Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Winter NAMM 2011: iPadPalooza

We saw a lot of iPads at NAMM this year. It’s no surprise really, the iPad is a perfect remote control device. The surface is large enough to design a good interface, there’s plenty of room for clicking and dragging and the touch screen is of high enough resolution that you can actually make fine adjustments. I don’t think we caught all the all the apps, but here are a couple that are interesting.

Harmon HiQ Net App Crown System Control AppIn the Harmon room we saw the new Crown System Control App. Running on HiQnet, the app allows you to completely control your entire Crown amp rig right from the app. Because it integrates with System Designer, you can develop all sorts of custom control panels and load them into the app. You could even create a custom control panel and use something like an iPod Touch as a custom wall control. Now that’s kinda cool. It’s also possible to connect to the system and directly monitor and control every single amp (included HiQnet connected powered speakers) right in the app.

The app is $3.99 and available for both the iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad in the iTunes store.

Presonus Studio Live iPad App Presonus StudioLive Remote iPad AppOne of the nicest looking iPad apps, is from Presonus and it’s designed to control the StudioLive consoles. As I understand it, the app controls the computer that is running Virtual StudioLive. It’s a true iPad app, not a port and it is extremely fast and easy to use. It’s very easy to switch between the gate, comp and EQ on a channel by flicking left or right. EQs can be adjusted right on the curve display, or using the large virtual knobs. To pan a channel, you just drag in the pan window (above the fader, note the orange and green stair steps in ch. 5 & 6).

Interestingly, multiple iPads can connect to and control the software at once; and you can set each iPad up to control a particular aux mix. So in that sense, you could almost have a personal mixing system with your StudioLive with the addition of just a few iPads. And since the StudioLive 24.4.2 has 10 aux mixes, well, you do the math. It’s certainly an interesting concept.

The biggest downside to the app however is not with the app itself, but with the board. Since the StudioLive lacks moving faders, any changes made in the app are not reflected on the surface. Which means you really can’t set up a mix on the desk, grab the iPad, walk the venue and tweak the mix then return to the board. That’s a huge limitation to what would otherwise be a great combination.

Honestly, it’s too bad because Presonus has come up with the best looking and potentially most functional iPad remote mixing app to date. Presonus! Are you paying attention Avid? DIGiCo? Soundcraft? Midas?

Not really new, but worth mentioning are the Yamaha StageMix iPad app for controlling the M7, and Tweak from Allen & Heath. Tweak is really limited and only really good for just what it’s name implies, tweaking. I would not even attempt remote mixing on it. StageMix is much better, and with the ability to sends on faders, would be a boon to both monitor engineers and FOH guys.

We also saw an iPad controlling the Meyer Constellation system in their demo room, and at quite a few other booths. Clearly progressive audio companies are getting the clue that networking and remote control are the future. Now what are the rest of you waiting for?

UPDATE 1-20-11: Allen & Heath apparently announced an actual iPad app at NAMM. I missed this, but ProSound Web has the story. Based on the screen shots, it looks pretty nice…

9 Comments

  1. tgibson@efccl.org

    Mike,

    FYI later this month A&H will be releasing a true iPad app for the iLive. Tweak was meant as an iPod Touch/iPhone app. Here’s a link with a pic & description:

    http://mikesgig.com/new-ipad-app-for-allen-heath-ilive/

    Tim

    (your everpresent iLive guy 😉

  2. tgibson@efccl.org

    Mike,

    FYI later this month A&H will be releasing a true iPad app for the iLive. Tweak was meant as an iPod Touch/iPhone app. Here’s a link with a pic & description:

    http://mikesgig.com/new-ipad-app-for-allen-heath-ilive/

    Tim

    (your everpresent iLive guy 😉

  3. chris@chrisaudio.com

    Great post, interesting to see whats out there though.

    I have to be honest though, playing Devil’s advocate (since i have an iPad and several audio control apps), i’m not sure iPad remote control is the future.

    For one, tablet PCs have been around for years and years, as have great remote control apps. Meyer Gallileo, d&b R1, Dolby Lake, just to name a few. Those of us working on large scale events have been using these technologies for a while, but realise their limited scope and niche usage.

    The reality is, no matter how good iPad apps get, we’ll always mix on consoles. I’m not about to put my console away in a cupboard in order to mix an event. Console designers spend a lot of money on UI which something like an iPad will never replicate. even in the corporate and installation sector, people like A&H, AMX and Crestron have been doing remote control well for a long time.

    the iPad has pushed this whole world to the forefront, and thats great for everyone – it forces companies to innovate. I’m also sure there are a lot of consumers making purchasing decisions based on whether something has iPad integration (i work with someone like this!). The reality is though, things like StageMix do add some functionality, but its mostly convenience not neccesity.

    So, i suspect everyone will have iPad apps out at some point, although all the big manufacturers realise that ultimately, iPads are just like any other Peripheral: they’re peripheral…

  4. chris@chrisaudio.com

    Great post, interesting to see whats out there though.

    I have to be honest though, playing Devil’s advocate (since i have an iPad and several audio control apps), i’m not sure iPad remote control is the future.

    For one, tablet PCs have been around for years and years, as have great remote control apps. Meyer Gallileo, d&b R1, Dolby Lake, just to name a few. Those of us working on large scale events have been using these technologies for a while, but realise their limited scope and niche usage.

    The reality is, no matter how good iPad apps get, we’ll always mix on consoles. I’m not about to put my console away in a cupboard in order to mix an event. Console designers spend a lot of money on UI which something like an iPad will never replicate. even in the corporate and installation sector, people like A&H, AMX and Crestron have been doing remote control well for a long time.

    the iPad has pushed this whole world to the forefront, and thats great for everyone – it forces companies to innovate. I’m also sure there are a lot of consumers making purchasing decisions based on whether something has iPad integration (i work with someone like this!). The reality is though, things like StageMix do add some functionality, but its mostly convenience not neccesity.

    So, i suspect everyone will have iPad apps out at some point, although all the big manufacturers realise that ultimately, iPads are just like any other Peripheral: they’re peripheral…

  5. hook@ps139.com

    Mike,

    We use the Presonus StudioLive consoles at our church (actually, two of the 16 channels ones sync’ed together). I, too, was a bit frustrated by what appears to be an issue if you use the StudioLive Remote iPad app. But, in order to use the iPad app, you need to have the VirtualStudioLive (VSL) software running on the computer connected to the console. After digging in the manual a bit, I ran across this:

    To sync the faders on your StudioLive with the faders in VSL, simply press the

    Locate button on your StudioLive. The Fat Channel meters on your StudioLive

    will reflect the current position of each fader in VSL. While in Locate Mode,

    the faders on your StudioLive will not be controlling the level of each

    channel, so you will not hear any level changes while you recall each fader

    position Once you exit Locate Mode, your StudioLive faders will reactivate.

    It’s not as good as flying faders, but it will allow you to set the physical faders to their corresponding virtual position. The ‘fader locate’ feature can be used with scenes, too, in order to manually set the faders to where they were physically at when the scene was saved.

  6. hook@ps139.com

    Mike,

    We use the Presonus StudioLive consoles at our church (actually, two of the 16 channels ones sync’ed together). I, too, was a bit frustrated by what appears to be an issue if you use the StudioLive Remote iPad app. But, in order to use the iPad app, you need to have the VirtualStudioLive (VSL) software running on the computer connected to the console. After digging in the manual a bit, I ran across this:

    To sync the faders on your StudioLive with the faders in VSL, simply press the

    Locate button on your StudioLive. The Fat Channel meters on your StudioLive

    will reflect the current position of each fader in VSL. While in Locate Mode,

    the faders on your StudioLive will not be controlling the level of each

    channel, so you will not hear any level changes while you recall each fader

    position Once you exit Locate Mode, your StudioLive faders will reactivate.

    It’s not as good as flying faders, but it will allow you to set the physical faders to their corresponding virtual position. The ‘fader locate’ feature can be used with scenes, too, in order to manually set the faders to where they were physically at when the scene was saved.

  7. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Chris S.,

    Thanks for posting that! I’m glad to hear they actually thought of the issue; though I’m still not sold on the implementation. Still, I won’t be surprised if we see a version of the desk at InfoComm with flying faders. If those are added, the mixer becomes very compelling indeed.

    mike

  8. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Chris S.,

    Thanks for posting that! I’m glad to hear they actually thought of the issue; though I’m still not sold on the implementation. Still, I won’t be surprised if we see a version of the desk at InfoComm with flying faders. If those are added, the mixer becomes very compelling indeed.

    mike

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