Now the XL8 has completed its first live production run with flying colors, Carl Casella of Sound Associates offered some thoughts on how Midas have done digital differently, and for the better: “First of all, the XL8 sounds spectacular—until I heard the XL8, I’d yet to hear a digital desk sound as good as an analog desk. With the XL8, Midas has accomplished that mission. And, from a hands-on perspective, the XL8 is a really well thought out. It’s a highly sophisticated piece of equipment, but it has a vast range of practical features missing on other digital offerings.
“All digital desks “work” in a controlled environment, but we, as engineers, do not,” Casella added. “The XL8 was designed with that in mind. Around 175 cues are written into the XL8 for this show, including 28 songs and all the cues for the orchestra. We’re running over 80 inputs, including 24 lavalier mics—it’s a pretty loud show. At any given moment there aren’t any more than two vocal mics, so you’re really mixing. As well as the storage, recall and redundancy power XL8 is packing, its design elements allow the hands-on element of mixing, including on the fly fine-tuning, to remain part of the mix process.”
“The layout and work surface design on XL8 is superb—so intuitive,” agrees Pierre Dupree. “For example, when I hit the VCA buttons and see instantly, on my left, what’s on those VCAs, it makes locating something way down in a mix very easy to find and fix. Having this much processing power not only means functions are immediate, it allows very intuitive, quick recalls for more intuitive blending and mixing. When you’re dealing with 20-plus vocal mics, with many different vocal arrangements per song, it’s very hard to get a consistent-sounding mix this quickly on other digital boards. XL8 allows me to get what I need exactly when I need it, without the latency or digging through screens you find on other digital boards. The board has all the advantages of massive memory and processing headroom, but still lets me mix like a human being."