The fun starts once the app is up and running at the venue! Once open, the app begins to look for wireless networks. Of note: This is done using the app itself, not through the phone’s wireless network search. This allows for the app to access private networks that the signal is broadcast using Mixhalo’s technology. Technically speaking, a user is not engaging with a wireless internet network, but rather over wireless antennas that transmit and receive the audio signal. The technology used is essentially closer to FM radio signal than streaming .mp3 files over wireless internet connections.
While typically, Mixhalo is set up to blanket the entire venue from the front row to the worst seat in the house, at this particular show, Mixhalo was only an option limited to VIP package holders who were permitted to stand on the side of the stage during the show.
“The VIP experience is very different. You’re onstage,” Ruxin explained. “There’s no audio onstage so in order to have a good experience you really need Mixhalo.”
Once connected to the Mixhalo network, I anxiously awaited the start of the show to take this new technology for a spin!
When the app connected, the app presented graphics and labels for each of the available feeds.
My options were:
-The ‘main’ mix of the whole band, which mirrored the mix coming out of the PA. (This allowed pristine sound, even while standing on the stage!)
-Cooler still, I had the option to listen to four of the band members’ individual mixes (ie; the sound they were receiving in their monitors). (Noticeably absent to me was the option to hear frontman Brandon Boyd’s mix)
Each of the five separate channels had slightly different alterations to the audio mix. The main mix was a perfect balance of everyone. The independent mixes were customized to each member’s preference. Typically, musicians have different needs of what they want to hear in their monitors to help them in a live setting. Often, it’s most important that they hear their own instrument predominantly in their ears. Other times, they may want to hear other instruments or vocals that help keep them in rhythm and know where they are in the song. These vary by personal preference.
From there it was kind of ‘set it and forget it.’ Pick your mix and put the phone away and lose yourself in the music. Once the stream was set and you left the phone alone, a very reliable and great-sounding mix was going on in my ears. The seal of the earbuds brownout out the PA system and my neighbors singing along. It was just me and the music in a way that has never been brought to an audience before.
The only feasible feature I would have liked to have seen is the ability to alter the mix or create my own mix. Users select the mix that they wish to hear, and likely stick with it. Unless someone plays the same instrument as one of the mix streams or are super interested in that particular mix, users will likely stay at the soundboard mix as that sounds the best.
I had my reservations that I would not be able to speak to the people next to me, but I realized that I don’t really want to do a lot of talking to people around me while I’m enjoying a concert. Also, I found that if I needed to, I could always take one earbud out and do what I needed to and then pop it back in.
This experience was really great. Having a personal feed was a great experience that showed me there was something lacking from my concert experiences that I didn’t know I was missing!
When having great seats, one doesn’t have to shove foam in their ears just because they are really close to the PA. Unless you are located immediately next to the soundboard at any given concert, the sound levels are not designed with you in mind!
The future is bright for Mixhalo. I’m anxious to try this from the cheap seats or on the lawn at an amphitheater to see the benefits from that vantage point. With sports, theater, and, of course, concerts all in the sights of Mixhalo, I hope to see this at every event I attend in the coming years.