iLive 101 – iLive MixRacks

2013/08/14 in

The MixRack is the heart of the iLive digital audio processing system. It can even be operated without a Surface, for example using just a laptop or touch tablet. It houses the DSP mix engine together with control and audio networking interfaces. There are no less than 6 different MixRacks available, including both fixed format and modular designs. All MixRacks provide the full 64×32 DSP processing and differ only in the number of physical input and output sockets available.

The system provides full processing for all inputs and masters, including:

  • 64 Input Channels with full processing – Gate, HPF, 4 band PEQ, Comp, Lim / De-esser, Delay
  • 32 Mix Outputs (Main, Aux, Group, Matrix) with full processing – 1/3oct GEQ models, 4 band PEQ, Comp, Lim, Delay
  • 8 stereo FX engines with carefully crafted emulations of classic analogue gear, all with 4 band PEQ and dedicated short fader returns
  • 16 DCA – set as VCA or Mute group
  • Signal Generator, RTA and extensive monitoring

The FX returns adds to the Input channel count, effectively providing 8 extra stereo sources to the mix (64+8st). In addition, all Mixes take an External Input for even more sources when needed.

Fixed format MixRacks

Fixed format MixRacks range from the iDR-16, providing 16 mic/line preamps and 8 XLR outputs, up to the iDR-64, which has 64 preamps and 32 outputs. A high quality mic preamp with 80dB gain range and 1dB resolution, exceptionally low latency and optimised audio signal path ensure the superb performance and sound quality for which iLive has become renowned.

iLive fixed format racks

All models are also available with the AES-Out option fitted from factory. This replaces a row of 4 analogue outputs with 2 stereo AES3 XLR outputs. The AES-Out option can be ordered separately as a retro-fit kit for existing customers.

PL remote devices can be connected on the PL-Anet port and daisy chained together or connected in parallel with the PL-9 hub. MIDI and Ethernet Network ports allow connection of third party devices – the data  is tunnelled over the ACE connection to allow remote control of the device, for example you can access your wireless receivers or remote amplifiers on stage from a laptop plugged into the Surface at FoH. The Network ports are also used for connection of a computer running iLive Editor software or a Wi-Fi router / access point for wireless tablet, iPhone or iPad control. An option slot (Port B) allows a plug-in card to be added for more audio networking possibilities, such as digital mic splitting, rack linking, audio distribution and digital recording.

iLive fixed format details


The MixRack and surface are connected over a single CAT5 cable up to 120m long using Allen &Heath’s proprietary ACE digital protocol. This is a point-to-point protocol transporting 64 bidirectional channels of audio 48kHz 24bit plus network data from the Surface to the MixRack and vice-versa.

iLive ACE

Facts to know about ACE:

  • ACE stands for Audio and Control over Ethernet
  • ACE is Ethernet 802.3 Layer 2 compliant
  • The available bandwidth for third party data is roughly 9.6Mbps
  • Transport latency is extremely low at 105us (5 samples) – this contributes to the low iLive system latency

For further details on ACE please either download or browse our Understanding Guide:

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Modular MixRacks

The fully modular iDR10 provides the largest I/O count, format flexibility and RAB-2 module for more networking options. It can be ordered with a touring grade flight-case with rubber shock mounts. The iDR0 MiniRack is similar to the iDR10 except it does not have any card slots for input or output modules. It’s just the DSP in a rack, perfect when teamed with an iDR10 using a digital mic split, for example linked FOH/Monitor systems.

The iDR10 has 10 card slots for fitting any combination of input and output modules. The DSP ‘RackExtra Two’ module is the mix engine and provides the same 64 input to 32 bus configurable architecture found in the fixed format units. The RAB-2 module provides system clock, headphones and remote audio distribution. It fits up to 2 audio networking cards. Port A is the default Surface to MixRack link, while Port B allows digital mic split, system expansion and recording. Finally, the CPU module manages the system and allows remote control via MIDI, PL-Anet and Ethernet. It also houses a LEDLamp socket.

iLive iDR10 details

Note – RAB-2 was introduced with firmware V1.5 as an update to the early RAB audio board (EtherSound-based). Customers with existing RAB-1 Ethersound AVD modules can purchase the M-ES-V1-BASE carrier to fit them in RAB2.

Note – the DSP ‘RackExtra Two’ module was introduced with firmware V1.9 as an update to the ‘RackExtra’ DSP to allow new functionality such as GEQ models, Dynamic EQ etc.

For further details on RAB-2 please either download or browse our Understanding Guide:

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The range of I/O modules available for the iDR10 includes:

  • M-MICIN – 8 XLR Mic/Line input with PFL & 48V LEDs
  • M-DUALIN – 2 x 8 Mic/Line input with A/B select on phoenix connectors
  • M-DIGIN – 4 stereo SPDIF (optical and RCA) or AES/EBU (XLR) with Sample Rate Conversion
  • M-LINEOUT – 8 XLR Line output with PFL & mute LEDs
  • M-DIGOUT – 4 stereo SPDIF (optical and RCA) or AES/EBU (XLR)
  • M-MULTIOUT (takes 2 slots) – 2x8ch ADAT out, 2x8ch iDR out, 16ch AVIOM out, Hearbus out, channels are sent in parallel to all different formats

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