Just last week Steve Sutton reviewed a product on the birdlandmusic.net blog by K & M which holds and ipad on a microphone stand. I thought cool, I am going to get one so I don’t have to throw it on a music stand.
When I went to Namm this year I stumbled across a new Mackie mixer called the DL1608 iPad Controlled Digital Mixer. The iPad is cool. Steve Jobs certainly could think out of the box when it comes to hardware in a digital age. Even though I use an iPad it would have never occurred to me to join a pro audio mixer with one. Even though I have used mixers mated up with the famous ipod. -Never thought about it. I guess that is why I am not Steve Jobs or in charge of Mackie product development. -Or any product development for that matter.
How many doors does this open up? Well many I would say. A sound engineer can take his ipad out of the sound booth, go on stage and hear what the band is hearing to adjust the monitor mix if the stage setting does not have a monitor mix board. Or even if it does, if it is one of these, the sound engineer can go stand where the performer cannot hear with a stage monitor issue or wireless monitor ear bud system and get right to the problem. When I was doing sound heavily 10 years ago, I would not have dreamed of this.
Or multiple engineers and band members for better or worse can have control. This is cool but may also be problematic as not everyone in my opinion should touch any dial. When I did sound for Johnny Winter, he would turn up his guitar amp which on that performance was an old Gibson 410 combo up to 10. In addition all his other knobs, including, treble, mid and bass were turned up to 10. He was perhaps a big fan of the cult classic movie Spinal Tap. -Don’t give him an Ipad on stage. I did not bother asking him or any of the band mates if they had gear that went up to 11. I believe the sound on stage from his amp was what I would call “white noise”. You can actually buy these machines “white noise” machines if you have trouble sleeping. Although this Gibson amp set up by Mr. Winter would be better if you had trouble staying awake.
There is also the opportunity for the groups which are many whom do their own sound. Now the singer, guitar player, bassist drummer or keyboard player, who is doing the sound can just walk out in the audience and here what the group sounds like and make adjustments. That part is cool! Or they can fight as a group from their individual ipads setting the sound to their personal liking.- Not cool! But I see potential for this as a soundman and a performing musician.
I also believe all the plug ins will allow for some good effects and compression right out of the pad. Not to mention recording the group right into the ipad is very easy to do.
We will need to do some research regarding the wireless router and which is best for this, however, many are available for around 39.00. Once we see a manual perhaps Mackie will have a suggestion. I am also curious as to what happens if the battery goes dead in the ipad, or you need to rebot the thing in a middle of a song. Lucky the tablet is not window based.
Next time I need to do sound for my band, perhaps i will do it with a Mackie DL 1608 and a K & M ipad stand. -Everything at my fingertips for the house and stage mix. Pretty cool!
Jay Schultz, Pro Audio birdlandmusic.net