Moon Lighting & Sound is a full service provider of audio, video and lighting, located in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area of Nevada.
“We have a long history of providing sound for major musical events in our region, as well as taking on the challenge of doing events in some pretty eclectic locations,” says owner and president Ken Van Gelder. “And since last Christmas, we’ve been able to upgrade our capability in that area with the addition of the Midas PRO2 mixing consoles and the Midas Mixtender iPad app.
“It’s so compact and easy to set up that we have literally done full music events on the side of a ski mountain at 10,000 feet while maintaining the Midas Pro feature set.”
Northern Nevada is well known as an area that takes advantage of its geographical diversity, and Moon Lighting & Sound takes pride in delivering superb sound in any environment.
“We might find ourselves anywhere from a beach on Lake Tahoe to the side of a ski mountain,” notes Van Gelder. “Our job is to produce the same great sound that you would expect at a traditional venue, and to do it seamlessly, even if the gear needs to go by helicopter. The PRO2 has expanded our ability to deliver just that.”
For a string of events at the Heavenly Ski Resort over several months, Moon Lighting & Sound used the new Midas PRO2. The venue itself was basically an open area at the base of the upper-level ski runs.
“Folks would come down from the upper elevations and congregate on this mid-mountain area, which was set up for food, drink and entertainment,” recounts Van Gelder. “We distributed sound across the whole area, 270 degrees around.”
With the PRO2 in place, this normally difficult assignment became almost routine.
“We had bands that played the venue more than once. When they would return, we would recall their previous settings, getting sound checks down to around five minutes,” Van Gelder says. “But what really made it fun was using the Midas Mixtender iPad app. While it’s really designed for dialing in and controlling monitors from the stage, we were using it to mix the house from anywhere on the mountain, and it worked perfectly.”
Monitor engineer/systems tech Nick Parkey notes that the PRO2 offers advances far beyond its modest size and price.
“One thing I really like are the new MCA (Mix Control Association) Groups,” he notes. “They operate similar to VCA groups, but are specific to the selected mix. When the PRO2 is in Advanced navigation mode, and MCA navigation is engaged, the MCA faders control the contributions of their members only to the currently selected mix. Great idea.”
Parkey also uses the advanced navigation on the PRO2 to hide the faders he doesn’t want to see.
“I really like the ‘collapsed flip to fader’ mode,” he says. “It allows me to only see the inputs I have assigned to the selected mixes, which I really appreciate in a monitor setting. It also has a fader flip for the graphic EQ, which is much faster and more accurate than the mouse.”
Van Gelder’s exposure to the PRO Series happened when the PRO6 was first introduced.
“We went to the Midas rollout event, and I was taken back at how easy it was to get around on,” Ken recalls. “But the biggest thing for me was the sound. The warmth and control from the preamps and EQs are spectacular, like nothing else out there in the digital realm.
“The PRO Series doesn’t take on the digital console signature sound we’ve all put up with far too long; it really just sounds like a nice vintage Midas analog desk. It’s also very easy to learn and get around on. With most visiting engineers, we can have them up and running as well as comfortable on it in about 10-15 minutes.”
As a longtime fan of MIDAS analog, Van Gelder sees the new PRO2 as a way to bring uncompromising audio into more and more extreme locations. “We already had the PRO6 and PRO9, but even that can be a challenge in some of the locations we’re asked to stage shows in,” he notes. “We can take the PRO2 literally anywhere we can produce power, and still have that Midas quality.”
While the PRO2 is a perfect fit for the ad hoc venues that Moon Lighting & Sound is usually working in, Ken Van Gelder sees it as a big advantage for his entire operation.
“A great majority of the clients we work with are very discerning and have always been about sound quality. We relied on the Heritage and XL desks for years and now have the ability to bring that quality and warmth along with the feature set of the digital PRO series to them in a much smaller package. We now welcome the news of a new eclectic show location, regardless of the imagination of client.”