UK: Rental company EFX has become the first to pair Midas XL8 and PRO6 digital systems on a tour, reports David Davies. For the latest UK live trek by former Fairground Attraction vocalist Eddi Reader, the Scottish rental operation has been using its two XL8s for FOH and monitors, with the newly-launched PRO6 Live Audio System deployed at monitors in smaller venues.
In other Midas news, two Irish rental companies have placed orders for PRO6s, while the set-up for Oasis' current world tour incorporates XL8 and XL4 desks.
A long-time user of the XL8, monitor engineer Shona Steadman (pictured here with the PRO6) simply transferred all of her show settings from that console to the PRO6 when required. "They all came up perfectly the first time, which was very reassuring," she said. "I'm keeping my mixes exactly the same, and all the controls are in the same place as they are on the XL8 so it's really easy to move from one to the other. The PRO6 has a nice small footprint on the stage, so even though the console was in place when we got here, we've just pushed it back a little and there's still plenty of space to work."
FOH engineer Joe Thomas recorded some of the shows from the XL8 at FOH onto a Klark Teknik DN9696 hard disk recorder, remarking: "It was the easiest thing to plug it into the XL8, forget about it and end up with high quality multitrack recordings."
In other 'on the road' news, Oasis' 2008/09 world tour features an XL8 at monitors and an XL4 at FOH. Engineer Bruce Johnston opted for an XL4 after several years of mixing the band on digital desks. "I really wanted to hear what the XL4 would sound like going back to it, and I've found it's 100% better; it's like night and day," he said. "I felt digital was distracting me from mixing; I was so preoccupied with touching buttons and looking at screens that the sound became secondary."
Johnston added that he had experienced particular difficulties getting a satisfactory drum sound on the digital consoles. "When I got back onto the XL4 I pushed up the kick drum and there it was - that drum sound I'd been missing," he said. "My gut feeling is that the XL4 will be the Neve of the future."
Midas has also announced two Irish orders for the PRO6. Rental companies MG Audio and Murt Whelan Sound and Lighting have both acquired PRO6s from distributor Sound Communications. Whelan placed a provisional order in January after hearing that the new console was on the way. "When I saw the compact size and user-friendliness of the PRO6 for the first time it further confirmed my decision," he said.