Tablet computers such as Apple iPad being used to control live audio for band performances

A common scene at any live music event is to see the band on a stage, and somewhere in the middle of the listening area a table setup with a mixing console eating up precious landscape. In a concert setting, you would hardly notice the loss of space, but in a more intimate setting like a club, bar or restaurant, it could cut down on seating, and create a trip hazard with all the wiring.

It appears the days of that are drawing to a close!

Two companies, Presonus and Mackie, are making mixing consoles that can be left on the stage, eliminating the need for a long cable (snake) run through the middle of the venue, and a table setup with that audio console on it.

Both companies have 16 channel mixers of a compact variety, but how they are controlled are distinctly different.

The Presonus offering allows you to connect a notebook or desktop computer, either Apple Mac or Microsoft Windows to it via firewire, then wirelessly control the console through an iPad, while the Mackie was built without a control surface at all, and instead has a place for you to lock an iPad in on the console.

Both mixers allow you to roam around with the iPad and adjust the audio from anywhere in the venue.

Both mixers allow you to record the main outputs direct to a computer.  However, the Mackie allows you to record the gig to the iPad and play audio tracks direct from the iPad.

Presonus offers a big brother 24 channel mixer, which can record 24 channels simultaneously to your computer.

Yes, the days of wired mixers with lots of knobs are growing to a close!   Eventually, we may see a box that accepts the inputs from mics and direct boxes, and has outputs to amplifiers and powered speakers, with no physical buttons on it, controlled only from an iPad or Android device.  The Mackie DL 1608 is pretty close to that now.

My band, Hot As A Pepper is currently using an analog / digital hybrid mixer from Allen & Heath, with built-in effects, but it is not controllable by a tablet computer. So we are looking into how to better serve the clubs, bars, parties and events we play through technology. I’ll try to post more information as we move in that direction.

In the mean-time, please come catch a Hot As A Pepper show if you are in the Greenville, Spartanburg or Anderson area! We provide fun, professional, live music to the Upstate for your corporate event, party, festival or venue at reasonable rates… For a good time, call 864-979-1224 (I bet you thought I was going to say 867-5309 didn’t you?)…

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