Pro-Music-News Installed Sound

First Midas XL8 installation at Westover Church

Technical director Danny Slaughter with the Midas XL8The first-ever Midas XL8 live performance system to roll off the production line is now in fulltime service at Westover Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, US. With attendance growing at the new 3,000-seat Worship Center each Sunday, as well as a long history of using Midas consoles, XL8 was the obvious choice for Westover.
The search for a new mixing platform for the Worship Center began around two years ago when Westover’s technical director Danny Slaughter began to define the new facility’s audio technology requirements. “Originally I was looking at a large format analogue console such as the XL4, but realizing the variety of programming aspects between Sunday services and other events in the new space, I knew that we needed to go digital,” he says. “The regular Sunday programming includes Worship Band sets ranging from choir, full backline, horn section and background vocals, to bands that are more contemporary with just electric guitars and drums, to acoustic sets with mandolin, violin, acoustic guitar, piano and djembe. There is drama programming and of course the weekly sermons, and we are looking at community events ranging from a church conference to a city wide Christmas opera.”
Westover already owned Midas Venice and Verona consoles, and while researching the available digital consoles, Slaughter discovered there was indeed a Midas digital product in the pipeline. A visit to Midas’ Kidderminster factory to view the prototype confirmed Slaughter’s decision.
“All it took was to see the channel and master section and to hear the console and I knew this was what I had been looking for,” continues Slaughter.
As well as providing FOH audio to the Worship Center, the XL8 also serves as the monitor mix for onstage IEMs and wedges and supplies the record feed for video production, as well as feeds to the 70V and hearing impaired systems. “We were not only looking for a superb live FOH system but also the provision for distributed audio that could be routed via ethernet to our production room as well as throughout our new facility,” says Slaughter. “Another feature specific to this installation is our Midas road rack: six I/O boxes in a rolling rack for productions that may come in with an analogue FOH system, providing 144 analogue lines for visiting consoles – live or recording. From there it is ethernet to the mic pre’s and amp rack – no running snakes, no need to hang a PA. This also works in reverse, getting from our truck panel downstairs out to a satellite or recording truck. XL8 is totally inclusive in this regard as we can push uncompressed audio wherever it is needed over the Midas network.”
Midas service manager Karl Brant travelled to North Carolina from the UK where he joined his US counterpart Mitch Mortenson to oversee the installation and conduct staff training.
Although Slaughter is highly appreciative of XL8’s myriad features, there are one or two which are making life particularly easy. “The POP groups and VCAs are my favourites,” he says. “I basically stand in one place at the console and bring all the channels to me. I also like the detail section of the channel inputs, and the onscreen visual references are incredible.
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