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Rack ‘Em Up, Part 1: iPad Mixer Roundup

iPads may be on the downward trend, but iPad-controlled mixers are coming out in droves. We round up everything currently out on the market for one giant rack mixer review.


1 June 2015

Photos: Corey Sleap

It’s only the fifth anniversary of the iPad, and already the inbetweener screen market growth is trending down. If recent mixer developments are anything to go by, the audio industry is single-handedly propping up Apple’s only flaccid arm. 

Mackie was the first to put its eggs in the tablet basket with the DL1608 iPad-driven digital mixer. It was also the first to release a rack-mounted version, the DL32R. Now, 2015 is the year it all became serious, with four other manufacturers joining the party with mobile-driven rack workhorses of their own. 

These stagebox-sized pieces of I/O and DSP are drawing a serious crowd. So we got them all together and decided to have a good ol’ fashioned shootout. What we haven’t done here is try and pit apples against apples. Because we can’t. While control devices serve as a great democratiser, there’s no shortage of differences and unique offerings to be had. So just keep that in mind when you’re looking at what $700 can get you as opposed to $3000, and check out the other models in each brand’s range if you like what you see but the I/O count or price doesn’t quite match your budget.


With digital mixers from the Music Group filling every market niche, there was no way Behringer wasn’t getting in on this new, price-conscious entry point. The XR18 is actually the top dog of Behringer’s line, and the only other mixer in the field outside of Soundcraft to feature an onboard wi-fi hotspot. The big coup here is Dan Dugan automation, but it’s only a future firmware promise so far.

Other models: XR12 & XR16 coming soon
Analogue inputs: 18
Analogue outputs: 10
Price: $1399
Australis: (02) 9698 4444 or www.australismusic.com.au


Presonus is focused on two networks with the RM AI series: wireless and it’s own. The future prospects of this humble rack are more than promising with its AI family connections; free Presonus recording software that talks the same language, physical mixers that speak in a common tongue, and a dedicated control surface custom-built to turn the RM into a full blown console and rack mix setup.

Other Models: RM16 AI
Analogue inputs: 32
Analogue outputs: 16
Price: $3599
National Audio Systems: 1800 441 440 or sales@nationalaudio.com.au


The non-native app speaker that’s fluent in every tongue. Soundcraft’s HTML5-based app can operate the mixer from any device, including full control from your phone. And as part of the Harman fellowship, the rest of the family has chipped in with some party tricks: Lexicon effects, Digitech amp modelling, and dbx feedback suppression — there’s plenty to like about this ultra-flexible little box. Not least, the all-on-at-all-times, tri-mode connectivity.

Other models: Ui16
Analogue inputs: 10
Analogue outputs: 8
Price: $729
Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or www.jands.com.au


Taking its Qu series and wrapping it into a rack package was a smart move for Allen & Heath. The only thing missing is the faders, literally everything else remains, including full touchscreen control, and 31 assignable buttons. It’s BYO iPad, but only if you really want to.

Analogue inputs: 22 (expandable)
Analogue outputs: 12
Price: $2999
Technical Audio Group: (02) 9519 0900 or info@tag.com


The veteran contender. Borne out of years of community feedback from its early arrivals, Mackie knows what works and what doesn’t. Sticking strictly to the iPad control diet, there’s no confusing what the DL32R can do. And with the new Dante option card, on top of its multi-track USB recording capability, it’s a rack that can spit all its audio out in multiple directions.

Analogue inputs: 32
Analogue outputs: 18
Price: $3499
CMI: (03) 9315 2244 or www.cmi.com.au



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  1. This is a fantastic review. Thanks so much for this. I’m writing this in April 2017 so some of the software has developed a little (certainly Mackie, perhaps Behringer a little) but this is so comprehensive and so helpful. Gives such a comprehensive over and detailed view. Thank you!!

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