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First Look: Midas Pro6

FOH Staff • New Gear • September 8, 2008

I got the call on Wednesday that I would be leaving for England on Monday, having been invited by the folks at Midas to be present for their latest and greatest product unveiling. I knew Midas would not spend the time and money necessary to gather journalists from all over the U.S. and Europe if they didn’t have something big to show off. I figured that they had created a new digital mixer or stage box, but Midas was keeping their new baby a secret.

I left on Monday afternoon from Los Angeles, arriving at London Heathrow on Tuesday morning, was met by Malcolm (my driver) and headed off to Coombe Abbey. This hotel is about 1.5 hours north of London in the British countryside.  My accommodations were luxurious and the antique-filled room overlooked the moat. You may wonder why I am mentioning the hotel rather than the new Midas product. In April of 2006, Midas unveiled their flagship XL8 at the Music Messe show in Frankfurt, Germany. I was also invited to that event, and every bit of that experience was exemplary. So, this is what I have decided. Any company that takes this much care and expends this much money on the press will spare no expense when it comes to the research and development of new products. I think the new Midas gear bears that fact.

The unveiling was scheduled for Wednesday. After lunch and a short reception, we were all introduced to the new Midas Pro6 digital mixing console. Immediately, I could see some physical similarities to the XL8 — and why not? When the XL8 was introduced it represented the pinnacle of cutting-edge digital mixing technology for the day. Midas was not about to reinvent the wheel with their Pro6 console so, of course, there are similarities. However, the Pro6 is not just a smaller XL8, it is a mixing board all its own that is both beautiful and functional.

But I need to first talk a little about the XL8 in order for you to get a better sense of the Pro6. Midas wanted their XL8 to be the most analog digital mixer on the market. It had to “sound” like a Midas or all the bells and whistles would mean nothing. Midas certainly accomplished their goal in a console that married the most tactile and intuitive aspects of an analog board with the flexibility and depth of a digital console. The XL8 does not come without a price though. You will have to be prepared to spend about $325,000 in order to put an XL8 in your arsenal, which means that there will ultimately be a limited number of them in the world of live sound. The next logical step for Midas is the Pro6.

Midas purposely did not reference XL in the new board’s name. There is a conscious separation between these two desks. However, when you think about it, Midas digital consoles are really the work surface for their stage boxes. That said, the Pro6 is a different work surface than the XL8. It is smaller with just two monitor screens but it is beautifully and intuitively laid out. One of the very important elements of the Pro6 is that it feels like a Midas. When I turned the knobs on the new Pro6, it felt so good. The knobs literally have a sensual quality to them. Look, I’m not some kind of freak! I think you have to be a Midas owner or operator to know what I am talking about, but if you have mixed on a Midas, you will feel very comfortable with the Pro6. Of course, the Pro6 is much less expensive than the XL8. 

The digital Pro6 package cost about as much a Heritage package, which if I have my numbers correct is about $120,000. This certainly makes the Pro6 available to a lot more end users. The new Pro6 tagline is “Digital with Heritage.” I think this either refers to the price point of the two mixing console packages or Midas wants to tie their new Pro6 closely to the successful Heritage board.

Whatever the real meaning of the new tag line, it really won’t have a lot to do with the success of failure of this new mixing console. The fact of the matter is that after spending a short time with Pro6, I am convinced it will be a successful product for Midas.

While I was at the unveiling, one of my fellow writers asked me if I thought the Pro6 would spell the end for the XL8. I thought about this question for a minute, then answered that there will always be those individuals who want a Ferrari at any price, but more often you will find those who are very comfortable in a Mercedes.

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