Here comes part 3 of the series…
Allen&Heath’s Mix Pad – iLive Series
I use iLive desks quite regularly. Although I try not to use the iPad app that often, I have been forced to use it in venues where the desk is up on a balcony / side stage. You will see why by the end of this post!
This app has one of the weirder (to me) layouts of any of the other apps that i’ve used. the screen is essentially split in half, allowing you to have 8 faders at the bottom, and 8 above, or EQ / Dynamics / Outputs / DCA’s. As you can see from the group of pictures below, the bottom half stays as the faders, Channel 1 – 63 all in one long Row and you have to, annoyingly, swipe across the screen.. and look frustrated when you stop and the channels keep moving. BAD IDEA Allen&Heath! It also stops you being able to jump to certain faders – a really useful tool that we have seen in the previous two blog posts.
In one gig I had 10 channels of Drums in 1-10, and then Stereo Track in 15-16ish, and then 5 Radio mics – 3 in the band, and 2 MC mics in 33+. This meant that during soundcheck I was constantly scrolling back and forth on the screen trying to get to the correct channel 😦
Had I had more time, and known what patch was at the Venue etc, I could have worked out a patch and come prepared – Which is why I can’t really complain a lot. But the app wasn’t much help before the show.
During the show, as you can see in this picture, I had the Vocals on the top half on the screen, and then used the bottom of the screen to allow me to change Track Level / Drums / Master / Sub Output on the fly. This worked great, as i could keep an eye on everything at once, although I didn’t have the same overall view as Yamaha’s / Behringer’s designs. However if I did need to change the EQ / Dynamic setting on anything, I would loose the top row of Faders, which almost certainly happened at the worst possible times – Standard! It did mean that if I wanted to change a mic EQ for example, the bottom faders would have to scroll across to them, and then rapidly make the changes. It isn’t a comforting experience in the first song lets put it that way!
An example above of setting the Gate, it gives you plenty of control and great visualisation over whats going on!
Moving on, I wish that the above issue was the only issue that I had with this app, but sadly not!
Unless there is a hidden feature, or Allen&Heath have released a new update, at the time of writing this app has no way to change the sends to the Aux’s.. you can adjust the master volume of each send, and set the Pan + Sub Output (see above), but that is about it for monitors. Which kept me fit running back up to the balcony!
I guess that they want each band member to download OneMix and control it themselves. but this isn’t always practical, especially with a short setup time. This app does allow the user to set an overall Compression + EQ, but not separate ones for different instruments. This would be a useful feature to be added, as different people like different sounding drums, etc.
This view allows you to customise the Mix layer, meaning you can shuffle things around if desired. A nice touch, but a bit pointless in my opinion – it can make it harder for the next guy trying to find things!
This is the Preamp Gain + Trim Controls page, with HPF and Phase Flip. It is nice that all of this can be accessed from the iPad. As the rest of the app basically feels like a volume adjustment app. There is also a nice little Name + Colour labelling system here.
To conclude, I really like the iLive Surfaces, and enjoy using them. Like the X32, they have the Preamp / EQ / Dynamics easy to access on the board (except the smallest R72 – the one I was looking at purchasing when they first came out at PLASA).
But for me I would need a better UI for iPad before I brought a iLive Surface. I know that for most people, the iPad issues that I have stated aren’t the end of the world, and most people will spend time setting their venues and Surfaces logically, meaning that they almost never use the app. But coming and essentially white gloving a random venue, where the desk is in a poor mixing position, I had little other choice than to go with it.
Till next time, look left and right before you cross the road!