At the AES Convention, Yamaha demonstrated its new, freely available StageMix, an iPad application for use with its M7CL digital audio console. When connected to the control surface via a third-party wireless router, the user can control the mix from an iPad, a highly useful function for tasks like monitor EQ and system tuning. The new app is available at the iTunes App Store.
Yamaha mixer product manager Kevin Kimmel offered a personal product tour in the company’s demo room off the AES show floor. “We announced StageMix this fall, but AES is really the first opportunity for people to check it out first-hand,” he said. “The idea behind this is to allow monitor engineers to actually stand next to the artist in front of their stage monitors while EQ-ing the mix. The iPad surface gives us the ability to create a multitouch mixing experience that’s very intuitive, just like the M7 itself.”
The StageMix GUI shows fader placement as well as metering, and channels can be controlled in groups of eight. In practice, there is very little visual latency between iPad gestures and their execution. One feature is the availability of a “long-fader” mode. “If you’re doing in-ear mixes or just need greater resolution in your faders, the long-fader mode lets you literally do changes as small as a tenth of a decibel on your faders,” Kimmel said. “You just turn off some of the graphics, and those resources are poured into greater fader resolution.”
The app’s multitouch abilities include the ability to grab multiple faders as well as making EQ adjustments. A “pinch” move, for instance, can be used to change the EQ, with one-touch ability to return to flat or a preset value. Once the EQ is set, it can be locked. Another feature within StageMix is the ability to store several IP and MAC addresses for wireless routers, so an engineer knows that his iPad will communicate with up to five different M7CL consoles without reconfiguring.
Yamaha also announced support for ASIO streaming on the latest version of the console, the M7CL-ES. “Basically, this is an upgrade to the upgrade,” Kimmel said. “The implementation of the ASIO protocol enables the ES version of the console to implement 48 channels of recording and playback with virtually any third-party DAW on the market.” The ASIO Stream function requires three card slots on the back of the M7CL-ES for connection to SP168ES stage boxes, which still leaves three more slots for other duties.
According to Kimmel, these developments signal a renewed life for the Yamaha M7CL. “There’s a reason the M7 is such a popular console,” he said. “Yamaha has always been committed to meeting the needs of our customers, and integrating features like the StageMix app and ASIO streaming continue to bring fresh value to this proven mixing platform.”