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GENIUS! #5: Jeff Byers and the founding of Midas

Jon Chapple 6 February 2015
Jeff Byers, Mark, Chris Rogers, Midas, Stanhope Street, London, early 1970s

A remarkable 44 years have now elapsed since Jeff Byers and Charlie Brooke established Midas with an original focus on the design and manufacture of musical instruments and amplifiers. But it was in no small part thanks to Byers’s engineering expertise and vision that the company evolved to become the pro-audio giant it subsequently became.

In fact, it was in Byers’s own London flat that the first powered Midas consoles were painstakingly put together. A collaboration with Martin Audio that saw calibrated Midas/Martin Audio systems become a stalwart of concert tours helped precipitate the next phase of the company’s development, but it was the specific introduction of the PRO4 that really catapulted Midas into the next phase of its evolution.

High quality signal processing, rugged construction and a compact form-factor masterminded by Byers (pictured, left, with customer ‘Mark’ and Chris Rogers at Midas’s Stanhope Street HQ in the early ’70s) were among the elements that endeared the PRO4 to a generation of acts and sound engineers. AOR titans Supertramp were the first band to take the PRO4 out on the road, in 1974, but during the ensuing decade the landmark tour credits piled up thick and fast: The Beach Boys, Billy Joel and Pink Floyd’s historic The Wall (1979–80) tour.

The PRO4 cemented Midas’s quality credentials and paved the way for several busy decades of R&D that yielded countless flagship analogue consoles, including the XL3 and – most successfully of all – the XL4.

A further refinement of Midas’s vision of portability and high-spec components, the Heritage 3000 emerged in the early 2000s and further consolidated Midas’s live market status, with Bon Jovi, AC/DC, Coldplay, Foo Fighters and Sir Paul McCartney among those taking either the XL4 or Heritage 3000 out on the road.

Post-2006, Midas has continued to flourish in the digital era with desks including the PRO6 and PRO X.

www.midasconsoles.com

Hail to the boffins! Genius! is all about celebrating those clever people whose inventions have transformed the world of professional audio. Mailed out with the February print edition of PSNEurope, the 36-page supplement is also available to read in handy digital-edition form. Read it online, or download as a PDF, at www.psneurope.com/introducing-genius.

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