The live mixing game has certainly changed a lot in the last ten or so year, and Soundcraft are not one to be left behind in this. The release of their new Ui12 and Ui16 remote controlled digital mixers are sure to get a few ears pricked up around the place. This month I got to test out the Ui16 and see just what this fairly unassuming rack mounted box was actually capable of.
More than a stage box
At first glance, you might just pass this off as a stage box that has been built into a rack housing. It doesn’t give much away on the surface, but the variety of connections, including USB ports and a wireless receiving aerial suggest there is a little more going on under the hood; and that, there is. The unit itself is built to the high quality that you would expect from a Soundcraft mixer. This is designed to go the distance in a range of live environment, even in touring racks and continue to deliver results time and time again. There are 12 XLR inputs and a further two stereo pairs supplied on RCA and USB, giving you a total of 16 inputs. Two headphone outputs and two pairs of master outputs compliment the four auxiliary sends which I was delighted to find are supplied on XLR, so you can run long balanced signals to your fold-back speakers. But that is just the hardware, the real magic happens behind the scene, for this is a mixer after all, and you need some way to mix, as such.
Soundcraft have jumped ahead of the pack with this device, that’s for sure. All your functions are controlled through a software program, but it is not limited to an app that will only work on certain tablets or smartphones. The editor and mix software can be controlled by just about any device that can run a standard web browser.
The mix program itself is not only intuitive and incredibly easy to use, but it covers gives you all the control you could need in a great user interface. Gain, Volume and Sends levels all have their own screens showing all channels together, making group adjustments easy.
Effects all have separate screens for each one on each separate send. A four-band EQ is incredibly easy to use with a great visual display that many user will be familiar with having used recording software plug-ins before. The same goes for compression and multi-band EQ across individual channels and the entire mix. But it goes even further than that. You also get some great sounding Lexicon Reverb, Delay and Modulation effects as well as Digitech guitar amp and effects modelling too. It’s out of this world and all hosted in your device to control from wherever you want, while the Ui16 sits on stage near the microphones keeping cable runs to a minimum. This is going to be a real winner.
Hits and Misses
Software works with any web browser in any device
Great visual user interface
Intuitive control with saved settings for regular setups
There just aren’t any really