When Mackie launched the DL1608 Digital Live Mixer with iPad Control at NAMM earlier this year it turned more than a few heads in the industry. This full featured, 16-channel mixer introduced an entirely new take on live sound with its groundbreaking new paradigm – complete iPad control. As Mackie gears up for the launch of the DL1608’s Master Fader control app in June and the arrival of the DL1608 in stores worldwide later this summer, they’re field testing the app by putting it in the hands of front of house engineers in a wide range of real world scenarios.
Most recently, the DL1608 got some face-time with FOH engineers for Dierks Bentley and Brad (Stone Gossard, Shawn Smith, Regan Hagar, Jeremy Toback). Both engineers used the DL1608 for the first time on April 21, 2012 at Seattle independent music store, Easy Street Records. The live show was part of national Record Store Day, an annual celebration where 700 independently owned record stores collaborate with musicians to celebrate the art of music. Easy Street Records features a small venue with a maximum capacity of 750 people that commonly hosts afternoon shows with touring artists scheduled for headlining shows at larger Seattle venues later that evening. With an extremely tight front of house space, the venue demands a compact mixer solution that can guarantee premium sound and give the engineer massive control.
Both FOH engineers, Pugs (Dierks Bentley) and Barrett Jones (Brad), had time for only a quick tutorial before their 30-minute sound checks. Normally a FOH engineer wouldn’t touch a digital mixer they’ve never used just minutes before a show (especially since this performance would be streaming live on Sirius Satellite Radio), but in this case both engineers found the user interface intuitive and comprehensive, with all the functionality they expect in a digital mixer. “Although I had never used this mixer before, it was straight forward, easy to use, and well laid out,” said Barrett Jones.
Besides having an intuitive interface that was easy to navigate with little instruction, another huge benefit of the DL1608 is the ability to control the mixer from anywhere in the venue. “It was great to be able to tweak the monitors from each monitor position on stage with the iPad controller... the ability to mix the show while walking around the floor was really nice,” said Jones.
During the 10-hour day, which featured performances by four bands in total, the DL1608 performed without a hitch and Mackie received tremendous hands-on insight from the engineers. These real world field tests are an essential part of Mackie’s product design process. Stress testing the hardware in a variety of conditions ensures the DL1608 hardware will work reliably for customers. In addition, real world feedback on the Master Fader control application will shape future updates as it continually evolves through simple app store updates, adding value to the DL1608.
The Master Fader app will be available free in the iOS-App Store in June 2012. Mackie will also soon premiere a DL1608 video podcast series offering tons of great information about the DL1608, including all the basics, advanced how-to’s, and tips and tricks. Later episodes will specifically respond to questions that customers pose to Mackie’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. The DL1608 video podcast series will start in May 2012 in iTunes. The DL1608 will begin shipping in Summer 2012.