Mixing Live with Yamaha Digital Mixers

Mixing Live with Yamaha Digital Mixers

Jason discusses some of his experiences mixing and multi-tracking live shows with Yamaha digital mixers

As a professional audio engineer and sound mixer I have the opportunity to mix on a number of different mixers, in many configurations, from many different manufacturers both analog and digital. With that experience I am able to confidently determine which mixer is right for a clients particular needs.

I was one of the first to take the leap and embrace Yamaha’s PM1D, Yamaha’s flagship digital mixing system early in 2000. It still remains today the benchmark for high profile live production events such as the Grammy’s and the Super Bowl due to its reliability and it’s ability to meet demanding production requirements. Nearly 10 years later in 2008 I tracked Keith Urban’s Live DVD – Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing Tour utilizing a digital split direct from the PM1Ds I/O, 96 channels of Lightpipe to Pro-Tools. The sounds were clean, big and I’m proud to say there were no over dubs on the recording. What you hear on the DVD is all-live.

Recording from digital mixers straight to your hard disk recording system is nothing new. I began interfacing the PM1D with Pro-Tools, Nuendo, and Tascam machines starting the first year I took possession of it. Digidesign has done a brilliant job marketing the fact that their consoles interface with Pro-Tools, and they do, but it is certainly not a new feature. The advantage I’ve found with Yamaha digital mixers is that it’s easy to interface with a number of different hard disk systems, including but not limited to Pro-Tools.

The PM1D has been and continues to be an outstanding digital mixer and system but it can also be way more mixer than what the majority of productions may require. Introduce the Yamaha PM5D and PM5D-RH Digital Mixing System; similar in most ways to its big brother the PM1D, it is a powerful, leaner version of it. Input and output channel counts and DCAs are trimmed down as is its footprint – meaning less investment, less to rent, less to transport, less to set up and much happier business managers.

The PM5D and the PM5D-RH with recallable head amps being my version of choice, is a very efficient and robust mixing system. With 48 mono inputs, 4 stereo inputs, 24 Mix outputs, 12 Matrix outputs, expandable to 96 & 8 In, as well as doubling just about everything else using the Yamaha DSP5D the Yamaha PM5D-RH meets most production requirements and budgets.

When interfaced with a recording system, flip the console into ‘Virtual Sound Check’ and you can get a jump on what the band will sounds like in the room. Allowing the engineer to ‘tweak’ the mix for the room using actual inputs from say the night before. I recently tracked Amy Grant’s Lead Me On Anniversary Tour using the PM5D-RH. We were able to flip the mixer into ‘Virtual Sound Check’ and we would punch-in and overdub parts from the previous nights performance. A very powerful tool that literally slashes the cost of producing a live recording and making it much more practical for any band or artist to capture what they’re doing in their live performance. Again, with the cost so affordable it’s quite practical even if for archiving purposes.

With dynamics available on every channel, award winning reverbs and effects, and on board ‘plug-ins,’ there are plenty of sweetening tools right at your fingertips to get the mix results I expect from my mixer. If your production is looking for the right tool for the job, there’s a good chance the PM5D-RH might be the right digital mixer for your production or facility and your budget. Call us today to find out!

Jason Spence
Audio Engineer/Owner of JSS
(615) 534-1190