Yamaha has released an iPad app called “StageMix” which allows for remote control of a Yamaha M7CL audio console. The app is primarily geared towards being able to do monitor adjustments, however you can do mixing of the main faders as well. While this is a really cool idea, and a great start for an app, in my opinion the app is missing the mark in a few key areas. All of my testing was done over an iPad connected directly to a Linksys WRT54G connected only to the M7CL console and nothing else on the network:
UGGGHHHHH!!!!!! This is by far the worst part of the app. When you first connect, there are some initial syncing which is to be expected. However, once the faders are revealed, the app is still downloading all of your EQ settings, channel names, fader positions, etc. What I don’t understand though, is that all the meters are immediately bouncing all around before channel names/faders/etc are loaded. I could care less about meters if I don’t know what the channel is! And, I’m not being impatient here…we’re talking like a solid 3-5 minutes to get the console fully loaded where you are just sitting there waiting for everything to load. As we all well know, in a sound check environment, time is critical, 3-5 minutes is a whole song that the band could have played. This is way too long in my opinion. This video demonstrates it perfectly! The video edits out all the time they waited for the app to load:
The other annoying thing is…don’t let your iPad fall asleep…cause then you’ll have to completely resync from scratch again…set the timer. The thing that doesn’t make sense here is that when you sync to a computer/laptop running the Studio Manager, the sync happens and then you are all set with all the initial critical details loaded…definitely not so on the iPad.
Stereo Bus / DCA
Ok, I get it, the app is called “StageMix”, it’s designed for doing monitors. But hey, some of us don’t have the luxury of having our console in the best FOH mix position as possible. Wouldn’t it be great to mix FOH from this app too? You can…about 80% of the way. There’s currently no way to control DCA faders, or access the master Stereo fader either. A simple add in my opinion that would make this app FOH engineer friendly too.
EQ / Dynamics / Gain
The way to adjust EQ is fantastic. Great work on Yamaha’s part. Drag your frequency/gain, pinch for width/Q. Awesome. The addition of being able to tweak your dynamics and input gain here would be equally awesome.
Long Fader View / Fader Bank Change Mode
Ok now I’m just getting picky, but if I’m going to throw out my thoughts, this is definitely one of them. Long Fader mode is definitely preferred as it nearly doubles the height of your faders giving you more resolution for audio adjustments. The bummer here is that if you want to change your banks of faders, you have to pop out of Long View, select your next 8, then pop back into Long View. Would be great if Yamaha added a swipe left/right that would switch your fader bank to the next/previous 8 faders. Or, at least on the Long Fader mode, to have the bank selection along the left side of the screen.
I think Yamaha has great potential here with the app. It’s a super cool idea, definitely taking advantage of cutting edge technology, but adding these few features would take this app and make it a homerun instead of feeling like it’s just not quite there yet…here’s keeping fingers crossed for some app updates.