Many people know Pro Sound & Lighting as The Go To place for digital console expertise. They know that we keep our collective finger on the pulse of the industry. Our fingers have been itching to point out some new trends in this market. We have known about some products in development over the last year and a half, and now some of those products have been announced by their respective manufacturers. There is a new category emerging on the scene and it has several offerings from some likely sources. We are talking about the surface-less WiFi mixers. Presonus, Mackie, and Behringer all have announced product, and we know of at least one other manufacturer that has a system in development. Presonus introduced the StudioLive RM16AI and RM32AI and Mackie has just introduced the DL32R system. Behringer came on to the scene strong with a complete line of WiFi mixer systems called the X-Air. They have the the X18, XR18, XR16, XR12, which are slated to be shipping early 2015.
This new category is going to change how many of us get the duties of small format mixing done. Although it’s not entirely practical to mix high channel counts on an iPad, the smaller number of channels needed for an average AV breakout session or a lecture is perfectly suited for setting up and then mixing on an iPad. Add in some key features like Dante or Ultranet and you have to rethink the possibilities of an entire audio system. Surface-less mixing systems bring all the power and versatility of their bigger siblings at an incredible value. In the infancy of this category there already is a wide range of prices from $299 to $1999, covering just about anyone’s budget and application.