Mixpad 1.91 unusable for mixing

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  • #23727
    Profile photo of pngaudioguy
    pngaudioguy
    Participant

    Just got back from my first gig using the mixpad app to run FOH for a big band.
    Summary: Unusable.
    Background: I’ve been doing live sound as my full time career for 12 years, and mixing FOH with Lemur on my iPad via wifi through a Win7 virtualbox on Debian hosting their daemon through an external MIDI device controlling an 01V96 for the last few years with 0 dropouts, 0 lag, and 0 worries. I expected a $100 app to be an upgrade over my home-grown template.

    I realize this is not A&H tech support, and I also realize that A&H guys occasionally poke their heads in to answer questions or whatever. I don’t expect to get a resolution, and I also expect some folks telling me I should take it up with A&H. I also don’t want someone to purchase an iDR rack, like I did, thinking that it’ll upgrade their workflow for iPad only based mixing.

    Let me explain, no there’s not time – let me sum up:
    1. The scroll animation is really annoying. You have to wait for it to finish settling in on where the faders are going to be before it even starts updating levels, much less you can adjust anything.
    2. LAG!!!!!! – Holy cow. It takes forever for the faders to update to the rack!
    3. Dropouts! We played 2, 40 minute sets with a brief intermission this evening. I lost connection 5 times, and ended up sitting in the second row because it was the only place that was stable – the whole point of mixing on an iPad is flexibility to walk the venue and be where the VIP or prime sponsor is to guarantee optimum mix at that location.
    4. Those little animations that go with the gate and comp are fun, but completely useless. I have ears, I don’t need a little red line to tell me that I’m compressing or gating something. Waste of bandwidth. Use that to update my faders, please!
    5. I miss my template that had 4 fixed faders that I could assign to whatever channels I deemed important, and never left the screen – say MC, solo mic, vocalist, etc. The remaining bank of 8 could scroll (or page, in the case of Lemur) to select whatever else you wanted to mess with.
    6. Selecting alternate mixes is ridiculous. Soundcheck was a disaster. So, the keyboard player asks for something different in his monitor. I’m on the “channel” mode, so have to hit the Mix button below Inputs to get outputs on the page, scroll over to his channel, wait for the thing to sync, double-click his mix, click on Inputs, scroll to the channel he wanted changed and then ask him what he needed because I got so damn distracted by interfacing with the app that I forgot what he asked for. At which point, the drummer realizes that there’s something wrong with his mix, so rewind to the top of this paragraph and repeat twice because the vocalist needed something else halfway through fixing the drummer’s mix. MAKE IT EASIER TO SWITCH BETWEEN MIXES!!!!!!
    7. Forget muting the effects send on the vocal mic at the end of the song before the vocalist starts talking, unless you’re in mix mode with outputs on one row and inputs on the other.

    Now, I’m sure (based on reading through pages and pages on here about Mixpad), that someone is going to point out that I need to move my router, or make sure it’s operating on 5Ghz, or is this or that. It’s the same router I’ve used for the last six months, setup the same way I’ve used it, in the same type of venues. Dropouts are unacceptable from a $100 app FULLSTOP. My wifi/router is not the problem. My iPad is not the problem. They’ve worked great together for ages now.

    If anything, this system should be infinitely more simple, since I’m not connecting through a virtualboxed OS to a cloned USB device. Just one IP to another. The lag is unacceptable. A&H needs to figure out a way to transfer less data and make the connection more reliable.

    Suggestion – a row of user assignable programmable buttons down one side of the screen. Let the user pick which side they want, so you don’t anger the southpaws. I’m right handed, so the row would be down the left near my thumb as I hold the device. I would have an FX send mute toggle, and a row of mix select toggles. Single click on any of the buttons and you’re instantly mixing that monitor, that FX send, that recording mix, or back to the FOH mix.

    Suggestion 2 – reduce the amount of data being transferred to the iPad. Leave all the extra cruft at the laptop on the editor. All the fun little graphics and whatnot. I don’t need to see pumping gates and comps in little boxes on each channel (even if not enabled in the signal path…) on my iPad. Send me the gain reduction meters when I’m in channel edit mode, with the comp or gate pulled up to edit. Otherwise, it’s wasted data. I know this is possible, because I made Lemur do it from my Yamaha consoles.

    Suggestion 3 – make all the iLive parameters editable via sysex MIDI and/or OSC – comps, gates, fx, eq’s, meters, etc. The whole nine. I think the LS9 series has a wonderful MIDI implementation. Let the user choose to spend hours creating their own template if they so desire to work they way they want to work, or purchase your app if they feel that’s more to their liking.

    As for me, I’m going to throw the iPad in the backpack and carry my laptop around with iLive editor up for tomorrow’s gig, mixing from the trackpad. Maybe I can play some Sudoku on the iPad at intermission or something.

    #33768
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    quote:


    Originally posted by pngaudioguy

    Just got back from my first gig using the mixpad app to run FOH for a big band.
    Summary: Unusable.


    I felt much the same way as you last year and expressed myself quite strongly on this forum. A&H came out with a fix a couple of months later, and I’ve had no problems whatsoever since then. I’m happy to share whatever configuration information might help, either here on through a private message.

    Suffice it to say, I’m extremely pleased with MixPad now, as opposed to last year. I hope to use it for years to come and hope that A&H can help you like they did me.

    #33770
    Profile photo of mrp123
    mrp123
    Participant

    quote:


    Originally posted by arsound

    quote:


    Originally posted by pngaudioguy

    Just got back from my first gig using the mixpad app to run FOH for a big band.
    Summary: Unusable.


    I felt much the same way as you last year and expressed myself quite strongly on this forum. A&H came out with a fix a couple of months later, and I’ve had no problems whatsoever since then. I’m happy to share whatever configuration information might help, either here on through a private message.

    Suffice it to say, I’m extremely pleased with MixPad now, as opposed to last year. I hope to use it for years to come and hope that A&H can help you like they did me.


    arsound, I’ll take you up on that offer, too. I’m also interested in the iPad workflow, but frankly I’m throughly spooked to go through with it. I remember the early stories from people of dropouts that at the time even A&H couldn’t even quite figure out, then those that used ipad1 were solid and ipad3 were a disaster with dropouts, etc., and I don’t have time to trawl through those threads (especially all for a $100 app. I totally feel the same frustration.) Anyway, enough of my rant. Any help is appreciated. You can private message me or point to relevant forum posts and details, for myself and others for posterity. Thanks.

    #33771
    Profile photo of zblebt
    zblebt
    Participant

    Hey, the problems with the lags and unstable app you pointed out… I am mixing from my ipad 3 and 4 every single weekend on large and small venues and I havent had a problem like this ever.

    There are some nice suggestions you made about the app, but i wouldnt call it a total disaster at all, you can make so much more things on this ipad app compared to other companies’ apps, you have your two custom layers, which can make the workflow incredibly fast, you just need to think about it when you set them up.

    This app is saving my ass in unexpected moments for a long time now. :)

    iDR 48, T112, iPad3 +4 + TL WDR4300, Dante

    #33772
    Profile photo of Stix
    Stix
    Participant

    I have to admit that I also don’t like the SLOW fader redraws/ scroll and the inability to quickly change the selected mix or selected channel if you have moved away from its home window. Some time ago I suggested using the two buttons in the top right corner ( that display current mix or processing channel) could be used to change the selected mix or channel. I note that someone else here recently suggested a drop down menu when you hit one of those buttons to change selection. I would like the ability to link the selected mix and processing channel and then the ability to easily change that selection to a different mix ( or channel). Perhaps when both mix and processing selection are the same then those buttons could change to become a next and previous mix ( or channel) instead of just being selection indicators. Like pngaudioguy I also find it really slow to have to ( for example) select the mix window, scroll to the desired mix, double click to select mix, click on the mix channel to select processing, then return to your inputs to make level or processing changes for that mix.
    I don’t generally use Mixpad to actually “mix” FOH on as Im old school and prefer real hardware – however I use it lots for walking around soundcheck of monitors and when working on a monitor mix I like to leave the GEQ/spectrum analyser on the top and inputs or custom inputs on the bottom window. In this config the only major problem is the inability to select another mix quickly! Same applies if you have selected an input channel mix and have then gone to your mix outputs window to set levels etc. if you want to select a different channel mix it’s back to your input window, scroll, wait for scroll redraws, find your channel (which could end up anywhere across the iPad because it scrolled!) double click to select mix, single click to select channel processing , return to mix output window, scroll to mix …. You get the idea.
    Now I know I can set up the custom windows and dual mix windows and this is ok – if you take the time to preconfigure them but inevitably there are channels or mixes that aren’t available on the custom windows and need lots of slow scrolling to find. Painfully slow! On top of that – no fx editing, scene recalls, routing assignments etc. It’s kind of “almost” a mixer replacement ….. But you still need the mixer (or Editor). Don’t get me wrong – I use it on nearly every gig and love the abilities it does have – it just could be considerably better!

    Cheers

    Richard Howey
    Audio Dynamite Ltd
    IDR48/IDR16/T112/R72/Mixpad,Tweak,
    Dual M-Dante/DVS, 17″MBP/Logic 9/Custom Mackie Control

    #33774
    Profile photo of audioamerica
    audioamerica
    Participant

    In the first attempts, i had a little problems like that but i started replacing the router, brought a newer version ipad and voilá! allways runs.

    Vladimir Pardo 2x t112, 2x idr48, 2x ace cards.

    #33775
    Profile photo of pngaudioguy
    pngaudioguy
    Participant

    Thanks for the responses, guys. I know it’s incredibly bad form to come out swinging, but for the amount A&H asks us to pay for this app, it’s EXTREMELY disappointing that it’s not more polished.

    arsound – I’d be interested to hear how you’ve specifically worked around the sliding fader lag thing, and selecting mixes.

    zblebt – I’m also using an iPad 3. I found the Yamaha apps to be quite limited as well, but since they offer 100% control via MIDI, it didn’t bother me since I could just create my own.

    Stix – Sounds to me like you have the same 2 biggest gripes I do. Slow redraws, and poor mix selection method. For today’s gig I actually had the luxury of being in a theater, complete with FOH position, so I took advantage of the desk to setup my laptop via wifi and have the editor open alongside the iPad. Worked better than just the app, though I’m going to have to read the section in the manual about aux routing to figure out how to make the monitors mute when I turn off a channel on the main mix. Apparently PRE means before the On/Off toggle…

    audioamerica – If you read my whole first post (admittedly way too long), you’d notice that I’ve been using an iPad and router for the past few years. Specifially, my iPad 3 and router have been working together since July of last year. The ONLY thing that changed in my rig was swapping out an 01V96, and swapping in an iDR-32. That shouldn’t suddenly cause me to have to buy a new router, new iPad, new something else, etc. My rig worked flawlessly at a gig on Tuesday night with the 01V and Lemur, then trouble city on Saturday night with the iDR-32 and native app, so to me that indicates the problem is not the hardware.

    I’ll figure out how to get some screencaps of my Lemur template to share on here so you can see what I think is a much more logical workflow. [;)]

    #33779
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    I will gladly share my configuration info but must confess that I’m probably not a typical user. Specifically, I do not use a console, just a laptop running the Editor and an iPad running MixPad (sometimes multiple iPads). For the kind of work I do, I don’t need anything more. Therefore, what works for me may not apply to all situations. I’ll post my settings later today.

    #33780
    Profile photo of pngaudioguy
    pngaudioguy
    Participant

    quote:


    Originally posted by arsound
    I’m probably not a typical user.


    It’s live audio. I’m not sure a “typical user” exists.

    #33783
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    So here is my configuration info.

    Apple AirPort Extreme


    Model: 802.11n (5th Generation)
    Firmware version: 7.6.3
    Security: WPA2 Personal
    IP address (static): 192.168.1.1
    Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
    Router address: 192.168.1.1
    Network NOT hidden
    Radio mode: 802.11a/n – 802.11b/g/n (Automatic)
    2.4 GHz channel: Automatic (usually 6)
    5 GHz channel: Automatic (usually 36)
    Router mode: DHCP only
    DHCP range: 192.168.1.4 to 192.168.1.200
    No reservations
    DHCP lease: 1 day
    Connected to iDR32 via Cat5e cable

    MixRack


    iDR32 V1.90
    IP address: 192.168.1.2
    Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
    Gateway: 192.168.1.1

    MacBook Pro


    2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4 GB memory
    Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5
    Manual IP address (not DHCP) for Ethernet connection only, WiFi turned off
    Connected to MixRack via Cat5e cable
    IP address: 192.168.1.3
    Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
    Router: 192.168.1.3 (so that MacBook can still communicate with the MixRack if the router goes down)

    iLive Editor


    V1.9

    iPads


    1 iPad2 running iOs 6.1.3
    2 iPad2s running 5.1.1
    All are DHCP clients connecting to 5GHz network only

    MixPad


    All V1.91

    I place the iDR32 on stage somewhere near the band, often with the AirPort Extreme sitting on top of MixRack, as long as there is line-of-sight, otherwise I move it up higher. MacBook Pro placed wherever it’s convenient.

    Obviously long Ethernet cables are required to connect the AirPort Extreme and MacBook to the iDR32.

    Usually have everything configured via the Editor prior to the event, then use the iPad for sound checks and running the show.

    Normally have a maximum of 16 inputs to watch at any one time, so refreshing of the screen is not a major issue.

    I don’t do complicated events and usually sit in the audience or stand no more than 60-80 feet away from the stage. Often someone else is on stage handling monitors with either an iPad or the Editor.

    #33804
    Profile photo of pngaudioguy
    pngaudioguy
    Participant

    Thanks for the massive configuration list, arsound. I’ll try some of that out and see if it makes it more stable. I like the idea of having the router where it should be at .1, with everything else above that. Makes more sense with a typical configuration, especially if the MixRack isn’t configured to provide DHCP.

    As promised, here are some screencaps of my Lemur template that to me makes perfect sense. I know that it’s a completely different direction from what A&H has gone, but will demonstrate the things I think should be readily accessible, anyway. There’s plenty of space on the common page to add a tab for the additional limiter/de-esser that the Yamahas don’t have – if I can just figure out the control commands…

    [img]http://db.tt/Nc3ps7G5[/img]

    This first one is my main page. The maroon page buttons in the top left corner select banks of 8 channels (completely customizable) to pull up in the left 8 channels (green is selected.) The right 4 channels don’t change. This template is sending Yamaha DM1000 MIDI commands. Obviously, the “Outs” selects Master sends, and that page does remove the 4 channels to make room for 4 additional output faders.

    The blue buttons on the bottom half select mixes to work on; the faders move accordingly, and background color of fader changes to blue to make a quick visual indicator that I’m not on the FOH mix. They’re a little hard to see, but the row of dots along the left side of each fader are LED’s that illuminate depending on input level, yellow at -9dB progressing to red at 0dB. No HA control on DM1000, but lets you know if you have to walk to the console and adjust a gain knob. The green dot in the comp section is a gain reduction meter, each LED is a 3dB step, with gradual color fade to red with more compression, same meter for gate tab. Verb button is a quick toggle for my vocal verb FX send aux. Pressing the channel name dark green button selects that channel and all gate/comp/eq settings update to reflect that channel, as does the green label in the center.

    [img]http://db.tt/QPbkBy4p[/img]

    For this page, I eliminated the pages and channel on/off toggle opting to use the channel label for on/off to save screen space. No point in having a select anyway without controls to use on it. This is my during show default page where I have access to 24 faders and mutes, and single-button access to any mix. If you turn off multi-gestures on the iPad, you can use all 4 fingers of both hands simultaneously, if you’re brain can keep track of which finger is going which direction, that is. I have large hands, and have no problems moving adjacent faders opposite directions.

    PS – I don’t know why this template doesn’t have the Verb mute on the mix page above the mix select buttons. Most of them do, so I’ll have to patch that ;)

    #33845
    Profile photo of Stix
    Stix
    Participant

    Very nice work on that Yamaha Lemur template pngaudioguy! I especially like the fact that you have 12 faders accross each page and direct mix access. I can’t understand why so many mix apps limit this to 8 channels when there is room for 12 channels. I have made custom touch OSC templates for the iPad for other brand hardware where I also have 24 faders on a page (2 x 12ch)plus room for side selection options and I have no problems using them with my large hands. While I don’t own any Presonus gear I have sold them and their SL-Remote app has 12 channel faders across pages plus direct easy mix selection. Behringer Xi Control app has direct mix select (sends on faders), On Yamaha mix apps you can side swipe the Mix on Faders area to change the selected mix by one(next or Previous mix)or tap for a slide out mix select menu. Mixpad’s saving grace is that in Mix mode and with the Custom window tabs you can have two 8 ch windows open with any 16 strips displayed (any combination of Inputs/Mix/FX/DCA). This is a powerful feature but it does require some pre planning set up to suit each show.

    Cheers

    Richard Howey
    Audio Dynamite Ltd
    IDR48/IDR16/T112/R72/Mixpad,Tweak,
    Dual M-Dante/DVS, 17″MBP/Logic 9/Custom Mackie Control

    #33888
    Profile photo of pngaudioguy
    pngaudioguy
    Participant

    Thanks for the feedback, Stix. I spent a whole lot of time on that template and because it has a few minor glitches, I’ve been reluctant to share it on the Liine forum, but was so frustrated by the A&H app that I just had to post some screenshots. I’m not ready to provide support for my creation just yet.

    Perhaps jumping straight into a big band gig revealed so starkly the limitations of the app. I’ve since done a number of jazz combo and 6-piece rock band gigs where the app was far less limited due to, as you describe, the ability to have 2 custom fader layers with up to 16 channels on screen at any time with any combination of input/fx/dca/mix etc available.

    I do miss having 12 faders + either comp or gate, and in addition EQ on screen all at once though…

    For today’s function I had FOH, one monitor mix, one IEM, and two auxiliary zones. One was a delay send to a slightly separate area that still had some acoustic connection to where the band was playing needing only slight augmentation. The second was to a completely isolated area, requiring a completely separate mix. With very careful configuration of my custom layers, I was able to accomplish this task for a 5 piece jazz combo with minimal sliding of each layer required.

    After a few weeks of using the app, I still deem it to be mostly unusable for two very simple reasons. The sliding needs to be much more responsive. There needs to be a quicker way of selecting a mix without having to have access to the mix faders to double tap on.

    There are some nice features I’ve discovered since my initial rampage. If you’re on Mix mode with mixes on one of your layers and inputs on the other, and double-tap an input, the mix layer will reflect the output levels for that input. Again this depends on a very specific configuration, but can be helpful during soundcheck if you need to adjust say solo or vocal levels in all the sends quickly. Drummer wants less vocal, keyboard player wants more, front wedges need less, patio mix needs more, isolated mix needs less, etc…

    My clients are very high profile, have very high expectations, are impressed by technology, and yet don’t want to see the nuts and bolts behind the scene and don’t want those nuts and bolts to affect their event.

    As a result, I have high expectations of the equipment that I use. I’ve spent a lot of time on my other equipment getting my templates dialed in for how I need to work. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to do that this time when I tried out some new gear. I like the sound quality and form factor, just need to get the usability to where I expect.

    iDR-32

    #33889
    Profile photo of Stix
    Stix
    Participant

    Yes that is a great feature, but the selected input also cannot be easily changed to the next or previous channel (if you are adjusting in the mix window) without going back to the inputs window. Its the same problem. Here’s hoping this will be addressed in a future upgrade…

    Cheers

    Richard Howey
    Audio Dynamite Ltd
    IDR48/IDR16/T112/R72/Mixpad,Tweak,
    Dual M-Dante/DVS, 17″MBP/Logic 9/Custom Mackie Control

    #33892
    Profile photo of pngaudioguy
    pngaudioguy
    Participant

    quote:


    Originally posted by Stix

    Yes that is a great feature, but the selected input also cannot be easily changed to the next or previous channel (if you are adjusting in the mix window) without going back to the inputs window. Its the same problem. Here’s hoping this will be addressed in a future upgrade…


    Like adjusting the sends to different mixes, assuming that you have outputs on one layer and your inputs on the other layer, you can double tap the next input to get it to be highlighted on those outputs. You still only get 8 of each on screen at a time and have to scroll to get to the others, but it eases the pain a little.

    For me, the time that Next/Previous channel would be useful is in the editor. When I’m configuring the rack to get ready for a gig, it would be great to select channel 1 and get the pop-up window. Configure it however I deem necessary, then click an arrow or something at the top of the window and be on channel 2. Rinse and repeat until all my channels are done instead of having to close the window and hit select on channel 2, then move the window from whatever arbitrary location it decided to open to the middle of the screen again and finally get around to setting up channel 2. This process gets pretty tedious after a few channels. That said, it seems that adding a means of selecting the next or previous channel would be easy enough to implement in the app, and would probably make a lot of folks happy.

    iDR-32

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