Most music makers and content producers would agree that their mixer is the hub of their creative universe. Whether you’re recording, broadcasting or performing live, mixers, at their simplest, all perform the same basic functions: Input audio signals, route and combine audio signals and send those audio signals back out again. Of course, most mixers do a lot more than that, from providing phantom power to shaping sound with built-in effects to automating processes. So, what makes the Soundcraft Ui Series different?
It’s simple: We designed the Ui Series to optimize the transition from creation to performance, building mixing functions, I/O and pro-grade DSP into rugged, compact mixers that also function as fully-loaded stage boxes, all wirelessly controllable from your phone, tablet or laptop. But Ui consoles are more than mixing systems—they’re also top-notch recording tools, supporting multi-track recording directly to a USB drive or a connected computer running your favorite DAW.
Let’s look at some ways to tap into the power of Soundcraft’s Ui Series remote-controlled digital mixers as your “anywhere” creative hub—whether you choose the 12-channel Ui12, 16-channel Ui16 or fully loaded 24-channel Ui24R with Ableton Live 10 Lite.
1. MAKE YOUR DAW WORK SMARTER
Connecting a Ui mixer to your workstation enhances the capabilities of that workstation; it provides you a consistent input and output matrix, opening the door for greater creativity. And, your settings will be consistent from session to session, no matter which workstation you’re working on. Ui systems feature built-in dbx, DigiTech and Lexicon processing; local monitoring during tracking can all handled by the Ui.
2. SMOOTH THE TRANSITION TO REHEARSAL
Many audio tools are designed to enable you to write using a traditional I/O connected to a workstation. Then, when it’s time to rehearse and play live, you often find yourself mentally backtracking through everything you did during your studio session and reorganizing everything for your band members. But when you take a Ui along for the entire creative process, transitioning to a rehearsal or gig is just a matter of going through batch settings and sharing with band members.
3. SOCIAL-DISTANCE THE WIRELESS WAY
As musicians navigate the new normal of socially distanced live rehearsals and gigs, using Ui’s wireless remote control features gives you the freedom to soundcheck from afar and space performers apart for safety and peace of mind.
4. BUILD BETTER MIXING SKILLS
Many musicians, sidelined from paying gigs, are taking advantage of online educational resources to build their chops during quarantine. But, it’s one thing to try to absorb a webinar and another to actually apply those skills in real life. Take advantage of downtime to get fluent with every function of your mixer, experiment with ideas and build killer live mixes. Rehearse with your wedge or in-ears. The more variables you can dial in during your rehearsal, the less you will have to focus on gear and the more you can focus on your performance and interacting with the audience. So when you do play your next gig, you’ll be better than ever.
5. WORK OUT SHOW KINKS WITH A VIRTUAL SOUNDCHECK
Live sound requires a different skillset than the studio: You must be able to create an impactful mix, quickly, always thinking on your feet to handle audio issues before they become showstoppers. These days, digital tools like the Ui Series have made virtual soundcheck—long the exclusive domain of touring superstars—accessible to anyone. Tweaking technicalities is always better handled at home than onstage in front of an audience, but when you’re using the same gear in both scenarios, the transition is practically foolproof.
6. BUILD CONFIDENCE IN YOUR MUSICAL CHOPS
Real talk: Performing is all about confidence. With the ability to migrate your mix, you’ll be able to stretch your creativity in the studio, rehearse with band members, play and record live performances, study them later, and keep building that confidence that comes with always improving.
7. ENHANCE YOUR SHOW WITH PRE-RECORDED TRACKS
If you’re already using a UI mixer to write and record, you can enhance your live productions with backing tracks or “back up” tracks. Consider adding rare instruments you might not be able to feature in your band (strings, horns, glockenspiel, etc.) , or creating safety tracks in case a member of the band can’t make a gig.
8. RECORD AND REPURPOSE YOUR PERFORMANCES
Historically, musical performances have been “in-the-moment” experiences, but live recordings and the global nature of the internet provide opportunities to exponentially expand your audience reach. Ui24R mixers let you record multi-track streams directly to a USB stick or connected computer, so you can capture performances, bring them back in your workstation, polish your mixes and distribute your music to a wide audience.
Ultimately, making music is about having something to communicate, but it’s also about having the skills and experience to successfully do it over and over again. And that’s where the Ui Series cuts to what’s important: It’ll see you through those incremental steps that build confidence in your creative process, and it’ll provide a path to sharing your creations with the world beyond your studio monitors.