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Allen & Heath going for gold with GLD digital mixing system

Allen & Heath will unveil GLD, a user-friendly, cost-effective and scalable live digital mixing system, conceptually based on the successful digital iLive series, at NAMM 2012, writes Dave Robinson.

At this month’s Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, Allen & Heath will launch GLD: a new multi-input, DSP-powered, live digital mixing system based on its digital iLive series. This comes at a time when Audio-Technica Ltd has recently announced it has entered into an agreement with Allen & Heath Ltd to act as exclusive distributor for the mixer manufacturer in the UK. A standard GLD 32 input system offers 28 XLR mic inputs with plug-and-play I/O expanders allowing easy expansion up to 48 inputs (44 XLR mic inputs).
 At the heart of the system is the GLD-80 mixer, providing 48 input processing channels, eight stereo FX returns fed by iLive’s FX emulations, 30 configurable buses, 20 mix processing channels, and DSP power to provide full processing “without compromise”. GLD-80 has an analogue-style channel processing control section complemented by a graphical 21cm-wide touch screen. A fully-customisable drag-and-drop layout allows quick and easy assignment of inputs and mixes to fader strips. There are 20 fader strips in four layers, each with a motorised fader, a channel LCD display which can be named and colour-coded, plus a rotary control for direct access to gain, pan and aux/FX sends. There’s plenty of I/O too: four XLR mic/line inputs, four XLR line outs, four RCA inputs, four RCA outputs, and digital outputs in SPDIF and AES3 formats. The GLD-80 connects to a range of plug-and-play I/O racks to ‘build’ 28, 36 or 44 mic input systems. A primary AR2412 rack (24 XLR inputs, 12 XLR outs) and up to two AR84 expander racks (eight XLR inputs, four XLR outs each) can be connected over 120-metre Cat5 runs using A&H’s dSNAKE protocol. (dSNAKEprovides control to the remote preamp, and all mic preamps are scene recallable.) AR2412 also includes a connection for personal monitoring systems. GLD has the ability to record and playback a stereo signal on a USB memory stick. Standard iLive audio I/O option cards for Dante, MADI, EtherSound and Allen & Heath’s ACE protocols can be fitted and will be available soon, allowing multichannel record/playback, FOH/monitor splits, and connection to A&H iLive systems, which can easily be configured using GLD’s extensive soft-patching. “Designing a system which is suitable for both the professional engineer and occasional user has been a priority. With GLD, our aim was to take much of the complexity out of digital mixing, opening up the tremendous benefits of digital technology to a wider group of customers, such as the rental companies, houses of worship and live venues where our GL series analogue mixers have been working so successfully for years,” comments A&H MD, Glenn Rogers. “GLD offers high quality processing and stunning sonic performance. Key to the system is GLD’s remote plug ‘n’ play I/O audio racks for flexible, easy set-up system building.”

Allen & Heath’s strategic move to join forces with Audio-Technica mirrors a similar arrangement in Germany, where Audio-Technica has been Allen & Heath’s distributor since 2005, seeing a significant growth in sales over the last six years in the territory. Audio-Technica takes over from current distributor JHS with effect from 1 February 2012 and will be responsible for sales, technical support and service for both existing and new customers.