POLAR reports strong touring sector sales of Midas HD96

Danny Anderson with a MIDAS HD96 console.

Having been extensively demonstrated by the team at its UK distributor POLAR, following a launch that was delayed by the COVID–19 pandemic, the flagship Midas HD96 has wasted no time finding its way onto the inventories of leading rental companies.

It’s clear that interest in the console was already strong, and when the POLAR team took it out as part of their Roadshow event in 2023, the response proved very positive. Not unexpectedly, Midas aficionado Rick Bailey of RMPA was one of the first to reach out to POLAR’s Nick Bellis, and a demo was swiftly arranged. The console found its way with equal speed onto the live circuit at events like the Bike4Life Festival and on tour with Kira Mac. Bailey commented: “Our relationship with the former Midas sales team at Kidderminster made it easy to tap into the supply network, and after a quick telecon with Nick Bellis from POLAR, an HD96 materialised within forty-eight hours! Our own first HD – we now have two – arrived a few weeks down the line!

The eighteen months since the end of lockdown saw an exponential demand for systems, and most of the technical riders had been specifying Midas Pro Series, where we were somewhat deficient – it made sense to move to the HD96, especially as the interfacing card options mean that it is still compatible with the M Series through AES50, Dante, or even MADI.”

Scottish events company Zisys contacted POLAR’s Andy Plunkett at around the same time – a call which led to another keen Midas devotee, Danny Anderson, travelling to Midas HQ in Manchester, where he put the console through its paces in the company of Midas engineer Max Marriot as Plunkett explained: “It was great hearing from an engineer of Danny’s calibre, and we were excited to show him around the desk. It became quickly apparent that he liked what he saw and shortly afterwards a touring package console was on its way to Ayrshire to become a staple in their production events.”

Danny Anderson summed up: “The HD96 is unparalleled in its intuitive workflow, and the glorious user interface makes it a dream to work with. It’s really compact too, so I’ve used it on shows where I’d usually use a smaller desk. It just sounds so incredible, and the fact that it didn’t cost an arm and a leg makes it a winner for me and the artists I work with.”

It was the POLAR Roadshow that gave Bristol-based AF Live a first look at the HD96, after which two consoles were immediately made available for evaluation in the very demanding Glastonbury Festival environment, taking care of FOH for Arcadia and The Levels stages.

Paul Rose, Director at AF Live picked up the story: “Nick Bellis from POLAR visited us before the festival to provide some training, and all the engineers using the desks were blown away by their performance, both in terms of of workflow and of course, the amazing sound. We had no issues throughout the festival and were convinced that these were the desks for us.”

Plunkett added: “It was great to provide AF Live with a couple of desks for Glastonbury – you can’t ask for a more high-stakes venue for any audio gear to prove itself. Partnering with AF Live was a real buzz, and we can’t wait to see where the desks show up in the future!”

In late 2023 POLAR had introduced a trade-in scheme which enabled Pro Series owners to exchange their old consoles and benefit from significant trade-price discounts on the HD96. It was this scheme (still in operation) which AF Live took advantage of to secure their first console, and which attracted the attention of Kevin Taylor at Centre Stage in Guernsey, who moved quickly to invest. He comments:

“The sound we get from this desk is fantastic and we’ve already had a number of compliments about the high quality audio of the shows it’s been used on. We look forward to using the console on many of this summer’s events.”

The trade-in scheme also proved irresistible to Doug Hunt Sound and Lighting, with two HD96 consoles now part of Hunt’s inventory. His enthusiasm is clear: “The addition of the two HD96 consoles to our stock has been an incredible step in the evolution of our offering. They’ve already been out on the Ezra Collective’s sold out show at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as with The Outlook Orchestra with Fabio & Grooverjder and Nightmares on Wax. They represent a huge amount of processing in a small package and easily hold their own alongside consoles costing far more. They have features not available anywhere else and we already don’t know how we managed without them!

“The HD96 has quickly become my favourite FOH console. Its huge channel and bus count mean I never have to prioritise one idea over another, while its small footprint means that I can take it to almost any show. The effects in particular are very impressive and have allowed me to leave much of my beloved outboard (and all the headaches it can bring!) in the warehouse. For The Outlook Orchestra and Nightmares on Wax at the Royal Festival Hall, the console handled the whole 104-channel show flawlessly – there are ‘quality of life’ features in this thing which simple aren’t available anywhere else and I miss them every time I have to use other consoles!”

Such ringing endorsements of the Midas HD96 come as no surprise to Plunkett: “Everything about the HD96 shouts quality, reliability, user-friendliness and value, making it a go-to choice for engineers and rental companies the length and breadth of the UK. The response from everyone who has had their hands on the desk has been off-the-dial in terms of positivity, with interest from across the touring sector continuing to grow.”