In the land of everything being on your iPhone or iPad, it’s no wonder console manufacturers are starting to finally get it.
A lot of people have been using VNC programs to control consoles the last couple years, but Yamaha finally released StageMix for iPad for the LS9 console. The M7CL version has been available for quite some time now. I did a corporate show with Dallas Green of City and Colour the other day and I finally got to use the LS9 app since we couldn’t have a console out front – it was side stage.
Initial set up was pretty easy – you just have to punch in the IP Address and the MAC address of the console, and make sure you’re on the same wifi network, and you’re good to go.
There are a ton of limitations and it should be noted that this app is by no means a complete solution. You get access to mix levels, send levels, and EQ, and that’s about it. It’s more intended for someone to walk around a venue and tweak levels, not to mix an entire show on from scratch. I can see how this would work well for dialing in monitors on stage, and in a touring scenario when the show is already built inside the console.
The funniest thing about this was that everyone in the audience who would see me mixing this way would come up and ask if I was actually doing the sound. It’s a good way to meet people. Ha.
All in all, I can see how this technology can certainly be helpful, but if I got into trouble with the mix, it is by no means a replacement for physical buttons and faders. Some people still prefer analog consoles (not me), to digital because analog desks have all of the buttons and knobs and faders in front of you. I do get that mentality a lot, but digital desks are just so useful and smaller and easier to deal with for me. The iPad is a great tool but it will never replace a console surface for me. I can honestly see someone wanting to just get a I/O box like the DSP5D and want to just run it with an app. I think this is a neat idea, but I’ll always want to have a surface.
Having said that, if you’re ever wondering what has happened to all of those big old analog consoles, look no further: