational display). It was suppose to get wireless reporting last firmware update, but it was dropped at the last minute. The RTA just hit the DLive on the last update and I am confident that both of these features will come to the Avantis. Hopefully in the next firmware update, but that is just speculation. A&H is been mum about it all.

    This trend will continue IMHO. New features will be brought to the DLive first, and then eventually pushed down to the Avantis. The Avantis and DLive run very similar software, so hopefully it is fairly easy to convert them to the Avantis.

    #105691
    Profile photo of ChopinGuy88
    ChopinGuy88
    Participant

    Thank you, Brian. That was something I could see in videos – if RTA was present. That’s too bad as even the SQ series has an RTA in the EQ section. As you said it would seem that is something they’ll certainly add in firmware, but that’s only speculation for now.

    My guess is we’ll lean toward the dLive system, but I’m going to consult more with our contractor and our A1. If we go with dLive it will probably be C3500 FOH and C1500 broadcast. Initially we were looking at an SQ for broadcast, but if investing in dLive & mixrack it seems silly to not just put the smaller control surface in broadcast. If Avantis we’d just do two consoles with the dpack.

    #105704
    Profile photo of Scott
    Scott
    Participant

    You may want to consider an SQ for broadcast as well if it meets your needs for that role. Dante or GigaAce could be used to connect the two.

    #105707
    Profile photo of Mfk0815
    Mfk0815
    Participant

    Another option I see is to use a dLive with a surface like the C3500 for FOH anD a computer running the Director software, maybe with one or two IP8 connected, for broadcast instead of a C1500.

    #105708
    Profile photo of Chris
    Chris
    Participant

    For what its worth, I currently run a S5000 with a DM48 for FoH and the Avantis for broadcast.

    The large format really fits the FoH considering the number of channels that we run (50+). Not all of those channels get translated to the broadcast so the smaller format of the Avantis fits perfectly. We connect the two systems via the tie lines function of the dlive and a gigace card. I also run a SQ7 in another building on campus.

    I have to say, I really dislike the SQ series. We had the bug/issue with the channel that goes crazy all on its own, so that was a pain to have to swap out a brand new board. The format compared to the dlive and Avantis is vastly different and even though I regularly use all three systems, it takes me the longest to adjust to the SQ due to the vast differences in workflow. I really like the dlive system and I love the Avantis. Of all three systems, I can make the adjustments I need to the quickest on the Avantis, but the dlive and Avantis are very similar and most of the features look and act identical (minus the features added in the 1.9 update. see below).

    Based on the info given, I personally would go with the 2x Avantis. Setup would be much more simple. Connecting the systems together would be more simple. Not to mention just cheaper overall. You could invest the additional money into expanding the system via Dante or Waves. I think the biggest advantage besides cost is that since you mentioned that you are the worship leader I imagine you will have volunteers to run the system. With the continuity in workflows, training volunteers would be easier for them and yourself.

    With the 1.9 update, they did add quite a few compelling features to the dlive (like real time RTA), but I anticipate that those features will come to the Avantis eventually.

    #105709
    Profile photo of Chris
    Chris
    Participant

    One more note, I looked at the Avantis and I do not see the Shure/Sennheiser control. Honestly, I do use it on the dlive, but to me… its not something I look at on a regular basis. I have ten devices that can use that capability, but the screens where the information would be most useful for me doesn’t have any of the information gathered from the remote control. I would be nice if there was a battery display on the processing screens, but AFAIK, it is only in the preamp tab and on the bank overview. Not that useful IMHO. It is nice to adjust the gain on the receivers on the fly, but I find it more useful to use the Wireless Workbench on a separate computer I have by the console. With that, I can see all devices, signal levels, and battery status on one screen. This is just me as YMMV.

    #105715
    Profile photo of Dave
    Dave
    Participant

    The Avantis should be able to handle all your inputs, so the question is whether it’ll handle all your outputs.

    At my church, the FoH console does “sanctuary sound” (FoH/monitors) and the broadcast console does, well, obviously the broadcast feed, but also all the hallway/classroom zones and such*. I don’t know how many spare busses they have up in broadcast, but I’ve only got 2 unallocated busses at FoH and I know what I might want to use them for next week. Anyway, the point is that this a great opportunity to evaluate how you distribute audio throughout the building (hallways, overflow rooms for Easter/Christmas, etc) so make sure you’ve got enough outputs at FoH and broadcast.

    *Personally, I’d recommend using a matrix mixer like the AHM64 or something to feed the zones, but it hasn’t been in the cards yet for us.

    #105725
    Profile photo of ChopinGuy88
    ChopinGuy88
    Participant

    Chris – thank you for the thoughtful and experienced reply. Currently we send the broadcast audio to the control room via DANTE, and use a MacPro to mix the livestream in Logic. It’s frankly way too involved for volunteers, and there’s way too many potential failure points for inexperienced users. So moving to a console will definitely be a step in the right direction. I definitely agree with your approach of having uniformity in UI/operation to help everyone. Which is why if we go dLive it just makes sense to me to have both areas have the same platform (especially if we’re already investing in the C3500 and mixrack). Otherwise, as you noted, we can do 2x Avantis for a good deal amount less money than dLive.

    Given that all our operators are volunteers – the Shure integration is a total nicety, not necessary. Though having the RTA features would be useful, and that’s something that the Avantis still lacks at the moment.

    We shall see – the Vi3000 was acting weird again this weekend – so we might be moving towards this even more promptly now.

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