The PRO1 Live Audio System from Midas features a lightweight aluminum frame and field-replaceable power supply for Midas digital consoles. The PRO1 standalone console is easy to configure and operate. Engineers who are new to Midas digital consoles can relax, enjoy the PRO1’s sample-synchronous audio quality, and mix from well within their comfort zone. Engineers already familiar with Midas can just load their existing show file straight into the PRO1, regardless of which Midas digital console it was created on, and carry on working.
This standalone mixing system has 24 mic inputs on the rear of the frame. The 3 AES50 ports can be used to increase the mic input count up to 96 by connecting additional hardware. In addition to the PRO1’s 40 primary input channels, it also features 8 AUX returns, all of which feature 4-band Midas parametric EQ and insert points. These 8 AUX returns can be used as returns for the PRO1’s internal FX processors, or as additional mic channels if sufficient mic inputs are available on the I/O hardware.
A total of 48 input channels have free routing to 27 phase-coherent mix buses, which comprise 16 user-configurable buses (mixes, subgroups, or mix minus groups), and 8 matrix buses. The matrix buses source from inputs, as well as groups, and so can be used as 8 additional AUX mixes (monitor mix and FX sends) that provides a total of 24 mixes (plus L, R & Mono) for monitor mixing duties. All buses can be linked as stereo pairs (except the mono bus). As with all Midas digital consoles, the audio paths can be routed to multiple destinations and the console format can be reconfigured live on a scene-by-scene basis.
The high-resolution screen remains visible even in direct sunlight. The screen provides visual feedback for the entire system. Pressing the HOME key (just to the left of the assignable controls) instantly displays the console overview screen, which keeps all vital information (all metering, all fader positions, mutes, and solos) in view at all times.
The detail panel is a vertically oriented channel strip. The controls are configured in a logical, signal-path sequence and are easily identified by their relative positions. Both analog users and digital adopters will find no difficulty using the large multicolor LCD channel select buttons for navigating the console.
The microphone preamp is built from discrete components. Whether you want pristine, transparent reproduction or warmth and coloration, dual (analog and digital) gain stages enable you to shape the mic preamp's character according to your own preference. This digital console features 2 input gains per channel. First is the remote analog gain for mic preamp, and the second is a digital trim. Set the analog gain for the desired amount and then use the digital trim to achieve your preferred gain structure.
With the advent of digital technology, channel counts and processing features have grown to a point where it is no longer practical to have all controls physically available at the same time. Additionally, the logistical advantages of smaller control surfaces are becoming increasingly attractive. This console mirrors the natural workflow used by mix engineers and provides control and supporting feedback of system status at all levels, from the highest overview to the finest detail. This encourages the development of a mental picture, or Mind Map, of the whole system even though focus may only be required on limited specific functions.
At the heart of the console navigation are the VCA and POPulation groups, which provide primary access to multiple channels (typically grouped into related clusters by mix engineers). To help further improve the Mind Map, live sound engineers have typically used color when navigating mixing consoles by applying different-colored adhesive tape and swapping colored fader knobs to help make console navigation faster and more intuitive. This audio system features VCA and POPulation groups with assignable color coding and digital write-on buttons to make channel identification easy.
The digital EQ features fully-interpolated controls, which recreate the original phase shift as experienced when working on analog consoles. Each input channel has a 4-band parametric EQ, with a choice of 4 different filter types for both high and low filters. These EQ options enable the user to employ EQ filters, which emulate the sound of Midas consoles or to choose advanced digital filter types free of the limitations of analog circuitry.
The dynamics processing on the PRO1's input channels is identical to the Midas XL8. Each input channel features a frequency-conscious gate and a choice of 4 different compressor algorithms. Further creative expressions are available, as all 4 compressor algorithms feature variable knee, internal, and external side-chain filtering, and coloration artifact options.
The output (bus) compression offers a choice of 5 different options. These 5 compression algorithms are designed to provide the engineer with a broad pallet of options for maximum creative potential, right down to the visual display on the screen changing to support the different styles. More dynamics processing options are available in the PRO1’s FX rack, including multi-band compression and dynamic equalization.
The cutting-edge 40-bit floating-point DSP processing hosts a wide choice of virtual FX devices, which range from dual-stereo delay units, stereo modulation, and many diverse reverb FX, to multiband compression, dynamic EQ, and multichannel dual-function dynamics processing.
All FX processors are custom-designed to function within the Midas automatic latency compensation system. This ensures a phase-coherent, sample-accurate mix regardless of whether the FX devices are used as channel inserts or on a send-and-return basis. In addition, delay FX can be individually configured to synchronize to the XL8 button. This synchronization makes on-the-fly changes to delay effects simple and painless.
In addition to normal stereo and SIS (Spatial Image System) operation, the console can operate in one of 3 surround sound modes: Quad 4-Channel – L-R front plus L-R rear; LCRS 4-Channel – L-R-C plus single rear channel; and Quad 6-Channel – L-R-C plus sub plus L-R rear. All 3 surround modes feature divergence control to tailor the depth of the surround panning. Dynamic surround panning can be implemented using the consoles trackball, or the USB pointing device of your choice.
There are 4 modes of channel and mix bay navigation: FLIP, FX, GEQ, and MCA Navigation. These 4 options allow an engineer to easily and efficiently mix a large number of inputs on a compact control surface.
The navigation flexibility makes working with the console as simple as requirements dictate, or as deep and complex as a user desires. To further illustrate the concept, think of multilayered 3-D VCAs, or a mixing console with a bank of VCAs for each input. This workflow approach applies to every area of the control surface, ensuring ease of use and appropriately fast access to all controls.
One of the most critical requirements for theater applications is the power and flexibility of console automation. The Midas PRO1 has taken into consideration these very specific requirements, and features automation software. The PRO1’s automation system can store and recall up to 1,000 snapshot scenes. These contain the audio parameter values for every control on the console as well as the network routing, configuration of the FX rack, and the format of the mixer itself, all of which is scene-specific.
Hardware automation safe buttons are provided to enable the operator to quickly isolate selected processing areas from recall should this be required during a performance. In addition to these isolation functions, the store and recall of scenes can be scoped such that only the areas that the operator wants to store or recall is affected (all other controls remaining in their current state).
Channel settings can be edited in advance of recall—across all scenes—from the show editor screen, and scenes can be re-ordered, inserted, and deleted, simply and quickly, without overwriting their designation. Scenes can be recalled instantaneously, with no discernible drop in audio, or via complex crossfade options, including programmable surround-sound panning events.
MIDI input and outputs are provided for control of external MIDI devices or for recalling console events from an external MIDI source. The software includes stored shows on a USB stick and is both forward and backward compatible, i.e., a show created on one PRO1 can be loaded into another Midas console regardless of the software version on either system. The PRO1 show files are also compatible with all other Midas digital console systems.
This live audio system has up to 100 inputs and 102 outputs, with point-to-point routing anywhere within the network, which can then be patched and routed on a scene-by-scene basis via a powerful snapshot automation system. The PRO 1 system incorporates several special features to aid real-world integration with other important sub-systems.