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.
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.
Transcript:Taylor: Alright, what’s going on, this is Taylor from Uniquesquared.com, here are winter NAMM 2012 at Anaheim, hangin out with Ben over here at the Mackie booth, he is going to show us a new iPad mixer that they have developed, a 16 channel mixer, I’m going to have Ben talk you through it, so Ben, tell me a little more about it. Ben: Yeah, this is the DL 1608, it is a 16 channel digital live sound mixer with iPad control. So we have, as you can see in the front section, a space for the iPad, so all the control is done through that iPad, and it can either be used in the wired configuration as you can see here, or I can slide it out and it will switch over to wireless operation boom, meters are back, that is how fast it takes to switch over to wireless operation. The mixer gives me 16 mic inputs, and these are our onyx mic pres, same conversion that we use in the rest of our flagship onyx series, so great quality there, and all the processing in the mixer, we have a lot of the stuff you expect, four band EQ, compressor gate, 31 band graphic on all of my outputs, I have 6 auxins in addition to the left right. But really it’s that iPad user interface that really takes this forward and the fact that you can mix this from anywhere in the room that has wireless availability lets you mix it so you can take it and mix it on stage, tune your monitors on stage, you can walk to the back of the hall and make sure that everyone has the same sound back there as they do in the front. In fact, you can have up to 10 iPads connected to a single mixer, so every member of the band can mix their own monitor mixes from stage if thats how they want it, or in a rehearsal space, the fact that it is wireless really makes the options kinda endless and really gets you going…your mind thinking. Ben: Why don’t I walk you through the user interface here and show you just how easy it is to use? So let’s take a look down here. Basically this is the main mixer view, there’s really just two views, the mix view, where here you can see I have my input channels on the…basically taking up the most majority of the screen, and if I swipe back and forth I get to view all 16 of my inputs. And on the right side there is a dedicated fader for my master, I can turn that up and let you hear some of the audio passing through the console, so the master channel is always right there, you always have that at your control. Right now I am looking at my left right mix, if I swipe this up, now I am looking at the mix going to aux 1 as shown there, swipe it up again and now I am looking at the mix going to my 2nd aux. So easy to get to all my outputs. Every channel has what you expect, my mute, my pan, fader. You notice that as I adjust controls, they grow and change color to indicate that they are under my control so I am not going to accidentally change something I am not intending. Then you can switch to your other main view by pushing the EQ at the top of the channel strip, when I release that, that’s going to switch me over to my channel. Here’s where I can can adjust an EQ, touch, I can pinch to adjust the cue, everything is available there. Swipe up, I have my gate and compressor for the channel. Swipe up a third time and I have reverb and delay, everything you expect right at hand. Swap back to the mixer. On the outputs, I have my graphic EQs and a limiter. And then, as I said, seamless wired to wireless transition, just pull it out and I am still wired, I am still walking around and doing everything that I was doing before. So really powerful, and a great price point. We are delivering this to everyone…so that everyone can use the power of digital with a street price of $9.99, so a great price point for a 16 channel digital mixer. Taylor: That is, it’s very cool, and it’s got the same Mackie construction, you know, very well built, very sturdy. Now, is this a dedicated app for the Mackie mixer? you guys developed your own app, tell me a little more about the development of that. Ben: Yeah, absolutely, it’s a dedicated app that have built ourselves in house. We have been spending a lot of time, the product has been in development for well over a year and a half really working on fast, responsive, fluid operation, and easy access to everything. and you are just going to go to the app store and download the app just like any other application, so when we launch this in Q2 of this year, users are going to be able to go to the app store and get it for themselves, even before they get the mixer, so you will be able to try it out, see how it works; they will get all the functionality, except for the audio processing because you need the mixer for that. Taylor: Looks very cool. iPad has been a big trend here at winter NAMM, and it’s cool that Mackie has this great new product out for us, I am sure you guys are really going to love it, can’t wait for us to get it in the studio, we will do our own video, a little review of it, so be sure to check it out. Be you, be unique at uniquesquared.com