As a sound engineer, I have mixed on many consoles over the years. As a band engineer on the road traveling without production, I was generally operating on console du jour. Yamaha, Soundtracks, Soundcraft and Allen & Heath all did the job just fine.
Every mixing console has a distinct sound, certain characteristics that make the console what it is. Yamaha might be a bit dry, but it is rich in functionality. Allen & Heath, being a British console, might be a bit warmer than other consoles. The sound of the microphone preamplifiers, or EQ, or how the faders react, is all part of what, as engineers, we like or dislike about a particular mixing console.
Take for instance the Ramsa WR840. This console, in its time, had more auxiliary sends than almost all other mixing consoles. This single feature trumped anything the console could be lacking in other areas since I was a monitor engineer and needed mix outputs. However, for a house engineer, there were better-suited consoles than the Ramsa. The importance was on functionality and personal choice, and the two were not mutually exclusive.
There was one mixing console manufacturer that made consoles suited for both front of house and monitors. Their name became the gold standard for mixing. Even today, in a world of digital consoles, you will still see this console on tour. This console is MIDAS. Known for its warm British sound and its musical microphone preamps, MIDAS Mixing Consoles have become the industry standard for mixing.
Up until recently, MIDAS was only a large format mixing console company. Since they were acquired by The Music Group, bits and pieces of MIDAS technology and Britishness have been integrated into many other products. One of these products is the MIDAS DM12 12 channel mixing console. The MIDAS DM12 is a 12-channel small format mixing console with MIDAS-inspired microphone preamps and the famous MIDAS blue color. It needs to be mentioned that DDA was a mixing console manufacturer that was also acquired by The Music Group, and like MIDAS has lent its console technology to develop new consoles with MIDAS.
The MIDAS DM12 has eight mono input channels with award-winning MIDAS microphone preamplifiers, two electronically-balanced stereo line input channels on 1/4″ TRS connectors, and 3-band EQ on mono channels with sweep-able mid band. Two auxiliary sends can be used for monitors or as effects sends. Each auxiliary send can be switched between pre- or post-fader. The last two channels on the console have stereo inputs that can also be used for mono signals, thanks to a convenient balance control on each 2-channel grouping. The stereo channels can also be used as return inputs for signals sent to external effects or processing.
The MIDAS DM12 is a standard compact mixer with eight microphone preamps. To be honest, whether they are MIDAS microphone preamps or MIDAS-influenced microphone preamps, the console sounds great and is really quiet. Two noteworthy features that should not be overlooked are the channel inserts on the first eight channels and the left and right stereo outputs. This feature steps up the functionality for a small format console by allowing greater integration of outboard processing.
My overall opinion—I really like the MIDAS DM12. For a mixing console with a small footprint, not too many bells and whistles, and the MIDAS name, I think it is worth the price. The MIDAS blue makes me happy and reminds me of the days of dialing monitors on the fly at festivals. It’s reassuring to know that the British quality that made MIDAS famous and the musical sound that made them legendary is available in a compact mixing console.