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mrtcat

Is anyone using a tablet to mix live?

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Considering swapping the big mixing desk for something like a behringer x-air 18 controlled by tablet for the function band.

Does anyone work with a similar set up? What are the pros and cons? My biggest concern I guess is reliability. What do you do if the tablet dies unexpectedly?

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I've just oredered the Soundcraft Ui16. Will report on it when I have given it a trial.

Heard good things about it, ans it seems well priced.

Edited by gelfin

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I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts on it. It looks like crazy value for money if it can deliver what it looks like it can.

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Depped for a band that use the Mackie/iPad mixing desk and it's sick as chips (which is good)! Scrolling through the channels is a breeze, adjusting levels couldn't be easier, parametric EQ's are a doddle.

Basically setting levels for anything, be it effects, mixes, volumes, gains etc is so so so easy and the best part is you can operate it wirelessly if you bring a little wireless router with you to gigs.

The other party trick is that individual band members can adjust their own monitor mix using the app on their smartphones. It's magic I tells you!

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Also, tbh there's as much chance of an analogue mixer failing on you as there is an iPad.

Go on YouTube and watch videos of people using it! If you've got the budget, do it!

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Seen a couple of touring band engineers using them, think they request specific desks from the venues they are compatible with. From the looks of it you can very quickly upload a preset patch to the desk and tweak to the room for hetting consistant results in different venues

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Our band use the Mackie/iPad combo and it's really good. Memorising levels and EQ for different venues, plus the ability to walk out FOH and mix from there if the PA is stage based. Tablet failure? Well anything can fail I guess, including a normal mixer, power amp, whatever, you just hope it doesn't.

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Our guitarist has a PA Hire Company and has 2 A&H desks that use an iPad interface. From his point of view they really are a quantum leap in technology. I helped him out on a recent festival gig where he was providing sound for 3 stages. Changeovers were a doddle as you can stand with each band member and set levels up whilst talking to them.
He sets up his own WiFi network and can have a separate sound guy side stage adjusting monitor mix/volume. He reckons it has made his job so much easier.

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I've been using a mackie DL1608/iPad for a few months now. It's brilliant. I love that you can save EQs, whole channel strips, gates, compressors, whole mixes, it's just so easy. The wireless mixing makes sound checks a breeze. And the Logic style EQs (and 31 band graphic on main outs & every aux) offer way more tone shaping than the 3 band EQ found on my analogue mixer.
If an iPad were to run out of juice or crash this mixer simply stays with it's current setting so the show still goes on till you get the iPad running again. I always have 2 iPads on stage anyhow, one in the mixer and one running wirelessly near me, and I charge that one between sets. Remember, the iPad is only a control interface, all the computing is done inside the mixer.
I've done lots of gigs where other musicians have used their iPhone/iPad to mix their own IEMs/monitors and they all love it too.
The 1608 is going pretty cheap thesedays if you get the 30 pin model for iPad 2 & 3. (There is a newer, more expensive, lightning version too) Yes, you need to factor in an iPad too, but what you get for your money is amazing. The (free) app is worth downloading to see for yourself how intuative it is. I've engineered some recent gigs on Presonus desks and I personally prefer the Mackie app over the Presonus app. Software updates come via the iPad's App Store updates which automatically run a firmware update on the mixer next time you dock the iPad.
If only there was a 24 channel version I'd have one in a heartbeat. I'm thinking about the 32 channel one for the future though.

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Some really helpful info here, thanks everyone so far. At the moment I don't have a tablet but will be hopefully picking one up this week. I'm totally open to suggestions as which is most suitable. I'll use it for work too but mostly for accessing my customer database whilst out on site so it doesn't have to be something with amazing graphics etc. It'll also be used to play music from a playlist between sets.
I like the look of the Mackie and the soundcraft mixers but am also really interested in the behringer x air 18 that has its own integral WiFi router and doesn't have a tablet dock built in.

Edited by mrtcat

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I've been using the exact mixer you've been on about for the last few gigs.
I'm by no means an expert, but have got a decent handle on things.
With regards to reliability I don't feel I can comment after only using it for 5 gigs, but it's been great for those 5.
Make of that what you will really.
When you set it up originally i recommend putting a key on your mixer (password), so that it's not an open wifi service that anyone can sign onto. If you do that you won't have any problems with randoms logging onto your wifi and knocking you off. It's an easy fix if they do, you just reset the router, but putting the password on negates these problem anyway. This is the only negative I have found really. Well, that and It has been a steep learning curve, but it's brilliant.
About a hundred different effects to choose from is a massive plus point. Saves a lot of rack space! Visual EQ is handy. Also handy should a frequency feedback. You can literally See which frequency band is the culprit straight away. Once you get the hang of it, it's a huge time saver, and money saver. All the channels can be preset to how each specific person likes their sound. Hugely customisable. I was originally hesitant to go digital, but now I'm glad we have made the jump. Being able to mix from all points in the room is certainly very handy.
What happens if the tablet dies? Nothing. There is still the same sound you had before it dies, but you won't be able to alter the sound anymore. Bring a charger with you at all times though, and your golden.
Anything else you'd like to know?

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The Presonus boards are by far the most widely used around here. Sound OK and seem pretty reliable. My friend has a few Mackies in his sound hire company too, but I have yet to give one a go. I don't know of a single band or provider who have bought a new analog board in the last two or three years out here.

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I've got a Soundcraft Si Expression, which has proper faders, knobs etc, as I don't personally like mixing mixing from stage on a touchpad screen, which I have tried on a few occasions with Mackie DL1608 and A&H iLive, and I find it's very hard to adjust anything quick and accurately enough. I bought for recalling different settings at different venues, and future proofing for monitor mixes for others via their iPhone etc..
If you have a separate soundguy out front, or never change anything it makes sense, but i don't find trying to play and do sound at the same time on an iPad a pleasant experience.

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[quote name='FuNkShUi' timestamp='1442161418' post='2864780']
I've been using the exact mixer you've been on about for the last few gigs.
I'm by no means an expert, but have got a decent handle on things.
With regards to reliability I don't feel I can comment after only using it for 5 gigs, but it's been great for those 5.
Make of that what you will really.
When you set it up originally i recommend putting a key on your mixer (password), so that it's not an open wifi service that anyone can sign onto. If you do that you won't have any problems with randoms logging onto your wifi and knocking you off. It's an easy fix if they do, you just reset the router, but putting the password on negates these problem anyway. This is the only negative I have found really. Well, that and It has been a steep learning curve, but it's brilliant.
About a hundred different effects to choose from is a massive plus point. Saves a lot of rack space! Visual EQ is handy. Also handy should a frequency feedback. You can literally See which frequency band is the culprit straight away. Once you get the hang of it, it's a huge time saver, and money saver. All the channels can be preset to how each specific person likes their sound. Hugely customisable. I was originally hesitant to go digital, but now I'm glad we have made the jump. Being able to mix from all points in the room is certainly very handy.
What happens if the tablet dies? Nothing. There is still the same sound you had before it dies, but you won't be able to alter the sound anymore. Bring a charger with you at all times though, and your golden.
Anything else you'd like to know?
[/quote]
That's really helpful thank you. Can I ask which tablet you use? I like the behringer one particularly as it is so discreet it could just sit on the floor behind the drummer or keyboard player.

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[quote name='chevy-stu' timestamp='1442162465' post='2864789']
I've got a Soundcraft Si Expression, which has proper faders, knobs etc, as I don't personally like mixing mixing from stage on a touchpad screen, which I have tried on a few occasions with Mackie DL1608 and A&H iLive, and I find it's very hard to adjust anything quick and accurately enough. I bought for recalling different settings at different venues, and future proofing for monitor mixes for others via their iPhone etc..
If you have a separate soundguy out front, or never change anything it makes sense, but i don't find trying to play and do sound at the same time on an iPad a pleasant experience.
[/quote]
This is a really interesting slant I hadn't considered. That said we do have a competent eph with us for most gigs who can do on the fly adjustments from foh. I have wrestled with doitsound and playing before and it isn't fun at all.

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I use the X - 18, not the X air 18. Its the exact same interface/app though.
I use it on an ipad. Ours sits on top of the power amp, which sits behind the drummer :)

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[quote name='Passinwind' timestamp='1442161928' post='2864787']
The Presonus boards are by far the most widely used around here. Sound OK and seem pretty reliable. My friend has a few Mackies in his sound hire company too, but I have yet to give one a go. I don't know of a single band or provider who have bought a new analog board in the last two or three years out here.
[/quote]
That's partly why I'm asking. We need a new mixer and I don't see why I'd buy an analogue one these days if the new digital ones are as good as they look.

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I'm not aware of any reports of latency issues to be honest.

Edited by mrtcat

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I helped my local sound man set up the Wifi for his tablet and Behringer desks; he'd not go out without it now. The ease of use and ability to control from anywhere in the venue (including the bar...) are key factors; in fact I can think of no real downsides, especially as the cost is now more than reasonable. If our band were gigging more, I'd not hesitate in going fully digital. Too late for old duffers like me, but indeed, a quantum leap, I'd agree.

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[quote name='51m0n' timestamp='1442172739' post='2864899']
What is the latency like on these cheaper digital solutions??
[/quote]

I've had no issues at all.

[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1442175194' post='2864935']
I helped my local sound man set up the Wifi for his tablet and Behringer desks; he'd not go out without it now. The ease of use and ability to control from anywhere in the venue (including the bar...) are key factors; in fact I can think of no real downsides, especially as the cost is now more than reasonable. If our band were gigging more, I'd not hesitate in going fully digital. Too late for old duffers like me, but indeed, a quantum leap, I'd agree.
[/quote]

There are far more expensive digital desks, but i think at just over £500 the Behringer is brilliant value for money in my opinion!

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For this reason, I was thinking about buying in an LS9 for hire.
There are plenty of engrs with access to kit but a good digital board is quite rare.

As are decent monitors and fills for that matter. Nobody ever has enough decent monitors. :lol:

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