Depeche Mode FOH engineer Antony King
pauses with his Midas XL8 console.New York (February 4, 2010)—Closing in on a year on the road, Depeche Mode’s Tour of the Universe is back in Europe, dual Midas XL8 live performance systems in tow.
FOH engineer Antony King explained, “The XL8 has a very analogue front end to it. As for the features it offers, I really like the POP(ulation) groups; they’re great and give you really fast access to whatever channel you need at the time. Then the VCAs (Variable Control Association) give me more choice to split those groups further. It’s all in front of you and this is a feature that’s not available on any other digital console.
“I also love the sound of it. I guess the whole point of Midas making a digital desk was to put the XL4 preamp into a digital format. It’s ironic really; the idea of making a digital desk sound like an analog might not seem like progress, but it’s what the human ear wants to hear. It’s created a warmth in some of the enormous venues we’re playing. Also, there’s a lot of output power, which some digital desks struggle with, and this gives a clarity I really like. Metaphorically speaking, if I compared the XL8 to an HDTV, it sounds as if it’s got more pixels!”
Over on monitors, Sarne Thorogood remarked, “For an act like Depeche Mode, the automation is a must. The XL8 also has excellent navigation, retaining enough familiarity from the analog versions to be comfortable with; everything seems to be in the right place. As time’s gone by, I’ve been running more and more on the console, getting used to its character and its ways, and I’m feeling very confident with it.”
Thorogood is running a total of 20 mixes, consisting of a mix of mono and stereo in ear mixes and wedges for the band, four effects sends, delay and reverb for vocalist Dave Gahan, two reverbs for drums plus three mixes for the techs.