Midas, a name that is recognized for the manufacture of some of the best professional live sound consoles over the past 30 years, has introduced its newest line of live mixing consoles – the Heritage Series. This powerful series of live mixing consoles is available in a house version, the Heritage 1000 or 2000; a monitor/house version, the Heritage 3000; and the B2000 for broadcast. The Heritage Series consoles are sonically some of the best I have used.
Product PointsApplications: Live sound, fixed installation
Key Features: 16 to 56 channel analog console; VCA automation; 12 subgroups; 12 aux sends per channel; four-band parametric EQ; linkable with other Heritage consoles
Price: $39,674 to $98,422
Contact: Midas 616-695-6831 Web Site
+ Extremely flexible
+ Quiet operation
+ Powerful EQ section
+ Sound quality
– EQ labeling vague
– EQ and mic gain setup not automation recallable
The Score: Another well-thought-out and flexible live console built with Midas reliability.
The Heritage 2000 mixing console is modular – making it easily field serviceable. The frame is a zinc-plated steel chassis and is available in a variety of sizes from 16 to 56 channels. Each 2000 mixing console includes as standard 12 audio sub groups, 12 aux sends (eight mono and two stereo), eight matrix outputs, one stereo and mono master module and one monitor module. The price of the Heritage 2000 varies with configuration, but ranges from $39,674 for a 16-channel tour package to $98,422 for a 56-channel tour package. Installation packages are also available.
At the top of the mono input module is a gain section with switches for phantom power (+48 VDC), pad (30 dB attenuation), phase and PRE (reconfigures the direct output to pre-insert/equalizer; switchable to other configurations by jumpers on the inside of the module). The direct output on every channel has a rotary control to provide continuous output level adjustment from +10 dB to off, a nice feature when used for recording.
The gain control for the microphone preamp gives continuous adjustment from +15 dB to +60 dB. The Heritage Series consoles feature a new microphone preamplifier, which further builds on the Midas XL4 design by providing a CMR improvement of +30 dB. This assures better RF rejection and noise performances.
The equalization section features a four-band parametric EQ with separate I/O switch. The +/-15 dB HF control is selectable between shelving or full parametric operation, and has a frequency range of 1 kHz to 20 kHz.
A dual concentric pot adjusts filter bandwidth and the boost and cut for each band. The bandwidth is variable from 0.1 to 2 octaves with center detent at 0.5. The high-mid frequency range is 400 Hz to 8 kHz, low mid is 100 Hz to 2 kHz and bass (parametric or shelving switchable) is 20 Hz to 400 Hz, providing substantial overlap. The equalization is completed with a defeatable high-pass filter whose cutoff frequency is adjustable between 20 Hz to 400 Hz.
The insert point is positioned post-EQ as standard; a separate PRE switch arranges the input to pass through the insert before the equalizer. The insert send is always active, and the insert return in/out is switchable. Insert points on the rear of the module are TRS 1/4-inch balanced connectors.
The 2000 input module has eight mono-auxiliary and two stereo-send busses. Auxiliaries 1 through 8 (auxes 9, 10, 11 and 12 are switchable between four mono or two stereo, in pairs) have separate on/off switches illuminated with an adjacent LED to easily identify when it is engaged. Directly below are aux PRE switches to change the signal from post fader to pre fader.
Each mono auxiliary has a separate gain control knob to adjust level from off to +6 dB. Auxiliaries 9/10 and 11/12 have a common on/off and PRE switch, with a Mono switch to change the stereo aux into independent mono aux busses. When the mono switch is not engaged, the bottom rotary becomes a pan for stereo operation.
The routing section consists of 12 subgroup bus assignment switches, stereo and mono bus switches, panning control and a spatial imaging system control (SIS). All switches have adjacent illuminating LEDs. Pressing the SIS button on any input module configures that module for Left Center Right mixing. The spatial image control gives you the added benefit of blending your LCR mixes between the center cluster and the left/right outputs of the console. For example, when the image control is in turned fully clockwise to the LCR position and the channel pan pot in the straight up “detent” position, the input module acts just like any other LCR module, sending signal to the center cluster only.
As you begin to turn the image control counterclockwise, you start adding audio into the left and right speakers while keeping the level in the center cluster the same. When the image control reaches the center detent position, you are sending audio to the left center and right at equal levels. As you continue to rotate the control counterclockwise from the center detent position you start dropping audio from the center channel while leaving it up in the left and right speakers. When the control is turned fully counterclockwise, the signal is only being sent to the left and right outputs. This unique feature, along with the pan control, allows you great flexibility of imaging with an LCR configuration.
The Midas 2000 offers an HS0005 stereo input module that can be configured into the mainframe as an option. Stereo modules can be easily swapped with mono modules in any input position within the frame. A nice feature is that the 2000 stereo inputs are designed to accommodate mic- and line-level signals with the same gain range as the mono inputs. Penny & Giles faders are used throughout the console.
The center section of the console is fitted with 12 HS0012 group modules, two HS0041 matrix modules providing eight matrix outputs, HS0041 aux modules and one HS0031 monitor module. All output modules have graduated LED metering from -36 to +21 in 20 steps that are easy to view. The group module features two rotary-direct input controls with level adjustment from +10 dB to off and can be used as effect returns or for console bus linking. Below the direct inputs are pre- or post-group fader switches, direct mute switches for subgroup inputs and direct solo switches.
Eight rotary matrix mix controls provide continuous adjustment of the subgroup levels sent to the matrix mixes. Switches are provided for pre or post fader to the matrix, insert, and stereo and mono assign.
Each group module also has pan controls, talk switches to assign voice (or pink noise) from monitor module to that output, master group mute, safe switches to remove output from automation, a split switch to monitor the groups in mono or stereo, and faders. Each switch has LED illumination. The number of switches is comprehensive and well thought out, providing many options for routing schemes. All output modules in the center section include this type of switching and individual faders.
The automation system can store and recall up to 500 scenes. The 10 VCA sub-groups are automated, as are all input and major output mutes. Input channel and VCA sub group levels can also be recalled manually via the automation system. The assignment control section is located in the center of the console and is used to assign and store the VCA, Mute and Fader automation. There is an A/B storage system, which is used for reliability by duplicating the console’s assignment and snapshots. The automation includes MIDI capabilities to control MIDI devices with scene changes (up to four MIDI “events” per scene).
I used the Midas Heritage 2000 and 3000 on several different occasions on shows in the U.S. and Europe with Tony Bennett and the Ralph Sharon Quartet, as well as with several large orchestras. The console is extremely flexible, housing 95 XLR inputs on a 52-channel console, 89 XLR output connections and 180 balanced 1/4-inch jacks. The Heritage 2000 provides more routing paths than I have ever seen on any professional analog console.
The microphone preamps provided a natural, warm, fat sound. I listened to the inputs with an assortment of the microphones I regularly use. It is without a doubt one of the quietest console I have used in a live situation. The location of the metering is well thought out and the range is excellent.
The sound and responsiveness of the EQ section will not disappoint anyone. The slightest changes are heard immediately and are very flattering to all types of musical sounds. My only complaint with the EQ section regards the console layout. Each frequency band is silk screened with only three frequencies: far left, center and far right. For example, while the low-mid band encompasses a frequency range from 100 Hz to 2 kHz, the only markings are 100 Hz, 500 Hz and 2 kHz. Most engineers – until they become familiar with the console – will spend too much time trying to zero in on the desired frequency.
The vast amount of LEDs next to the switches and faders on this console provides a clear, concise illumination, showing what is on and off – a pleasure for anyone accustomed to mixing live sound. I needed to link two Heritage consoles together on a show involving a second act. The well-designed pre/post switches on the direct inputs easily eliminate the other act’s system graphic or parametric EQs.
Assigning channels to VCAs and setting up input and output muting was straightforward and easily done. The automation system is fairly basic and is functional for general muting, fader position storage, and MIDI changes from scene to scene. It would be useful if an option was available to allow storage of EQ and mic pre gain settings in some type of recallable format like floppy disc or from a computer hard drive.
The Midas Heritage Series is a high-quality professional mixing console for sound reinforcement, remote recording or broadcast applications. Built with the customary Midas reliability, it is a good choice for touring and theaters alike.
Analog consoles with basic automation remain the most widely used in live sound – most live sound engineers love to touch and feel knobs and faders. The Heritage is a first-rate product with excellent sonic characteristics, extremely low noise and flexibility.