Recently I had the opportunity to get a hands on sneak peek with the Midas M32. In my circles I have never seen so much anticipation or “hype” about a new piece of gear. In this case the “hype” doesn’t necessarily come from Midas (other than they announced it WAY before they were able to ship and have moved the ship date back numerous times). The “hype” is from the people that either own an X32, have had experience on an X32 or the ones who can’t believe you can buy a Midas Desk for $5,000.00.
Full disclosure, over a year ago I purchased the X32, admittedly begrudgingly. I really had no choice as our church was launching a new service and I had a budget I needed to stick with. Not willing to sacrifice on the Main P.A., I chose to “risk it” and go with the X32. Overall, I am surprisingly satisfied. After a year of experience on the X32 and hearing about the new M32, I have to admit that I thought why would I even think about upgrading to the M32? After all the M32 has the exact same engine as the X32 and yes it does have the Midas pro series preamps, so it should sound better. For me most importantly, it also has the Midas pro series faders and a case designed by Bentley.
So if I plan to upgrade, why would I let the cosmetic appeal and the build of the board influence my decision over how it functions and sounds? It will sound better, but do I really need the improvement (or more importantly am I willing to pay for it) but it will still function the same. So what really is the gain?
Here is where it hits me… In a music shop I have seen guitar players spend hours laboring over the decision of what guitar to buy. Yes the sound of the guitar is important, but what really drives the decision? How it feels in the players hands. The guitar player wants something that feels smooth, something that allows him to comfortably get around on it. Really the guitar player wants something that “feels right”.
As sound engineers our instrument is the sound board so it must “feel right” to mix on. I can already sense the argument out there that says, “The X32 has the same layout so it really should be the same”. Yes, but isn’t the layout of most guitars the same? So it really has nothing to do with layout. It has everything to do with that intangible how it “feels.”
So bottom line will I mix better on the M32 over the X32?? I guess it begs the question does a guitar player play better on an instrument that “feels right”?
Final food for thought…. You cannot make this argument without having the skills to use the instrument properly. I can guarantee you that I will make a really expensive guitar that “feels right” sound just as crappy as a cheap guitar that feels like it is going to fall apart.
So for me my next purchase when considering an X32 vs the M32 is going to have the Midas touch.