It’s sort of become a fact of life; every company wants to have their own personal mixers. Perhaps it’s because the “universal fit” solutions don’t really work that well sometimes, or because companies want to keep customers in their ecosystems. Either way, Allen & Heath released their ME-1 personal mixers at NAMM this year. And you know, they look pretty good.
The summary is this: You can feed them up to 40 sources, which can be controlled via the surface in 16 groups. Each group can be an individual mono or stereo input or a whole group of inputs. Each mixer gets it’s own groupings, so on one mixer, button 1 could be the kick, while on another button 1 could be the whole drum kit. Sounds a lot like the Roland M-48 system so far.
The ME-1 also includes EQ on a per group basis. The big addition—something we’ve really not seen anyone do, save for MyMix—is the fairly large screen on the surface. When you press a source button, it’s corresponding name shows up in the display. That’s nice. By pressing the rotary next to the display, you can cycle through the EQ controls, and adjust the limiter (as well as the rest of the menu). The one button control is both a blessing and a curse; it’s fairly simple, but a bit tedious at times to get to things.
To use the ME-1 in a system, you can simply run a Cat5e cable from your A&H rack to the first unit and daisy chain the rest from there. Or use a standard PoE switch. Or use the new ME-U distro. What’s interesting about the MU-1 is that in addition to powering up to 10 ME-1s, it also has a card slot in it which will take MADI, Dante or Ethersound cards. Hmmm… It will also give you “web based” (their quotes) control over all the ME-1s on the system. I didn’t see that in action, so I don’t know what that means.
Other nice features include both 1/8” and 1/4” headphone jacks, plus a mono out on a 1/4”. An ambient mic is included as is a USB port for copying and saving setups. Dual Ethercons permit daisy chaining, and there is a local power input in case you’re not running from a PoE switch.
For some reason, I didn’t listen to them, so I cannot comment on sound quality. Looks like list price on the ME-1 is about $650, which is pretty competitive given it’s capabilities. While it appears to lack some of the more advanced features of say, the Roland M-48 (an engineer’s monitor, easy control of groups and levels from FOH, reverb, more encoders, etc.), it appears to be a solid offering. If you’re in the iLive ecosystem, and you’re looking for personal mixers, this is the place to start.
For more information, visit A&H’s ME-1 website.