Pic – The Midas Heritage-D HD96
by Jason Allen
The most teased and leaked mixing console of recent times, the Midas Heritage-D HD96 was finally, officially, globally unveiled last night by Midas and NAS at an invite-only function held adjacent to the Integrate tradeshow. You’ve been able to find photos, specs, and details on the internet for a while now, as Midas haven’t exactly been keeping it a secret as they’ve tested it on gigs for the last year or so. But what we did discover was a lot more interesting than what effects it runs and what formats it uses to connect to I/O. For the first time in a long time, a new console to market has added some actually new, innovative features.
But first, the price and delivery date, as it’s what most of you want to know. The console should start shipping this December, and will cost around $55K AUD. You’ll need to add I/O, but will be able to use existing Midas I/O if you already own them. You can also connect to some third party I/O via MADI or Dante, but with reduced functionality.
The quick run-down on vital statistics: 28 faders, 1152 inputs/outputs in total, with 144 flexible inputs, 96 flexible aux sends, left/right/mono, 24 dedicated matrix busses, two monitor busses, two solo busses, and 24 effects slots, with effects from TC and new emulations of classics built for the desk. It runs at 96kHz, with Midas’s famed processing delay compensation and phase alignment giving a max latency of 2ms, depending on what you’re doing. Yes, that’s a big touch screen, existing Midas users. The faders and encoders are beautiful and solid. The build is joy to touch, and the industrial design is ergonomic and friendly.
Apart from the big bus and channel count at that price point, that’s all pretty much par for the course, isn’t it? What is new is the console’s internet connectivity to the cloud, AI, and metadata functionality. Let’s start with the internet and cloud applications: firmware upgrades can now be done without a separate download and connection, and various versions can be accessed for up and down grades. All your show files, in every version, time and date stamped, are in your cloud account; no more multiple show files on USB sticks. This also makes remote bug reports and fixes possible.
AI; possible gimmicky, possible controversial. With built-in RTAs using flexible processing (no more taking up effects slots), incoming signals can be analysed and their source determined. Midas’s Pete Sadler, speaking at the launch, said that this feature is still being tested and can be fooled, but most of the time it can identify instruments correctly and prompt to load the appropriate labelling, presets, and so on. This can then apply to the most powerful, and yet to be fully exploited function of the Heritage-D; metadata.
Everything in the Heritage-D can be tagged with metadata; channel names, functions, buttons, processing; you name it. Completely new functionality that the Heritage-D already has includes a page where you can pull up all channels that are tagged with certain parameters; for example, all channels with a compressor inserted, or gate, or both. Then you can adjust them all simultaneously. You can automatically identify any channel that has clipped, then get them to appear in a certain position on your control surface, to be dealt with. I like to call this “The Naughty Corner”. Pete flagged that they could then make the gain reduce automatically, if enough people wanted that to happen.
And here’s the really interesting thing to me about the metadata functionality combined with the cloud connection; Midas will have the capability to log and collect data on just about everything that’s been done with these consoles. They’ll have actual data on workflows, button presses, and more, not just what people say they want or do with the console, but what they actually do and how they do it. This has incredibly profound implications for design and manufacturing, and the future products coming out of Midas.
The Heritage-D HD96 will be starring on NAS’s stand at Integrate for the rest of the show.