The Yamaha LS9 is a great little console for the money. For lots of venues this is a good entry level digital console that won’t break the bank. If you’re familiar with the Yamaha M7CL and then go to an LS9 you will quickly notice some things that are missing though, mainly the touchscreen. The StageMix iPad app for the LS9 goes a long way towards filling those gaps and making the console easier and quicker to use.
I’m not gonna go into too much detail on connecting the console to the iPad, Yamaha has good info on that. I will say that it’s not very hard, you just need a wireless router then connect both the iPad and LS9 to the router. Getting an N router or faster will help sync faster when you connect to the console. We have multiple LS9’s and M7’s in different venues. To help organize things we name the wireless network after each venue and then turn off the broadcast SSID feature just to help keep people off of the network.
Ok, enough of that stuff, ha ha. Once you have the app talking to the console you’ll be able to remote control all kinds of stuff. For the most part you can just dive right in and start playing around. The app is very well designed, easy to use, and you can’t really hurt anything.
Since the LS9 only has a small screen and it’s not touchscreen I find myself using the iPad app for almost all EQ tweaking. I find it a lot quicker and easier than using the controls on the console. Then on the console’s screen I’ll typically tweak the dynamics settings. Now between both screens I have just about everything I want to tweak for a given channel at my fingertips.
To make things even quicker to work with there’s a little setting that I turn on. In the settings for the app are a couple of options for selecting channels. I turn on the StageMix follows console mode. Now when I have the EQ on the iPad and select a channel on the console that channel’s EQ pops up on the iPad. Sounds simple but it’s a huge time saver and makes this console 10 times better to work with in my opinion.
Another thing that’s nice is loading and saving scenes through the app. Typing on the LS9 is well, terrible, ha ha. No touchscreen so that means using the arrow keys to select each letter one at a time, it’s really slow. When you use the iPad app you get the iPad’s keyboard and wallah, way easier typing. You might even take the time to actually add a comment, ha ha. Not something you would bother doing through the LS9 controls unless you really had to. Naming and color coding channels is also best done through the app.
I wanted to point out those features since that’s what I use the most. During rehearsals I’ll walk the room and dial in the mix from outside the sound booth. In the rooms that have stage wedges then the app is great for tweaking things from stage at the performer’s location. We’ve done shows where there’s a FOH guy at the console and a monitor guy hanging out on stage with the app. It works really well for that, you just have to be careful that you don’t foil each other.
I guess if the app had a flaw it’s that you can’t set it to a monitor mix only mode or something like that. If you give someone else control from the app you just need to trust them and make sure that they don’t mess with your EQ or preamp gain. The only other thing I can think of is that you can’t connect more than one iPad at a time. If you could connect several iPad’s and assign each one to have just fader control of a monitor mix you would essentially have a complete personal monitoring system built into the console. That’s not something they’re working towards though, at least not the last time I talked to Yamaha. Oh well, can’t have everything!
Best part, the app is free! There’s even a demo mode if you just want to play around and see the features without connecting to the console, check it out!