Front of House Engineer Kyle Chirnside is utilizing a Midas PRO6 digital console on the current world tour by Fall Out Boy.
“I’ve always been a Midas guy,” states Chirnside. “Whenever I had a choice, I would have my XL4. But then I had the chance to test drive the XL8.”
That opportunity came with an invitation visit Metallica FOH Engineer Big Mick Hughes during preparations for Fall Out Boy’s autumn 2008 tour of the UK and Europe.
“We were at his house, sitting around mixing Metallica tunes on the XL8, which was huge for me, Chirnside explains. “I must have remixed that song ‘Battery’ a hundred times that day. I fell in love with the console. So when I heard Midas was developing a smaller, more affordable digital desk, I was totally into it.”
That console was the PRO6, which Chirnside and Fall Out Boy promptly took out on tour.
“Since I was a new user, I brought my trusty EL8s along for vocal processing, but I never touched them,” Chirnside recalls. “Instead, I ended up using the console’s internal 3-band compressors, which sound amazing. They really made all the vocals pop out and stay dominant in the mix from a whisper to a scream. For Pete Wentz’s bass, the PRO6’s corrective compressor is perfect on both the DI and SansAmp channels.”
At the output stage, Chirnside relies on the PRO6’s internal Klark Teknik EQ section, which he describes as “quick and precise,” to dial in the right sound for every act on the bill.
Clair Global supplied a PRO6 for Fall Out Boy’s spring U.S. tour, which featured four support acts. “Even with five bands, we only used one desk,” notes Chirnside. “It was easier and more cost effective than alternating between two consoles. It saved us a lot of money in renting another console and having a huge rack of outboard gear. It was a great opportunity for all these young engineers to be in a big show and mix on a digital desk. It was amazing to watch these rookie engineers just jump right in and get it.”
When mixing live, Chirnside relies on the PRO6’s POPulation groups for instant access to any part of his mix. “I use the POP Groups constantly,” he says. “I have a drum group, a bass group, a guitar group, a vocal group and then my effects. That way, everything is right in front of me on the left-hand fader bank. It’s a super simple setup, easy to set up and easy to run.”
The PRO6’s DL431 I/O module offers additional advantages. “It’s basically a stage box, sort of like a snake head, but that’s where the magic happens,” says Chirnside. “The AD conversion and preamps are in there, and so you can actually plug a pair of headphones into the stage box, push a button and solo any channel. Great for troubleshooting.”
Audio connectivity from the DL431 to the PRO6 control surface consists of a pair of thin Cat5 cables, one of them redundant, eliminating the need to run a bulky copper snake. Similarly, redundant power supplies at the control surface and in the I/O and DSP modules ensure continuous operation even in the event of failure.
Chirnside notes the ease with which both seasoned and rookie engineers take to Midas digital desks. Each band’s engineer would simply load his show file between acts, do a quick mic check and be ready to go.
“The PRO6 is laid out like an analog desk, so you’re reaching in the same direction you always have. And if you can’t figure it out, there’s a screen right there that tells you what you need to know. These young engineers for our opening acts, on their first major tour—they had it nailed within a couple days. It was great to watch.”