What It Is
New Mackie mixers with integrated Lightning connectors for iPads.
What It Does
Lets you use your Apple devices to control sound mixes from anywhere.
Where to Buy It
What It Costs
How did we ever get along before the iPad? Though it was only released three and a half years ago, it seems like such a transformative release—on par with, and maybe even surpassing, the iPhone—that you can almost divide contemporary consumer technology into “before” and “after” eras based on its release. But it’s become integrated in day-to-day life in ways we couldn’t imagine a few years ago, and that have paid real dividends even for performing arts folk. We’ve covered a number of examples in this space, but another reminder now comes in the updated forms of two Mackie sound mixers.
Both the DL806 and the DL1608 are equipped with Lightning connectors that let you easily mount your current-generation iPad or iPad mini so you can more easily interact with the mixers by way of the associated (free) app. You can instantly recall presets and snapshots, which is always handy. But though keeping your iPad connected lets you charge it up in addition to recording mixes to the tablet’s built-in storage and integrating music from any other app into your mix, you don’t need to stay docked. Seamless wired to wireless mixing means you can get your ideal sound from anywhere in the venue. Want everyone you work with to have similar control? That’s not a problem: The mixers support up to ten devices at a time.
Though you get a lot for your dollar, neither of the mixers is exactly cheap. The DL806 rings in at many outlets at $799.99, and offers eight Onyx mic preamps and four auxiliary sends for monitor mixes. The $999.99 DL1608 pushes things up to the next level, giving you 16 preamps and six aux sends. Otherwise, the mixers both deliver solid sound by way of 24-bit Cirrus Logic AD/DA converters (with a 114dB dynamic range); four-band EQ, gate, and compression on inputs; 31-band graphic EQ; plenty of security features; and support for lots of apps and plug-ins so you can keep things tightly customized to your workflow and preferences. (Another app lets you use your iPhone or iPod touch for limited control functions, too.)
Mackie’s new mixers just demonstrate how convenient—and fun—the iPad has made so much of life both at and away from work. It may not be ready to replace your phone yet, but it’s a rich tool worth having at your disposal if you can afford it. But if you’re on the market for an iPad, maybe wait a few weeks? The latest and greatest model is expected to be released in early November.