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Put down that tablet, and walk away son!

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  • Put down that tablet, and walk away son!

    What a disaster...went to see a friends band play last night...four piece hard rock back, loud drums, bass, and guitar, with one lead singer, and two guys doing backing as well. Nothing out of the ordinary...

    Venue is your every day corner bar, but with a raised stage area, and the drums are stuck in the back with a low ceiling, almost like a cave setting for the band.

    I walk in and as a musician, say hi to my friends and then start checking out the PA gear they rented from this "sound company" for the gig...speakers are all passive Mackie stuff with badges removed...double 15 inchers over 18 inch sub per side, monitors were active 8 inch JBL Eon's, and the rack had a crown amps, a couple of eq's, etc. all mics were sm 58's....nothing great, but nothing horrible...the mixer was one of these new mackie, tablet based, 16 channel mixers...haven't heard one yet, so I was looking forward to it.

    Well, sound wsa to loud all night, muddy as hell, and feedback was a constant with monitors...worst part was that the "sound tech" kept walking around the venue with a tablet, constantly  messing with the sound! And I mean constantly!

    Picture a dj mixing tracks,this is whatthis guy looked like, and sounded like! Vocals would go up and down, lead guitar would would dissapear and the be brought up so loud that feedback would blow up! The dude with the tablet literally had no feel for the faders on his tablet, so it was all or nothing on this thing!

    Worst part were his "creative" use of effects on the vocals! He would add delays, and crazy reverbs on the fly, as he saw fit, I guess in an attempt to be creative? Killed any chnace the seinger had to use mic technique, or the band of working any harmonies, etc...this "sound guy" reminded me of the Makcie comercial with the crazy sound guy tripping with the tablet...running around dancing, etc.

    Set ends, band is pissed, and these are not guys you wanna piss off...drummer has a few words with the sound guy, they bring the volumes down, and back to basic, and issues a no-mixing on the fly directive to the sound guy...secondset starts and it's better, not great, but better...a couple of songs in, sound dude starts getting creative again...no bueno...oh well...

    All night I wanted to go over, bitch slap the sound dude, and take his tablet away from him but it wasn't my gig, and there were plpenty of people there that are closer to the band that could have done that for them, so I stayed quiet, and tried to enjoyed myself with some friends.

    Sad to say that my friends band gives the sound guys they hire, almost 100% of what they make for the gigs, they just want to sound good for their friends, and family, they deserve better than this.

    Rod

    www.tablefor2.net

  • #2

    Yes sir, tablet mixing and easy access to too many toys just allows idiots to prove their lack of grasp of the job more efficiently. A whole new crops of techno-geeks will generate new and even more unbelievable ways to screw the pooch.

    That Mackie commercial made me sick, once I realized that it wasn't a total joke.

    Comment


    • rodclement
      rodclement commented
      Editing a comment

      The joke is on us my friend...it's a shame since I can see the potential, and benefits of this type of gear, decent price point, easy to use, potentially eliminates the need for a huge set-up in the middle of small rooms...I mean the potential is there, but so are the morons...

      Rod


    • RoadRanger
      RoadRanger commented
      Editing a comment

      I've published a preset for the Phonic Summit which has all that crap switched off and the board passing audio just like a MixWiz. Unfortunately the DL1608 can't load presets off of a flash device or otherwise have a way to share them with other users . I try to convince folks to start out by zeroing it out and starting off with the basics but the noobs figure they want to use presets for every channel w/compression and otherwise sabotage this otherwise nice sounding board. The virtual faders are surprisingly controllable even on an iPad Mini and not a problem at all on this little 16 channel board. Mackie is still working on rectifying the remaining marketing brain farts on this board but seems to be getting there. IMO Uli B. has done a much better job of actually making something real sound pros want whereas Mackie has concentrated on what they think we want  - or more likely on what they think the eye dot tees will buy .


  • #3

    This is a great cautionary tale, but it's also a worst-case scenario. I'd rather have tools like this available -- not necessarily at the level of the Mackie board, but the higher-end boards that support iPad remotes -- than not have the tools because idiots will abuse it.

    The degree of potential abuse is different now, with all the onboard FX and "walkabout" mixing. But if you've been playing in bands long enough, you've probably had plenty of experience with someone clueless running FOH and messing things up with constant "creative" adjustments, instead of leaving well enough alone.

    For those of us who mix from the stage as well as play in the band, an iPad remote would be a big help for sound checks. It's one of the main reasons -- along with recall -- that I've been cautiously eyeing picking up a compact digital mixer this year. Right now, I walk out front with an instrument on wireless during sound check, to hear our sound in the room. But I have to run back and forth to the side-stage mixer for adjustments. Being able to do that out in the room would be great. I'm not going to knock the technology just because it can be abused by fools. 

    The one area where I'd agree that the design itself is bad, is the addition of compression as an onboard effect in even the lowest-priced gear like this Mackie mixer. Few amateurs really understand what compression is, and it's super-easy to get into trouble with it. Especially on microphone channels. But it's not exactly exclusive to the new compact digital boards. Yamaha has been selling small analog mixers with onboard, basic one-knob compression for years.

     

    Comment


    • rodclement
      rodclement commented
      Editing a comment

      Yup! The thing with this Mackie board is that it's cheap, readely available in every store, and doesn't take a lot of know-how to learn how to use it, so any back yard wannabe can get it, hook it up, and now they want to play with their new toy.

      For bands with their own PA, this can be a great tool, but in the hands of a tool, it's just another gadget to be messed with.

      Rod


  • #4
    A fool with a tool is still a fool;-)

    Comment


    • minn12
      minn12 commented
      Editing a comment

      Mfk0815 wrote:
      A fool with a tool is still a fool;-)

      Yes.  The odds are high that same bad result would have happened if the guy just mixed from a FOH board.  Just last night I mixed a show on an iPad controlling my X32 digital board, which had to be way off to the side due to venue restrictions.  I was able to take a seat in a nice spot in the center where I could hear the mix and just mix the show with my iPad.  Properly understood and used, these new tools are a great option.  When used by someone not familiar or who is inexperienced, will usually result in a bad outcome. 


  • #5

    What difference does mixing on a tablet make?

    The table doesn't have anymore goodies than the actual mixer has. The tablet is just a remote control for the console. If they didn't have a tablet, they still would be messing up but on a physical console.

    I know the Mackie console is actually on the tablet, but does anyone think it would be different if he had an analog Mackie console?

     

    Comment


    • twostone
      twostone commented
      Editing a comment

      MJastrzebski wrote:

      What difference does mixing on a tablet make?

      The table doesn't have anymore goodies than the actual mixer has. The tablet is just a remote control for the console. If they didn't have a tablet, they still would be messing up but on a physical console.

      I know the Mackie console is actually on the tablet, but does anyone think it would be different if he had an analog Mackie console?

       



      Well more likely with the tablet being a all in one mixer platform.  I imagine  the speed of sound butchering would be faster, because having the all in one at  your finger tips then on a analog mixer, but I agree I've heard some god awful butchering done on analog  to.


    • rodclement
      rodclement commented
      Editing a comment

      MJastrzebski wrote:

      What difference does mixing on a tablet make?

      The table doesn't have anymore goodies than the actual mixer has. The tablet is just a remote control for the console. If they didn't have a tablet, they still would be messing up but on a physical console.

      I know the Mackie console is actually on the tablet, but does anyone think it would be different if he had an analog Mackie console?

       



      I agree, but I never seen a sound tech with a physical board running around the venue, and making adjustments depending on what side of the room they were, etc. You find a sweet spot, adjust the sound, and from there on, you make small, subtle adjustments as needed, or at least that's how I like the guys I hire to work with me.

      These tablet based systems allow these "tools" to move around to much, so if he is having a beer by the bathroom (this happened last night), and he thinks the guitar i snot loud enough, he brings it up...meanwhile...in the front of the stage, where the audience is, now that's all you hear.

      In the right hands, it can be a life saver, but I am yet to see this mackie board in the right hands. At least this is my personal experience.

      Rod


  • #6
    I like not having to run a snake.... That's the #1 reason I bought mine.

    Comment


    • #7

      I wouldn't blame the tools.  I would blame whoever put a soundguy that doesn't know how to use the tools correctly with any controls in his hand.

      Don Boomer

      Comment


      • #8

        rodclement wrote:

        What a disaster...

        All night I wanted to go over, bitch slap the sound dude, nd family, they deserve better than this.

        Rod


        The guy probably went to Musician's Friend and bought a whole batch of "Stupid", from their Stupid Deal of the Day.

        Veni, Vidi, Velcro;

        (I came, I saw, I stuck around)

        Comment


        • nchangin
          nchangin commented
          Editing a comment

          Good conversations and future in pro audio. Two things I'd like research and or input on to people who have this new Mackie.

          A. What are your preferences going to software based mixing from analog? like? hate? or love the transition?  

          B. What happens when you take that ipad and open a whole bunch of apps? (the reason for the question is this: suppose some service or background app goes haywire as they can on computers and hogs all the resources on the ipad, does the mackie software still function or does it "lag" and become unuseable?)


      • #9

        I believe that if the DL1608 was made by Yamaha, this conversation would be quite different.

        Comment


        • rodclement
          rodclement commented
          Editing a comment

          Okie4Cards wrote:

          I believe that if the DL1608 was made by Yamaha, this conversation would be quite different.


          I don't see where you are seeying tech hate, or brand hate in my post? I stated more than once that I am all for tablets, and new tech if used properly, the criticism is how people take this now, more affordable type of technology, and missuse it in stupid ways.

          Rod

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