Allen & Heath ME System

The ME-1 personal mixer aims to put musicians in charge of their own monitor mix. Alistair McGhee tests it out.

Some questions have bothered philosophers for thousands of years, while others have a more recent origin, like, ‘can we have everything louder than everything else?’ And the answer is… yes. Now onstage (or in studio) you can have exactly what you want, here’s your ME-1 personal mixer – everything can be just as loud as you want it to be. The ME-1 personal mixer from Allen & Heath gives your talent on stage a 40-input mixer, allowing them to mix in-ears or wedges to their heart’s content. The ME-1 is a hardback book-sized mixer, mountable on a mic stand and A&H even throws in a clamp.

The mixer is solidly constructed in a metal housing with pro connectors. It is fed by a single Cat5 cable and has a daisy chain output for the next mixer in the chain. Mixers can be powered down the Cat5 by Power over Ethernet (PoE) or they can accept a DC input from a power supply. If you daisy chain your MEs the first one in the chain can take PoE while the subsequent mixers will need power supplies. You might be thinking, ‘what I need here is a hub that can feed multiple ME mixers and provide power to each one’, and that is exactly what Allen & Heath has been thinking too, hence the release of the ME-U 10-way PoE hub.

The ME-U

Let’s start with the hub: the ME-U is a solid 2U box fitted with EtherCon input and 10 EtherCon outputs along with a network port for control and data. You can use a standard PoE switch as a hub but the clever thing about the ME-U is that it broadens the connectivity options you have with your ME system. The hub comes standard with the ME-D interface that allows connection to GLD/dSNAKE and Allen & Heath ACE and Aviom (note, no power over Ethernet with Aviom). However, and this may be the genius of the system, the digital interface card on the ME-U is interchangeable and other interface options include MADI, Dante, and Ethersound (which must be a spinoff of the ground work A&H have done in the iLive series of desks and stage boxes which also support these formats).

Read the rest in our March digital edition.

The reviewer

Alistair Mcghee began audio life in Hi-Fi before joining the BBC as an audio engineer. After 10 years in radio and TV, he moved to production. Most recently, Alistair was assistant editor, BBC Radio Wales and has been helping the UN with broadcast operations in Juba.