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Midas Gets Small, With PRO2, PRO2C

LONDON, U.K.—Midas is launching its latest digital live sound consoles, the PRO2 and PRO2C, at this month’s PLASA exposition.

Pictured are (l-r): Engineering consultant to Midas, Alex Cooper; VP customer support for Midas/Klark Teknik, Jonathan Chitty; and M/KT brand development manager Richard Ferriday, as they show off the new PRO2C (left) and PRO2 consoles in an introductory event.LONDON, U.K.—Midas is launching its latest digital live sound consoles, the PRO2 and PRO2C, at this month’s PLASA exposition. Extending the line begun with the PRO6, previously expanded upwards and downwards in configuration with the PRO9 and PRO3 desks, the new Midas PRO2 and PRO2C (“C” for Compact) maintain the sonic performance of the company’s XL8 and PRO Series, advance Midas’ innovations in console navigation and live production control, while setting a new company standard for value.

The core specifications for both the PRO2 and PRO2C are: 64 input channels, 32 outputs, 27 busses, six stereo FX engines and 28 KT Graphic EQs. Systems comprised of a control surface, a DL251 I/O unit, two 100m Cat-5 cables, and a flight case are priced at $22,700 (PRO2C) or $29,300 (PRO2). These price points are made possible by the investment in overseas manufacturing made by The Music Group (owners of Midas since the beginning of 2010). Midas is keen to point out that the quality of manufacturing will not be compromised— existing Midas employees are moving, long-term, to China in order to oversee the operation. Based on quality control statistics from Midas’ VeniceF console, which has been manufactured in both the U.K. and China facilities, Midas is highly confident of the quality of work being done at the new plant.

The main differences between the PRO2 and the PRO2C are, on the PRO2 control surface, eight additional faders and a pad on the raked section where you can rest an iPad, or similar. Richard Ferriday, Midas’ brand development manager, comments, “I suspect that markets in which digital consoles are much more established will be able to look at the compact one and see all the benefits of a very small control surface. You can put it into small spaces, it will go in the back of a car, the luggage bay of a bus—all the advantages of having something small. I think the bigger one will go into fixed install, where space isn’t that much of an issue and portability doesn’t need to be worried about, and also into markets that have still got this hankering for having large numbers of faders, because they’re still thinking of the physical size required of an analog mixer.”

The PRO2 and PRO2C feature the same sample-synchronous AES50 audio network; system-wide, phase-coherent delay management; and redundancies in DSP modules, control computers and PSUs as the rest of Midas’ digital consoles.

The Midas introduction of new concepts in the PRO2s starts with the evolution of an engineer’s target for operation familiar to Midas digital console users—I/O, sub-groups, “VCAs” and VCA-centric navigation, and the Midas innovation of POP (POPulation) groups (mix sets that aren’t necessarily linked by VCAs or master faders, but nonetheless are useful group navigation targets). The PRO2s’ “advanced channel navigation” modes take the “target off the fader,” says Ferriday, “…reducing the number of potential targets by close to a factor of 10. So it just needs people to stop thinking in terms of faders, and think in terms of a target to go to very quickly. If you give people lots of faders, it’s going to slow down their access…because they have to identify the fader that they want. And they probably don’t want the fader anyway. They want to do something to that channel, and it might be turn it up or down, but it might be something with the EQ or mic amp, compressor or gate—and that isn’t always on the surface.”

The PRO2s also add new control options where navigation is centered on outputs—select a bus output and the components of that output come to the user. MCA (Mix Control Associations) reprogram the VCA faders as MCAs, which control the contributions of only the elements assigned to a selected output (one could think of MCAs as creating 24 additional layers of VCAs). In a GEQ mode, if a bus that is routed to one the internal graphic EQs is selected, then the VCA faders control that graphic EQ.

The new software does bring other upgrades, such as new effects (including a new dynamic EQ), a more comprehensive preferences section and an upgraded automation system with a contextual assistance system. There is also an iPad app to control the console, which will be available from launch. All of these features are expected to be rolled into other Midas consoles in the near future.

Based on dealer previews, Ferriday reports that “we already have orders for more PR02/PR02Cs, a week before its launch, than we sold PR06s in its first year of shipping. We are very confident that we are on right on the mark.”