The Sage Gateshead has installed a Midas PRO9 live performance system at front of house in its main auditorium.
“We first came across the Midas PRO series almost three years ago, when we used a PRO 6 on a large surround sound opera, Skellig,” says The Sage Gateshead’s head of technical operations, Chris Durant. “It was obvious that this was a product that would more than meet our needs when we needed to upgrade, and would reinforce our reputation as one of the best sounding music venues in the world.”
When the time came to upgrade to a digital multicore system and new FOH console, Durant and his team revisited the PRO Series, comparing it to other consoles that could match it for channel and output count, but finding none that provided the flexibility of infrastructure, as well as the Midas sound quality.
“Our demands range from small school concerts to large conferences and orchestral events to world class amplified artists,” says Durant. “The various I/O boxes available as part of the Midas digital system means that we’ve been able to come up with solutions for all of these, as well as applications that were previously impossible. We found that we were able to justify investing in a PRO9 which, offering 88 inputs, means we should never run out.”
The PRO9 was integrated into the venue’s comprehensive CAT6 network, allowing it to be installed with minimal disruption. “We’ve only had to physically shuffle round some of the patch bay panels to accommodate the DL371 audio processing engine,” confirms Durant. “The rest is just on short CAT5E cables. Other consoles we considered would have required additional BNC or fibre cables, adding thousands of pounds and time onto the install cost.
“The PRO series has been obviously designed from the ground up as complete audio system; it’s not just a console and stage box solution. 192 channels of 96k in and out down one CAT6 cable is also pretty amazing for the main multicore run! This suits us perfectly as we will be using the I/O boxes in four separate locations: patch bay, recording room, stage, FOH, and each input is freely patchable to every output on the system.
The four I/O boxes – a DL251, DL252, and two DL451s with D Sub I/O cards – provide flexibility throughout the building. “We went with the I/O boxes to give us a variety of options,” continues Durant. “The DL251 will be our main stage box, inside a custom built 48 way split rack. One of the DL451 units is located in our patch bay, handling all the feeds to the house PA and enabling inputs from the existing analogue infrastructure. The other 451 will be a floating rack, providing higher channel count on stage, for more inputs at FOH or elsewhere, or for use on its own on smaller events where we don’t need the full stage split system. Finally we needed to interface with touring or additional consoles if needed. The DL252 will be used as a complete digital multicore system with the DL251 on stage or connected to the AES50 ports on the control centre.
“The desk has proven really easy to get to grips with, so we can’t foresee many issues with touring engineers picking it up really quickly. But ultimately it’s the sound quality that is most important. The sound team are already really impressed with the quality and ease of use of the EQ and dynamics; it’s really powerful, but musical at the same time.
“We’re very grateful to Rob Hughes and Jason Kelly from Midas for advising us during the purchase of the system, as well as for the comprehensive training for the team, and we look forward to using the console when events restart in the autumn.”
One of the first acts to use the Midas PRO9 at The Sage Gateshead will be the Soweto Gospel Choir in early October.