On sound duty at Wilderness festival, Oxford, last week, I had the chance to try something new – mixing remotely over WiFi on the Yamaha LS9 desk using an iPad and the StageMix app. Initial thoughts were that it would be a nightmare, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well I was able to remotely control my mix, as well as keep my place in the pie van queue.
Front of house I had the Yamaha LS9 16-channel mixer with my trusty iPad 2 LAN-ed directly to it using Yamaha’s StageMix app. The desk was at the side of the stage, but I wanted to really get in amongst it to test the setup, so ended up mixing everywhere from the crowd to the bar. Here’s what I found…
Intuitive controls, impressive faders
StageMix’s controls are all fairly intuitive – EQ is controlled by picking the points on a frequency/gain graph with four fully parametric frequency points and shelving options. Meanwhile the Q factor was controlled by holding the point you wanted to manipulate, then using another finger to stroke up or down to sharpen or widen the Q.
I was particularly impressed with the fader response. At one point I was altering four fader positions simulatneously – as I would do on a physical sound desk – and it was both smooth and accurate. Using sends-to-faders for auxes and gain was just a couple of well signposted button pushes.
Strange and liberating
Overall I found the experience of mixing with the Yamaha LS9 and iPad strange, liberating, accurate and very user friendly (definitely far less gimmicky than I orignally anticipated). Response time was quick and the StageMix app only hung occassionally for a fraction of a second when I was doing particularly complex and expedient work. The only downside was not being able to assign and control dynamic processors via the app – that had to be done on the desk.
I’d imagine more and more small venues and schools will be getting on the small digital desk wagon soon. Given most budgets, these will invariably be the Yamaha LS9s or M7CLs. Coupled with the StageMix app and an iPad, it can be a very powerful tool which is also an unexpected pleasure to use.
Want to copy what Pete did? We’ve made it easy by throwing in a free iPad with the Yamaha LS9 16-channel mixer.