MIDAS M32 by Glenn Bucci
I helped my church shop for a digital mixer based on their budget and quality. We decided on the Midas M32. I have seen the X32 and liked it when it came out. Though I am sure it would work fine, with a higher budget we went for the M32 that has better faders, mic pre's, and feels more solid with high quality knobs. Same effects and software of the X32 which is really good. I would compare the LA2-A, Fairchild, and 1176 compressor it has as up there with some of the software plug ins out there. Probably not as accurate as the UAD II versions but still very useable.
Mic pre's and converters sound very clean, detailed and it has a nice top end in comparison to the Mackie Onyx mixer we have now. The Mackie though it sounds good, is not as clear and open. Reminds me of comparing a mid level converters to a higher end converters. There is just more detail, and cleaner (more neutral). The good news is if you want a little analog color, throw a LA2-A compressor or Fairchild effect from the inserts and you can add some smoothness to the sound as well. Nice reverbs as well.
One thing I really liked with this mixer is the dedicated controls for mic pre, gate, compressor, and EQ. I looked at the newer Yamaha TF series but don't like working so much with a small touch screen. In addition the M32 (and X32) have dedicated faders for Group faders which switch to Bus (Many call them Aux's) for monitor sends. There are also dedicated group mute buttons as well. I took my label maker out and labeled the mute groups buttons.
I like that there are two headphone jacks in the front, a lamp connection that has a bright knob. There are some quick controls on the right for your favorite functions. We just ordered a IPad and will be hooking that up to the system. I was able to upgrade the firmware to the latest and put the M32 Edit software on my computer.
The church uses Cubase to record the services and the M32 drivers showed up in the setup system. Being able to record 32 channels into Cubase is a real treat. There is Talkback A and Talkback B. I made Talkback A to the guys on stage and drummer. I put the drummer only on Talk back B. With the drums in a cage, I can just ask him if he wants any adjustment in his ear monitors.
We will be using the analog connectors in the back of the mixer until we redo our stage and put the Cat 5E in the house. We will probably get the dedicated mix boxes for the band as well at a later date.
All in all a very good live digital mixer. I will provide an update after working on it for a while. Will be training 4 people on this mixer. There are a lot of good tutorial videos on line for the M32 and X32 that makes the training a lot easier. You could use this mixer in your studio as well as there are 8 faders that can be a DAW controller. As a prior Berhringer DDX owner, there is an attraction of using faders, and knobs for mixing compared to a mouse. It really comes down to personal preference on your work flow. I have not compared the converters to my Apogee Rosetta but I would be happy if I had to use these converters.
Studio Use: A lot of people have used a 01V96, DM1000, 02R96 DM 2000, and the older Sony digital mixer with DAW's and we're happy them.
As long as there is no weak chain with the mixer like quality of converters, for some it is a viable option for studio use.
One benefit with a digital mixer in the studio is you don't use the CPU of your computer. They have improved the sound of the effects as well since the Yammy digital mixers came out. Modeling compressors are standard and EQ that is not sterile sounding anymore.
Some prefer working with faders and knobs over a mouse as well. Granted the work flow is not as fast as grabing a mouse but then they have software for the digital mixer for your computer to control the effects as well.
Having group faders, mute groups, built in talk back are other bonus features. Everything from mic pre's , converters, faders, and DAW control are all in one box. Makes things more simple. When I routed all the channels from my DAW to the mixer. It stays in digital so there is no conversion of the sound and stays pure.
Con: I noticed after 2:00 o'clock on the headphone amp, there is some hiss.