Tips and advice for getting the best out of TheatreMix

Probably not. TheatreMix is designed to handle the complex frequent DCA assignment cues for wireless microphones, not all of the automation necessary for a show. TheatreMix can control a maximum of 48 channels on a console.

Typically, band channels don't change a lot during a show, so it's recommended that they not be controlled by TheatreMix and instead assigned to a separate DCA or routed into a subgroup (perhaps controlled by the LR fader ganging feature on X32/M32 consoles). Small variations to individual band channels can be accommodated in console snippets/scenes and recalled from TheatreMix.

Playback channels are generally kept unmuted for the whole show and levels for individual cues are set in the playback software programming.

Yes. Channels assigned to a DCA in a cue will be automatically unmuted, and any controlled channels not assigned to a DCA will be muted.

TheatreMix Training 101 covers a wide range of topics:
  • Evolution of wireless microphone control from the 1980s to today
  • Origins of TheatreMix
  • Show setup
  • Allocating DCAs and marking up the script
  • Running cues on a console
  • Live editing
  • Inspecting channel utilisation
  • Position presets, effects control
  • Channel profiles
  • Transferring shows to different consoles
A follow-up video shall be released soon, covering additional features in depth and touching on some advanced workflows.

Scribble strip colours are typically used to help identify and classify channels, which is a nice upgrade from the tape used on analogue consoles.

TheatreMix repurposes scribble strip colours for DCA fader signifiers and channel status indicators (channel monitoring / active channel highlighting). These are very different design concepts to the static labelling they're traditionally used for: signifiers show at a glance what actions can be performed on an object before it is used, and dynamic status indicators provide real-time feedback of changes or issues. These enhance the console workflow for theatre mixing by helping the operator focus on what's important during a show.

For DCAs, the scribble strip colour indicates what will happen to the DCA when the next cue is fired, so the operator knows what to do with the fader before they hit go. The colour does not tell them what assigned to the DCA – this is left to the number and label, which can be better cross referenced to the script.

For channels, TheatreMix uses the "cattle, not pets" mindset. Scribble strip colours help the operator look for abnormalities in the herd rather than distinguish specific channels. The operator's focus during the show belongs with throwing the right DCA faders at the right times, not being distracted by combing through channels. If a channel goes bad or uses a non-standard profile TheatreMix will indicate it.

Hopefully this has convinced you of the utility of the TheatreMix scribble strip approach, but if not, you can disable channel monitoring and recall a snippet/scene to override the colours.

In theatre sound, panning and delay are generally used as tools to help the amplified sound reflect the physical movement of actors on stage. Although dramatic panning may sound nice at the mix position, we need to be mindful that the sound reinforcement should feel transparent to all of the audience.

Since the human hearing mechanism will typically localise a source towards the direction of its first arrival, and most of the audience is seated closer to one loudspeaker than the other, the majority of audience members will always localise sound towards their nearest loudspeaker. Panning can sometimes be effective in small amounts with certain system configurations, e.g. an LCR system with overlapping coverage, but it can not be relied upon for localisation and image control.

The intention of position setup in TheatreMix is to predefine the common acting areas so delay/pan can be easily assigned to actors' microphones during DCA cue programming, rather than manually recording individual values for each cue as with console scenes. A good workflow would be to define a handful of common positions (downstage, midstage, upstage, apron corners) along with any special positions determined by the set, program them into the DCA cues, then during bump in, mic up an assistant and measure the appropriate delay/pan values. The positions can then be updated in position setup and all of the cues will use the correct delays/pans for the venue (until the actors miss their marks!).

Further reading on the limitations of stereo in live sound:

It's generally better to double mic the lead actors who won't have time to get a new microphone fitted during the show. There is no point having lots of spare microphones if there is no time to fit them to actors between scenes.

For all other potential failures, a simple solution is to have a wireless handheld mic side stage that can be quickly passed to an actor. It's best to run this as a standard channel and not have TheatreMix control it due to differences in gain structure.

As a last resort you could have a single floating spare pack to be ready in case of emergency, however the opportunities for a swap are often limited. It's better to spend time ruggedising lavalier and headset mics before the production rather than hope for good timing to fit spares during a show.

One option is to submix the band inputs on a separate console ("sidecar") and then send that mix to auxiliary inputs on the main console. This can be achieved using individual analogue patch leads or a digital audio link.

X32/M32 consoles can be linked via their AES50 ports. When linking via AES50 it's best to set system clock from the main console – ensure the main console's clock is set to internal and the band console's clock is set to its AES50 port.

A&H consoles can be linked via SLink, gigaACE, or Dante. Yamaha consoles can be linked via Dante.

If you would like to recall scenes or snippets on the band console, consider using playback software to send OSC or MIDI commands into the band console – the playback software cues could then be recalled from TheatreMix cues.


Cues fire independently of what you're editing. It might be a good idea to tell the operator not to be distracted by what's happening on the screen.

When editing is unlocked, double-click jump is disabled – hold down ⌘/Ctrl while double clicking on the cue to force jump.

When using TheatreMix the show data is split across two places: the TheatreMix file on computer and the base scene on the console (plus any snippets or additional scenes on the console).

To save the base console scene, jump to cue 0 in TheatreMix and then save the scene on the console as normal. The scene file can then be transferred to a USB flash drive (etc) as desired.

To restore a backup, disconnect TheatreMix, and load the console scene (check recall scope). Then, open the TheatreMix file, connect TheatreMix to the console, and hit go.

Yes :)

TheatreMix is lightweight and can be run on the same computer as playback and other show critical software.

QLab 5 introduced a new OSC permissions system which generates a randomised OSC passcode for each workspace, and blocks non-passcode access by default. If you wish to secure your QLab workspace with passcodes then simply create a passcode for TheatreMix and enter it under the QLab tab of show setup.

Alternatively, you can change QLab workspace permissions so a passcode is not required. In QLab 5, under Workspace Settings → Network → OSC Access, ensure the "No Passcode" user is assigned View and Control permissions.

Unfortunately these consoles do not provide a method for TheatreMix to detect UDK/Soft button presses without assigning them to console functions.

When mixing theatre shows, (nearly) all channels are under the control of DCAs so mute groups are rarely used. This allows TheatreMix to repurpose mute groups as button triggers.

Configuring these buttons in console setup is a two step process. First, assign TheatreMix actions to unused mute groups in the Mute Group Buttons tab. Then, assign these mute groups to UDK/Soft buttons in the Mute Group Assign Buttons tab.

TheatreMix supports all dLive surfaces: it will configure soft keys on the surface it discovers with the lowest IP address.

If there are multiple surfaces on a network unfortunately it can't determine which is the primary surface, nor which MixRack a surface is connected to. Please ensure the surface you wish to use with TheatreMix has the lowest IP address of all surfaces on the network.

Yes (using Rosetta).

TheatreMix is designed to implement the Broadway/West End mixing workflow which requires a minimum of 8 DCAs and a physical control surface to throw DCA faders.

As such, TheatreMix will not support consoles such as the Behringer X AIR series, Midas M AIR series, Allen & Heath CQ & Qu series, Mackie DL series, QSC TouchMix series, Yamaha DM3 series, Yamaha TF-RACK, etc as they do not meet these criteria. By comparison, the X32/M32 rack models are supported as they have 8 DCAs and can be paired with an X-Touch controller.

The most budget-friendly consoles supported by TheatreMix are the Behringer X32 Compact, Yamaha TF1, and Midas M32R.