Tennessee-based rental company Morris Light and Sound has purchased four Midas PRO9 live audio systems, which join two XL8s – currently on the road with Sugarland - in the company’s inventory. The PRO9s are already committed to the Kenny Chesney tour, which is currently in rehearsals and includes 11 stadium dates. “We’ve also got additional touring commitments with Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich, as well as two casino installs,” says company president David Haskell. “The bottom line is that we have another PRO9 on order. This console was just made for pro touring.”
“I’ve always been a Midas fan, although I must admit to a few years of experimenting with other digital platforms. But I never found the warmth in digital I was looking for,” says Haskell, who has spent 30 years on the road, mixing front of house and handling production manager duties for such artists as Alabama, Keb Mo, Gretchen Wilson and Sugarland. “Then the Midas digital came out. Once you hear it, there’s no turning back. They took their time and got it right. Midas brought the same commitment to great sound, service and reliability to their digital platform that they did in the analog world I came up in.”
Haskell’s exposure to the Midas Digital platform started with the XL8, which he first used on Gretchen Wilson at the Houston Rodeo when the console was introduced. “The biggest thing about it is the Midas sound,” he says. “You cannot mistake that preamp, and the latency control eliminates phasing problems. The EQ is some of the best I’ve ever heard in my life, analog or digital. There’s no phasing at all, and the response is wicked fast; so different from any other digital EQ I’ve heard. To have all that under digital control is incredible.”
Another reason that Morris Sound and Light is committing to the PRO9 is its fast learning curve. “The layout is very intuitive,” he says. “The graphic interface on the PRO9 is without a doubt the finest I’ve seen. Basically, if you’re a working engineer, this desk is very easy to figure out. That’s really important when you’re a rental company.”
Among the features that Haskell points to as particularly strong design elements of the Midas digital platform are Area B and POPulation Groups.
“My systems engineer uses the Area B part of the console quite a bit,” Haskell says. “If there’s an issue during a show, or a particular input sounds funky, you can work on it without affecting the rest of the show. For Kenny Chesney, who has guest artists all the time, anyone from Sammy Hagar to Peyton Manning, we use it to line check the guest inputs right before they come on. I know some engineers use it to keep their money channels always available. It’s a great idea.”
VCA and POP Groups allow instant access and control of input groups. “It’s like layers without layers. It might seem like a simple idea, but the execution is absolute genius,” he notes. “You can group everything you have any way you want. You get instant recall when you hit a button, and you just fall into the habit of knowing what group everything is in – you can easily match whatever your style of mixing is.” Usability is further enhanced by the ability to color-code and name the buttons associated with each group.
All Morris Light and Sound’s PRO9s are configured identically, with a total of 80 direct inputs and 32 outputs. In the Midas architecture, that breaks down to 56 in, 8 out (all XLR) on its DL351 I/O box, with 24 each analog inputs and outputs in the DL451 via three DL444 “D Sub” cards. The Kenny Chesney and Sugarland tours will also travel with a Klark Teknik DN9696 high resolution audio recorder, easily capable of capturing all the action with 96 tracks with 24-bit, 96 kHz audio (Broadcast WAV) quality, and fully integrated into the Midas system.
Haskell feels strongly that Midas Digital consoles also excel in another area near and dear to the hearts of touring pros. “One really big thing for me is reliability,” he notes. “Things like having redundant control computers always running, and redundant power supplies are really important. Plus the service support is unbelievable. If you have an issue out on the road, you can get someone on the phone 24/7, and I guarantee it will be someone competent enough to walk you through your issue and fix it. That is huge!”
Of course, the bottom line for Morris Light and Sound is happy customers. “That means great sound and no problems, which is what Midas and Morris Light and Sound is all about,” concludes Haskell.