- Broadcasts multichannel digital audio in real-time, over Wi-Fi, to each musicians smartphone where the artist can create their own custom monitor mix
$100 per user
Wireless in-ear monitors over a Wi-Fi signal? Actually listen over your iPhone? I have to admit, back in the day when I began to be able to mix my monitors using an app on my phone, my first assumption was that I could actually plug my earphones directly into my iPhone 4, but that was impossible until now!
Just as smartphones have made improvements since my old iPhone 4, so has wireless monitoring technology! Right before NAMM 2018, I caught a post on Facebook about Audiofusion that claimed they could turn your iPhone into a wireless IEM. I reached out to Brandon Leafblad about becoming a beta tester for the system. It was so close to NAMM that I did not have time to set everything up and test it out. So, I just waited to be able to experience it at the show. When I did, it was evident to me that this system would be a game-changer for many churches, traveling musicians, and ministries.
So, what’s this all about? First let’s start with equipment needed: a Digital Mixer or Audio Interface with a USB port that transmits all channels, a newer Mac to run Audiofusion SoundCaster, an iPad (capable of 802.11ac) for the Audiofusion Director app, a dedicated 5GHz Wi-Fi router, and iPhones running Audiofusion Performer (iPhone 6 or newer).
(Thigh-bone is connected to the knee-bone): Connect the mixer to the Mac by USB/Firewire/Dante, etc., Run SoundCaster on the Mac and select the channels to include in the mix (currently up to 16). Connect the Mac directly to the router by Ethernet cable. Create a dedicated private Wi-Fi network on the 5GHz band. Connect each iPhone running Performer to the same network. Plug earphones into the iPhone, mix, and enjoy! (The Director app for the iPad is optional but nice to have to label the channels as well as hear and control each musician’s mix.)
It seems pretty straightforward and simple, but there is always a trial and error period with any setup. For instance, I mistakenly did not connect my computer to the router with Ethernet cable. This mistake taxed the Wi-Fi signal too much and audio quality suffered quite a bit. Once I connected that one cable… voila!
For my situation, I was using an iMac to record directly from the SL32 into Presonus Capture, so my USB output was taken. However, I happen to be using a Presonus SL24R as my digital stage box. The SL24R can be used as a stand-alone mixer and it has its own USB port on the back. I’m able to connect the Mac running SoundCaster on the platform and I can see all channels that are plugged directly into the SL24R! This is all I need for mixing the band and vocals.
There are many great options for in-ear monitoring, and this is certainly one of them. In previous churches, I’ve lost wireless systems (microphones and in-ear monitors) due to the FCC changes in band frequency. Those instances were quite costly to my budget and the church… and considering that tithe money that bought the equipment; my job is to be a wise steward! The cost for Audiofusion will only be $100 per individual using the Performer app connected to SoundCaster at one time. Compare that to $700-$1000 each just for a wireless UHF system, or even more money for a monitor mixing system, and this could be an extremely affordable way for a church or traveling ministry/band to add an in-ear system! My situation is most probably similar to many of yours… I already had a Mac that I could use for SoundCaster. I also already had an iPad and everyone on my team except one person already owned an iPhone 6 or newer. The only thing I did not have sitting around the church was a good Wi-Fi router that could be dedicated for platform/monitor use only.
Let’s talk actual use and sound quality. The iPhone app is really intuitive and easy to navigate. All of the channels can be ordered and named using the Director app. Truthfully, my 1964 Audio A6’s never sounded better! For my current wireless UHF system, I have a mid-range system, nothing super expensive. It does have a good sound, but it also has consistent UHF ‘hiss’ even with no music being transmitted. Switching over to the Audiofusion Wi-Fi system, the clarity is really superb. Initially, I ran into “crackling” issues that, after troubleshooting, were eliminated by turning off the Wi-Fi signal on the Gen 2 iPad. I’m learning about Wi-Fi signals… the signal is only as good as the slowest device on the system. That’s why we’re encouraged to only use iPhone 6 or higher. Once I took that slow device out of the system, all audio was clean and clear!
After I troubleshot all of my user-error problems, the Audiofusion system performed as well as claimed! At the time of writing this, there are plans to possibly have a second option that would open up 32 channels of mixing at a price of $200 per individual using the Performer app.