Since the beginning of amplifier powered PA systems, it has been a multi-person task to create an efficient sound check. You typically would have your main mix engineer behind the console, and then have at least one other stagehand. This person would either be on stage mixing a completely separate console for stage monitors, or there would be a 2-way communications system in use for the front of house engineer. This was a painstaking process. The stage hand would verbalize requests like "I need more guitar in the drum monitor." The front of house engineer would continue this process over and over again until the mix issues were resolved.
Enter the world of today’s digital consoles. There are ever evolving iterations of these modern marvels. Compact versions like the QSC Touchmix 16, faderless rackmount mixers like the Presonus Studiolive RML32 AI and a full function expandable unit with bankable faders like the Soundcraft SI Impact. These consoles have more functionality than most consoles at five times their cost did five years ago. The time has arrived. We have waited patiently tweaking our analog mixers and writing down mix positions, all the while hoping that technology would create a balanced union between sound quality and functionality.
The majority of digital consoles now include Wifi control options. What does this mean for you? Let's say you are manning the console at a church or performance venue and you have no additional help. This is where technology and Wifi control become your best friend. You can download an application onto your phone or tablet and this will allow you to control a majority of the consoles functions remotely. Now, you can walk to the stage and adjust the audio in real time.
Think of this as a scenario. Q. "Hi Pastor, how is monitor mix?" A. "It's ok, but the drums are a little loud." You can now lower the drums in his monitor while standing next to him and then ask him how it sounds. This can be done with each performer and speaker. It is also very beneficial for front of house mixing. Now that you're not tethered to the console, you can walk the entire audience area and adjust the mix in real time. The mix position can now be wherever you choose. Wifi control has allowed one mix engineer to do the job of two or three men.
I would highly encourage you to check out some of the new digital mixers. They offer a tremendous value, in functionality and workflow. If you have been concerned about the learning curve, don’t be, as digital consoles are still just consoles. Everything you know carries over and compliments the new functionality. This is the natural progression from needing multiple people and hardware items. Now one man and one console can get it done. This is a cost saver, including man hours and the need for less outboard equipment. If you haven’t considered upgrading you should give it a second thought. This might be the right time and could save you a considerable amount of resources.
If you're interested learning more about how you can bring Wifi mixing to your live sound environment, please feel free to reach out with any questions or inquiries to Paul Johnson via email or by phone at 1.615.866.5015 Ext. 175.