Exploring the Midas Pro6 – Part One

Greetings, reader, and welcome to my first post regarding the Midas Pro6. The Pro6 is a fascinating device, or more precisely, network of devices. In this first post I thought it would be useful to explore the various components of the Pro6 and see what kind of further information might be visible.

A Pro6 system is a distributed network of components, each with a specific part to play in delivering the complete solution. The network is physically connected using an AES50 network, which is what is technically known as a Layer 1 protocol. This means that it does not communicate using Ethernet frames but rather using a proprietary wire protocol that is unique to AES50. AES50 is a Time Division Multiplex (TDM) network specifically engineered for delivery of clock synchronised digital audio. Accordingly, we cannot use the AES50 with our standard Ethernet-based laptops and other network equipment. This would normally be a dead-end but, luckily for us, Midas have provided a way to use our standard networking equipment with the Pro6 via the Ethernet Control ports. By connecting your laptop or other network devices into this port, it is possible to explore the devices on the Pro6 network.

One of the published documents for the Pro6 is the list of IP addresses for the various components that make up a Pro6 system. Each type of device on the network has a network address that reflects the type and ID for that device. For example, DSP cards have the address 192.168.20.x, where ‘x’ is a number between 11 and 17 to reflect the slot of the card in the DL371. The DL351 I/O box has an address 192.168.38.x, where ‘x’ in this case is the ID number of the DL351. Using the list of IP addresses, the devices on the network can even be connected to and logged into.

Note: I don’t recommend doing this under normal circumstances – and certainly not during a show! Accessing these devices in this way could hypothetically cause operational instabilities due to the additional CPU and memory resources required. Most of the devices that make up a Pro6 network are embedded Linux with relatively stripped back CPU and memory compared to a desktop computer.

All the devices that make up the Pro6 system can be accessed in this way. The exception is the DN9650 Network Bridge, which has compatible network settings but does not appear as a device on the Pro6 control network – it must be connected to separately via its own Ethernet connection. I suspect that this might be because it is currently (in the v1 software at least) configured as a Generic AES50 device.

That concludes my first brief blog on the Pro6. I hope to have additional information available soon.