Midas Siena

Adding to the popularity of the Midas Verona, the Siena analog mixing console has been recently introduced to address the needs in the midrange sound reinforcement market.
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Adding to the popularity of the Midas Verona, the Siena analog mixing console has been recently introduced to address the needs in the midrange sound reinforcement market. The output buss structure has been redesigned more appropriately for monitor use. Offering six different frame sizes from 24 to 64 inputs, the Siena presents true audio performance and value in an affordable package for dual-purpose (monitor and front of house) live sound applications.
Product PointsApplications: Live sound, installation

Key Features: 24 - 64 channels; dual purpose monitor/FOH; 16 aux sends; four-band sweepable EQ

Price: starts at $17,725

Contact: Midas at 800-392-3497, Web Site.

Plus

+ Extremely quiet

+ Sound quality

+ Solo tracking system

Minus

- Unbalanced inserts

The Score: Typical Midas quality at a great middling price.
Features

The Midas Siena mixing console is a semimodular construction in eight channel blocks. Its modest dimensions on the 40 input version is 9 inches high x 31 inches deep x 62 inches wide, and at a weight of 143 pounds, is very manageable in setting up.

Each Siena includes as standard 16 mix buss sends, with global master mono/stereo switching in pairs. With one stereo master output, one stereo solo output and separate mono solo output, its solo cueing system is very intuitive for monitor engineers. The price of the Siena varies from $17,725 for a 24-channel installation package to $42,765 for a 64-channel tour package. The 40-input version I evaluated has a retail price of $$27,895.

At the top of the mono input module are switches for phantom power (48VDC), 15 dB pad, phase, and insert enable. The gain control for the microphone preamp gives continuous adjustment from +15 dB to +60 dB. The Siena microphone preamplifier can handle input levels up to +21 dB. This assures improved RF rejection and low noise performances similar to the Heritage series.

The equalization section features a four-band sweepable EQ with a separate I/O switch; an adjacent switch sends desired signals pre EQ to the auxiliary sends. It provides a range on each band of ±15 dB and a fixed Q of one octave in each bandwidth. Every mono input channel has a variable high pass filter (20 Hz - 400 Hz) with I/O switch for removing handling noise and unwanted low end in the input signal.

The Siena input module has 16 mix sends. Each mix has a separate gain control knob to adjust level from OFF to +6 dB. All 16 mix sends are globally switched mono/stereo in pairs. Its flexibility permits running 16 mono mixes and a stereo mix, or nine discrete stereo mixes, or any combination of mono or stereo mixes desired.

Above the long throw 100mm fader is a four-segment LED meter (18 dB, 0 dB, +12 dB, +18 dB). Completing the mono input module is a mute and solo switch with LED indicator that illuminates to depict when active. The Siena has five auto-mute busses that can be controlled from the center section of the console. Any input channels can be assigned to auto-mute groups 1 - 5 as desired.

The center section of the console contains fader and muting control for all outputs. All output modules have graduated LED bar graphs with 16 segments that provide good monitoring of output signals. All outputs are balanced with XLR connections on the back of the console. Direct outputs on every channel can be used for multitrack recording, or sending to a dedicated effects processor. All direct outputs are post fader as standard but can be modified via internal jumper to provide prefader, pre-EQ/post-mute, pre-EQ/pre-insert or post-EQ if desired.

All Siena consoles (except the Siena 240) come with two internal power supplies. In addition, a multipin connector is provided for interfacing an external linear backup power supply, which is a well thought out design feature to ensure reliability on the road. The power supply units are current-sharing, voltage sensing and auto switching, providing proper assurances that might be necessary to save a show.

In Use

I recently used this console during a private show with Tony Bennett and his Quartet. Having used the Verona, it was obvious that sonically the consoles are identical. Using the same mic preamps and EQ circuitry, this console is a pleasure to use when mixing music and will not disappoint the end user. (For more on console sound quality see the Verona review, PAR 6/04).

The console also has the Solo Tracking System, a feature that allowed me to link the console solo system with an RS232 control interface to an included Klark Teknik Helix equalizer system. Having used this configuration with a Midas Heritage, it was surprising to see this feature in a mid-priced console.

Packaging the Helix system with this console is highly recommended to get the full benefit of the product. The Helix offers graphic, parametric EQs, dynamics and delay on every output and offers the best in system setup available to sound engineers.

Like the Verona, the Siena console is extremely quiet and has all the sonic characteristics you would normally hear in a more expensive console product. The console contains unbalanced inserts on the inputs (single send/return on a single phone jack). Like the Verona, inserts are provided on all outputs which, when using the console to do monitors, enables you to insert your EQs and, when soloing those mixes, hear the effect of the EQ -- exactly what is expected and desired when doing monitors.

The metering in the center output section is well designed with a good range, and the lights for the console and location are very good, providing proper illumination when mixing. It always surprises me that certain consoles in a higher price range miss the proper color schemes and lighting configuration to provide adequate light to see the console in the dark.

Summary

The Midas Siena is a well-designed product, and added to the Verona line, fits the need of the mid-priced sound reinforcement market. With an easy and intuitive control surface, both of these products offer an affordable package for FOH and monitor duties that offer a lot of bang for the buck. I fully expect to see this console placed in future fixed installations, houses of worship, regional sound companies and corporate shows. In my opinion, it is the best mid priced analog console available today.

Tom Young, a regular contributor to Pro Audio Review, is currently the live sound engineer for Tony Bennett. Tom's website is www.TYsound-design.com.

Review Setup

Meyer M1D self powered line array; Klark Teknik Helix equalizers; Yamaha Pro R3 reverbs; Summit DCL 200 compressor; assorted Sennheiser and Neumann microphones.