A Midas PRO6 making its touring debut with the Manic Street Preachers so impressed the band’s Emmy-award winning engineer Chris Trimby, he has declared it his preferred console above all others. “It’ll be my first choice wherever I go now,” says Trimby, “It’s way ahead of anything else.”
Trimby is well placed to judge, with over 25 years’ experience as a sound engineer working with acts as diverse as Tina Turner, BB King, U2, Sting, The Cure, Shirley Bassey and Meatloaf, both on tour and in the studio; at festivals and on TV shows such as Top Of The Pops, The Tube and TFI Friday. For the Manics tour, in support of the band’s 10th studio album Postcards From A Young Man, Trimby chose a PRO6, supplied by leading UK rental company SSE Audio, for more than 50 dates worldwide.
Midas’ biggest achievement, according to Trimby, has been to design a digital board which retains an analogue feel and, of course, the renowned Midas sound. “It’s laid out very intuitively,” he says. “Everything’s only one or two button pushes away, whether you’re hitting a channel or hitting the EQ button. You can manoeuvre yourself round the board very quickly. The pre-amps, probably the most important part of any console, are fantastic.”
Stand out features for Trimby include Area B which allows an operator to set up their own emergency “grab” section. For the Manics, who use some hard drive input for sections such as strings, Area B hosted a click to enable the drummer to synchronise his timing correctly. “It’s a brilliant idea,” says Trimby. “You have the most important things to hand without having to go and look for them.”
The delay feature on the output section is another highlight, enabling Trimby to delay various wedges to sidefills, or occasionally rear wedges to front wedges as needed. “It makes a real difference,” he reports. “It gives you coherence at the high end and solidness at the low end.”
He also praises the separate library filing system: “When you get on to a console with your USB you can just access your own personal library and then all you need do is to make small adjustments as necessary. Setting that up manually by hand would take ages, but it’s just a matter of minutes on digital.”
Trimby looks forward to exploring more of the PRO6’s features in the future. “I didn’t make much use of the automation files on this tour but I could see from the way the desk is laid out that the filing system would have been very easy to use if you have different musicians all on in-ears playing each other’s instruments with different styles and different levels.
“I started my career on Midas consoles,” concludes Trimby, “and they were leagues ahead of anyone then. Maybe the gap narrowed over the intervening years, but with the PRO6 they have leapt ahead again.”