OK, so the official announcement is still some hours off. But it is happening at Music Messe (AKA ProLight+Sound) in Frankfort, Germany and some of us would rather not make that particular trip. So Uli decided to smile on us and the press release went out early so I don’t have to stay up until like 3AM to get it. Bottom line is what can only be seen as a replacement for the XL8 and the first Midas Digital foray into the kind of channel and mix counts that the really big shows demand. Even with the long announced end of the Yamaha PM1D and no replacement announced yet (but expected soon), the market for supersized desks is getting pretty crowded with DiGiCo, Soundcraft/Studer, SSL and now Midas all dukeing it out in the theatre/really big tour arena.
Here’s what we know and then we’ll paste in the hyperbole-filled press release below.
1) High channel and mix count. 168 inputs and 99 mix busses. And that expands to 288 and 294 when you add the network capabilities.
2) Not just a console. Midas is touting both the Pro X as a console and the Neutron DSP engine that drives it. That is important because…
3) There is an upgrade path. This is almost unheard of and details are still a little sketchy, buy those who have seen it tell us that current Pro3, Pro6 and Pro9 owners will be able to upgrade the DSP engine and a specfic part of the control surface and have a full on Pro X without having to sell what they have to buy something else. If this is true, then it is 100% revolutionary.
4) It is ridiculously inexpensive. Stupid cheap. It does not come out officially until later this year. But the currently announced US MAP pricing is said to be about $42K. Which puts it at about 1/2 or less of the cost of the systems it competes with.
There is obviously going to be a lot to talk about. Over on our sister site Live2PlayNetwork.com, Minister of Network Ops Bob Lindquist wrote and posted video about his recent trip to China to check out “Music Group City.” You might want to take a look. They are building a ginormous new production facility that is said to be all about Midas. They obviously expect to be very busy.
Here is the unexpurgated press release from Music Group
Midas Announces the World’s Most Powerful Live Mixing Console
New 271 Channel PRO X console merges powerful Neutron DSP technology with massive connectivity
3/11/2014 Building on the rock-solid legacy of their award-winning PRO3, PRO6 and PRO9 digital consoles, Midas today announced the new PRO X – the touring engineer’s dream console. The revolutionary Neutron engine, capable of up to 800 audio channels, which can be routed on a point-to-point basis – and that routing can be changed, even on individual automation scenes.
AES50 and HyperMAC audio networking combine deterministic and ultra-low latency performance with true ‘Plug and Play’ connectivity, minimising set-up and configuration times – essential when playing a different venue every night.
On its own, the PRO X provides 168 inputs and 99 mix or 103 output channels simultaneously on a control surface that measures less than 1.5 metres, or 60″ wide. This compact form-factor is ideal where space comes at a premium, but high I/O counts are a must. AES50 digital audio connectivity allows scalability for up to a total of 288 network inputs and 294 network outputs. Seamless integration comes via IP-compliant third party audio networks, such as Audinate Dante* and Cirrus Logic CobraNet*, using the Klark Teknik DN9650 Network Bridge.
The console of choice for touring monitor engineers, PRO X features 99 mix buses that can be simultaneously displayed as 24 mono or stereo mixes on the console surface. Each of the displayed mixes has its own LCD select switch with RGB colour coding and scribble strips – plus 11-segment LED bargraph metering. This output-centric approach redefines monitor mix workflows, allowing for even the most demanding stage monitoring applications.
The powerhouse behind the PRO X system is the new Neutron Audio System Engine, which is the result of a three-year research and development program that pushed Midas engineers far beyond the edge of the proverbial envelope. Advanced FPGA and MIMD (Multiple Instruction, Multiple Data) architecture delivers more than 100 gigaflops of real-time audio processing performance, translating into 271 simultaneous processing channels at 96 kHz and 40-bit floating point operation.
“The PRO X brings mind-blowing I/O channel counts and seamless integration, while maintaining easy and cross platform operation – all at a price point that allows even the budget conscious to own Midas,” stated Music Group Professional Division Sales VP Shawn Watts. “Another amazing feature; existing PRO 3, 6, and 9 owners can easily upgrade those systems to the new PRO X. They need only replace certain sections of their control surface, upgrade to the new Neutron DSP engine, and use their existing remote I/O – that’s it! The PRO X is the first of its kind, and a prime example of why Midas is the digital and analogue mixing console industry leader.”
Visiting engineers can prepare shows in advance of their arrival, either using another Midas console or the Apple Mac* OS X Offline Editor software, saving valuable time during show set-up. Show files are forward and backward compatible, so shows created on the user’s Midas PRO Series console work exactly the same on any other Midas PRO console.
The soon-to-be legendary Midas PRO X will be available before the end of 2014, at an approximate U.S. MAP of $41,999. As with all Midas products, the PRO X Digital Mixing Console and Neutron Audio System Engine is backed by a generous Warranty Program.
There has never been a better time to go for the gold!