Scaleable MIDAS digital systems fly high on Noel Gallagher tour

Noel Gallagher’s FOH engineer Antony King with the MIDAS XL8

19 March 2012

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds world tour has just completed its UK arena leg, with MIDAS XL8 live performance systems at FOH and on monitors, supplied by Britannia Row Productions. Such is the scalability of MIDAS’ growing digital range that the tour will move onto PRO6s for its run of European and US dates throughout the spring and then to the new PRO2Cs for summer festival appearances.

Both FOH and monitor engineer, Antony King and Nahuel Gutierrez respectively, are experienced hands on the XL8, and both are relishing being back at the controls. With a 26-piece choir from the Crouch End Festival Chorus and Hertfordshire Chorus, as well as a brass section, both consoles are pretty full. 

“Out of 96 channels I’m using 93 and out of 48 outputs I’m using 47,” says Gutierrez, who took an XL8 out on monitors for the last-ever Oasis tour. “It’s such a pleasure being back out on the big desk, and I’m having a really good time.

“My inputs include 48 channels for the band and talkback system, 30 wireless mics and 14 stereo in ear systems for some of the band’s techs and the choir, plus we have a three-piece horn section. When we finish the arena tour we go to Europe with the cut down version on the PRO6s, without the choir and the horn section. I’ll save and import the show files into the PRO6; we set it up on the XL8 so that all channels above 56 and mixes 17 through 32 – the choir and the brass – will disappear.

“Then during the summer festivals, we’ll put the show onto the PRO2C. Sometimes we’re going to be third on the bill so we’ll roll up, do our set, then pick up the PRO2C and go; it won’t take up much room on the stage or at front of house.”

Is Gutierrez concerned about moving from such a large expanse to MIDAS’ smallest control surface to date? “It will be different obviously, and will take getting used to, but the main thing is it’s going to sound the same, and have the same operating system, software etc,” he says. “I’m really looking forward to using the new MCA groups on the PRO2C, as I was very involved with the design, so I’m eager to have a play on them.

“I’ve really got to grips on the XL8’s automation this time around. Three of the band members, who used to play with Sheryl Crow, are used to having different levels and EQ on a song-by-song basis. Mostly it’s the auxiliary send levels I’m changing, plus a few EQs and some mute buttons.”

King is equally enthusiastic about his XL8 – which pretty much mirrors the monitor setup – having last used it at FOH on Depeche Mode’s world tour. “I just love the XL8, it feels so natural the way it’s laid out,” he says. “I’ve let all the support bands use my console and all of them are a bit intimidated by it at first, but after just five minutes they really get the hang of it.

“Further down the line, I’m looking forward to using the PRO2Cs, because by keeping the XL8 stage box we’re just looking at exchanging the control surface. It’s great how you can scale everything back.

“It really comes down to the sound of the XL8; everywhere we go, people really like it. We were just in Australia and Bruce Johnson, who used to mix Oasis on an XL4, came to one of the shows, and couldn’t believe how good it sounded. If you can put an XL4 into a digital format, basically it’s going to be a winner!”