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Midas Digital Pays Dividends for StagePro
Saturday, September 26, 2009 - Midas Consoles North America


 

 

 

 

Investment in Midas Digital Pays Dividends for StagePro

Full service festival production company finally goes digital with

two Midas PRO6 consoles.

 

Literally located in the middle of a bean field in Ottawa, Kansas, just outside Kansas City, StagePro Inc. specializes in providing everything from sound and lights to staging and roofing to major festivals across the U.S. “We’re a little under the conventional radar because traditionally the press follows the touring market,” said owner Jay Waller. “But in terms of festivals, we’re clearly national, and definitely A-list.” With summer schedules that regularly include gear at Lollapalooza, Country Jam, Rothbury, Langerado, All Good, as well as Austin City Limits and Rock Jam festivals, investing in two new mixing consoles was not a decision to be taken lightly.

 

As the 2009 summer season kicked off, StagePro decided it was time to purchase its first digital consoles. For Waller, the decision was based on sound business logic. “The PRO6 is really the first digital console at an affordable price point that will satisfy both analog and digital users. We bought two of them,” he explains. “When we look at riders, about 20 percent still say ‘no digital.’ Every one of those guys is a Midas user. The PRO6 is the first digital console that those guys will come on board for. And the digital guys can’t wait to get their hands on it.”

 

Being longtime Midas users, StagePro knew the PRO6 would provide the sound quality they required. “We already knew that Midas had done digital right. The mic pres, the dynamics, the operating system – everything was already proven with the XL8,” notes Waller. “And the latency management system keeps everything in phase. No one else has that.”

 

The acid test came at the season’s first major festival, Country Jam, a four-day festival held outside Grand Junction, Colorado. “Was I nervous? You bet I was!” recalls Waller. “We took a pair of Heritage consoles and set them up as backups, but we never needed them. But we got total acceptance by all the visiting engineers, and the consoles themselves proved their stability and reliability. In fact, when we did the same acts at Wisconsin Country Jam three weeks later, we didn’t even put the spares in the truck.”

 

Waller is equally impressed with the ergonomics of the PRO6, starting with the analog feel of the layout as seen on the two daylight-viewable TFT screens.  “You touch a control, and it just pops up on screen. I call it the ‘follow-me’ feature. You can always see what you’re doing, and whether you’re an analog or digital guy, you’ll never get lost,” Waller explains. For festival use, StagePro dedicates the left-hand screen to the visiting engineer, with the other monitoring inputs. “Because a lot of engineers are used to desks set up in pages, we set up everybody’s inputs that way using the POPulation groups. So when the engineer needs to see input 27 and his brain says, ‘that’s on page three,’ all he does is hit the third POP group and bang, it’s right where he expects it.”

 

The PRO6 ships complete with all the needed DSP and remote controllable I/O included along with the digital snake system and fully redundant power supplies and CPUs. “I call that the ‘cost point’ as apposed to the price point of a console,” says Waller. “When you buy a PRO6, it’s road-ready. You can add extras if you want, but there’s really no situation we face that this console can’t handle out of the box.”

 

Another attraction for StagePro is the fact that the PRO6 is equally at home mixing for house or monitors. Both desks are stock units, with the DL351 stage boxes set up with 48 inputs and 16 outputs. The control surfaces accommodate another eight XLR inputs, eight XLR outputs and eight TRS insert points. They also opted for the Klark Teknik DN3991 graphic EQ controller, the Helix Rapide, which attaches to the control surface via a Cat5 cable. “That’s the key to making the PRO6 a great monitor board,” say Waller. “It’s got all the outputs you could want, but when it comes to EQ, monitor guys want to be able to grab a fader, and the Rapide lets you do that. You call up Mix 21 and poof, the faders are in place. Plus it lets you adjust your mix and reach for 2.5k at the same time. It’s a little more of an investment, but it’s a whole lot cooler.”

 

For StagePro, buying a pair of Midas PRO6 consoles was just a smart business decision. Jay Waller sums it up this way: “In our world, the key requirement for any console is acceptability. If a board is not acceptable, you obviously have a problem. And with the PRO6, the response has been phenomenal. From the longtime digital guys to the XL4 purists, everyone walks away saying ‘this thing is amazing.’ We waited years to find the right digital console. Bottom line, the PRO6 was worth the wait.”

 


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