Digital consoles from Midas are being used across a variety of leading Broadway theatrical productions, including White Noise and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
For Priscilla… – which is being staged at the Palace Theatre – an XL8 is located at FOH. The Broadway-bounded, Whoopee Goldberg-produced White Noise features a PRO9 at FOH and a PRO3 on monitors, while another major venue – 42nd Street’s New Victory Theatre – features a permanent PRO3 installation.
White Noise requires more than 100 scenes to be programmed into the PRO9, with every scene carrying MIDI commands to at least seven devices with links and follows.
“We’re able to take any number of the 24 wireless channels and put them on the VCAs needed for that scene,” said Brian Hsieh, associate designer/programmer on the hip hop-themed musical. “Every line is a fader move, and every scene changes the layout of the VCAs. So we use a lot of automation, and we’re constantly on the VCAs throughout the show.”
Sound designer Garth Helm (pictured) – who’s worked on both Priscilla… and White Noise – and New Victory Theatre project manager Matt Peskie both singled out the Midas console’s automation features for praise.
“The scene changes, snapshot automation and group assignments are great for theatre,” said Peskie of his PRO3. “A big key for the New Victory is that shows often come back, so they can build a library of every show and have everything stored for the next time. That’s a tremendous advantage.”
While one XL8 has been sufficient to cope with the I/O demands of Priscilla…, White Noise – commanding 88 input channels at FOH and 48 at monitors, with 35 individual mix outputs from FOH and 24 from monitors – prompted the decision to utilise two consoles in tandem, with a PRO9 for primary mixing duties augmented by a backstage PRO3 for monitors. Only three CAT5 cables handle the 144 channels of audio running between the two consoles. The PRO3 is the source for all the monitor mixes, which includes IEMs as well as wedge mixes for the band, plus various stage foldback speakers.
White Noise is also using a Klark Teknik DN9696 high resolution audio recorder to capture the show’s musical performances.
“Our game plan is to create a live performance soundtrack CD,” said Helm. “Instead of bringing in a remote truck, we’re using the DN9696. It’s a great recorder, and integrates seamlessly into the Midas network. We’re capturing each input individually during the performances, and then we will take them to a recording studio to mix and edit.”
The consoles’ sound quality and analogue-esque operational feel were also the subject of enthusiastic comments, with New Victory Theatre director of production David Jensen noting that “the PRO3 has all the digital capabilities we could ask for, but it has a very analogue feel, so people can get their heads around it pretty quickly, usually within 30 minutes.”
New Victory’s sound system upgrade by designed by Anthony Nittoli at Akustiks LLC, while Masque Sound carried out the actual installation.
“One of the biggest requirements was to find a console that was not only user-friendly, but also rider-friendly,” noted Nittoli.“Midas has always been well-accepted. No matter what’s on a rider, when you tell them you have a Midas, you’re pretty much good to go.”