For example, Mackie released the DL1608 digital mixer, which has an iPad dock seated in a sexy looking mixer that features 16 Onyx preamps, DSP, 24-bit converters, and snapshot recall. The nice thing is that you use it wirelessly: Simply pop out the iPad and walk around the performance space while changing levels. Mackie's adorably trippy video gives you a hint at what it can do.
Similarly, the Line 6 introduced its live-sound products, which includes the StageScape M20d DSP-enhanced digital mixing system. The controller has a touch screen and can be operated wirelessly from an iPad so you can tweak the mix from anywhere in the venue. It’s got auto-sensing I/O, tons of DSP effects, and an intuitive interface that even your bandmates can figure out. Trust me. (Not that I’d let my bandmates anywhere near my iPad, but just in case you’re more nonchalant about it than I am.)
And if you do any performing whatsoever, you have to check out the Line 6 SoundSource L3t and L3s powered PA system. It features 3-way, triamped, 1,400W cabinets that have DSP that can sense how many monitors are interconnected and their position. For example, when you lay one down for use as a stage monitor, it senses the horizontal position and kicks in a new EQ that fits the situation. It’s really deep, but it’s designed to work on its own with little human intervention. In a good way, of course. The speakers sounded very rich and full at the demo I attended. There is nothing like this system on the market in this price range.
Behringer announced its iStudio recording interface, an iPad dock that has I/O and controls and supports iPads 1 through 3. Some of the controls are on the face of the dock for convenience. The unit streets for $149.
The other trend is based on iOS-loaded hardware stompboxes that sit in your pedal board. The first on the block, of course, was TC Electronic with its TonePrint pedals, which have effects already in them, as well a customizable slot (referred to as the TonePrint). The TonePrint app is where you store the customized setups that you download into the pedal (only one at a time) by aiming your iPhone at your guitar pickup and playing the data through your guitar and cable. It’s really slick. I’d be happy just to play the weird data sound through my amp at a gig, but the fact that you get a new preset in the process is a bonus.
IK Multimedia recently introduced iRig Stomp ($59.99), another stompbox for your pedalboard that has one knob and one switch. The unit holds a setup loaded from the company’s Amplitube software. Amplitube Free is included. Looking forward to trying it out.
Not to be outdone, DigiTech introduced iStomp ($149.95 street) with 24 effects models that can be used, one at a time, in the box. The iStomp floor unit has four knobs and a switch, and you can connect it directly to your iOS device to download the effect you want. It ships with a delay and an overdrive, and you can purchase additional effects for $4.99 to $19.99. The best part is that you get a 5-minute trial download of any of the effects so you can play them before purchasing.
Another interesting iPad announcement came from Make Music, which will offer an app that lets you view, play, and print Finale-created scores.
Obviously, this is only the tip of the iCeberg, so stay tuned for more NAMM news tomorrow!
-- Gino Robair