While there a number of on-board audio mixing applications available in the App Store, only a select few of these can be used to mix audio on dedicated external hardware. In the case of the Wi-Fi Micro Mixer, Sound Logic created a custom hardware mixer that has its own embedded Wi-Fi access point. This allow an iOS device running the Micro Mixer app to remotely control the Wi-Fi Micro Mixer's 8 audio inputs. Read on to learn how well this concept works in the real world.
The the Sound Logic Micro Mixer
app is freely available in the App Store. If the app when launched cannot locate the Micro Mixer hardware, the program enters a demo mode that displays the program's interface. This allows the application's intuitive user controls to be manipulated. While helpful from a demonstration standpoint, the app is essentially useless without the Wi-Fi Micro Mixer hardware.
In order to manipulate the actual Wi-Fi Micro Mixer, users must first connect their iOS device to the Micro Mixer's built-in Wi-Fi access point. In the version I reviewed, the unit created its as an open Wi-Fi access point by default, so technically anyone could have connected to it (but they would also need the Micro Mixer application to manipulate the controls). While this certainly makes it easy to connect to the hardware, this design choice could potentially become a nasty security vulnerability. I would have preferred instead that the Micro Mixer app allow me to connect with the hardware and present me with a change password dialog box. After the password was changed, the Micro Mixer app should then reconnect to the hardware's access point automatically using the new password. If the user ever forgot or lost the password, there should be a pinhole reset on the device that lets them reset the default 'open' state to allow the user to walk through the same procedure. Alas, until such a feature is added, Wi-Fi Micro Mixer users will need to take into consideration this potential security access risk.
UPDATE: James Williams, the creator of the Wi-Fi Micro Mixer, let me know that there is in fact a security feature option on the Micro Mixer set up view. The text box labeled 'Authorize' has the default value of 'OPEN'. If you type in the serial number of the device into that edit box then when someone else tries to access the device, their app will pop up a not authorized to use this device alert box. James added that he plans on enhancing the security via a four digit PIN that matches the PIN assigned to the Micro Mixer hardware. I'm glad to know that Sound Logic takes system security as seriously as I do!
Front View of the WiFi Micro Mixer
That said, the actual user experience worked like a charm, and the mixing controls were quick and responsive. The unit features two combo XLR plugs for mics, guitars and other instruments, as well as four 3.5mm stereo jacks for most consumer audio output devices. On the back, there are four additional RCA-style jack stereo inputs as well as one set of stereo output jacks to connect to speakers or a PA system that renders the final mix. However, only 4 channels are available for mixing at one time, with the XLR jacks representing the first two channels if these jacks are used. As such, the reason for the 10 inputs is for flexibility, not 10 separate mixing channels. But to be fair, I hardly encountered a scenario that required more than three channels at a time, so this constraint wasn't a huge obstacle for my audio mixing needs.
Back View of the WiFi Micro Mixer
I used the Micro Mixer on several occasions in a variety of settings and the hardware worked without any glitches. It can be powered either via the 9 volt power adapter that comes with the hardware, or by attaching it to a computer via the included USB to micro-USB cable. I did notice after awhile that the box did get a bit warm to the touch, but not uncomfortably so. Its temperature didn't seem to affect the performance of the hardware which continued to operate without issue even after several hours of continuous use.
Overall, I really appreciated the simplicity and reliability of the Wi-Fi Micro Mixer. The hardware has a home-grown, Kickstarter-like
homegrown feel to it and there's a certain level of pride built into the design. This was obviously a project of passion for Sound Logic, and its nice to see this level of innovation coming from a small company. If you're looking for an easy to use, reasonably priced 4 channel mixer to control from your iOS device, the Wi-Fi Micro Mixer delivers a very compelling solution.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars