Mackie DL1608 16 Channel Live Sound Mixer with iPad Control
If anything, Namm 2012 will likely be remembered as iPad heavy. With so many iPad apps and hardware add ons on the floor it begins to all run together. With a lengthy mixing pedigree, it is no surprise that one of the standout iPad related products was from Mackie this year.
The Mackie DL1608 is a 16 channel digital mixer for the iPad. It is very impressive in terms of hardware. 16 Onyx mic preamps and Cirrus Logic A/D converters make this an impressive I/O regardless of the iPad functionality. The addition of an iPad and the Master Fader app bring a very intuitive and visually impressive functionality to these specs. EQ and compression options are plentiful; with dedicated 4-band EQ and compression for every input as well as 31-band GEQ and a compressor/limiter on the outputs. The interface on the iPad is comprehensive and impressive and makes it seem quite viable to replace loads of gear and rack space with this mixer.
Mackie DL1608 at NAMM 2012 UniqueSquared
I think that, despite the beauty of the device, I am most impressed by the networking function of the device. Wiring a router into the mixer via ethernet allows up to 10 iPads to be networked. Additionally, this allows the iPad to be removed from the mixer’s docks; allowing control from anywhere within range of the network. The multiple scenarios possible with this array allow for some fantastic time saving. Individual stations onstage could be setting their own monitor mixes (provided from the 6 aux outs) while FOH has the extra time to set up not only the main mix, but to check it from all the trouble spots in the room.
The quality of the components make this a head turner in the emerging field of iPad related products, but I am most impressed by the way the functionality takes advantage of the wireless networking capability of the iPad. It might be a hard sell for some engineers to switch their rigs to an iPad based scenario, but the impressive technology driving the Mackie DL1608 might make the tech savvy drool and the practical and budget minded take the risk.