recognized by iOS devices. I contacted Maker
Hart about the issue. The staff said its mixer is
designed for line-level audio out, and the iOS
device wants microphone-level input. So apparently the two devices communicate, see the
discrepancy, and do not pass audio at all, even
though I could just turn down the master out
and make it work.
Nevertheless, the small form factor of this
lightweight mixer is still desirable. Its small, external USB battery pack was downright diminutive compared to the AC adapter for my bigger
mixer. The Maker Hart mixer also has Bluetooth
audio in on channel one, meaning it enabled me
to eliminate at least one cable in the audio mixing. I was able to play some intro and outro music from an old iPhone 4 over Bluetooth into the
mixer. I set it on one track, told it to loop, and it
just did that all afternoon.
Also feeding the audio mixer was my host’s
wireless handheld microphone on input 2. I had
a second wireless lav set up on channel 3, in case
we needed a backup, or two people on camera
with mics. But primarily, I planned on having
the host point his handheld mic at the guest and
manage the audio that way. Lastly, on channel
4, I added a powered short shotgun microphone
(Sennheiser) mounted on the iPad that you can
see in Figure 2 as a backup for ambient sound,
or in case everything else had issues.
The output of the mixer goes into a special
cable that feeds the TRRS of the iPad. I tried
a cheap little adapter with two 1/8" sockets
for headphone and microphone, but it was hit
or miss with that adapter. A more expensive
adapter always worked reliably, but it had a 15'
cable which I wrapped around the handle of
the iOgrapher case. The cable adapter also has
a headphone jack so I can hear what the appli-
cation hears, but it’s delayed by something like
a half second so I cannot keep my headphones
in while doing my own audio into the app.
The mixer features sunken sliders for each of
the inputs (I used four of the five available), which
makes it hard to bump them. It’s also designed
to ensure that when you throw the mixer into
your gear bag, you’re not going to break the sliders off. There are also sunken “bass/treble” controls. Honestly, these are sort of a weak point of
the mixer as it’s little more than a “tone” control.
You can turn it counterclockwise to reduce treble, or you can turn it clockwise to reduce bass
(useful for wind noise). But you are not
increasing any part of the original signal. It’s essentially
a adjustable bandpass filter on a dial.
The outputs include 1/8" stereo as well as L/R
RCA jacks that use a common Master output
slider, and a headphone jack with its own adjustment dial. There is also USB audio out which
I have not tested as it does not work with iOS.
The fact that it offers stereo outs from each input would benefit from a “pan” control on each
input, but this mixer does not have any pan control. Thankfully, I did not have any issue with a
microphone not appearing in the audio channel
that was fed to the iPad.
Being out in a public event, I did not even
try to use the available “public” Wi-Fi. Instead, I
used my own cell phone as a hotspot. Previously, I’d used this hotspot and the iPhone’s Wi-Fi as
the access point (AP) router for all the connected devices, but even having only one remote
camera meant that there were three streams
going through the phone AP: AP to iPad, iPad
master program to AP, and then upstream LTE
from the phone. The remote camera was choppy even though it wasn’t too far away.
This time, I had two remote cameras coming
in to the iPad so the number of streams added up quickly. I decided to use a separate AP/
router to reduce the computing load on my cell
phone/hotspot. It looked like this:
• Camera 1 to AP
• Camera 1 from AP to iPad
• Camera 2 to AP
audio cable is
doesn’t fare well