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Hands-On Review: IK Multimedia iRig MIX Mobile Mixer

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Mobile DJing gets a little smaller and more portable with the iRig MIX

By Chris Loeffler
Harmony Central

It has been fascinating to watch the market that has built up in the music industry over the last few years around building hardware accessories to leverage the large owner base of smart phones and tablets.  Keyboards, guitar processing, recording, DJing, and mixing have all become prevalent in the apps and hardware accessories sold at consumer electronic and musical instrument shops. Of those manufacturers from the music industry, few have been as prolific or successful as IK Multimedia. Last year, IK Multimedia expanded their iOS focused offerings with the iRig MIX, the hardware companion for their DJ app.

The iRig MIX includes all the essential control for DJing and small ensemble mixing in a concise, intuitive design. Both input channels include Gain, Treble, Bass, Volume and Cue controls and the master controls include Master Volume, X-Synch (more on this shortly), and a channel cross-fader. The iRig MIX allows for two stereo input signals plus an instrument/microphone input, stereo and headphone output with independent volumes, and is powered by a USB power supply connector. Included software includes iOS Apps DJ Rig Free, AmpliTube Free, VocaLive Free, and Groove Maker Free.

iRig MIX Mobile Mixer for iOS

What You Need to Know

In Single Mode, a single iOS device is run into the first input channel, allowing a DJ app (such as the included DJ Rig) to work in conjunction with the iRig MIX to parse the output signal into discrete mono tracks for live mixing through the MIX.

Running separate iOS devices (or any audio devices) in Dual Mode allows seamless real-time blending and crossfades between the two devices. The ability to compensate for disparate input volumes ensures complete control stays in the hands of the operator.

A unique addition to the iRig MIX toolset with the ability to operate as a PA mixer for small groups or singer/songwriter performances via the Instrument/Mic input. iOS devices with supporting apps (such as the included AmpliTube and VocaLive) run in the first channel allow additional signal processing and effects in real time for live performances.

One of the most powerful features included in the iRig MIX is the X-Synch control, which automatically synchs beats between the two input channels when run in conjunction with the DJ Rig app. This automation helps eliminate awkward transitions and gaps when crossfading and creates smooth transitions by matching beats per minute between two songs from your playlist.

Used with the DJ Rig app, the iRig MIX allows for more control over all the fun DJ effects such as scratching, BPM speed adjusting and phrase sampling and looping.

Limitations

For all the quality in build and sound, the iRig MIX provides an enjoyable DJing experience, but could be considered a stripped down or introductory lesson to hardware-based DJing.

The requirement of the wall wart somewhat reduces the “mobile” nature of the device.

Both the Gain and Master controls allow for a large amount of volume… more than is necessary, which could lead inexperienced users to crack up these controls and introduce more white noise to their amplifier than is necessary.

Conclusions

The IK iRig MIX is an excellent accessory that is the perfect fix for those who already own an iOS device (or two) and want to dip their toes into the waters of DJing. The layout is intuitive to even the biggest of technophobes and the build and sound quality is superb. The benefit of including several “lite” versions of IK Multimedia apps and being part of a bigger IK ecosystem (including guitar, vocal, and recording software) allows for a DJ experience as deep or shallow as you like, and makes it especially attractive to instrument players already using their other software and hardware.

Tags: iOS Mixers DJ Equipment Harmony Central

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