Remotely Possible By Andrew BroughtonApr 01, 2022
Article written by Omar Colom and Laura Massas
”It all started from a question from my good friend Brian Maddox, who asked, "Do you think it would be possible to control a Yamaha mixer from another Yamaha mixer over a network or the internet?”
A simple conversation that sparked an idea, that then created an app to assist audio engineers around the world.
We are so honored to release the news before its official release, and doubly excited that we got to see it on AV Tech Talks 024 - Remotely Possible; Yamaha CL/QL Console-to-Console Control.
Check out the exclusive interview below.
Responses provided by Andrew Broughton
Q: What drove you to create the app?
A: It all started from a question from my good friend Brian Maddox, who asked, "Do you think it would be possible to control a Yamaha mixer from another Yamaha mixer over a network or the internet?". I said "well, I guess it might be remotely possible!" Once I figured out how to do that it seemed like many people were interested in the idea, so I started figuring out how to make it into a commercial product.
Q: What other apps have you developed?
A: Plenty of Yamaha control and utility apps, a few Companion Modules, an Editor for a commercial product, but mostly just free stuff that I thought was cool.
Q: Who are your target users?
A: Audio folks who use Yamaha QL or CL mixers and would like to control them over a network or the internet. People that like to push the envelope. Also rental houses and installers who could use a way to support their operators remotely. Trainers who would like to train people on the console remotely.
Q: Do you work in the industry, if so, what sector and what’s your technical background?
A: It's all I've done, all my life - I'm a live sound engineer. Self-taught and learned from watching and talking to other professionals. My programming experience has come from an interest in that from before I even started working. If you're old enough to remember the Radio Shack TRS-80, that was my first computer. Gives you an idea how "seasoned" I am. :-)
Q: What was the process for you to code and test this app?
A: I'm not sure I have a process, or at least a very good one. I typically just "start writing". I usually do this at first to test how things will work, then at some point I re-write the whole thing to clean it up and make it "pretty". At the start I'm writing and modifying the code while testing the operation until I get things working the way I want. Stuff comes and goes a lot during this process, and sometimes I have to write "helper" apps to automate some of the testing, since a lot of the work I do relies on device communication.
Q: What was the process to unveil and launch to the public?
A: Well, I haven't really "Launched" yet. I have a small group of beta testers, one of which was Ed Willock, and he asked me if AV Tech Talks could do a segment on the software. I humbly accepted his kind offer, and it seemed like there was a lot of excitement about the product, and I received several inquiries from that episode. My friend Jay Clark took the video from that talk and edited it into a funny "promo" video that got quite a few views on YouTube too.
Q: How long did the total process of creating your app take?
A: It's ongoing, and not done yet, but it's been about a year of working on it so far. I hope to release it this summer. What takes the longest in this process is learning how to create something commercial. When you create free software, you just post a link and people can download it. When it's commercial, you now have to think about payments, liability, authentication, security, web sites, etc. etc. That's a lot for an out-of-work soundman!
Q: How did you get the word out there about your app once you launched?
A: Kinda answered this one above, but it's a heck of a lot of word-of-mouth. The AV Tech Talks episode and Jay's video got a lot of traction it seems. Enough so for Yamaha to call me and for me to even do a demo for Yamaha Japan!
Q: What’s your approach to user experience and design principles?
A: I am pretty fussy about UIs and also I'm an experienced user of Yamaha consoles, so I have a good idea how the product should work. My Beta testers' input along the way has been invaluable, and many additional features have been added based on their feedback. Once the product is released, I hope to get feedback from users on changes or features based on how they use the product and continually keep the software evolving.
Q: Does your app work offline?
A: If you mean offline of the consoles, then sure, but it wouldn't do anything. If you mean not connected to the Internet, then again yes, but it does need to have internet to verify the licensing.
Q: Is your app the same thing from when you first created it or has the idea evolved?
A: The basics are the same, but MANY features have been added to make it more useful. For example, I figured out a way to very quickly synchronize the 2 mixing consoles even over the internet. I don't think anyone even knew this could be done, but what a difference that makes!
Q: What platform is this app on and how should people new to your app be using it?
A: MacOS and Windows mostly, but I can build it for Linux if someone needs that. I typically spend an hour on a Zoom call with potential users to show them how the program works. It's quite simple to use, but the concept of controlling one mixer from another and the workflow can be difficult to understand until you "get it". Also most people are not networking experts, so I often need to show them a few things about how to get things to connect... which isn't really anything to do with the software, but without proper networking it, of course, won't work!
Q: Can you break down each part of your app and what people can and can’t do with it?
A: Hmmm... Well, the app allows control of one QL or CL mixer by another QL or CL mixer. It also allows an instance of the QL/CL editor to run on the same computer at the same time. The control can be one-way or bidirectional, and the editor can connect to either the local or remote mixer. Any QL model can control any CL model and vice-versa.
It does not work with other mixers, it is exclusively for the QL and CL mixers, due to the architecture of those consoles.
Q: How’s the feedback, the audience response, since launching your app?
A: There seems to be a lot of interest, including from Yamaha themselves. I hope this translates to sales when the product is released!
Q: What features are being used the most since launch?
A: Not launched, but testers are using it successfully on events with good results.
Q: What stands out about your app compared to other options?
A: It's one of the first to do this. Previously the only control of a Yamaha mixer over a network was via the Editor. While that works, it was a little cumbersome to operate. My solution allows you to control the mixer with real controls, in fact the SAME controls you use on the mixer you're controlling! That is what some people seem to really want.
Q: How do they buy the app? Are there additional features?
A: It will be a licensing model, one price which includes my free tunnelling app that allows connections across the internet to be facilitated more easily.
Q: What’s next for the app?
A: Finish the web site and get it released! It will continuously be updated and worked on for some time to come. It's currently completely functional, though.
Q: Best advice you could give to someone reading this article?
A: If this sounds like something that interests you, or you'd like more information, please get in touch! I have the start of a web site here, https://remotely-possible.ca, where you can contact me, join my forum, and get more information.
A big thanks to Omar and Ed at AVEducate for getting the word out about my software and connecting me with some really great people! And thank you for your continued work helping educate and connect people in our industry. It's a great and much needed service!
(Like and share their stuff, dammit!)
Well AVE community, we hope this has been helpful in introducing this app to you or shedding light on some of the capabilities if it’s something you already use!
Stay tuned for the next app highlight soon!
Have a need that an app may be able to fix? Send us a shout and we may have an app highlight that features exactly what you need!
If you would like to contact the app developer directly, here’s how:
Website & Forum: https://remotely-possible.ca
Email [email protected]
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