ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 22   Go Down

Author Topic: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?  (Read 72925 times)

Mark McFarlane

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1865
  • Middle East
    • Arkose Records
Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« on: December 29, 2012, 02:47:13 am »

Yamaha digital consoles seem to get a lot of respect on this forum for reliability, features, rider friendliness,... but rarely do people praise the sound compared to most other analog or digital consoles.

I was curious what part of Yamaha systems people think is lacking. Is it the preamps, the AD, the DA, the internal algorithms (EQ, Comps, effects,...), all of these?
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 02:50:55 am by Mark McFarlane »
Logged
Mark McFarlane
ARKOSERECORDS
Turn down what's too loud.

Bob Leonard

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6807
  • Boston, MA USA
Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2012, 03:55:44 am »

I don't know where it's missing Mark, but the majority of the digital systems I hear tend to sound sterile or single dimensional. They lack the harmonics and warmth so often associated with good analog consoles. That will be the case to a certain price point after which there seems to be no lack of tone and warmth to the higher end digital concoles.

I tend to think the high end Avid and Yamaha boards sound just grand, but you always get what you pay for. Now compare a good analog desk to any digital board costing less than $25 - 40K and the difference can be stunning. It's especially noticable when comparing entry level digital boards like the X32, O1V, or StudioLive to even a simple analog board like my APB. A step up the food chain to an LS9 or iLive won't make that much difference in the sound either, but get to the higher end of the spectrum and it's like pulling a blanket off of the speakers. You hear things you've never heard in the past.
 
It's always been a challange for manufacturers to try and emulate the effect and interaction of analog components in a chip or descrete package. Actually manufacturers have been trying to capture that "analog" sound since the middle of the 60's when it was thought those three legged dummies, the transistor, could replace the vacuum tube. It can be done but to this day there is no sure fire formula as to how it can be done. It will always be a matter of design and component matching. Even the little things such as resistor or capacitor type make a difference depending on thier location in the circuit, and making those choices costs money, a cost passed on to the end user.
Logged
BOSTON STRONG........
Proud Vietnam Veteran

I did a gig for Otis Elevator once. Like every job, it had it's ups and downs.

John Roberts {JR}

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16416
  • Hickory, Mississippi, USA
    • Resotune
Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2012, 10:35:39 am »

Yamaha digital consoles seem to get a lot of respect on this forum for reliability, features, rider friendliness,... but rarely do people praise the sound compared to most other analog or digital consoles.

I was curious what part of Yamaha systems people think is lacking. Is it the preamps, the AD, the DA, the internal algorithms (EQ, Comps, effects,...), all of these?

That is an interesting question. I was writing a recording magazine column ("audio mythology" in RE/P) back in the early days of digital technology. There was much prejudice and superstition about the technology, back then, some of which persists today.

I was pretty lonely back then defending new fangled technology like CDs (remember them), and some of the early releases were indeed challenged before recording professionals adapted to the "what you print is what you get back medium". The strength and perhaps weakness of digital is that it doesn't corrupt the analog signal as it splices and dices, for better and/or worse.

I will not argue with what people say they hear (how could I know?), but offer that many scientific (double blind) listening tests have failed to reveal some evil smoking gun that makes digital sound uncomplimentary. In general if a digital output sounds bad, it's because the input sounds bad.

I suspect as we hand the baton off to a younger generation the popular mythology surrounding digital audio will fade away, as they never experienced the early and actually inferior digital technology of decades ago.

Regarding the lowest priced Yamaha digital mixers, I really don't know. I doubt they use the same premium A/D convertors as boards costing 10-20x. I would expect other subtle differences, but in general even a cheap digital console will not be the weakest link in a live SR audio chain. Microphones and loudspeakers will have far worse distortion and frequency response variation.

Any fans of old school analog consoles need to show their love by buying more of them. Low cost digital solutions are getting lower cost and more feature laden, making the purchase decision favor digital more every day.

As an old console designer, there are many subtle factors in console design that impact the user experience and perception, just like the early CD recordings were hard to listen too, some digital console ergonomics are hard to fathom, but they will get better in an evolution. The revolution is over. 

JR 
Logged
Don't tune your drums half-ass. Listen to what a properly "cleared" drum sounds like.   http://circularscience.com/

Scott Helmke

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1421
Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2012, 11:17:18 am »

These days I think that some people just need something to hate, like Midas guys hating Yamaha or Harley-Davidson guys hating Yamaha.

But there are maybe some interesting possible reasons - Bob Leonard mentions "harmonics and warmth", and there are definitely people who tend to overdrive things to get "the sound".  Midas says that their preamps overload in a musical fashion, and nobody says that about Yamaha. 

Then there's the issue of latency within a desk - Avid consoles (and I'm sure others) do internal latency compensation to avoid weird problems when you bus a signal through a group and also straight to the stereo outputs, while Yamaha doesn't.  I've definitely run into people doing the old analog "bus it through a group to add more gain" thing and then complaining about the sound, because they've accidentally set themselves up with comb filtering from the different delay times on the same signal.

As for me, I've done quite a few shows in good-sounding concert halls with Meyer speakers, my choice of microphones (or the boutique mics brought by the artist), and great players... on Yamaha LS9 mixers.  I can't recall any complaints about the console sounding bad from anybody involved.
Logged

John Roberts {JR}

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16416
  • Hickory, Mississippi, USA
    • Resotune
Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2012, 11:27:51 am »

These days I think that some people just need something to hate, like Midas guys hating Yamaha or Harley-Davidson guys hating Yamaha.

But there are maybe some interesting possible reasons - Bob Leonard mentions "harmonics and warmth", and there are definitely people who tend to overdrive things to get "the sound".  Midas says that their preamps overload in a musical fashion, and nobody says that about Yamaha. 

Then there's the issue of latency within a desk - Avid consoles (and I'm sure others) do internal latency compensation to avoid weird problems when you bus a signal through a group and also straight to the stereo outputs, while Yamaha doesn't.  I've definitely run into people doing the old analog "bus it through a group to add more gain" thing and then complaining about the sound, because they've accidentally set themselves up with comb filtering from the different delay times on the same signal.

As for me, I've done quite a few shows in good-sounding concert halls with Meyer speakers, my choice of microphones (or the boutique mics brought by the artist), and great players... on Yamaha LS9 mixers.  I can't recall any complaints about the console sounding bad from anybody involved.
+1...  When properly operated most respectable consoles are like a straight wire with gain.  When operated inappropriately (double bused, clipped, whatever), it is not surprising that sonic differences arise.

As a design engineer I am philosophically opposed to the Midas overload friendly mic preamps (it's just wrong to encourage bad practices), however as a marketer, the customer is always right, even when wrong, so giving them a platform that is harder to get bad sounds from has merit.

Now as a clever marketer merchandising products where correct operation makes them all sound the same, how do you differentiate..? Bingo encourage a mode of operation that sounds OK on yours, and bad on others (like clipping mic preamps).

While this is just one facet of the issue, and Midas uses these preamps on digital desks too. There are lots of subtle details like this in the console business.   

JR
Logged
Don't tune your drums half-ass. Listen to what a properly "cleared" drum sounds like.   http://circularscience.com/

Tim Weaver

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2325
  • College Station, Texas
    • Daniela Weaver Photography
Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2012, 11:28:28 am »

My take on it is a little different. Yamaha desks have always had that "Japanese" sound. Even the analog desks. It's their preamps I believe. They are very dry and sterile. They add nothing to the original signal, but they also don't take anything away, so they are very detailed and true to the original. Americans and Europeans hated them then the same way they hate them now.

The upside is that Yamaha desks are bulletproof, easy to work, and have an incredible feature set. This makes them the go--to for shows that require 100% up time. That kind of reliability is hard to ignore.

The great thing about digital (yamaha in particular) is that you can now choose which preamps to use and what kind of D/A on the output if you want to. Just let the console handle the processing which it is very good at. I recently heard an LS9 that had a 2 channel Rosetta for the D/A and some focusrite Pre's for the some of the lead input channels. It sounded pretty dang incredible.

My personal 01v96 has a Focusrite saffire 56 for extra inputs. They do make a difference.
Logged
Bullwinkle: This is the amplifier, which amplifies the sound. This is the Preamplifier which, of course, amplifies the pree's.

Caleb Dueck

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1011
Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2012, 12:03:08 pm »

We have installed a number of iLive and Midas consoles, among others, both of which clients say make Yamaha sound harsh, thin, like EQ is needed but just can't fix.  Presonus is the same, just awful.  If we have someone who is really in the "sound" of a console, we get them on a Midas and they are happy.

From what I have been told, the Yamaha sound is a mix of Asian tuned pre's, AD conversion, internal algorithms, lack of true phase compensation, and poor (esp on M7/LS9) DA converters.  No one single cause.

There were a couple threads about how Europeans (and thus many Americans) tend to perceive audio slightly differently than most Asians.  Not better or worse, just different.
Logged
Experience is something you get right after you need it.

Jay Barracato

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2025
  • Solomons, MD
Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2012, 12:10:13 pm »

Yamaha digital consoles seem to get a lot of respect on this forum for reliability, features, rider friendliness,... but rarely do people praise the sound compared to most other analog or digital consoles.

I was curious what part of Yamaha systems people think is lacking. Is it the preamps, the AD, the DA, the internal algorithms (EQ, Comps, effects,...), all of these?

I am not one to slam the pres on any board hard, so I feel fairly neutral (not convinced one way or the other) about the whole quality of the pre argument.

I have noticed that I am not ever truely happy with the built in effects on all the lower end Yamaha digitals. I can usually get what I want from a SPX900 in the rack, but something always seems a bit missing with the same effects especially on an LS9. One the other hand, another board member that I have seen mix a large number of different bands at festivals gets nice effects straight from what is onboard an LS9, so maybe I just haven't found the magic settings, myself.
Logged
Jay Barracato

Jamin Lynch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1890
  • Corpus Christi, TX.
Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2012, 12:13:04 pm »

Yamaha digital consoles seem to get a lot of respect on this forum for reliability, features, rider friendliness,... but rarely do people praise the sound compared to most other analog or digital consoles.

I was curious what part of Yamaha systems people think is lacking. Is it the preamps, the AD, the DA, the internal algorithms (EQ, Comps, effects,...), all of these?

I heard a noticeable improvement in sound quality when I went from an LS9 to a Si compact.
Logged
"At first you don't succeed, go back to the drawing board."

Kevin McDonough

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 313
Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2012, 12:19:43 pm »

while I'm not quite sure of the reasons why, I'd definitely agree that older yamaha desks (LS9 and M7) are noticeably worse sounding when compared other desks.

I'm sure though a large part of it just simply that they were so early to market, and newer desks obviously benefit from much cheaper/better technology, more processing power, better mixing/processing algorithms etc etc.

k
Logged

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2012, 12:19:43 pm »


Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 22   Go Up
 



Page created in 0.065 seconds with 24 queries.