Padding the Mix

Jan 1, 2013 9:00 AM, By Michael Duke

iPad Control of Digital Mixers for Live Sound


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Using multiple iPads to control one console makes it possible to have a monitor engineer who uses an iPad with a remote app controlling the monitor sends on the FOH console, instead of a dedicated monitor board. For small venue situations, that could work very nicely.

It would certainly be feasible for band members to each have an iPad to control their own monitor level. For many bands, that could lead to a feedback frenzy, but with enough discipline, it could allow a band without a dedicated monitor mixer to avoid those wild gesticulations to the FOH mixer to turn them up. PreSonus makes an app called Qmix, which will run on iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, and is designed to allow musicians to control their own mixes.

Remote control apps have been a major boon for monitor engineers. Brian Foisy mixes monitors for Al Jarreau, Dave Koz and others, often using a Yamaha PM5D or M7CL mixer, and gets plenty of use out of an iPad running the StageMix app, an application originally designed with monitor mixing in mind.

“iPad mixing has really changed the way I work,” Foisy says. “I can really be free to interact with the band face to face, and get the monitors dialed in quickly. I can do all of my own line checks while testing each instrument—all while not relying on anybody to help me.”

Rob Bull, who mixes monitors for Martina McBride, is a self-described “analog guy,” but now uses a Yamaha CL5 and the StageMix app to augment his Paragon monitor console. He says it’s helped him in several different ways.

“Having another touch surface—such as mute groups—at the ready, and having the console screen on another page, allows me the speed I need to have for monitors,” he says. “Second, it has helped a situation where I walk out to the musician who was having issues, and they see me make the change in front of them, and hear the difference. It makes it more comfortable for them. Third, being able to put the iPad on my analog console, keep my eyes on the stage and still control the CL5, is key.”

Another advantage to remote control is the freedom to tailor the system setup to the physical limitations or quirks of a particular venue. “Every once in a while we will do a show in a small club where it might not be possible to put the monitor desk near the side of stage,” says Foisy. “The iPad allows to me to put the console elsewhere and still be present in the sight lines of the band.”

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