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Author Topic: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?  (Read 72864 times)

Tim McCulloch

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Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #40 on: December 30, 2012, 11:59:32 am »

Depends on if you jump out of bed every morning because you love your job, or if you drag your ass out of bed to go to work because you need the pay check.

I do both, sometimes simultaneously.

Need a hand at Soundworks, Steve?  I've got a couple of open dates... ;)
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Chris Johnson [UK]

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Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #41 on: December 30, 2012, 01:50:45 pm »

Like most people on here, I accept that the M7 and LS9 don't sound fantastic.

On the other hand though, I like 5Ds and 1Ds very much.

Clearly every product has a different sound. And while there are huge benefits to the new era of digital 'straight-wire' processing where you literally can have a completely pure signal path, the whole mixing industry for decades has been built around analog products that all had some form of 'colour'. As such, we've come to listen to music that is produced in this environment, and so there is understandably a learning curve to digital products because of that. However, I am firmly in the camp that says, get a clean neutral sounding console, with powerful and flexible processing (digico. anyone?) and then add 'colour' as needed using outboard and/or plugin products. This way, you can enjoy the best of both worlds...

Anyway, back to the original question of Yamaha sound quality and the reasons behind it, I did an interesting gig recently which gave me some unique testing opportunities:
I was the system tech. Rig was a very large (think 150+ boxes) distributed d&b Q system. Room was average acoustically, but by the nature of it being very large, and the system distributed, listening to individual hangs gave you a pretty isolated direct-field listening environment.
The console was brand new, and somewhat under test. Sounded great. I wont say what it was, because its not relevent. But suffice to say it is a great product and sounds great. Due to the beta testing nature, we had an LS9 running the system matrixing, and as a bit of a last-ditch backup. In order to get maximum redundancy, I took an AES and pair of analog inputs from the console, and sent out AES and analog outputs to all the amplifiers.

Using PC playback, this gave me a unique opportunity to A/B test different signal paths. And the results were very interesting.

In short, feeding AES from the console, there was almost no perceptible difference between digital and analog outputs to the PA. No fancy clocking scheme here, nothing.

However, there was a massive difference in quality between the AES and analog inputs coming from the main console.

As a control test, the PC playback was Y-split into the main console and LS9 analog inputs, and compared (via AES from console to LS9) in the PA, and there was also a significant difference.

This suggests (as i've always presumed) that the 'poor audio quality' on the LS9 is due to the input signal path. This could be preamps or converters or both, but actually the output D/A conversion sounded fine.

So there you have it...
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Jim McKeveny

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Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #42 on: December 30, 2012, 02:14:49 pm »

But the point is it makes no difference to the audio path at all, whether a channel is assigned to 0, 1 or 16 DCAs...

I agree. It should make no difference.
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Riley Casey

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Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #43 on: December 30, 2012, 02:27:00 pm »

Just to clarify a point or two.  Since the LS9 has no AES i/o were you using an AES MY card to get in and out of the matrix / back up console or what else am I missing here?  If the LS9 was the matrix mixer did that make it the final driver stage to the amps?  Jus trying to understand how the A/B element worked here.


...
The console was brand new, and somewhat under test. Sounded great. I wont say what it was, because its not relevent. But suffice to say it is a great product and sounds great. Due to the beta testing nature, we had an LS9 running the system matrixing, and as a bit of a last-ditch backup. In order to get maximum redundancy, I took an AES and pair of analog inputs from the console, and sent out AES and analog outputs to all the amplifiers.

Using PC playback, this gave me a unique opportunity to A/B test different signal paths. And the results were very interesting.

In short, feeding AES from the console, there was almost no perceptible difference between digital and analog outputs to the PA. No fancy clocking scheme here, nothing.

However, there was a massive difference in quality between the AES and analog inputs coming from the main console.

As a control test, the PC playback was Y-split into the main console and LS9 analog inputs, and compared (via AES from console to LS9) in the PA, and there was also a significant difference.

This suggests (as i've always presumed) that the 'poor audio quality' on the LS9 is due to the input signal path. This could be preamps or converters or both, but actually the output D/A conversion sounded fine.

So there you have it...

Frederik RosenkjŠr

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Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #44 on: December 30, 2012, 03:12:51 pm »

I agree. It should make no difference.

I'll bet money that it doesn't. And it should be easy to test, though I don't have an M7 to try it on;

Send some signal (internal pink noise?) to two inputs. Polarity invert one and that to one or more DCAs. Make the two channels null against each other. Repeat with more channels, if you want to exclude the possibility of artifacts that arise with more than one channel.

The audio engine gets a value representing the current fader position for a given channel. The desk has got to be modifying that value according to whatever DCAs the channel is assigned to before the value even reaches the actual audio engine. I can't see how that could possibly influence the audio.
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James A. Griffin

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Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #45 on: December 30, 2012, 05:13:40 pm »

I agree. It should make no difference.

Can you explain what difference you believe you're hearing?     If you have 1, 2 or 16 faders assigned to the stereo out, those faders can be controlled locally, with a DCA or an iPad.    The audio path is identical in every case.
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #46 on: December 30, 2012, 05:16:52 pm »

I was told (by someone at Yamaha if I remember right) that the DA converters on the M7/LS9 were designed solely to a price point and it was no secret they didn't sound good.

We sent music tracks out via analog to DSP, and also out via AES.  Swapped input sources in DSP (RPM26z), big difference in sound quality.

There is a definite difference between iLive/Midas and M7/LS9 sound quality (the ones we have played with the most); how to measure, don't know.  Just because it's not a simple difference (IE, 1 dB/oct roll off below 1k) doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  Even though it exists doesn't mean good mixes can't be had with a Yamaha/Presonus/etc obviously.  I would rather trust my ears and a handful of others I know, than 99% of those in an audience, regarding sound quality.
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Frederik RosenkjŠr

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Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #47 on: December 30, 2012, 05:36:07 pm »

I was told (by someone at Yamaha if I remember right) that the DA converters on the M7/LS9 were designed solely to a price point and it was no secret they didn't sound good.

While I have no beef with that statement (and I don't know if you only meant DA or also AD?) I just can't help thinking that with the degree of negativity one finds on the web, regarding the converters on the LS9 and M7CL and considering that they were released in...what..2005?..and the developments in digital electronics since then - it's amazing that the digital equipment in the 80s even passed sound at all.

I consider this subject very much one of hype (which would also be my answer to the OP's question). Some measure of truth in a storm of online hype.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #48 on: December 30, 2012, 05:38:47 pm »

I am a big fan of null testing and have used it for decades to help with analog design to parse out subtle differences.

One problem even with analog null testing is differences in frequency response, and significantly phase shift associated with extremes band limiting filters degrade null quality and generate null results that measure much higher than their audible significance (typically at high and low frequency extremes).

Further when digital processing is involved simple latency delays which are pretty much innocuous by themselves cause combing when identical signal stems, only different by delay get summed.

A serious null test performed on mixed or digital signal paths would benefit from a high resolution delay tweak to eliminate latency errors, further band-passing the test stimulus signals to be completely inside the passband of both paths can reduce bandpass filter phase shift related errors. 

JR
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George Dougherty

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Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #49 on: December 30, 2012, 05:47:48 pm »

We sent music tracks out via analog to DSP, and also out via AES.  Swapped input sources in DSP (RPM26z), big difference in sound quality.

I'd trust the Rane to have good converters, but it's also possible that something in the cabling, connection or the converters in the Rane were the differentiator.  It's at least possible.  Can't count the number of times I've done something like that only to think later of what might also have explained what I was hearing.
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Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
┬ź Reply #49 on: December 30, 2012, 05:47:48 pm ┬╗


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