Family Life, a non-denominational Christian organization that uses the creative arts to spread its message across upstate New York and Pennsylvania. To accommodate productions both at its Bath, NY campus and on the road, the organization selected a Midas PRO2 digital mixing system.
“We were replacing a 10-year old analog console with 56 inputs,” notes Jamie Heale, sound engineer and IT assistant at Family Life. “We knew that a digital workflow would make things a lot easier, and looked at all the options in our price range. Everyone had told me that Midas would be too expensive, so we were thrilled when we found out about the PRO2 coming out.”
Family Life’s requirements for their new console included 56 or more input channels, ease of operation, fast setup, easy transport, enough outputs to handle both the front of house PA and monitor feeds, and great sound.
“In doing the research on everything available in our price range, the PRO2 really stood out as having everything I could think to ask for,” says Heale. “But it’s a big investment, so I wanted to get my hands on it before committing to it. And it was definitely the demo that sold me.”
One thing that was instantly clear at the demo was the improvement in sound quality that the PRO2 would provide.
“It had a nice, warm, full sound to it,” he recalls. “It was everything I had been told about and read about the Midas sound, and then some. But what really impressed me was the workflow. Using POP groups and VCAs to group your channels just felt very natural.
“Then there were the effects. Having compressors and gates for every channel, plus the EQs, is a real luxury compared to our old rack of outboard gear.”
The clincher, however, was the PRO2’s easy, intuitive automation system. “We do a lot of concerts, but also a lot of theater,” explains Heale. “Changing setups for different theater scenes within a production is always a challenge. When we went through the demo on automation, I was very impressed with how powerful it is, and how easy it is to use. I could really see how much time and effort this would save us. So when it came time to pull the trigger, we knew we wanted the MIDAS.”
The transition to digital proved to be easier than Heale had expected. “We knew it would be challenging to switch from analog to digital, no matter what console we chose,” he relates. “Obviously, there’s a learning curve there but we were up and running fairly quickly. Our other engineer, Jeremy Hill, took it out for a concert event, loved the sound and said he really enjoyed mixing on it.”
Heale’s first experience taking the PRO2 on the road was for Family Life’s youth theater workshops. “We got to one venue an hour late, so it was a challenge,” he states. “But with a digital snake and no outboard gear to worry about, setup went extremely fast. Being able to copy and paste a setting from one channel to another made sound check go very quickly. We were able to get up and running and do a full run-through, and everything was on time. I don’t think I could have done that with any analog desk.”
The Music Group