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Title: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Mark McFarlane 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?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Bob Leonard 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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} 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 
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Scott Helmke 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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} 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
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Tim Weaver 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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Caleb Dueck 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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jay Barracato 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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jamin Lynch 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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Kevin McDonough 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
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Chiara on December 29, 2012, 01:26:33 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

Went to the local casino to check out the new house guy.. He did a decent job...M7 with Meyer Mica 4/side. I thought at time inputs were running a bit hot and I could hear the comps clamping.. The old guy hated the comps. I think many of the perceived sound objections can be alleviated..at least when running analog outputs.. If you have a decent line driver or gain stage after the console. I never run a live show without some way to not have to run console inputs and outputs hot. Not necessary.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Ryan McLeod on December 29, 2012, 01:33:33 pm
I heard a noticeable improvement in sound quality when I went from an LS9 to a Si compact.

Same here -  in my case on two different "known rigs" where only the console changed:

From LS9 to SI-compact, "the sound quality" overall just 'improved".
from a GB4 with quality outboard, I found the improvement in needing to reach for both channel and system EQ considerably less.. But I did miss my DBX160's enough that I brought back a pair to insert when required.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Ivan Feder on December 29, 2012, 01:59:05 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?

Love my new CL5 with the premium plug-ins!
IMHO, a console (digital or analog) sounds only as good as what goes in.
You can have the best mic pre's or outboard gear in the world, it won't make a crummy band sound good.
The old saying " shit in, shit out" still applies!
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on December 29, 2012, 02:08:45 pm
Same here -  in my case on two different "known rigs" where only the console changed:

From LS9 to SI-compact, "the sound quality" overall just 'improved".


Bravo!!!!  I love the way you properly place the ubiquitous and subjectively nebulous terms in quotes.  Forum protocol should dictate that any "sounds better" should actually be "sounds better to me".

That said, I still maintain that the MG series is crap......

 
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Ivan Feder on December 29, 2012, 02:18:08 pm
Forum protocol should dictate that any "sounds better" should actually be "sounds better to me
#1!
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Riley Casey on December 29, 2012, 03:04:33 pm
Gasp, a mixing console preamp that neither adds nor detracts from the original signal ( other than gain I would hope ) !  It would seem to be a ringing endorsement of any piece of audio electronics that it could be described as having achieved that goal.  I would be a bit disappointed in any console that had failed to have such characteristics in the EQ or built in compressors and effects but I would far prefer mic pres such as you described to be in any console I bought.  To the extent that I wanted to become a part of the musical interface with the mic I wouldn't hesitate to drop a nice transformer coupled tube mic pre in front of my otherwise neutral console but that shouldn't be the default. 

The greatest short coming of any poorly rated digital console in "sound quality " in my personal experience has bad I/O convertors.  Use a high quality convertor on the input and output and even an M7 sounds gorgeous.



... 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...
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on December 29, 2012, 03:15:15 pm
Use a high quality convertor on the input and output and even an M7 sounds gorgeous.

And I prefer 98 octane gas in my Corolla....... ;D
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim McKeveny on December 29, 2012, 05:39:19 pm
I believe in science and double-blind tests....but! in my experience in revealing environments (outdoors w/well tuned systems), the M7 never seems to "sum" DCA's well. No show stopper. Not even close to "crappy". Certainly not a reason to refuse the console.  Just not as full/natural/etc. as other analog & digital desks.

It may be a result of latency compensation or whatever, but I believe it is audible and  replicable. It just falls below the current spec radar.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Scott Helmke on December 29, 2012, 05:55:11 pm
It may be a result of latency compensation or whatever, but I believe it is audible and  replicable. It just falls below the current spec radar.

If it's audible, it's measurable.  I'd love to see some measurements on that.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 29, 2012, 06:06:18 pm
If it's audible, it's measurable.  I'd love to see some measurements on that.

Amen brotha... but not only that, care must be taken to correlate what we measure to what we hear and vice versa. The roadside and ad copy is littered with esoteric "measured" specs that are not what we are actually hearing.

Not to disappoint but 99% of the time it's simple frequency response (that we do actually hear).

JR
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim McKeveny on December 29, 2012, 07:06:23 pm
Let's go forward! What are the holes in the current spec regimen?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 29, 2012, 07:18:23 pm
I am not aware of any glaring gaps in our ability to characterize linearity and signal integrity. 

Beware of snake oil merchants selling solutions to nonexistent problems.

JR
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on December 29, 2012, 08:50:42 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?

To my ears, a Yamaha M7 makes everything sound like an early MP3 recording. On a single vocal I can’t hear much (if any) difference but on complex mixes it becomes gritty, and harsh.  I am not fond of any of the effects, especially the reverbs and EQ’s.
 
To my ears again - the best sounding desks are Digico and Midas, then you get the PM5Ds, Profiles and Allen Heath (yes, AH sounds good) and maybe even the X32!... below that is the M7, LS9 and Presonus.

The obvious answer that everyone fashionably quotes is the “MIC PREs” but I think it’s only a small part of it. Of course the quality of the AD and DA will also contribute. What I notice with an M7 is when you start to sum lots of channels and use a lot of the DSP power it sounds the worst.
 
I had a discussion with one of my DSP mates the other day on this topic.  The DSP designers often make compromises (this is not my area, perhaps someone can help?) when doing the mathematics inside the chip and often the least significant bit can be lost. There is still information in those bits. He spoke about the advantages of floating point over fix point mathematics. He also talked quite a bit about dither, and in the case of Yamaha about timing issues with the AD & DAs (this is not something, as I understand, related to the internal clock).

The conclusion I came to is that a lot of the sound quality is related to how the mathematics is done and compromised made inside the desk to sum and manipulate signals.
 
Then there are the firmware algorithms which control the quality of the GEQs, Comps, reverbs etc. Better effects generally require more DSP power and the M7 comparatively doesn’t have much.

To appreciate the differences between desks you really need to do a complex mix, not just one vocal mic or listen to a 16 bit CD recording through 2 channels at line level.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Scott Helmke on December 29, 2012, 09:51:14 pm
To my ears, a Yamaha M7 makes everything sound like an early MP3 recording. On a single vocal I can’t hear much (if any) difference but on complex mixes it becomes gritty, and harsh.  I
am not fond of any of the effects, especially the reverbs and EQ’s.
Quote
To appreciate the differences between desks you really need to do a complex mix, not just one vocal mic or listen to a 16 bit CD recording through 2 channels at line level.

To me this raises the question of "how are you mixing?"  Are you running things generally hot (high levels) or cold? 

The DSP comments you make are interesting, but I'm not sure they apply.  Yamaha tends to hard-assign DSP resources, so using a big reverb can't steal DSP from some other process.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Scott Helmke on December 29, 2012, 09:59:29 pm
One thing I have noticed about Yamaha EQs, specifically on the LS9/M7CL series but it applies generally to the others, is how they visually represent the filters on the screen.  Yamaha shows the filters as fairly wide compared to say the Avid stuff, and shows a lot of the messy interaction that does happen when you cut and boost on overlapping filters (in any desk, including analog). 

I suspect that this tends to cause some people to overcompensate for what their eyes see, rather than what their ears hear.  It's easy enough to say that Yamaha mids are "nasally" or "peaky" when you've turned the Q way up to make the screen look "right", or like what you used on a ProTools session with the Avid EQ display scaling.

A few years ago I measured a couple different small analog desks with SMAART with the idea of being able to match the filter settings with the LS9 - and it turned out to be easy.  The magnitude and phase curves matched perfectly once I found the correct Q settings.  There's nothing different/better/worse about phase between analog and digital EQ sections, though digital can play more tricks and produce more possible EQ curves.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Mac Kerr on December 29, 2012, 10:01:29 pm
the M7 never seems to "sum" DCA's well.

FWIW, there is no "summing" in a DCA or VCA, it is only a remote control for the input faders assigned to it.

Mac
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: brian maddox on December 29, 2012, 10:43:26 pm
FWIW, there is no "summing" in a DCA or VCA, it is only a remote control for the input faders assigned to it.

Mac
Thank you.  You saved me the trouble.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim McKeveny on December 30, 2012, 01:06:33 am
"Sum" as in DCA's to stereo out. As a monitor desk I have never noticed this awkwardness.

As previously mentioned, I am a science guy. I would not reference this (my) perceived characteristic if I did not think it was genuine, replicable, and worthy of some investigation.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Mac Kerr on December 30, 2012, 01:21:45 am
"Sum" as in DCA's to stereo out. As a monitor desk I have never noticed this awkwardness.

As previously mentioned, I am a science guy. I would not reference this (my) perceived characteristic if I did not think it was genuine, replicable, and worthy of some investigation.

I will repeat... There is no summing in a DCA. It cannot be routed to the stereo out. The inputs and mixes can be routed to the stereo out, and they can be remote controlled by a DCA, but there is no audio in a DCA, as there is no audio in a VCA.

Mac
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on December 30, 2012, 03:20:00 am
One thing I have noticed about Yamaha EQs, specifically on the LS9/M7CL series but it applies generally to the others, is how they visually represent the filters on the screen.  Yamaha shows the filters as fairly wide compared to say the Avid stuff, and shows a lot of the messy interaction that does happen when you cut and boost on overlapping filters (in any desk, including analog). 

I suspect that this tends to cause some people to overcompensate for what their eyes see, rather than what their ears hear.  It's easy enough to say that Yamaha mids are "nasally" or "peaky" when you've turned the Q way up to make the screen look "right", or like what you used on a ProTools session with the Avid EQ display scaling.

A few years ago I measured a couple different small analog desks with SMAART with the idea of being able to match the filter settings with the LS9 - and it turned out to be easy.  The magnitude and phase curves matched perfectly once I found the correct Q settings.  There's nothing different/better/worse about phase between analog and digital EQ sections, though digital can play more tricks and produce more possible EQ curves.

this tread may be of interest ....

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/776547-yamaha-cl5-processing.html
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on December 30, 2012, 04:40:15 am
To me this raises the question of "how are you mixing?"  Are you running things generally hot (high levels) or cold? 

The DSP comments you make are interesting, but I'm not sure they apply.  Yamaha tends to hard-assign DSP resources, so using a big reverb can't steal DSP from some other process.

There are two issues here – the quality of the signal chain without effects, and the quality of the effects. To my ears, the M7 does poorly on both accounts.
AB an SPX2000 with the same reverb in the M7 …. The SPX sounds great; the M7 not so good.

In terms of DSP power an iLive will do 8 effects + 32 full GEQs at the same time. It has 64 (128 with 2 racks) mic inputs + 8 stereo returns … etc. etc. an M7 doesn’t come close; to make it usable the M7 has to trade effects for EQs and even resort to only allowing 15 of the 31 GEQ bands to be used if you need 16 GEQ’s … in fact I think an  X32 does better (?)
 
To be fair to Yamaha, the M7 was one of the first reliable, usable and affordable digital desks, and they are still acceptable.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Tim Padrick on December 30, 2012, 05:35:12 am
If it's audible, it's measurable.

IF you have a sufficiently complex test signal.  Few do.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Keith Broughton on December 30, 2012, 06:35:33 am
Quote
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.
I have done the same and not one paying customer complained.
However, I did the same touring show with the same mics, players, rooms and PAs on a Midas pro 2 and all I can say is the "sound quality, to me" was noticeably better. It was a greater pleasure to mix the show.
Something is different and it's not that the price of the console was a lot higher.
Comparing analogue to digital consoles, on "sound quality" alone is not exactly fair. The size to feature ratio of digital is much better and sometimes "sound quality" is not the only driving factor of console choice.

So here is a thought....
In the end, if the people buying the tickets are happy, should we be worried about what is the best "sound quality" or be more concerned with a cost effective production?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Frederik Rosenkjær on December 30, 2012, 08:57:44 am
I am not fond of any of the effects, especially the reverbs and EQ’s.

The EQs are standard minimum phase designs, meaning they are the same as a lot of fancy expensive EQs out there that have been praised by many an accomplished mix engineer until they turn out to be a regular digital minimum phase design in a fancy user interface.

Morale: There's nothing wrong with them.


To my ears again - the best sounding desks are Digico and Midas, then you get the PM5Ds, Profiles and Allen Heath (yes, AH sounds good) and maybe even the X32!... below that is the M7, LS9 and Presonus.


The PM5D has the same EQs, comps and effects as the M7 and LS9. Only difference sound wise are the pres and converters.

What I notice with an M7 is when you start to sum lots of channels and use a lot of the DSP power it sounds the worst.

As others have already mentioned, the DSP usage in Yamaha consoles is constant. And summing is completely linear math. No magic there. No reason why it would sound different summing many sources apart from some miniscule rounding errors which, to my knowledge, no one has so far succeeded in demonstrating makes any discernable difference in real world scenarios.


Then there are the firmware algorithms which control the quality of the GEQs, Comps, reverbs etc. Better effects generally require more DSP power and the M7 comparatively doesn’t have much.

How do you know this? That the M7 doesn't have much DSP power?
And I believe I've covered the bit about the EQs.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Steve Payne on December 30, 2012, 08:57:56 am
So here is a thought....
In the end, if the people buying the tickets are happy, should we be worried about what is the best "sound quality" or be more concerned with a cost effective production?

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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Scott Helmke on December 30, 2012, 09:36:35 am
However, I did the same touring show with the same mics, players, rooms and PAs on a Midas pro 2 and all I can say is the "sound quality, to me" was noticeably better.

So the obvious thing would be to compare the two show files - any differences in EQ on various channels, any differences in mix levels, etc?

EQ knob values being some what suspect, maybe eventually a SMAART test to verify EQ settings.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Frederik Rosenkjær on December 30, 2012, 10:21:07 am
I have done the same and not one paying customer complained.
However, I did the same touring show with the same mics, players, rooms and PAs on a Midas pro 2 and all I can say is the "sound quality, to me" was noticeably better. It was a greater pleasure to mix the show.
Something is different and it's not that the price of the console was a lot higher.

I've had several sets of different gigs in the same room, same band, same everything including the console and some gigs were better and easier to mix than others....there are other parameters.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Frederik Rosenkjær on December 30, 2012, 10:51:12 am
this tread may be of interest ....

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/776547-yamaha-cl5-processing.html

That thread is very interesting, because it shows us how little forums posts can sometimes be trusted. This guy is certain that he's hearing this profound difference between mix engines..... Total BS. Sorry, but that's my opinion. This guy is listening with everything but his ears.

"..and thanks for the info, it had to be fixed point really..." ......puuhleeaze...
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim McKeveny on December 30, 2012, 11:33:22 am
To further clarify:

When adding DCA controlled inputs to to the Stereo mix... 
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Frederik Rosenkjær on December 30, 2012, 11:40:32 am
To further clarify:

When adding DCA controlled inputs to to the Stereo mix...

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...
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Tim McCulloch 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... ;)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Chris Johnson [UK] 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...
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim McKeveny 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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Riley Casey 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...
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Frederik Rosenkjær 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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: James A. Griffin 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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Caleb Dueck 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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Frederik Rosenkjær 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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} 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
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: George Dougherty 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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Riley Casey on December 30, 2012, 07:48:20 pm
Within our inventory I have often used the AES output of the M7 to drive the AES input of a BSS 366 DSP and the difference is quite noticeable. Less noticeable is doing the same signal connection with a PM5D.  I have used a Metric Halo DSP as an output convertor for the LS9s utilizing the ADAT outputs with again noticeable improvement .  The Metric Halo and the BSS are devices designed years before the lower end Yamaha digital consoles and yet they have better convertors.  I don't doubt the technology moves on but I also have clear evidence  that more money can buy better performance.  Just as it can buy more snake oil.  :P   On the other hand I don't hear any improvement when anyone breaks out their boutique clock to run my PM5D from so to each his own.


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.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Caleb Dueck on December 30, 2012, 07:51:49 pm
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.

If it were anything but new cables, and if that experience were the 'odd man out' compared to other times, I would have discounted it as well. 

When we compared consoles side by side (different time than above), it was AE6100 to XLR in, all processing bypassed, XLR out to Lab.Gruppen to Danley something or other main speaker.  Physically swapped the input and output cables, purposefully kept preamps from near clip and rode fader to keep perceived quality due to volume effect away.  Didn't have a Yamaha at the time, would have been fun to compare M7/LS9 to the Presonus.  The iLive was very warm (highs slightly rolled off?  Could be an EQ thing) while the Roland M480 seemed almost scooped.  The Presonus was awful, roughly similar to what I remember from Yamaha. 

If others in the area want to get together and have some consoles, we could probably do something similar, with Midas, Digico, Yamaha, iLive, Roland, X32, etc.  I'm sure there are Profile, Vi6, and other common options here too.  Danley or L'Acoustics speakers, installed/tuned. 
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on December 30, 2012, 07:53:06 pm
That thread is very interesting, because it shows us how little forums posts can sometimes be trusted. This guy is certain that he's hearing this profound difference between mix engines..... Total BS. Sorry, but that's my opinion. This guy is listening with everything but his ears.

"..and thanks for the info, it had to be fixed point really..." ......puuhleeaze...

At least these guys tried to test the mix engine performance by comparing the sound quality of a multi-channel mix on different consoles.  I can’t find anybody else that has done that. They also tried to directly compare the quality of compressors.

I wasn’t there so I can’t comment, but I do think trying to test the quality or the compromises made in the mix engine, is worthwhile.
Title: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Samuel Rees on December 30, 2012, 08:13:30 pm
I bet Yamaha could put out a killer LS9 replacement these days. I'm sort of imagining a Yamaha 'GLD' / Baby CL.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Frederik Rosenkjær on December 31, 2012, 03:05:11 am
I wasn’t there so I can’t comment, but I do think trying to test the quality or the compromises made in the mix engine, is worthwhile.

I guess you could say I don't think so, because I believe the differences in mix engines is limited to being way below perceptibility. It's only rounding errors and they are far and away below any hearing threshold or what any other piece of the signal chain is capable of reproducing. Remember you have 288 dB dynamic range even with just 48 bits. Unless of course some manufacturer claimed to be using something other than a perfectly simple straight ahead linear math engine, but I haven't heard anyone claim this.

This has also been debated ad nauseum in the studio world between DAW mix engines and the discussion follows exactly the same pattern as discussions about the sonic benefits of magic sound crystals, ceramic thingies that lift your cables off the floor and what have you in hi-fi woo circles; many people claiming all sorts of things, even night-and-day differences, but zero hard evidence. Occam's razor wins for me until someone demonstrates this in and actual blind test with statistical significance.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Frederik Rosenkjær on December 31, 2012, 03:10:56 am
If others in the area want to get together and have some consoles, we could probably do something similar, with Midas, Digico, Yamaha, iLive, Roland, X32, etc.  I'm sure there are Profile, Vi6, and other common options here too.  Danley or L'Acoustics speakers, installed/tuned.

Being in Europe I can only send my sympathy and encouragement for such an experiment, but let me say up front before the fact that in my view it absolutely has to be done properly blinded with several repetitions if you want to be able to draw any serious conclusions from it. It's a lot of hard work and not as fun as just a casual test.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Chris Johnson [UK] on December 31, 2012, 07:40:55 am
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.

Hi Riley,

Yes, AES MY Card provided the AES input from mix console, and AES outputs to amps.

Now, If you know anything about how yamaha consoles work, you'll know that what hits the MY card slot header connector, is the same audio path as what hits the D/A or A/D convertors. The difference is just whats on the card. Unsurprisingly, the AES card is pretty straightforward, since the MY card slot provides digital audio, all the AES card is doing is turning that into discrete AES connections on a Dsub.

So, this setup allowed me to instantaneously switch between the digital/analog inputs and digital/analog outputs. That means that in either case, the signal is passing through the same processing engine, same internal signal path, but I can bypass either the preamp & a/d or d/a section
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Keith Broughton on December 31, 2012, 08:02:53 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 love my job but if the productions are not cost effective, I won't have a job!
Don't get me wrong. I enjoy getting the best sound possible but sometimes we agonize over "the best sounding XYZ..." when we are the only one hearing the difference.
It's hard to get the production to spend money on what is not seen, or heard, to be necessary.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim McKeveny on December 31, 2012, 10:28:30 am
There are observably fewer complaints about 1D/5D sound. It appears that the Yami design team from those consoles was not involved with the M7. (I've not much personal exposure to LS9).

To wit:

Why does the lighted white channel chiclet on PM consoles indicate "mute", but on M Series indicates "on"?

Why the kluge/Rube Goldberg channel 33-48 add-on the M7CL-48? Wouldn't channels 1-24 on top (or bottom) level make more sense to the less-sophisticated (originally church) target buyer?

If a console has odd compromises on the user surface, what lies beneath? If the M7 came out of a small manufacturer of another name it would not get a second look or listen.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Mac Kerr on December 31, 2012, 12:29:32 pm
Why the kluge/Rube Goldberg channel 33-48 add-on the M7CL-48? Wouldn't channels 1-24 on top (or bottom) level make more sense to the less-sophisticated (originally church) target buyer?

Because it is an add on. The left side is an M7/32, the right side is the add on to make it a 48 input console.

Mac
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim McKeveny on December 31, 2012, 02:10:54 pm
But we haven't had such hack in the physical layout of professional consoles since TAPCO days.

Additional screen and metal costs should be de minimus in this price range especially for a manufacturer of repute, and going skinny on the external presentation tosses up red flags regarding internal diligence.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Scott Helmke on December 31, 2012, 06:07:50 pm
But we haven't had such hack in the physical layout of professional consoles since TAPCO days.

Additional screen and metal costs should be de minimus in this price range especially for a manufacturer of repute, and going skinny on the external presentation tosses up red flags regarding internal diligence.

It is a little odd.

But in six years you're the first person I've ever heard complain about it.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim McKeveny on December 31, 2012, 06:36:23 pm
It is a little odd.

But in six years you're the first person I've ever heard complain about it.

Not a complaint. An observation. I have thousands of hours, maybe tens of thousands, on Yamaha products: PM400, PM 180, PM430, MQ1602, MC2404, MC2404II, MC2408, PM1000, PM2000, PM4000, PM4000M, PM1D, 5D, etc,etc. That is just consoles. P2200 Amps, crossovers, EQs, SPX FX. All rock-solid & all with their Yami quirks. Still, somehow, the M7CL-48 strikes me as out-of-character for Yamaha.

I am not the only one I have encountered to express this sentiment.



Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 31, 2012, 10:05:00 pm
But we haven't had such hack in the physical layout of professional consoles since TAPCO days.


 ;D ;D ;D  I remember borrowing a small plastic POS to use in a trade show booth back in the early '80s... I literally had to take the back off it and trace out the connections to figure out how to get some signal through it... 

JR
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Keith Broughton on January 01, 2013, 08:31:33 am
So the layout of the M7 is "hack" but the layer upon layer of pages in the acres of buttons on the right side of the PM5D is OK?!?
And, no touch screen!
Never even considered the M7 layout as odd.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim McKeveny on January 01, 2013, 10:00:22 am
but the layer upon layer of pages in the acres of buttons on the right side of the PM5D is OK?!?
And, no touch screen

5D is old enough that the lack of touchscreen gets a pass.

Mechanical (screen support, add-on meter bridge, channel extender block on M7CL-48) design of M7 is a throwback IMO.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Keith Broughton on January 01, 2013, 04:03:20 pm
Quote
5D is old enough that the lack of touchscreen gets a pass.
Fair enough.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on January 02, 2013, 07:49:08 am
I guess you could say I don't think so, because I believe the differences in mix engines is limited to being way below perceptibility. It's only rounding errors and they are far and away below any hearing threshold or what any other piece of the signal chain is capable of reproducing. Remember you have 288 dB dynamic range even with just 48 bits. Unless of course some manufacturer claimed to be using something other than a perfectly simple straight ahead linear math engine, but I haven't heard anyone claim this.

This has also been debated ad nauseum in the studio world between DAW mix engines and the discussion follows exactly the same pattern as discussions about the sonic benefits of magic sound crystals, ceramic thingies that lift your cables off the floor and what have you in hi-fi woo circles; many people claiming all sorts of things, even night-and-day differences, but zero hard evidence. Occam's razor wins for me until someone demonstrates this in and actual blind test with statistical significance.

Yes but, an M7 is not 48 bits in or out. A typical input signal will use more like 16 bits out of the available 24. That input signal is then multiplied/divided, EQed & compressed … more mathematics, assigned to a VCA and multiplied again, added to a bunch of other signals. The signal path is changed to 48 bits at some point, the signal is then modified by a GEQ and compressor and scaled back to 24 bits.
If you lose a little bit each time it may well become audible, add to that less than perfect AD & DA’s and some ordinary Mic preamps…. it all adds up.

I have AB-ed an M7 directly with an iLive and an iLive with a Pro 2. The Midas sound great, the iLive also sounds very very good, the M7 is awful, and to my ear the M7 seems to get worse on more complicated mixes.

So I’m sticking with my … I wasn’t there comment  :)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Chris Johnson [UK] on January 02, 2013, 10:26:56 am
I see where you are coming from Peter, and it is certainly true that the 'mixing math' involved in modern consoles, including all the emulation of analog hardware thats happening with modern dynamics and other plugin processors, is not simple.

However, in all my testing of consoles, and I've used nearly everything on the market, the differences all but evaporate once you eliminate the Pre-A/D and D/A stages. IE: AES in and AES out, the differences become much harder to detect.

Part of this is a cost thing. I think M7s and LS9s are often judged harshly because they are always being compared to much newer products. An M7 is what, 8 years old this year? Not to mention they were built to a budget.

The other part is a preference thing though. Digico pride themselves on having clean, uncoloured analog circuitry, Midas have their 'sound', etc... So some of these differences are designed in.

There is no doubt though, that I have heard (and I'd like to think mixed) plenty of great audio on M7s, and that 5Ds and 1Ds (consoles costing much much more) sound good by todays standards, and that the console is the least of your worries. Give me great mics, great sources, and a great system and a Mixwizard, and we'll be ok :D
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Chiara on January 02, 2013, 10:57:05 am
I see where you are coming from Peter, and it is certainly true that the 'mixing math' involved in modern consoles, including all the emulation of analog hardware thats happening with modern dynamics and other plugin processors, is not simple.

However, in all my testing of consoles, and I've used nearly everything on the market, the differences all but evaporate once you eliminate the Pre-A/D and D/A stages. IE: AES in and AES out, the differences become much harder to detect.

Part of this is a cost thing. I think M7s and LS9s are often judged harshly because they are always being compared to much newer products. An M7 is what, 8 years old this year? Not to mention they were built to a budget.

The other part is a preference thing though. Digico pride themselves on having clean, uncoloured analog circuitry, Midas have their 'sound', etc... So some of these differences are designed in.

There is no doubt though, that I have heard (and I'd like to think mixed) plenty of great audio on M7s, and that 5Ds and 1Ds (consoles costing much much more) sound good by todays standards, and that the console is the least of your worries. Give me great mics, great sources, and a great system and a Mixwizard, and we'll be ok :D

So after reading this I would conclude that my X32... With the fine sounding preamps that I have verified with many multitrack recordings, out thought the AES digital out... Should be a better sounding console than an LS9...all other things being equal.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 02, 2013, 11:10:48 am
Yes but, an M7 is not 48 bits in or out. A typical input signal will use more like 16 bits out of the available 24. That input signal is then multiplied/divided, EQed & compressed … more mathematics, assigned to a VCA and multiplied again, added to a bunch of other signals. The signal path is changed to 48 bits at some point, the signal is then modified by a GEQ and compressor and scaled back to 24 bits.
If you lose a little bit each time it may well become audible, add to that less than perfect AD & DA’s and some ordinary Mic preamps…. it all adds up.
What exactly does it add up to?

I am an old analog dog who would love to reveal some tragic flaw in digital audio, but just don't see the smoking gun.

Your same logic applies to analog consoles, where every gain stage or EQ circuit the analog signal goes through "adds up" and degrades that signal. In fact a simple digital multiply or sum of multiple stems results in more bits of resolution so arguably lossless, certainly less deterioration than an analog path.

There is always room for better or worse execution of things like sample rate conversion, dynamics, and especially effects, not to mention the myriad ergonomic factors associated with consoles that affect perception of performance.

People have been sniffing around this vague complaint about digital audio with no smoking gun revealed yet AFAIK, and I have been following this for a while.   
Quote
I have AB-ed an M7 directly with an iLive and an iLive with a Pro 2. The Midas sound great, the iLive also sounds very very good, the M7 is awful, and to my ear the M7 seems to get worse on more complicated mixes.

So I’m sticking with my … I wasn’t there comment  :)
I never argue with people about what they say they hear, while I don't have to agree with their conclusions.

JR
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 02, 2013, 11:23:36 am
So after reading this I would conclude that my X32... With the fine sounding preamps that I have verified with many multitrack recordings, out thought the AES digital out... Should be a better sounding console than an LS9...all other things being equal.
;D ;D ;D Good one...

Do you realize we are arguing about differences between the straight-wire-with-gain portion of our signal chain. The deviation in response, pattern, and linearity between sundry microphones will be 10x the difference in preamps. Likewise the difference in speaker systems will be 10x that of a console path, then add the variations caused by room acoustics and multiple speaker interactions.

This is just silly. We have measurement metrics that could reveal significant differences.

JR
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on January 02, 2013, 08:04:54 pm
What exactly does it add up to?

I am an old analog dog who would love to reveal some tragic flaw in digital audio, but just don't see the smoking gun.

Your same logic applies to analog consoles, where every gain stage or EQ circuit the analog signal goes through "adds up" and degrades that signal. In fact a simple digital multiply or sum of multiple stems results in more bits of resolution so arguably lossless, certainly less deterioration than an analog path.

There is always room for better or worse execution of things like sample rate conversion, dynamics, and especially effects, not to mention the myriad ergonomic factors associated with consoles that affect perception of performance.

People have been sniffing around this vague complaint about digital audio with no smoking gun revealed yet AFAIK, and I have been following this for a while.    I never argue with people about what they say they hear, while I don't have to agree with their conclusions.

JR

I think the same logic applies to analogue, and there are good and bad analogue desks, the more signal processing you do the worse it gets, but in general I find bad analogue easier to listen to than bad digital …relatively speaking.

When pocket calculators first came out I can remember testing their accuracy by taking the sine and arcsine of a small angle. You never got the same angle back, some calculators got very close, some did not.

I was talking to a friend the other day that has a good understanding of the internal workings of DSPs and audio.  He seemed to suggest it’s the same with DSP processing and in some cases the designers take a few mathematical short cuts. 01 + 01 does not always equal 10.

Sooo … I think it is worthwhile looking at these types of issues and not just blaming everything on the sound of the mic pres as everyone seems to do.

I don’t know how much the internal DSP processing or the quality of the AD & DAs contribute, but I think it’s worthwhile doing some more complex testing. Running a 16 bit CD through a line-in or saying 1 …2 through a single mic is not enough to determine how good the audio quality is. That’s not to mention using an MP3 tack from an iPhone.

I remember when MP3s first came out we did some AB testing against CD and DAT for an AES meeting. On simple vocal tracks MP3 sounded fine to me, but on the more complex tracks to my ear they became gritty and annoying to listen to. It was hard to pick out the individual instruments in the mix.  This is how I find the M7, but with most of the new digital desks I struggle to hear any difference.

Peter
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 02, 2013, 09:26:30 pm
I think the same logic applies to analogue, and there are good and bad analogue desks, the more signal processing you do the worse it gets, but in general I find bad analogue easier to listen to than bad digital …relatively speaking.
Yes but, analog deteriorates much more significantly than digital, one of the inherent strengths of digital.
Quote
When pocket calculators first came out I can remember testing their accuracy by taking the sine and arcsine of a small angle. You never got the same angle back, some calculators got very close, some did not.
And i remember doing my freshman engineering homework, programming simple math tables in Fortran IV on Hollerith cards, to run in batches overnight on a huge IBM mainframe...

3+4=6.99999999   :o  (I should have saved that printout.)
Quote
I was talking to a friend the other day that has a good understanding of the internal workings of DSPs and audio.  He seemed to suggest it’s the same with DSP processing and in some cases the designers take a few mathematical short cuts. 01 + 01 does not always equal 10.
There are numerous ways to skin digital cats and they all express errors in different ways. In general the errors from well executed digital code are insignificant. In fact this is the actual benefit from using wider data paths and longer word lengths inside processing. The actual audio information is rarely much more than 16 bits of real signal.

I am not foolish enough to make a broad sweeping generalization that "all digital" is wonderful. I have already expressed reservations with how some sample rate conversions are coded.  I have seen issues with early limited word length/data width platforms. 
Quote
Sooo … I think it is worthwhile looking at these types of issues and not just blaming everything on the sound of the mic pres as everyone seems to do.
Since I have never seen an objective measurement revealing a smoking gun difference between two professional digital audio paths, what is left is transient phenomenon, like overloading (clipping) the front end. One console maker (Midas) promotes their soft clip limiting mic preamps, and some users consider that part of their sound. (arghhh). I am not a advocate of overdriving any audio path, especially a digital one. 
Quote
I don’t know how much the internal DSP processing or the quality of the AD & DAs contribute, but I think it’s worthwhile doing some more complex testing. Running a 16 bit CD through a line-in or saying 1 …2 through a single mic is not enough to determine how good the audio quality is. That’s not to mention using an MP3 tack from an iPhone.
Do you think these platforms have not been measured on real test benches? We are well into the 21st century.
Quote
I remember when MP3s first came out we did some AB testing against CD and DAT for an AES meeting. On simple vocal tracks MP3 sounded fine to me, but on the more complex tracks to my ear they became gritty and annoying to listen to. It was hard to pick out the individual instruments in the mix.  This is how I find the M7, but with most of the new digital desks I struggle to hear any difference.

Peter

I will register that as one vote against the M7.

JR
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Bob Leonard on January 03, 2013, 07:54:06 am
And for all the reasons above, if and when APB ever comes out with a digital board that retains the sound of their analog boards I'll make the move to a fully digital world.

I don't know of many or any people who run a combination of an APB Pro House and dbx 4800. That's a small system by any standard, but in this case size doesn't matter. The difference between using a dbx 260 or 480 when compared to the 4800 was dramatic, easily illustrating the fact that time marches on, as does sound quality.

The world of sound will always be the sum of all components in the signal chain and putting a microscope on the channel strip won't change that. Obviously the discussion has confirmed one fact, and that fact being all boards or DSPs are not created equally, also confirming that unless you're a haddock, you can hear the difference in sound quality from one board to another.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Mike Christy on January 03, 2013, 08:28:09 am
I was talking to a friend the other day that has a good understanding of the internal workings of DSPs and audio.  He seemed to suggest it’s the same with DSP processing and in some cases the designers take a few mathematical short cuts. 01 + 01 does not always equal 10.

Just for reference I'll throw this out there... thinking back to my days working on Data General ALU cards, multiplies are basically shift lefts of a binary word, an example:

01 shift left 1 bit (multiply x2) = 10

What gets filled in on the right?

Zeros, in a pure computer number, but do DSP designers fill with something approximated, or random/dithering?

10101010 x 4 (shift left 3 times) = 1010101000

Division goes the other way, shift right.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Danny J. Avila on January 03, 2013, 09:49:00 am
Quote from: Jim Mc Keveny
...design of M7 is a throwback IMO.


In Digital World terms, there's a lot of time between PM5D (non RH) and M7CL V1.10 and some circumstances have to be considered. The design of Yamaha's "affordable" line of Mixing desks back in 2004-05 included a new more-digital-less-analog user interface that could resume and simplify the needs of those costly knob filled surfaces (and yet including the 63 Faders on 48CH version) by introducing the Centra-Logic concept as a new standard for the industry and also reducing manufacturing costs by implementing 48kHz Sampling rates in the A/D conversion process which need less DSP fuel to be done. The M7CL included both Channel Fader full frame and layers in the same surface to introduce the transition even to the most Analog enthusiastic users. It also allows the user to send audio directly from Input channels to Matrix in order to expand the Output mixing busses.

Some very noticeable bugs appeared in the M7CL as soon as the BEs started to use it like the Input Gain stage leap effect of the HA control (smoothed not enough by means of Firmware updates), the annoying hiss level of its Mic preamps and its 320kBPS MP3 sound quality even when the OMNI XLR3 audio output board (DA1) is exactly the same for PM5D, M7CL & subsequent LS9.

However, people of this segment of the market was willing to embrace the Digital technology and rapidly adopted this concepts (and flaws) as the new standard to the point of spreading thousand of M7 around the world. Even when the frame of the M7 is "closed" to adding more channels due to internal DSP hardware capabilities, Yamaha still hears what users want or would like to have on a Digital mixing desk and successive Firmware updates keep the M7 running shows around the world now mostly in Monitor applications and for IEM systems without major audio quality complaints.

And yet this throwback design lead to their new CL Series...

Personally I really like the overall sound quality of the DiGiCo SD devices but I'm still trying to deduce their intrincated anything-but-intuitive GUI design philosophy.

Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim McKeveny on January 03, 2013, 10:07:03 am

And yet this throwback design lead to their new CL Series...

I said "mechanical" design was a throwback....Please do not misquote.

CL presentation is much improved, though not exactly a space saver when cased for transport.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 03, 2013, 10:16:08 am
Just for reference I'll throw this out there... thinking back to my days working on Data General ALU cards, multiplies are basically shift lefts of a binary word, an example:

01 shift left 1 bit (multiply x2) = 10

What gets filled in on the right?
It's a shame I wasted so much time learning about digital on my own, I could have just hung out here.  ;D

Seriously a left shift or a right shift are just that a shift in the weight of each bit with NO additional resolution (kind of like floating point data with a significant mantissa and multiplier exponent). However in the digital world an actual multiply involves multiplying one digital word times another digital word, so the result typically has twice the number of bits. I.E. a 16x16 bit multiply has a 32 bit result. (this is another reason for the longer word length inside processors.)
Quote

Zeros, in a pure computer number, but do DSP designers fill with something approximated, or random/dithering?

10101010 x 4 (shift left 3 times) = 1010101000

Division goes the other way, shift right.
No, while a right shift is equivalent to division by 2/4/8 , true division is a separate operation because we can't always count on dividing by even power's of two.

Note: In the digital realm there are two different kinds of right shift instructions to account for the data scheme where the MSB represents +/- polarity, so a right shift does not trash that polarity information for signed right shifts (not actually called that).

In fact this could be a software coder's short cut where they use a fast shift right to some round number instead of a slower precise division that takes more processor ticks. Say a shift to divide by 8 instead of actual divide by 7 or 9...

Digital has been around so long that even I am designing with it. Modern processors have enough power that there is less need to cut corners, while software is mostly written by humans so stuff happens. Analog consoles were designed by humans too...

FWIW a fader move (less than unity) is generally a simple (fast) multiply, where the signal value is multiplied by the fader term (a digital word less than full scale) for a simple product less than the original. Digital fader gain above unity could be a combination of a left shift followed by a multiply.

For comparison analog level increases, boosts up low level noise (and adds the noise of the gain stage). Digital level increases pretty much leave nothing in the lower bits, but at least it doesn't add noise. Note: this should not be confused with LSB dithering, a technique associated with A/D conversions to actually increase low level resolution.

JR

PS: I am NOT a digital expert, but I know enough to challenge unfounded general attacks on digital technology. I have been defending digital since the early days, and it is so much better now. it is the nature of digital to never be perfect, but the ugly secret is analog isn't perfect either.   
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Mike Christy on January 03, 2013, 10:28:15 am
Thanks for the refresher John!
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Scott Helmke on January 03, 2013, 11:48:46 am
However, people of this segment of the market was willing to embrace the Digital technology and rapidly adopted this concepts (and flaws) as the new standard to the point of spreading thousand of M7 around the world.

I don't really buy that "it was cheap so we put up with the bad sound" claim.  Here in the USA a lot of big churches went for the M7CL... at the same time that a lot of them were also putting in Meyer speaker systems.  One huge local church (with something like six satellite churches and some very good sound engineers on staff) traded in a couple PM5Ds for M7CLs.  I've never heard them complain about sound quality, and they could have put in pretty much any console they wanted.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Roger Talkov on January 03, 2013, 03:24:55 pm
All:
I just ran into this thread and it perked my curiosity. After doing a ton of testing regarding digital and analog audio in a previous life I came to several conclusions one of which is "what sounds better"? At the end of the day thats not helpful. Lets try replacing what sounds the same and what sounds different. If it sounds the same, there's a good chance you're headed in the right direction. If it sounds different, you need to take a good hard look at what you're doing unless its intentional. This goes for testing a to d's, d to a's etc etc. One other thing- lets try and debunk the floating point vs fixed point situation. These days, done right, they both do math quite well. A colleague of mine many years ago wrote a paper about the topic many that for the most part remains true to the concept and helps explain the issue. I wanted to share it with you because its interesting. http://www.jamminpower.com/PDF/48-bit%20Audio.pdf

My point in all of this is Same or Different? Then we can get onto the argument of what sounds "better" "to me".

Regards to the list,
Roger
 
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 03, 2013, 03:39:05 pm
I didn't realize there was a floating point vs fixed point situation here.  8)

I only mentioned floating point in passing to help explain the effect of shifting a digital word left or right, as a fixed finite data resolution scaled up/down by another finite amount.

The same thing goes on with analog technology where marketers and consumers latch onto some obscure theoretical minutiae.

I find it a little remarkable that we discuss how different premium consoles sound when just about every other link in the chain is much more variable.

JR

PS You make a good point about sounding the same vs. sounding different. Exotic high end products kind of need to sound different to justify their existence. I am suspicious of loading termination in some esoteric mic preamps... Promoting the operation of a mic preamp into soft limiting is sure to sound different then even a perfect preamp unclipped. 
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on January 03, 2013, 07:27:49 pm
Yes but, analog deteriorates much more significantly than digital, one of the inherent strengths of digital. And i remember doing my freshman engineering homework, programming simple math tables in Fortran IV on Hollerith cards, to run in batches overnight on a huge
Ha ….. same here, my freshman engineering Fortran IV programme was to solve polynomial equations and I ran it on a very large ICL mainframe.

Quote

I am not foolish enough to make a broad sweeping generalization that "all digital" is wonderful. I have already expressed reservations with how some sample rate conversions are coded.  I have seen issues with early limited word length/data width platforms.  Since I have never seen an objective measurement revealing a smoking gun difference between two professional digital audio paths, what is left is transient phenomenon, like overloading (clipping) the front end. One console maker (Midas) promotes their soft clip limiting mic preamps, and some users consider that part of their sound. (arghhh). I am not a advocate of overdriving any audio path, especially a digital one.
I have a Midas, and I have tried the soft clip on the mic preamps trick -  I don’t like it, but what’s interesting is that the way they have setup the gain structure. As I understand, the mic preamps clip (overload softly ::))  before you overload the digital path, that combined with floating point mathematics makes the Midas very forgiving for those people that mix and don’t understand gain structure.

Quote
Do you think these platforms have not been measured on real test benches? We are well into the 21st century.
I will register that as one vote against the M7.


Absolutely, and I’m sure the designers know the answer, but the tests people are doing on this board I don’t tell us enough.  FWIW the new Yamaha CL range to my ear it sounds fine, someone has fixed whatever it is that I don’t like about the M7 … register 1 +ve vote for it.

Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Mac Kerr on January 03, 2013, 08:07:39 pm
I have a Midas, and I have tried the soft clip on the mic preamps trick -  I don’t like it, but what’s interesting is that the way they have setup the gain structure. As I understand, the mic preamps clip (overload softly ::))  before you overload the digital path, that combined with floating point mathematics makes the Midas very forgiving for those people that mix and don’t understand gain structure.

I think you find it is common practice to have the analog electronics clip before the digital ones do to avoid digital clipping. It has been a long time since I have heard hard digital clipping on any console.

I too learned Fortran 4 on a cold room IBM 360. Our real calculations were done on a Post Versalog (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Post-1460-Versalog-Slide-Rule-Bamboo-Sun-Hemmi-Leather-Case-/380545575978?_trksid=p2047675.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222002%26algo%3DSIC.FIT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D11%26meid%3D4625599249009646636%26pid%3D100011%26prg%3D1005%26rk%3D2%26sd%3D200857009898%26), or K&E Decilon (http://www.sphere.bc.ca/test/slide8/260-ke-slides.jpg) slipstick however. A good way to learn about significant digits.

Mac
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on January 03, 2013, 08:56:23 pm
I think you find it is common practice to have the analog electronics clip before the digital ones do to avoid digital clipping. It has been a long time since I have heard hard digital clipping on any console.

I Mac

For me its not long at all, New Year Eve; from behind the mix position you could hear and see the hard clip on an M7 ... :-X
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 03, 2013, 09:18:46 pm
For me its not long at all, New Year Eve; from behind the mix position you could hear and see the hard clip on an M7 ... :-X

Consoles don't kill music, people kill music. ;)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Bob Leonard on January 04, 2013, 07:14:08 am
Must have been working in some kind of clip joint.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 05, 2013, 06:46:15 am
I haven't worked on the PM5D's or any Yamaha boards in that range, but everything I've used from their MG analog series to LS9's and M7CL's all have a noticeable tinge of mud in their preamps. And I consistently see engineers use them and fuss with the parametric eq on the speaker system for correction, when I hear it in the boards. 
 Gotta strongly disagree with some posts regarding the lack of love for Presonus, a company founded on preamp design.  Their preamps have so much more usable headroom than anything else in their class, very similar to the Midas XL3's I was accustomed to in the Venice series--a very different sound, more neutral than the Midas, but lots of range.
 Yamaha has other problems with the intent of their designs, and you can see how they're classified as "commercial products".  Nowhere in their own literature are their digital boards described as music or pro audio products.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: kristianjohnsen on January 05, 2013, 07:36:26 am

 Yamaha has other problems with the intent of their designs, and you can see how they're classified as "commercial products".  Nowhere in their own literature are their digital boards described as music or pro audio products.

It's "commercial" as in "people using the products for commerce, in other words, for a living, aka professionals".

Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Geri O'Neil on January 05, 2013, 08:00:50 am
I haven't worked on the PM5D's or any Yamaha boards in that range, but everything I've used from their MG analog series to LS9's and M7CL's all have a noticeable tinge of mud in their preamps. And I consistently see engineers use them and fuss with the parametric eq on the speaker system for correction, when I hear it in the boards. 
 Gotta strongly disagree with some posts regarding the lack of love for Presonus, a company founded on preamp design.  Their preamps have so much more usable headroom than anything else in their class, very similar to the Midas XL3's I was accustomed to in the Venice series--a very different sound, more neutral than the Midas, but lots of range.
 Yamaha has other problems with the intent of their designs, and you can see how they're classified as "commercial products".  Nowhere in their own literature are their digital boards described as music or pro audio products.

Wow...on several fronts...just...WOW.

Geri O
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 05, 2013, 08:24:49 am
I haven't worked on the PM5D's or any Yamaha boards in that range, but everything I've used from their MG analog series to LS9's and M7CL's all have a noticeable tinge of mud in their preamps. And I consistently see engineers use them and fuss with the parametric eq on the speaker system for correction, when I hear it in the boards. 
 Gotta strongly disagree with some posts regarding the lack of love for Presonus, a company founded on preamp design.  Their preamps have so much more usable headroom than anything else in their class, very similar to the Midas XL3's I was accustomed to in the Venice series--a very different sound, more neutral than the Midas, but lots of range.
 Yamaha has other problems with the intent of their designs, and you can see how they're classified as "commercial products".  Nowhere in their own literature are their digital boards described as music or pro audio products.

You indict a product range you've never used.

How do you separate the preamps from the rest of the mixer's circuitry to make your evaluations?  How is it the rest of the console magically removes itself from the signal path?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Bob Leonard on January 05, 2013, 09:32:57 am
Silly Tim,

All you have to do is carry a signal generator, power supply, an O-scope and a few hand tools. Then if you hear a muddy mix simply ask FOH if you can pull a few channel strips during a break. No magic at all, as I ROTFLMFAO.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on January 05, 2013, 09:42:31 am
How do you separate the preamps from the rest of the mixer's circuitry to make your evaluations?  How is it the rest of the console magically removes itself from the signal path?

Exactly … ! 
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 05, 2013, 11:03:22 am
You indict a product range you've never used.

How do you separate the preamps from the rest of the mixer's circuitry to make your evaluations?  How is it the rest of the console magically removes itself from the signal path?

As I said in my post, I have used them.   Mind you, there are loads of shortcomings with Yamaha consoles I could go on about, like the poor use of "real estate" or layout, etc., but the topic of this forum refers to sound, and I've noticed a common problem with the sound of Yamaha consoles, from analog to digital.  I noted that the range of Yamaha consoles I haven't used are their top of the line range. And a rep from their company admitted the difference in preamp designs to me and assured that the PM's have a better Class A preamp in them.  Wow, now that Midas' XL42 has been discontinued, Presonus is the only pro mixing console manufacturer who sells the preamps from their boards separately.
  Of course, "commercial" products are for professional use, but what kind of professional use?  Compare what's acceptable gear for corporate work (JBL EON's, Samson DB500a's, Yamaha LS9's) against what's acceptable for music applications. For years, Midas boards big and small had (and maybe still have) 2 preamps in them: XL3 and XL4.  Like Allen & Heath, they're a company that built designs, keeping professional artists and engineers in mind.   Yamaha has always competed with them on price, not musicality, and it shows.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on January 05, 2013, 11:13:54 am
As I said in my post, I have used them.   Mind you, there are loads of shortcomings with Yamaha consoles I could go on about, like the poor use of "real estate" or layout, etc., but the topic of this forum refers to sound, and I've noticed a common problem with the sound of Yamaha consoles, from analog to digital.  I noted that the range of Yamaha consoles I haven't used are their top of the line range. And a rep from their company admitted the difference in preamp designs to me and assured that the PM's have a better Class A preamp in them.  Wow, now that Midas' XL42 has been discontinued, Presonus is the only pro mixing console manufacturer who sells the preamps from their boards separately.
  Of course, "commercial" products are for professional use, but what kind of professional use?  Compare what's acceptable gear for corporate work (JBL EON's, Samson DB500a's, Yamaha LS9's) against what's acceptable for music applications. For years, Midas boards big and small had (and maybe still have) 2 preamps in them: XL3 and XL4.  Like Allen & Heath, they're a company that built designs, keeping professional artists and engineers in mind.   Yamaha has always competed with them on price, not musicality, and it shows.

"It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury.  Signifying nothing."

.....William Shakespeard, Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 05, 2013, 11:18:14 am
Exactly … !


When you hear mud, yes, you check the strip.  A very easy way to pinpoint the preamp is to listen to the signal's pfl on a good set of cans, before the signal hits the strip.   Hearing the difference between two really good preamps is tough, but spotting a commonly poor preamp from frequent experience is pretty easy.
Title: Separate mic preamps
Post by: Mac Kerr on January 05, 2013, 11:48:08 am
Wow, now that Midas' XL42 has been discontinued, Presonus is the only pro mixing console manufacturer who sells the preamps from their boards separately.

Midas still sells preamps separately, the xl48 (http://www.midasconsoles.com/xl48.php). Yamaha does as well, the AD-8HR (http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/products/interfaces/ad8hr/index.jsp). Behringer also sells their preamps separately, like these (http://www.behringer.com/EN/Category/Signal-Processors.aspx?s=E500).

For ballpark pricing,  the Behringer ADA8000 is $30/ch and not remote control, the Presonus Digimax D8 is $50/ch and not remote control, the Midas XL48 is $200/ch and not remote controllable, the Yamaha AD-8HR is about $300/ch and is remote controllable. I would be interested to know how much difference there is in construction quality, and audio quality between a $30 preamp and a $50 preamp. I wouldn't expect it to be too much.

If the xl48 truly is 8 xl4 preamps it is the bargain, too bad it cannot be controlled remotely so it could live onstage. Moving up in price the Aphex 188 (http://www.spectrumaudio.com/aphex-188.html?gclid=CLTEkcrU0bQCFQ2i4AodhEQA7A) is about the same price as the xl48, although the more fully featured 1788a (http://www.aphex.com/aphex-products/1788a-premium-eight-chan-mic-pre/) is 3x the price, and the Grace 801 (http://www.samash.com/p/Grace%20Design_Model%20801%208%20Channel%20Microphone%20Preamp_-49980205?cm_mmc=GoogleShopping-_-Recording%20&%20Computers-_-Channeladvisor-_-Grace+Design+Model+801+8+Channel+Microphone+Preamp&utm_source=GSH&utm_medium=CSE&utm_campaign=Channeladvisor&CAWELAID=1594735879&cagpspn=pla&gclid=CMG39YDV0bQCFUOK4AodSwcAQw) is a litle more than the 1788a, and probably the best of the bunch.

I only mention the Aphex and the Grace to give a little perspective on the mic pre packages from the console manufacturers.

Mac
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Mac Kerr on January 05, 2013, 11:50:21 am

When you hear mud, yes, you check the strip.  A very easy way to pinpoint the preamp is to listen to the signal's pfl on a good set of cans, before the signal hits the strip.   Hearing the difference between two really good preamps is tough, but spotting a commonly poor preamp from frequent experience is pretty easy.

All the consoles I am familiar with the PFL is Pre Fade Listen not pre channel strip listen. Adjusting the eq is heard in the PFL, ergo you are listening to the channel strip.

Mac
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 05, 2013, 12:12:20 pm
All the consoles I am familiar with the PFL is Pre Fade Listen not pre channel strip listen. Adjusting the eq is heard in the PFL, ergo you are listening to the channel strip.

Mac

Yes and, obviously for comparison reasons, you can turn the strip on or off on most consoles.
  Good to know about the other separate preamp products on the market, didn't know Midas came out with another one, but there are very few that actually have a demand for the exact preamps that are in the boards.  Mac, do you know which Yamaha boards have the preamps from the AD-8 in them?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 05, 2013, 12:36:38 pm
Yes and, obviously for comparison reasons, you can turn the strip on or off on most consoles.
  Good to know about the other separate preamp products on the market, didn't know Midas came out with another one, but there are very few that actually have a demand for the exact preamps that are in the boards.  Mac, do you know which Yamaha boards have the preamps from the AD-8 in them?
Stop digging.

Mic preamps have always been on the short list for heavy lifting by console designers. It used to be mic preamps, sum bus, etc for old school analog consoles, now with digital consoles it's mic preamps and A/D conversion, etc...  Execution or everything else always matters.

Mic preamps are a rather mature technology and A/D conversion is getting there (if not perfect many use the same chip-sets). The noise performance of mic preamps approached theoretical limits a few decades ago. Now more than one off-the-shelf IC delivers that kind of performance. Design engineers would have to work to screw up a modern mic preamp design.

That said there are well paid intelligent people who's full time job is to figure out how to differentiate and sell these expensive units. Since mic preamps have long been considered important, marketers continue to invest in preamp-centric stories.  As I have already noted at least one console maker goes out of their way to sound less bad (good?) when preamp is over-driven.

I won't make the ludicrous claim that all digital is exactly alike, but it is far closer than different, and far flatter/cleaner than many other components in series with them in the audio path.

Of course opinions vary.

JR
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Bob Leonard on January 05, 2013, 12:39:48 pm
Yes and, obviously for comparison reasons, you can turn the strip on or off on most consoles.
 
Generally not. In most cases you can bypass the EQ, but not the entire channel strip. And really good channel strips don't have the name Presonus on them. Low priced, but not in a catagory with many, many great preamps from the likes of Chandler, Vintech, Grace, Summit Audio, Focusrite, Crane Song, Universal Audio, Avalon, etc.. Hell, even Mackie has a better 8 channel A/D converter than Presonus.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 05, 2013, 01:04:45 pm
Generally not. In most cases you can bypass the EQ, but not the entire channel strip. And really good channel strips don't have the name Presonus on them. Low priced, but not in a catagory with many, many great preamps from the likes of Chandler, Vintech, Grace, Summit Audio, Focusrite, Crane Song, Universal Audio, Avalon, etc.. Hell, even Mackie has a better 8 channel A/D converter than Presonus.
I've worked with many of those: Avalon, Manley, Apogee, Neve, Great River, Midas and Presonus.  But Mackie is no where near the sonic ballpark of the others, so I can't take that statement seriously. An EV P3000 or Crest 9001 power amplifier has such pure sonic performance due to the massive headroom of their power supplies. A Presonus XMAX preamp has considerably more voltage and headroom than a Mackie VLZ, and a Presonus ADL-600 has a similar voltage rail to a P3000; and consequently, it blows away most other preamps in their class.  But our topic is still Yamaha and why many engineers didn't speak highly of their sonic qualities.  But it looks like a little bit of the love for Yamaha is coming out in this thread.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 05, 2013, 01:39:03 pm
Generally not. In most cases you can bypass the EQ, but not the entire channel strip. And really good channel strips don't have the name Presonus on them. Low priced, but not in a catagory with many, many great preamps from the likes of Chandler, Vintech, Grace, Summit Audio, Focusrite, Crane Song, Universal Audio, Avalon, etc.. Hell, even Mackie has a better 8 channel A/D converter than Presonus.

I escaped from the high performance consumer audio business decades ago when I experienced a disconnect between performance, price/value, and market success. In short it was a confidence game where successful merchandizing trumped real value or performance. i was never very good at schmoozing the audio-phools so walked away towards a more reality based industry. 

I see many parallels between recording studios and consumer hifi.. Stand-alone single or dual mic preamps built by small companies are more expensive precisely because they are stand-alone single or dual mic preamps built by small companies. The best at marketing among them, convince users that the higher cost means they are better. Those who are not good at overcoming the higher price point resistance, do not survive.

This is pet peeve of mine, and yes corners may be cut in deep value consoles, perhaps that is why some put more money back into talking up their preamps in advertising (you should know who I am talking about, more than one value brand is guilty of hyping their preamps without real basis).

JR

PS: I always enjoyed reading about what end users think is important about electronic design. It is useful for crafting marketing messages (when I was in those trenches).  8)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 05, 2013, 01:46:16 pm
I've worked with many of those: Avalon, Manley, Apogee, Neve, Great River, Midas and Presonus.  But Mackie is no where near the sonic ballpark of the others, so I can't take that statement seriously. An EV P3000 or Crest 9001 power amplifier has such pure sonic performance due to the massive headroom of their power supplies. A Presonus XMAX preamp has considerably more voltage and headroom than a Mackie VLZ, and a Presonus ADL-600 has a similar voltage rail to a P3000; and consequently, it blows away most other preamps in their class.  But our topic is still Yamaha and why many engineers didn't speak highly of their sonic qualities.  But it looks like a little bit of the love for Yamaha is coming out in this thread.

Consoles, within price brackets, tend to sound similar because of the level of technology "buy-in".  Consoles within manufacturers, tend to sound similar because of design teams.  As JR (a console designer) points out, there is more to SQ than presumptions about microphone preamps.  The size and location of signal ground traces on the PC board, routing of wiring within the console, etc. all have impact on signal.

As for "commercial" vs. "pro audio", I can only say that non-consumer, non-academic audio is inherently commercial.  We opted to not buy Midas analog mixers because they already existed in our market and offered no competitive advantage (besides, we could simply rent one if we needed it).  Paying premium money for no increase in the bottom line is a sure way for a regional provider to go out of business sooner, rather than later.

Regarding power amps, I suspect that any pro amp, run within its design ratings, will exhibit relatively good sonic performance.  What separates the big boy amps, regardless of power supply topology, is how they work at 105% of design... but below that, they sound more alike than different.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: brian maddox on January 05, 2013, 01:47:13 pm
i've been tempted many times to throw my two pennies into this thread, but was waiting for someone else to save me the trouble.  i think my thoughts have been touched upon by others, but for some reason i can't keep myself from jumping in.

first, a little background.  i spent about 10 years at a varsity level PA company where i mixed hundreds, if not thousands of shows on Yamaha PM level consoles [analog and digital] as well as a few Soundcrafts.  everything from music to corporate to broadcast.  i then spent about 10 years as a varsity level freelancer using whatever was put in front of me, including Midas and many others.

In my somewhat considerable experience, here's what i have learned.  There are some subtle differences between the 'sound' of different consoles.  And there are some fundamental differences in how the preamp design is approached in different consoles and manufacturers.  But at the end of the day, once you're talking about actual professional level gear, it makes ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE to your ability to deliver a quality product [sound reinforcement], get paid, and get asked to come back and do it again.  NO ONE in the audience can tell what desk you are using by the 'sound' of the PA.  No client i've ever met cared one whit about who manufactured my gear, or how 'warm' my preamps were.  They DID care if the PA sounded harsh, or there was feedback, or there were coverage issues, or i missed cues.  Or, perhaps Most Importantly, if i was a fussy tech head and difficult to deal with.

Just recently i was mixing a blues festival that had two stages with matching Pa's [a nice large format martin LA].  The console on my stage was an XL4.  the engineer on the other stage brought his own LS9 because that's what he preferred.  several times during the day, the sound company owner came over to talk to me about how 'bad' that desk sounded and how bad it made his PA sound.  i went over and listened and frankly it sounded just fine to me.  i preferred my own mix, but that's a different beast altogether.  Perhaps if, like the owner, i listened to that exact speaker rig all the time i could tell.  But if i, a fairly well respected and seasoned professional, honestly couldn't hear any difference in the 'sound' of the mixer between the 2 stages, how would ANYONE in the audience ever be able to tell.

Others have said it, but i'll reiterate.  Mics matter.  Speakers matter.  Proper deployment is critical.  But once you're talking about a Pro Level console, the design of the Mic Pre's, the summing, the digital math, or what have you, has a minuscule affect on the actual sound being produced by the system.

One last thought on the subject.  The same company that hired me for the blues festival i mentioned once hired me to White Glove a large outdoor Symphony show.  They gave me my choice of FOH consoles, including an XL4 and a PM4000.  I chose the PM4000.  Not because i thought it a better sounding desk than an XL4.  I chose it because i've mixed dozens of symphony shows on a PM4000, so i'm very familiar with using it in this context.  Which means, by extension, the PM4000 was gonna help me mix a better sounding show.  For the record, i got nothing but raves from the company owner [who looked at me oddly when i requested the Yamaha], even though he had mixed the event for many years himself on Midas desks.  And i got asked to do that show for several more years after that....
Title: Yamaha mic pres
Post by: Mac Kerr on January 05, 2013, 02:03:55 pm
Mac, do you know which Yamaha boards have the preamps from the AD-8 in them?

PM-5D RH.

The last preamp released for the PM1D was similar, but on a 4ch card. The AD8HR is actually the preamp card out of a PM5D RH mounted in a box with controls.

Mac
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Chris Lynch on January 05, 2013, 05:29:30 pm
But at the end of the day, once you're talking about actual professional level gear, it makes ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE to your ability to deliver a quality product [sound reinforcement], get paid, and get asked to come back and do it again.  NO ONE in the audience can tell what desk you are using by the 'sound' of the PA.  No client i've ever met cared one whit about who manufactured my gear, or how 'warm' my preamps were.  They DID care if the PA sounded harsh, or there was feedback, or there were coverage issues, or i missed cues.  Or, perhaps Most Importantly, if i was a fussy tech head and difficult to deal with.

I have got to agree with the above. Its exactly my experience. I use Yamaha digital consoles a lot because they fit with the budget I get given. I never have a problem getting what in my opinion is a decent sound. I have never had any complaints from punters or any negative reviews in the media so I think I am doing ok. I personally find the acoustic properties of the room and the performance of the band/act make a much bigger difference than which professional FOH console is used.

My employers are usually most concerned having as little stress as possible. The most important thing is that I am easy to deal with, I get on and do a good job and give them as little stress as possible.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on January 05, 2013, 09:12:19 pm

When you hear mud, yes, you check the strip.  A very easy way to pinpoint the preamp is to listen to the signal's pfl on a good set of cans, before the signal hits the strip.   Hearing the difference between two really good preamps is tough, but spotting a commonly poor preamp from frequent experience is pretty easy.

By the time it gets to your head phones, the signal has been through the preamp, AD converter, signal gain changes (digital multiplications/division), digital EQ/Dynamics and a DA converter … and probably a cheap headphone amp.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Scott Helmke on January 05, 2013, 10:11:26 pm
By the time it gets to your head phones, the signal has been through the preamp, AD converter, signal gain changes (digital multiplications/division), digital EQ/Dynamics and a DA converter … and probably a cheap headphone amp.

And then into something that's *really* variable... an actual pair of transducers.  Some people replace their headphones after a certain amount of use...

I'd make a small wager that the differences between two makes of console are smaller than the differences between two SM-57's randomly picked from anybody's mic box.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Chiara on January 05, 2013, 10:29:38 pm
And then into something that's *really* variable... an actual pair of transducers.  Some people replace their headphones after a certain amount of use...

I'd make a small wager that the differences between two makes of console are smaller than the differences between two SM-57's randomly picked from anybody's mic box.
Hmmm...I only have 1 57 in my mic box.
I think the biggest differences are workflows that are developed on the users console. It is like going from a Mackie to an AH Mixwiz. Most remember that you had to run the preamp on the AH at a "higher" setting to get the same operating level on a 58. These kind of ergonomic differences can make something appear 'better' or not the same way a 1db level difference can.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Justice C. Bigler on January 05, 2013, 11:08:22 pm
Presonus is the only pro mixing console manufacturer who sells the preamps from their boards separately.

Mmmgghhh.....I'm sorry, but did you actually just classify Presonus as a manufacturer of professional level mixing consoles?

Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 05, 2013, 11:40:43 pm
Mmmgghhh.....I'm sorry, but did you actually just classify Presonus as a manufacturer of professional level mixing consoles?

It's Presonus, not Peavey. They're on riders now.  One major label artist I worked with requested an M7CL for a particular fundraising event, and when one was not available that day, they"settled" for Presonus.  Now they bought 2 SL24.4.2's and travel with them instead.  I get amazing results and lots of follow-up work on those boards, as do other pro engineers.  Don't know why you can't. Or have you tried?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 05, 2013, 11:45:33 pm
By the time it gets to your head phones, the signal has been through the preamp, AD converter, signal gain changes (digital multiplications/division), digital EQ/Dynamics and a DA converter … and probably a cheap headphone amp.

Peter, are you suggesting that Yamaha preamps are really great and it's just their headphone amps that possibly suck?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Justice C. Bigler on January 06, 2013, 12:38:48 am
I get amazing results and lots of follow-up work on those boards, as do other pro engineers.  Don't know why you can't. Or have you tried?

The riders that I deal with request PM5D and above. I have two PM5Ds in house, and a CL5 currently. About to buy a pallet of LS9s and 01V96s because they offer a better user interface and more features for the money. I have had ONE single show come through our venue (which has five separate theatre spaces, and a banquet hall, and an art gallery: including a 2,400 seat concert hall) that brought their own Studiolive 16.4.2, and the guy didn't know how to use it, and his show sounded like ass. Even though I had never used one before, I had to show him how to use it. He used that console over our in house PM5D because he "didn't know how to use it", as he said.

I consider myself a theatre guy, and if I'm going to use a digital sound console, it damn well better have automated faders. I work as a full time house tech; as in I get a paycheck for my base salary plus overtime twice a month, have health and retirements benefits, and I clocked over 550 hours of over time last year. I am currently in the job market, and I can pretty much guarantee that when I submit my resume for new gigs, the guys hiring for those jobs won't give one rats ass if I list Presonus on it. They will want to see Yamaha, Avid, Soundcraft, Digico, and Meyer sound consoles on it. But, if they do ask, I can always say, "yeah, I've played with them at Guitar Center a few times...cute little toys".
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Spenser Hamilton on January 06, 2013, 12:48:13 am
It's Presonus, not Peavey. They're on riders now.  One major label artist I worked with requested an M7CL for a particular fundraising event, and when one was not available that day, they"settled" for Presonus.  Now they bought 2 SL24.4.2's and travel with them instead.  I get amazing results and lots of follow-up work on those boards, as do other pro engineers.  Don't know why you can't. Or have you tried?

I've never seen a SL on a rider. I've seen a few bands travel with them, but those are typically C and B level artists, and they usually opted to use whatever the house provides.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 06, 2013, 12:55:19 am
The riders that I deal with request PM5D and above. I have two PM5Ds in house, and a CL5 currently. About to buy a pallet of LS9s and 01V96s because they offer a better user interface and more features for the money. I have had ONE single show come through our venue (which has five separate theatre spaces, and a banquet hall, and an art gallery: including a 2,400 seat concert hall) that brought their own Studiolive 16.4.2, and the guy didn't know how to use it, and his show sounded like ass. Even though I had never used one before, I had to show him how to use it. He used that console over our in house PM5D because he "didn't know how to use it", as he said.

I consider myself a theatre guy, and if I'm going to use a digital sound console, it damn well better have automated faders. I work as a full time house tech; as in I get a paycheck for my base salary plus overtime twice a month, have health and retirements benefits, and I clocked over 550 hours of over time last year. I am currently in the job market, and I can pretty much guarantee that when I submit my resume for new gigs, the guys hiring for those jobs won't give one rats ass if I list Presonus on it. They will want to see Yamaha, Avid, Soundcraft, Digico, and Meyer sound consoles on it. But, if they do ask, I can always say, "yeah, I've played with them at Guitar Center a few times...cute little toys".

There are times when something like an iLive system is in order or a Midas Heritage, and there are times when something like a StudioLive is a sensible solution.  In no way does an LS9 have a better interface.  It has a clear piece of metal where they could have placed dedicated controls but opted instead to lump everything into a little glass window, except for the GEQ on faders, which is why they NEED to be automated.  But back to the topic; there is no sonic advantage to an LS9.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on January 06, 2013, 01:36:59 am
Peter, are you suggesting that Yamaha preamps are really great and it's just their headphone amps that possibly suck?

No … I’m suggesting there is a whole bunch of stuff in the signal chain as well as the mic preamps that should be considered including the headphone drive circuit if that’s where you judge the quality of the desk; which, by the way, can be very ordinary in a live desk, sometimes it’s just an op-amp that struggles to drive all but the highest impedance headphones – I don’t know what’s in an M7, and don’t know how you can separate the sound of the mic preamp from everything else.

There seems to be a trend for everyone to believe the mic preamps are responsible for the entire sound of the desk when there is so much more to consider.   A while back everyone was focused on the EQ section … you need Midas or Neve PEQs … now its mic preamps…
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: kristianjohnsen on January 06, 2013, 08:42:44 am


There seems to be a trend for everyone to believe the mic preamps are responsible for the entire sound of the desk when there is so much more to consider.   A while back everyone was focused on the EQ section … you need Midas or Neve PEQs … now its mic preamps…

I agree that preamps are just a small portion of the overall sound. 

But I also think many people overexaggerate how impossible it is to compare them:  Whilst not being the same as dismantling a desk and extracting one circuit at a time, on can use things like insert sends and direct out feeds from different desks and route into a switcher or into a summing mixer or whatever to quickly switch between the various preamps to listen for differences. 

There will still be variables, but a lot fewer than just going from desk to desk with your headphones...

Another thing that often isn't considered is how the combined mic+preamp circuit behaves when there is a three-way split AND 250 meters of mic cable attached to the preamp.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: kristianjohnsen on January 06, 2013, 08:44:23 am
But it looks like a little bit of the love for Yamaha is coming out in this thread.

That may be because Yamaha products has done right by many people and helped quite a few of us owners actually make some hassle-free money :)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: kristianjohnsen on January 06, 2013, 08:48:54 am
I think you find it is common practice to have the analog electronics clip before the digital ones do to avoid digital clipping. It has been a long time since I have heard hard digital clipping on any console.


Mac

I think the consoles (the types I have tried this on, anyway) just hard limit and don't allow you to produce digital clipping. 

A good example is a hot snare top channel that has a big 250Hz boost and lots of makeup gain on the compressor.  Even if the pre-EQ meter has some headroom left the pre-fader meter may be pegged, and it still doesn't sound like a good old overloaded DAT player, or whatever.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: kristianjohnsen on January 06, 2013, 08:55:11 am
do you know which Yamaha boards have the preamps from the AD-8 in them?

I know Mac answered your question, but just to add to it:

This Yamaha preamp
http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/products/interfaces/mla8/
uses the same circuit as that found in this mixer
http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/products/mixers/dm2000vcm/
and probably this one, too
http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/products/mixers/dm1000vcm/

Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Scott Helmke on January 06, 2013, 09:09:40 am
Peter, are you suggesting that Yamaha preamps are really great and it's just their headphone amps that possibly suck?

Hmmm... I do have a piece of Presonus gear, a little stereo firewire interface.  It in fact *does* have a crappy headphone amp, though the preamps are fine.  The result, with a bog standard pair of Sony MDR-7506 headphones, is a thin and tinny sound compared to any other headphone output I've ever used.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 06, 2013, 09:24:59 am
That may be because Yamaha products has done right by many people and helped quite a few of us owners actually make some hassle-free money :)

Sennheiser wireless systems all use the same companders.  Midas consoles all use two basic designs of preamps and all top notch components.  When Electro-Voice broke new ground with RMD technology with their X-Array systems in 1997, they quickly applied that to all their lines of loudspeakers.  These are examples of companies who have done right by their customers by ensuring them equal sonic capabilities in arenas where different levels of performance and technical capability is required.  Yamaha uses different components down the line in their products. And their MI consoles are off-the-shelf designs that they put their name on, which sound completely like hearing the ocean when you fill 20 channels on them.  There is no separation between the preamp and the rest of the product, and Yamaha digital boards are obviously viable and quite popular for professional applications.  But when you gig a lot and something repeatedly sounds funny, you try to target the cause of it.  But I haven't heard anyone fully take the other side of the popular consensus on sound:  does anyone PREFER the sound of Yamaha digital boards to Midas, Allen & Heath or Soundcraft and why?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Ivan Feder on January 06, 2013, 09:29:00 am
Well I will say it since nobody has,
After utilizing this board for 4 months I love our new CL5 with Premium plugins, Dante integrated network capabilities, fantastic new ergonomics and YES the preamps do sound great. It's a real pleasure to mix on!
I believe Yamaha have really outdone themselves with this new console and that the CL5 will be in demand around the world for many
years to come ;D
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Geri O'Neil on January 06, 2013, 09:52:09 am
Well I will say it since nobody has,
After utilizing this board for 4 months I love our new CL5 with Premium plugins, Dante integrated network capabilities, fantastic new ergonomics and YES the preamps do sound great. It's a real pleasure to mix on!
I believe Yamaha have really outdone themselves with this new console and that the CL5 will be in demand around the world for many
years to come ;D

I've said it. More than once. When I have a second, I'll post the link(s).

Geri O
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Ivan Feder on January 06, 2013, 10:08:34 am
I've said it. More than once. When I have a second, I'll post the link(s).

Geri O
Sorry Geri, didn't see your posts!  ;)
Title: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Samuel Rees on January 06, 2013, 10:21:12 am
"CLS-9", where are you!?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Scott Helmke on January 06, 2013, 10:35:35 am
Sennheiser wireless systems all use the same companders.
Nope, they have at least two different companders in their current product lines.  This is easily provable, because the 3000 series receivers have a setting for it.

Quote
Midas consoles all use two basic designs of preamps and all top notch components. 
Quote
Yamaha uses different components down the line in their products.
Here's a weird bit of hair-splitting.  Designs vs. components.  How many preamp designs are out there anyway?  Really not that many.  And components change because of suppliers, processes, and things like RoHS requirements. 

And when you start looking at schematics for a living, you start to notice that almost all designs are "off the shelf", generally simple variations on circuits found in the application notes for various parts.  Going back to Fender vs. Marshall amps there's maybe a 5-10% difference between the two, both of which are obviously built around the original vacuum tube design books from the manufacturers.

Really I don't mind people having opinions about sound, it's what makes things interesting.  But please don't latch onto marketing terms or make up your own pseudoscientific explanations for why you might hear a difference.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Ivan Feder on January 06, 2013, 11:11:44 am
To Jim:
If a Yamaha console is good enough for the Rolling Stones, it's good enough for me!
http://www.audioprointernational.com/news/read/the-rolling-stones-rely-on-clair-global-for-50-counting-gigs/05435 (http://www.audioprointernational.com/news/read/the-rolling-stones-rely-on-clair-global-for-50-counting-gigs/05435)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 06, 2013, 11:53:25 am

Here's a weird bit of hair-splitting.  Designs vs. components. 
Component selection is design.
Quote
How many preamp designs are out there anyway?  Really not that many.
A bunch, but only a handful of practical designs that make sense to use in professional consoles. Now even less since the evolution of IC mic preamps that don't suck.

Suggestions of huge differences between mic preamps is mostly merchandising by marketers. They differ in very small ways if at all (when operated below clipping). Exotic stand alone preamps are more exotic than better.
Quote
And components change because of suppliers, processes, and things like RoHS requirements. 
With approval by engineering. Purchasing can not be trusted to make such decisions in a vacuum since they are pretty single minded about purchase cost (not the big picture).
Quote
And when you start looking at schematics for a living, you start to notice that almost all designs are "off the shelf", generally simple variations on circuits found in the application notes for various parts.
Cough.. some design engineers might disagree with that characterization.  8) I recall when I managed an engineering design group being constantly pressured by my boss to not reinvent any wheels, while as an engineer I have never seen a design that couldn't be improved, however narrowly. Smart design management is to only use the best of the new when it is actually better, or equivalent while cheaper. 

I wasn't hired for my ability to follow application notes. While philosophically inclined toward creativity in design, it is not worth doing something differently just to be different, if it isn't demonstrably better, (you risk an undiscovered flaw that can bite you later). While I have seen the same function executed differently in circuitry by a competitor to get around one of my patents.  :o 
Quote
Going back to Fender vs. Marshall amps there's maybe a 5-10% difference between the two, both of which are obviously built around the original vacuum tube design books from the manufacturers.
Not to veer off topic, but with high impedance tube designs like guitar amps, there can be significant differences caused by the physical layout, from crosstalk between high impedance stages contributing to the similar schematic designs sounding quite different in practice (with even more variables involved that I didn't list). 
Quote
Really I don't mind people having opinions about sound, it's what makes things interesting.  But please don't latch onto marketing terms or make up your own pseudoscientific explanations for why you might hear a difference.
Amen brotha.....

JR
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Stuart Pendleton on January 06, 2013, 12:12:59 pm
...and there are times when something like a StudioLive is a sensible solution.  In no way does an LS9 have a better interface.

SL has a great interface?  :o

When one band I worked regularly with decided to buy and outfit their own stage trailer, they thought a SL was a great solution and wanted to make my life easy so I didn't have to do anything but show up and run sound for the same rate I had gotten using all my own gear. I did it a number of times, and decided the SL was so great I would buy an 01v96 for THEIR trailer and leave it installed so I didn't have to experience the wonderful SL.

I have  a rack full of Presonus D8 preamps for my 01v96's. D8s are nothing special. I bought them because they were cheap. If I had the cash, I would have been a rackful of Yamaha preamps.

Frankly, I wouldn't trade my several years old 01v96's even for SL24s new in the box.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Scott Helmke on January 06, 2013, 12:21:40 pm
I wasn't hired for my ability to follow application notes. While philosophically inclined toward creativity in design, it is not worth doing something differently just to be different, if it isn't demonstrably better, (you risk an undiscovered flaw that can bite you later). While I have seen the same function executed differently in circuitry by a competitor to get around one of my patents.  :o

No real arguing with you on those points.  But I think most people (ie non-engineers) tend to look at all these different products and manufacturers, and conclude that the different mic preamps (or whatever) are as different from each other as books in the library, that each company is like an author producing totally different content.

But I would argue that all the different mic preamps are as different from each other as, say, all the romance novels in the library are different from each other.  Which is to say that there are a lot of trivial variations on a rather limited set of basic themes.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 06, 2013, 12:23:30 pm
No real arguing with you on those points.  But I think most people (ie non-engineers) tend to look at all these different products and manufacturers, and conclude that the different mic preamps (or whatever) are as different from each other as books in the library, that each company is like an author producing totally different content.

But I would argue that all the different mic preamps are as different from each other as, say, all the romance novels in the library are different from each other.  Which is to say that there are a lot of trivial variations on a rather limited set of basic themes.

Perhaps Mr. Baron will be impressed with the Prosounus (intentional misspelling) Harlequin Pre-Mance microphone preamps. ;)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Doug Fowler on January 06, 2013, 12:40:39 pm
When Electro-Voice broke new ground with RMD technology with their X-Array systems in 1997, they quickly applied that to all their lines of loudspeakers. 

Topic swerve:  Wasn't X-Array released before "Ring Mode Decoupling"?  And, when users complained, they glued foam into various places to "address" it?  I would hardly call this breaking new ground....

Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 06, 2013, 12:43:45 pm
No real arguing with you on those points.  But I think most people (ie non-engineers) tend to look at all these different products and manufacturers, and conclude that the different mic preamps (or whatever) are as different from each other as books in the library, that each company is like an author producing totally different content.

But I would argue that all the different mic preamps are as different from each other as, say, all the romance novels in the library are different from each other.  Which is to say that there are a lot of trivial variations on a rather limited set of basic themes.

Agreed... it is difficult to convey decades of (our) experience to laymen with a few simple statements, so there is a temptation to overstate the differences in our otherwise similar viewpoints.

That's life on the Internet highway, and web forum exchanges.

JR
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: kristianjohnsen on January 06, 2013, 03:17:04 pm
"CLS-9", where are you!?

A cascaded CL3 and CL5 seems pretty sweet, too :)

I initially said that Yamaha should have made the CL consoles' names fit better with the "old M7CL". 

I think M1CL, M3CL and M9CL would have been good names...
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 06, 2013, 03:51:05 pm
To Jim:
If a Yamaha console is good enough for the Rolling Stones, it's good enough for me!
http://www.audioprointernational.com/news/read/the-rolling-stones-rely-on-clair-global-for-50-counting-gigs/05435 (http://www.audioprointernational.com/news/read/the-rolling-stones-rely-on-clair-global-for-50-counting-gigs/05435)

That reminds me of a tour the Stones did around 2002, and I saw them doing a stadium. There was an EV X-Line system at the front and XLC's for delay.  Out there was a B-Stage, where they played about 7 songs facing the far end of the stadium.  Later I learned that the main consoles for FOH and monitors were Midas, I believe Heritage series.  But for the B-Stage, they selected a Mackie 1604.  The Stones rocked it, and guess what? People still applauded. There could have been some audio snobs involved who might have liked to have seen another Midas there, but in the end, the professional choice is not always the high end choice--it is ultimately the sensible choice.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on January 06, 2013, 04:17:40 pm
That reminds me of a tour the Stones did around 2002, and I saw them doing a stadium. There was an EV X-Line system at the front and XLC's for delay.  Out there was a B-Stage, where they played about 7 songs facing the far end of the stadium.  Later I learned that the main consoles for FOH and monitors were Midas, I believe Heritage series.  But for the B-Stage, they selected a Mackie 1604.  The Stones rocked it, and guess what? People still applauded. There could have been some audio snobs involved who might have liked to have seen another Midas there, but in the end, the professional choice is not always the high end choice--it is ultimately the sensible choice.

Which city/venue was that?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 06, 2013, 04:19:36 pm
Which city/venue was that?

I saw them at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, but apparently that was the rig they travelled with, according to Mix Magazine.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Geri O'Neil on January 06, 2013, 07:56:58 pm
Geri O
(I am in no way casting disparagement or endorsement of anyone's opinion expressed in this discussion. I'm a "live and let live" kinda guy. But with 2 grandkids running around playing iPads and haven g fun, this came to me in my mind and I had to chuckle. And wanted to share.)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on January 06, 2013, 08:02:36 pm
A classic Geri O moment.

Housekeeping!!!!!!  Cleanup in aisle 5.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Spenser Hamilton on January 06, 2013, 08:46:39 pm
Geri O
(I am in no way casting disparagement or endorsement of anyone's opinion expressed in this discussion. I'm a "live and let live" kinda guy. But with 2 grandkids running around playing iPads and haven g fun, this came to me in my mind and I had to chuckle. And wanted to share.)

I liked this over on Soundforums, wish I could like it here too!
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on January 07, 2013, 04:26:46 am
Here you go … the Midas XL3 Pre amp design … not hard to find !
http://pdf.textfiles.com/manuals/STARINMANUALS/Bosch%20-%20Midas/Manual/XL3%20-%20Long.pdf

and for JR … one of my favourites, designed by a friend of mine some time ago ... and still good.
http://www.leonaudio.com.au/double.balanced.mic.amp.notes.pdf  PS note the slide rule  ;)
 
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Ivan Feder on January 07, 2013, 05:44:31 am
Geri O
(I am in no way casting disparagement or endorsement of anyone's opinion expressed in this discussion. I'm a "live and let live" kinda guy. But with 2 grandkids running around playing iPads and haven g fun, this came to me in my mind and I had to chuckle. And wanted to share.)

Dos Equis, what else!  8)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Airton Pereira on January 07, 2013, 06:49:42 am
I noticed a great improvment when I switched a old Behringer analog mixer to a new LS9-32. Love it. Anyway, although I think LS9 and M7 sound as great as any console at these price points, my guess is the new consoles are 4-5 years newer and benefit from the new technologies. I'm sure the new CL series sound good as any other board.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: David Sturzenbecher on January 07, 2013, 09:44:54 am
Would there be benefit to posting transfer functions of some consoles for investigation?   If you can hear it, it should be in the bode plots, TF/Phase. Since we would only ever use a console as a whole unit, it only makes sense to look at each desk as a whole.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Scott Helmke on January 07, 2013, 10:19:16 am
Would there be benefit to posting transfer functions of some consoles for investigation?   If you can hear it, it should be in the bode plots, TF/Phase. Since we would only ever use a console as a whole unit, it only makes sense to look at each desk as a whole.

I did a few tests like that a couple years ago, basically got curious to see if there was a difference.  For the most part the magnitude was ruler flat (with whatever little blip above 20kHz where the filtering kicked in).  Phase would have been ruler flat, except that I could never really get the timing to line up exactly between the DUT and SMAART.

One exception I can remember is a Soundcraft Si3, which had a little bit of boost in the upper mids / treble.  Nothing more than a dB, but measurable.

Would be interesting to measure distortion, though.  You can do that with SMAART, but I just didn't think of trying it.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 07, 2013, 11:16:20 am
Digital is not perfect but it's damn good by classic audio metrics. Frequency response is quite good, while a good analog console will be flat too. Phase shift gets a little funny to measure because of latency. Digital paths have small fixed delays involved with conversions and some processes.

One analog measure that still matters is analog noise floor since that will always be above the strictly digital quantization floor (this is a good thing since a quantization noise floor is not very benign sounding.) Distortion has long been a kitchen sink type measurement (THD+N) where everything that isn't pure test signal is distortion. Digital paths do very well in this regard (as long as we ignore short fixed delays, and we do).

Digital offers up enough new metrics to keep the slick merchandisers busy inventing arguments for why their digital platform is different and better than the next one, but these are generally minute phenomenon down in the noise floor.

This is another case where the sundry digital platforms are more alike than different, while this has been mentioned before the console (any console) is the "straight wire with gain" part of any audio chain, especially compared to transducers and human hearing.

There will always be subtle differences between audio paths, but more significant differences between control interfaces. Console ergonomics is a high art that even I barely understand, and I have been studying this for decades. A short list includes obvious things like control laws and EQ voicing, but there are more subtle factors that affect the subjective experience.

And one very important last one, the badge or brand on the unit. Many a sound person has improved their subjective experience by covering up the Peavey badge. Uli is doing yoemans work to polish his brand image, as if reborn anew and the past never happened. Yamaha has long existed in the paradoxical no-mans land of servicing both the professional high end and value (low) ends of the market (pursuing all the money). Few mange to be successful in just one or the other so their success in both is notable.

This is an interesting question, but I suggest we need to inspect each poster's former experiences with Yamaha gear. The lasting subjective impressions may depend on which end of yamaha's product offering they were most exposed to.

JR
 
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Frank Koenig on January 07, 2013, 01:28:08 pm
Here you go … the Midas XL3 Pre amp design … not hard to find !
http://pdf.textfiles.com/manuals/STARINMANUALS/Bosch%20-%20Midas/Manual/XL3%20-%20Long.pdf

Thanks for these. Always interesting to look a the various ways to skin a cat. (The Midas mic pre is on or around page 65 of the manual.)

I'll stick my neck out and say that to the extent that there are any audible differences between MODERN, decent mic pres (other than noise floor) it is due to differences in the network that goes between the mic and the first gain stage. This network needs to do several things that lead to some design tradeoffs. In no particular order:

*Preserve common mode rejection.
*Supply phantom power, when needed.
*Provide electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection.
*Provide radio frequency rejection.
*Preserve noise performance.
*Determine the electrical load on the mic.

I probably missed some. JR?

Generally, providing better protection against the insults of high voltage and RF forces you to take a screwing in noise, and maybe high frequency response, if you get extreme. Also, depending on the design, more expensive components, such as better matched resistors and larger coupling caps could make a small difference in noise performance. And some mics might be affected by the load on them.

But after that it's all just gain, so as long as you don't overdrive it I doubt anyone can hear the difference between any reasonable audio op amps.

Now ADCs, and perhaps their drive circuits and anti-aliasing filters, might still get better. After all, no ADC has low enough noise to use all 24 bits and maybe, MAYBE there are some other artifacts of the conversion process that could be audible in some circumstances.

I while back I was playing with a signal generator and a cheap ADC running at 48 kHz and found that if I blasted enough 25 kHz into it I could indeed hear a 1 kHz tone (the expected aliasng product). Would this ever make a difference on speech or music coming out of a mic -- I doubt it. (Maybe if you jangle your keys really hard in front of an Earthworks.)

--Frank
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 07, 2013, 02:11:48 pm
And one very important last one, the badge or brand on the unit. Many a sound person has improved their subjective experience by covering up the Peavey badge. Uli is doing yoemans work to polish his brand image, as if reborn anew and the past never happened. Yamaha has long existed in the paradoxical no-mans land of servicing both the professional high end and value (low) ends of the market (pursuing all the money). Few mange to be successful in just one or the other so their success in both is notable.


JR

BINGO!  We have a winner!
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Danny J. Avila on January 07, 2013, 02:46:31 pm
Somehow I felt tempted to publish parts of the Preamp schematic section of the PM5D, M7CL and LS9 for comparative purposes but suddenly, second thoughts of warnings and lawsuits made me realize that it won't demonstrate any conclusive difference when a subjective side of users is largerly involved in the phrase "love for the sound of..."

This topic is like discusing about Theology when subtle differences in the perception sense of each individuals can't be measured in the real world. I remember a large post of Mr Jim Gamble, back in 2007 and related to the Digital Mixers limitation and some of his statements about 24bit A/D conversion process and headroom performance.

In terms of sound quality there could be minimal (but measurable) differences by driving/handling analog audio by employing digital level and routing architecture & controls to keep the audio material in the analog domain as much as possible against digitalizing audio from input to output, but this is unviable on financial terms if there's an implied intention of using the price as sales feature.

In today's practical world nobody's willing to invest USD 20,000$ on a Premium grade ALPS fader Mark VIII rugged style audio mixing desk with the Peavey-Mackie-Behringer badge in any visible corner...
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 07, 2013, 04:58:59 pm
Somehow I felt tempted to publish parts of the Preamp schematic section of the PM5D, M7CL and LS9 for comparative purposes but suddenly, second thoughts of warnings and lawsuits made me realize that it won't demonstrate any conclusive difference when a subjective side of users is largerly involved in the phrase "love for the sound of..."

This topic is like discusing about Theology when subtle differences in the perception sense of each individuals can't be measured in the real world. I remember a large post of Mr Jim Gamble, back in 2007 and related to the Digital Mixers limitation and some of his statements about 24bit A/D conversion process and headroom performance.

In terms of sound quality there could be minimal (but measurable) differences by driving/handling analog audio by employing digital level and routing architecture & controls to keep the audio material in the analog domain as much as possible against digitalizing audio from input to output, but this is unviable on financial terms if there's an implied intention of using the price as sales feature.

In today's practical world nobody's willing to invest USD 20,000$ on a Premium grade ALPS fader Mark VIII rugged style audio mixing desk with the Peavey-Mackie-Behringer badge in any visible corner...
Not to pick an argument with Jim Gamble for 3rd person here-say but keeping signal in the analog domain as long as possible is about upside down for insuring signal integrity. Digital is far kinder than analog for all kinds of processing related signal deteriorations. If it is going to end up in the digital domain at all, the sooner** it gets there the better.   

As an old analog dog with some analog console designs i'd still love to sell you, I can't in good conscious claim that analog is better than digital when both are executed to the same high standards.

 JR

***Mic preamps are pretty much analog gain stages and unavoidable the way we currently parse systems. I expect at some future date for microphone outputs to be digital feeding into some network as a common resource to be grabbed by some other process on that same network, but not for a while.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Justice C. Bigler on January 07, 2013, 05:13:07 pm
I expect at some future date for microphone outputs to be digital feeding into some network as a common resource to be grabbed by some other process on that same network, but not for a while.

That's right before our digital audio networks become self aware and start calling themselves Skynet, right?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Danny J. Avila on January 07, 2013, 05:28:01 pm
That's right before our digital audio networks become self aware and start calling themselves Skynet, right?

Cobranet?

 :o

Here are the portrayed arguments:

http://www.gambleboards.com/Article.htm

http://gambleboards.com/Viewpoint.htm
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on January 07, 2013, 05:31:25 pm
It's here.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Geoff Doane on January 07, 2013, 05:48:05 pm

I while back I was playing with a signal generator and a cheap ADC running at 48 kHz and found that if I blasted enough 25 kHz into it I could indeed hear a 1 kHz tone (the expected aliasng product). --Frank

I'm pretty sure the expected aliasing product in that situation is 23 kHz.  1 KHz might be some sort of intermodulation distortion.

I remember seeing the effect with early DAT recorders (Sony PCM-2500).  I was using a test set designed for analog recorders that generated and then measured and plotted a sine wave sweep.  The sweep started at about 40 KHz, and then went down.  As the sweep started, some random (or so I thought at first) noise would show up on the trace, before being erased by the lower frequency sweep.  Doing a manual sweep confirmed that this "noise" was aliasing products.

As an aside, the notion that 48 kHz sampling must sound better than 44.1 was mostly a falacy as well.  Early digital recorders (including Studers that cost well into the 6 figures), had a fixed multipole anti-aliasing filter that was the same regardless of the sampling frequency you selected.  I believe the current state of the art is to over sample the analog signal, and then do the anti-aliasing in DSP before saving the resulting samples to a hard drive, so sampling frequency may actually have some bearing on frequency response (if you think you can actually hear that high anyway).

GTD
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Bob Leonard on January 07, 2013, 06:11:43 pm
Not to pick an argument with Jim Gamble for 3rd person here-say but keeping signal in the analog domain as long as possible is about upside down for insuring signal integrity. Digital is far kinder than analog for all kinds of processing related signal deteriorations. If it is going to end up in the digital domain at all, the sooner** it gets there the better.   

As an old analog dog with some analog console designs i'd still love to sell you, I can't in good conscious claim that analog is better than digital when both are executed to the same high standards.

 JR

***Mic preamps are pretty much analog gain stages and unavoidable the way we currently parse systems. I expect at some future date for microphone outputs to be digital feeding into some network as a common resource to be grabbed by some other process on that same network, but not for a while.
As usual spot on JR.
So in the end this all boils down to.
1. Not all boards are created equally.
2. Not all components are created equally.
3. Not all designs are created equally.
 
Therefor NAB+NAC+NAD = A sonic difference that in some cases can be heard and iterpreted as being good or bad depending on your taste and skill level.
 
Who would have ever thought that would be the case.  ::)
 
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Frank Koenig on January 07, 2013, 06:49:41 pm
I'm pretty sure the expected aliasing product in that situation is 23 kHz.  1 KHz might be some sort of intermodulation distortion.

 :-[ You are correct. I heard the tone but didn't think it through. :-[  Of course it's f +/- fs, not f +/- fs/2

 -F
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 07, 2013, 07:04:32 pm
Cobranet?

 :o

Here are the portrayed arguments:

http://www.gambleboards.com/Article.htm

http://gambleboards.com/Viewpoint.htm

I've seen them and I'm not inclined to do a point by point rebuttal. Digital has been around for a very long time and back in the early days it actually was challenged in several ways.

Generally some of his snakes in the digital woodpile are more like protozoa in modern well execute designs.

As I've said before, I really wish he was correct. I have some ideas for analog improvements I never got to fully convert into cash.  8) Unfortunately they got mooted by digital technology, that isn't perfect, but pretty damn close.

JR

PS: My confederate money isn't gaining value either.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: kristianjohnsen on January 07, 2013, 07:32:47 pm

 Yamaha .....
Nowhere in their own literature are their digital boards described as music or pro audio products.

http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/news_events/newsrelease/2013/50_20130107_ri8_ro8.jsp

"Natural, musical sound that brings out the best in any console.
 The “natural, musical sound” that was a key element of the CL Series design policy is carried on without compromise in the Ri8-D and Ro8-D. Mechanical construction, circuit board layout, power supply, grounding, and parts selection have all been executed with meticulous attention to detail and quality, combined with exhaustive performance and listening tests at each stage of development. The result is eminently natural, musical sound."
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on January 07, 2013, 07:43:23 pm
http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/news_events/newsrelease/2013/50_20130107_ri8_ro8.jsp

"Natural, musical sound that brings out the best in any console.
 The “natural, musical sound” that was a key element of the CL Series design policy is carried on without compromise in the Ri8-D and Ro8-D. Mechanical construction, circuit board layout, power supply, grounding, and parts selection have all been executed with meticulous attention to detail and quality, combined with exhaustive performance and listening tests at each stage of development. The result is eminently natural, musical sound."

Bazinga!!!
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 07, 2013, 10:02:21 pm
PS: My confederate money isn't gaining value either.

Invest in yeast... so the South can rise again...

Thanks for that stirring round of indifference!  I'll be here all week.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on January 07, 2013, 10:05:49 pm
Invest in yeast... so the South can rise again...

Thanks for that stirring round of indifference!  I'll be here all week.

She was bred in the Old South but she's only a crumb up here........
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 07, 2013, 10:57:48 pm
http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/news_events/newsrelease/2013/50_20130107_ri8_ro8.jsp

"Natural, musical sound that brings out the best in any console.
 The “natural, musical sound” that was a key element of the CL Series design policy is carried on without compromise in the Ri8-D and Ro8-D. Mechanical construction, circuit board layout, power supply, grounding, and parts selection have all been executed with meticulous attention to detail and quality, combined with exhaustive performance and listening tests at each stage of development. The result is eminently natural, musical sound."
.                    Well, here come those marketing claims again.  Still doesn't describe the board as such, just the sound.  I've seen Behringer and Peavey make similar claims.   But really, I've spent years and years running sound, recording music, selling audio gear, doing installations and some repair work too.  In that time my associates and I have had the chance to A/B A LOT of stuff.  So I'm pretty immune to marketing claims. We always did shake our heads at so many stubborn "pro" guys who didn't get a chance to hear so much different stuff and thought that Yamaha boards were the best and that SM58's are the best and anything that says "JBL" on must be the best. Don't get me wrong; I've had successful nights using all the usual gear, but given the choice between an M7CL and an iLive system, I'm going for the iLive. And I'm not even getting into the number of failures of M7CL-48's that I've seen; I'm trying to stick to the topic of sound quality, which is generally good, but there's always something better than Yamaha boards in every price range. Maybe the CL5's will be better, we'll see.   But Mark started the thread to ask what some of us might think is the shortcoming in their consoles, so I feel really bad for the guys who said you "can't separate the components", 'cause I wouldn't want to be you when you hear a knock in your car engine.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Doug Fowler on January 08, 2013, 01:04:42 am
.                    Well, here come those marketing claims again.  Still doesn't describe the board as such, just the sound.  I've seen Behringer and Peavey make similar claims.   But really, I've spent years and years running sound, recording music, selling audio gear, doing installations and some repair work too.  In that time my associates and I have had the chance to A/B A LOT of stuff.  So I'm pretty immune to marketing claims. We always did shake our heads at so many stubborn "pro" guys who didn't get a chance to hear so much different stuff and thought that Yamaha boards were the best and that SM58's are the best and anything that says "JBL" on must be the best. Don't get me wrong; I've had successful nights using all the usual gear, but given the choice between an M7CL and an iLive system, I'm going for the iLive. And I'm not even getting into the number of failures of M7CL-48's that I've seen; I'm trying to stick to the topic of sound quality, which is generally good, but there's always something better than Yamaha boards in every price range. Maybe the CL5's will be better, we'll see.   But Mark started the thread to ask what some of us might think is the shortcoming in their consoles, so I feel really bad for the guys who said you "can't separate the components", 'cause I wouldn't want to be you when you hear a knock in your car engine.

Immune to marketing claims, yet regurgitating RMD (glued foam) as groundbreaking technology.


Okie dokie....
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: kristianjohnsen on January 08, 2013, 07:32:28 am
.                    Well, here come those marketing claims again.  Still doesn't describe the board as such, just the sound.  I've seen Behringer and Peavey make similar claims.   But really, I've spent years and years running sound, recording music, selling audio gear, doing installations and some repair work too.  In that time my associates and I have had the chance to A/B A LOT of stuff.  So I'm pretty immune to marketing claims. We always did shake our heads at so many stubborn "pro" guys who didn't get a chance to hear so much different stuff and thought that Yamaha boards were the best and that SM58's are the best and anything that says "JBL" on must be the best. Don't get me wrong; I've had successful nights using all the usual gear, but given the choice between an M7CL and an iLive system, I'm going for the iLive. And I'm not even getting into the number of failures of M7CL-48's that I've seen; I'm trying to stick to the topic of sound quality, which is generally good, but there's always something better than Yamaha boards in every price range. Maybe the CL5's will be better, we'll see.   But Mark started the thread to ask what some of us might think is the shortcoming in their consoles, so I feel really bad for the guys who said you "can't separate the components", 'cause I wouldn't want to be you when you hear a knock in your car engine.

Please just scroll up and look at where you typed that Yamaha doesn't describe their products as musical gear, and then scroll to the link where I showed you that they actually do describe their gear as musical.  Thrice in just one paragraph, even.

And still you are arguing...

There are words to describe people like you, but I won't be using them right now ' cause I'm generally an easy-going and polite guy.

I don't suppose I'll spend time answering questions you might have or dig up links for you in the future.  Peace, and best of luck.  I'm sure you're a joy to discuss with in real life.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Ivan Feder on January 08, 2013, 07:38:09 am
Please just scroll up and look at where you typed that Yamaha doesn't describe their products as musical gear, and then scroll to the link where I showed you that they actually do describe their gear as musical.  Thrice in just one paragraph, even.

And still you are arguing...

There are words to describe people like you, but I won't be using them right now ' cause I'm generally an easy-going and polite guy.

I don't suppose I'll spend time answering questions you might have or dig up links for you in the future.  Peace, and best of luck.  I'm sure you're a joy to discuss with in real life.
#1 , Kristian! ;)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Danny J. Avila on January 08, 2013, 07:59:20 am
I am a 18 years experinced Service Agent for most of the Pro audio, video and lighting gear used in the industry. In my area there are much more M7CL and LS9 than any other brands and comparing the existent quantities, Avid SC48 with its blue screen (HDD failure) and A&H T112 with broken surface Switches or Main CPU flaws are more "common" somehow than the Yamaha's desks failures. Yamaha's primarily failure was 90% related to Fader worn out errors or defective Led diodes on the surface boards. Fader environment proof was corrected in the new generation of desks (2009) and available as drop-in spare/upgrade part for earlier models.

And there's one particular local Sound Co that has 2 M7CL desks since 2006 which have suffered every imaginable accident in the process of use or transporting from 220V ground loops, heavy rain (beer) or sun exposures, transporting truck flipping, riot flying bottles impacts and a lot of misuse. I've replaced it's Touch Panel (AST-104) 3 times for different reasons, one 10.4 Sharp LCD screen, repaired 10 input channels, half dozen of DA1 (OMNI Output) boards, bended or broken Rotary Encoder controls and even an USB Hub connectors and these desks are still running shows.

Now, in terms of overall sound quality and available resources, I like better the T112 V1.90 over the LS9 or M7CL.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 08, 2013, 08:22:58 am
Immune to marketing claims, yet regurgitating RMD (glued foam) as groundbreaking technology.


Okie dokie....

Doug, maybe you're referring to Peavey's Quadratic Throat Design?  RMD didn't come out of nowhere.  All companies have names for their proprietary technology, but the elimination of ring modes in woofers was discussed in the industry long before EV cracked it in '97 with a mechanical solution, as opposed to solely using equalization for correction.  It is an advancement.   But this forum seems to be going nowhere, as sound quality is so subjective.  The original question was addressed to those of the consensus that Yamaha boards are somewhat lacking in sound quality and why that might be, but not so many people of that opinion are engaged in this.  You might be of the opinion that they sound superior, and that's fine, but at least try to point out why instead you think they sound good instead of trying to belittle reputable patents in sound design as mere marketing tactics.   Anyway, what does it matter? After this we're going to use whatever works for us.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 08, 2013, 08:26:55 am
I am a 18 years experinced Service Agent for most of the Pro audio, video and lighting gear used in the industry. In my area there are much more M7CL and LS9 than any other brands and comparing the existent quantities, Avid SC48 with its blue screen (HDD failure) and A&H T112 with broken surface Switches or Main CPU flaws are more "common" somehow than the Yamaha's desks failures. Yamaha's primarily failure was 90% related to Fader worn out errors or defective Led diodes on the surface boards. Fader environment proof was corrected in the new generation of desks (2009) and available as drop-in spare/upgrade part for earlier models.

And there's one particular local Sound Co that has 2 M7CL desks since 2006 which have suffered every imaginable accident in the process of use or transporting from 220V ground loops, heavy rain (beer) or sun exposures, transporting truck flipping, riot flying bottles impacts and a lot of misuse. I've replaced it's Touch Panel (AST-104) 3 times for different reasons, one 10.4 Sharp LCD screen, repaired 10 input channels, half dozen of DA1 (OMNI Output) boards, bended or broken Rotary Encoder controls and even an USB Hub connectors and these desks are still running shows.

Now, in terms of overall sound quality and available resources, I like better the T112 V1.90 over the LS9 or M7CL.

Thank you for addressing the forum topic!
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Danny J. Avila on January 08, 2013, 08:46:48 am
Thank you for addressing the forum topic!

Sorry Mr. Baron

I specifically said "I like better the T112 V1.90 over the LS9 or M7CL" because you've previously mentioned this choice options. PM5D (PM1D) and CL Series are way different stories.


Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Jim Baron on January 08, 2013, 08:58:56 am
Sorry Mr. Baron

I specifically said "I like better the T112 V1.90 over the LS9 or M7CL" because you've previously mentioned this choice options. PM5D (PM1D) and CL Series are way different stories.

That's cool.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Craig Montgomery on January 10, 2013, 06:22:08 pm
How is it "Asian" or "Japanese" to strive for linearity and accuracy in your preamps?  There may be something darker at work here, and I've heard it in person too.

When dudes want to hook their cheap external clock to the 1D and bitch about "Japanese preamps", somehow the show never ends up sounding very good.  Hmmm.

I don't know how a console or system sounds until I've mixed on it.  If I'm at a show and I like the output of the sound reinforcement system, I make some inferences:

1.  The content is good.
2.  There is a good system, well-tuned and deployed by:
3.  Good sound humans.
4.  The person in the big chair knows what they're doing.

Notice nowhere on that list is "boy, that console must have warm, punchy preamps."

Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: brian maddox on January 10, 2013, 07:26:11 pm
I don't know how a console or system sounds until I've mixed on it.  If I'm at a show and I like the output of the sound reinforcement system, I make some inferences:

1.  The content is good.
2.  There is a good system, well-tuned and deployed by:
3.  Good sound humans.
4.  The person in the big chair knows what they're doing.

Notice nowhere on that list is "boy, that console must have warm, punchy preamps."

+11000

which is, i guess, still only 1.  but you get the idea....
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Nick Pires on January 11, 2013, 09:41:05 am
How is it "Asian" or "Japanese" to strive for linearity and accuracy in your preamps?  There may be something darker at work here, and I've heard it in person too.

When dudes want to hook their cheap external clock to the 1D and bitch about "Japanese preamps", somehow the show never ends up sounding very good.  Hmmm.

I don't know how a console or system sounds until I've mixed on it.  If I'm at a show and I like the output of the sound reinforcement system, I make some inferences:

1.  The content is good.
2.  There is a good system, well-tuned and deployed by:
3.  Good sound humans.
4.  The person in the big chair knows what they're doing.

Notice nowhere on that list is "boy, that console must have warm, punchy preamps."

Awesome.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Christian Tepfer on January 11, 2013, 10:47:53 am
How is it "Asian" or "Japanese" to strive for linearity and accuracy in your preamps?  There may be something darker at work here, and I've heard it in person too.

When dudes want to hook their cheap external clock to the 1D and bitch about "Japanese preamps", somehow the show never ends up sounding very good.  Hmmm.

I don't know how a console or system sounds until I've mixed on it.  If I'm at a show and I like the output of the sound reinforcement system, I make some inferences:

1.  The content is good.
2.  There is a good system, well-tuned and deployed by:
3.  Good sound humans.
4.  The person in the big chair knows what they're doing.

Notice nowhere on that list is "boy, that console must have warm, punchy preamps."
full acq

Sidenote:

There are very few mentions of side-by-side life sound comparisons of different desks in the same environment. Comparisons are almost always based on different gigs, so input signals and PA/room combinations and even the moods of the soundperson are different. Even when we would compare side-by-side we would have some variance in workflow on different desks.

Comparing 2 channels into different desks seem to bring up only marginal differences.

For me the big differences are in the workflow anyway. A console should not "sound" in any way, a signal flow without any processing should end up in the same signal as the source signal. In my experience most consoles are just fine in that regard. The same is true for preamps, I don't want my preamps to sound, they should amplify what's getting in linear, nothing more, nothing less.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 11, 2013, 11:27:16 am
full acq

Sidenote:

There are very few mentions of side-by-side life sound comparisons of different desks in the same environment. Comparisons are almost always based on different gigs, so input signals and PA/room combinations and even the moods of the soundperson are different. Even when we would compare side-by-side we would have some variance in workflow on different desks.

Comparing 2 channels into different desks seem to bring up only marginal differences.

For me the big differences are in the workflow anyway. A console should not "sound" in any way, a signal flow without any processing should end up in the same signal as the source signal. In my experience most consoles are just fine in that regard. The same is true for preamps, I don't want my preamps to sound, they should amplify what's getting in linear, nothing more, nothing less.

There was recently a direct console vs. console shootout performed up the road from me involving the X-32 vs some other digital platforms. I do not recall reading about huge audible differences, and didn't expect them.

They're consoles, not microphones.

JR
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Geri O'Neil on January 11, 2013, 11:59:06 am
full acq

Sidenote:

There are very few mentions of side-by-side life sound comparisons of different desks in the same environment. Comparisons are almost always based on different gigs, so input signals and PA/room combinations and even the moods of the soundperson are different. Even when we would compare side-by-side we would have some variance in workflow on different desks.

Comparing 2 channels into different desks seem to bring up only marginal differences.

For me the big differences are in the workflow anyway. A console should not "sound" in any way, a signal flow without any processing should end up in the same signal as the source signal. In my experience most consoles are just fine in that regard. The same is true for preamps, I don't want my preamps to sound, they should amplify what's getting in linear, nothing more, nothing less.

In fact, I recently did just that.

I had our PM5D, the M7CL, the newly-aquired CL5, and the (borrowed) Behringer X32 in our shop all set up side-by-side with my Yamaha powered studio speakers (forgot the model, doesn't matter for this post) and spent a day listening to all of my favorite tunes in WAV format from my MacBook Pro with that cool little Peavey USB device used for getting balanced output from a notebook. I plan to do it all again soon, but with a borrowed SC48 along with the others.

And from what I've seen of peoples' reactions to this sort of activity over the many years I've been around here, there's no way in HELL I'm going to divulge what I perceived to be my findings of this little experiment. I satisfied my curiosity and that's all that matters. Except for a couple of "interesting observations", it just wasn't that big of a deal.

Geri O
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 11, 2013, 12:46:42 pm
In fact, I recently did just that.

I had our PM5D, the M7CL, the newly-aquired CL5, and the (borrowed) Behringer X32 in our shop all set up side-by-side with my Yamaha powered studio speakers (forgot the model, doesn't matter for this post) and spent a day listening to all of my favorite tunes in WAV format from my MacBook Pro with that cool little Peavey USB device used for getting balanced output from a notebook. I plan to do it all again soon, but with a borrowed SC48 along with the others.

And from what I've seen of peoples' reactions to this sort of activity over the many years I've been around here, there's no way in HELL I'm going to divulge what I perceived to be my findings of this little experiment. I satisfied my curiosity and that's all that matters. Except for a couple of "interesting observations", it just wasn't that big of a deal.

Geri O

Geri, Geri, Geri...  any audiophool will tell you, using that Peavey interface in your signal path will discredit any serious listening test... That Meridian based design will slow down the digital audio to a southern drawl...  8)

But I am not an audiophool so rock on....  ;D

JR
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Geri O'Neil on January 11, 2013, 01:12:04 pm
Geri, Geri, Geri...  any audiophool will tell you, using that Peavey interface in your signal path will discredit any serious listening test... That Meridian based design will slow down the digital audio to a southern drawl...  8)

But I am not an audiophool so rock on....  ;D

JR

Hell, I was pointed to that thing by a participant here!...:o))

Now, if you ("you", being the general population, not anyone in particular) want to actually hear an audible difference in audio quality, A/B the output of this thing (ahh, hell, why not look it up, where is that briefcase? Ahh, here it is, the Peavey USB-P) with the headphone output jack of a notebook (well, mine, anyway). You can hear a difference there.

Geri O
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 11, 2013, 02:04:25 pm
Hell, I was pointed to that thing by a participant here!...:o))

Now, if you want to actually hear an audible difference in audio quality, A/B the output of this thing (ahh, hell, why not look it up, where is that briefcase? Ahh, here it is, the Peavey USB-P) with the headphone output jack of a notebook (well, mine, anyway). You can hear a difference there.

Geri O

Yup, that just points out the difficulty in trying to parse out minor qualitative differences  when the path is populated by weak links all around.

no worries.

JR
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Bob Leonard on January 11, 2013, 04:43:52 pm
Facts remain that any and every console can have a "soul" of it's own. Also a fact that every component attached to it can change the final output, not to mention operator taste (or non taste), etc. when tuning the system. So in my book Geri's test is valid, so come on old man. Poney up and let us know how you feel.

One last question though. When I tell people my APB is one of the best sounding analog boards on the face of the planet, everyone agree's. So in light of that does this all boil down to only analog boards sounding different, and all digital boards sound the same?? I don't think so, but what do I know at my age.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Caleb Dueck on January 11, 2013, 06:27:52 pm
This thread is about subtle, yet noticeable differences - not about differences so drastic that "Brand Y" is unusable. 

Yes there are differences, yes many can and have heard them, no it's not a big deal other than online banter and personal preference. 
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Danny J. Avila on January 11, 2013, 07:02:57 pm
Well Mr. Roberts, I kind of accidentally had to A/B test a Peavey VSX-26 Loudspeaker system controller when the club's dbx DR260 died in the sound check time and I was really impressed by the resources available in the Peavey fixture like All Pass filters and Signal Generator options (Pink, White & Sine). Using this VSX replacement with the same preset for a KF695z turned the overall sound into another system. As I couldn't check if the KF695z preset on the DR260 was the suggested by the manufacturer (dbx's LCD screen was blank and no sound came from it) and never modified/tweaked, I think it's not fair to speak in details about the differences but I honestly have to admit that it was a great improvement in the system's performance just by replacing the DSP.  ::)

But the Club's owner though a Peavey component was not professional gear to be proud of and replaced the VSX-26 in the next week with a new DR480. I never went back to that Club but the local system operator whom I talked to some weeks later said then that he perceived a better sound when the Peavey device was installed.


Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 11, 2013, 08:26:37 pm
Well Mr. Roberts, I kind of accidentally had to A/B test a Peavey VSX-26 Loudspeaker system controller when the club's dbx DR260 died in the sound check time and I was really impressed by the resources available in the Peavey fixture like All Pass filters and Signal Generator options (Pink, White & Sine). Using this VSX replacement with the same preset for a KF695z turned the overall sound into another system. As I couldn't check if the KF695z preset on the DR260 was the suggested by the manufacturer (dbx's LCD screen was blank and no sound came from it) and never modified/tweaked, I think it's not fair to speak in details about the differences but I honestly have to admit that it was a great improvement in the system's performance just by replacing the DSP.  ::)

But the Club's owner though a Peavey component was not professional gear to be proud of and replaced the VSX-26 in the next week with a new DR480. I never went back to that Club but the local system operator whom I talked to some weeks later said then that he perceived a better sound when the Peavey device was installed.

I have no idea about the VSX it was after my time, but just to keep the apples with apples and oranges with oranges, a loudspeaker controller that contains complex filters and EQ, is designed to alter the sound so not much like a console that is supposed to slice and dice but not change the sound.

@Bob , everybody knows that APB uses magic so the output sounds exactly like the input only better... (it has to be magic, because sounding exactly the same as the input would sound just like the input. )

JR
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Danny J. Avila on January 11, 2013, 11:14:59 pm
Mr O'Neil, have you tried to A/B the PM5D switching its Word Clock from 96kHz to 48kHz?

I've never done the test but it's interesting how many comments I've heard about using an external 48kHz Word Clock source on the M7CL and how different it sounds then. Subjective? Noticeable but unmeasurable?

 :D
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Justice C. Bigler on January 11, 2013, 11:21:07 pm
Mr O'Neil, have you tried to A/B the PM5D switching its Word Clock from 96kHz to 48kHz?

I have. Could not hear any difference. But maybe that was just because of our shitty EAW speakers and all the HVAC noise in the room too.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 12, 2013, 03:20:14 am
Mr O'Neil, have you tried to A/B the PM5D switching its Word Clock from 96kHz to 48kHz?

I've never done the test but it's interesting how many comments I've heard about using an external 48kHz Word Clock source on the M7CL and how different it sounds then. Subjective? Noticeable but unmeasurable?

 :D

My little story... provided M7 for national act in casino show.  FOH mixerperson has external clock to patch, and extolls the audible virtues of this method.  Unit connected and I hit "play" on on the CD machine.  He goes on about how much more open and warm it sounds.  At length, he goes on.  Finally I point out that the clock source had yet to be changed on the desk.  It was on the internal clock.

He fooled himself.  I had to go for coffee to prolong the delicious irony. :)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Brad Weber on January 12, 2013, 08:00:40 am
My little story... provided M7 for national act in casino show.  FOH mixerperson has external clock to patch, and extolls the audible virtues of this method.  Unit connected and I hit "play" on on the CD machine.  He goes on about how much more open and warm it sounds.  At length, he goes on.  Finally I point out that the clock source had yet to be changed on the desk.  It was on the internal clock.

He fooled himself.  I had to go for coffee to prolong the delicious irony. :)
But perhaps that is also the point, what matters is what people perceive and thus you introduce that huge variable of the receiver being a human with all the related foibles and prejudices.  If someone 'hears' a difference then that is a real factor regardless of whether others share that perception or if it can be measured, but what many seem to forget is that unless it is a perception shared by most others then it is also purely a personal opinion and nothing more.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Andrew Broughton on January 12, 2013, 12:56:31 pm
Just in case anyone here is in the camp of those who once said that the Yamahas sound better when externally clocked, make sure you read and understand this article (http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun10/articles/masterclocks.htm).
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Justice C. Bigler on January 12, 2013, 01:34:36 pm
Well, I do that if you don't have the right clock set, it will royally fuck over all your other efforts.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Chris Lynch on January 12, 2013, 03:09:04 pm
My experience with the M7 and an external clock is that is does behave slightly differently. In my opinion it does not make it "sound" any better.

In my opinion some engineers think desk A sounds better than desk B because they use desk A regularly. They know how to get the best out of desk A. I think this is the same with using an external clock. If you use one regularly you get used to how the desk behaves, so in turn think it sounds better.

I have been using the M7 since it was first released and I must have done over 1000 shows on them now. In my opinion I never have a problem getting a decent sound out of one. I see other engineers doing strange things like running the gain in the red and then saying the M7 sounds terrible. I know the desk well, I don't for example know the I-Live nearly as well. To me its not a bad desk but I can get a better sound out on an M7 (because I know it much better). It has nothing to do with which desks pre amps sound better.

So to answer the original question yes I have plenty of love for the "sound" of Yamaha digital consoles. I have had some great magazine reviews about the sound of gigs when I have been using a Yamaha desk, so they get a thumbs up from me.
 
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Tim Weaver on January 13, 2013, 04:51:51 pm
The temperature and humidity of a given day will alter the perceived sound more than any clock source or preamp design. Think about that one for a while.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Geri O'Neil on January 13, 2013, 06:16:17 pm
The temperature and humidity of a given day will alter the perceived sound more than any clock source or preamp design. Think about that one for a while.

Now how much fun would THAT be to argue about on a live audio forum?...

 :o    ;D

Geri O
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Scott Helmke on January 13, 2013, 08:30:18 pm
The temperature and humidity of a given day will alter the perceived sound more than any clock source or preamp design. Think about that one for a while.

Which is why every Meyer Galileo processor comes with a free digital temperature/humidity gauge.

No kidding. 
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Darren Scaresbrook on January 13, 2013, 08:47:48 pm
The temperature and humidity of a given day will alter the perceived sound more than any clock source or preamp design. Think about that one for a while.

and, when I plot a system with easefocus, I can enter temperature, barometric pressure and humidity.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Matthew Brown on February 05, 2013, 03:22:00 pm
Last year I was asked to mix monitors for Anthrax at Yankee Stadium in NY for the Big 4 Show. The FOH engineer told me that I would be using the PM5D that was set up for Megadeth and Slayer. I decided to bring my own LS9-32. I had the console pre-configured, running my ipad w/ stagemix, had 15 minutes to soundcheck and then showtime. Stagemix made it possible to do this soundcheck pretty quickly and accurate. Everything went just perfect and on time. The band was very happy. Btw.. I heard there were a few problems with that PM5D.

Did I care about the A/D - D/A or preamps? NOPE. Not for one second.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Josh Hana on February 05, 2013, 04:24:17 pm
Last year I was asked to mix monitors for Anthrax at Yankee Stadium in NY for the Big 4 Show. The FOH engineer told me that I would be using the PM5D that was set up for Megadeth and Slayer. I decided to bring my own LS9-32. I had the console pre-configured, running my ipad w/ stagemix, had 15 minutes to soundcheck and then showtime. Stagemix made it possible to do this soundcheck pretty quickly and accurate. Everything went just perfect and on time. The band was very happy. Btw.. I heard there were a few problems with that PM5D.

Did I care about the A/D - D/A or preamps? NOPE. Not for one second.

I find myself caring very little about the "sound" of a console when I'm doing Monitors. It's about me and the band, not the audience or PMs or anyone else. I want to be able to do my job as easily and painlessly as possible. I know the M7 inside and out, and don't mind when that's the only choice for monitors.

If I'm mixing FOH, it's another story.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Riley Casey on February 05, 2013, 05:21:04 pm
Just finished a show with a touring act that specified a 5D at FOH and a Venue at monitors.  Our monitor guy was not up on the Profile but he worked hard to get up to speed to handle the opening acts.  Headline crew arrives and the monitor guy turns out to be their usual FOH guy and he had never used a Venue before and didn't have the show on a stick from the regular monitor engineer.  The FOH guy was strictly analog and had never used a 5D before. It was a long night.   ::)

I don't hear nearly the differences between console brands that many golden ears do but I certainly appreciate the differences in usability that different design approaches yield.  I was really stunned to discover that the rented Venue consoles had quarter inch jacks for i/o at the local rack.  It suddenly felt like hooking up a Mackie mixer.

I find myself caring very little about the "sound" of a console when I'm doing Monitors. It's about me and the band, not the audience or PMs or anyone else. I want to be able to do my job as easily and painlessly as possible. I know the M7 inside and out, and don't mind when that's the only choice for monitors.

If I'm mixing FOH, it's another story.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on February 05, 2013, 06:05:08 pm
Last year I was asked to mix monitors for Anthrax at Yankee Stadium in NY for the Big 4 Show. The FOH engineer told me that I would be using the PM5D that was set up for Megadeth and Slayer. I decided to bring my own LS9-32. I had the console pre-configured, running my ipad w/ stagemix, had 15 minutes to soundcheck and then showtime. Stagemix made it possible to do this soundcheck pretty quickly and accurate. Everything went just perfect and on time. The band was very happy. Btw.. I heard there were a few problems with that PM5D.

Did I care about the A/D - D/A or preamps? NOPE. Not for one second.

Having provided production for Anthrax a few years ago, I can understand that.

At the moment we a doing a musical, 60 plus inputs - 24 radios plus an orchestra. In this situation I do care about the AD’s /DA’s, using AES EBU out of the desk into the processor etc…. and yes you can hear the difference.

The last musical we did had 100 plus inputs. We used an M7 for the radios and an iLive 144 for the rest. We had an opportunity to compare; everyone could hear the difference.

FWIW, and it may be my imagination … the LS9 sounds better than the M7, but I have never had an opportunity to directly compared the two.

Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Tim Weaver on February 05, 2013, 07:18:31 pm
Having provided production for Anthrax a few years ago, I can understand that.

At the moment we a doing a musical, 60 plus inputs - 24 radios plus an orchestra. In this situation I do care about the AD’s /DA’s, using AES EBU out of the desk into the processor etc…. and yes you can hear the difference.

The last musical we did had 100 plus inputs. We used an M7 for the radios and an iLive 144 for the rest. We had an opportunity to compare; everyone could hear the difference.

FWIW, and it may be my imagination … the LS9 sounds better than the M7, but I have never had an opportunity to directly compared the two.

I think the 01v96, LS9, and M7 all do about the same job. The 5D is where the big quality jump happens.

Oddly enough, I have recordings from my old 03d that sound better than all of them to my ears!
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on February 05, 2013, 07:30:18 pm
I think the 01v96, LS9, and M7 all do about the same job. The 5D is where the big quality jump happens.

Oddly enough, I have recordings from my old 03d that sound better than all of them to my ears!

+1 ... The 5D always sounded fine to me.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Danny J. Avila on February 05, 2013, 09:01:21 pm
...FWIW, and it may be my imagination … the LS9 sounds better than the M7, but I have never had an opportunity to directly compared the two...

Physically, the LS9 and M7CL are both equipped with the same HAAD (Preamp + Gain stage + A/D conversion) board and DA1 (D/A conversion + E-balanced +18dB or 24dB selectable OMNI output) boards. The main difference in this case is in the DSP board which in the M7CL design hosts twice the DSP engine devices as the LS9.

 :)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Peter Morris on February 05, 2013, 09:59:56 pm
Physically, the LS9 and M7CL are both equipped with the same HAAD (Preamp + Gain stage + A/D conversion) board and DA1 (D/A conversion + E-balanced +18dB or 24dB selectable OMNI output) boards. The main difference in this case is in the DSP board which in the M7CL design hosts twice the DSP engine devices as the LS9.

 :)

Thanks Dannyavila, I always suspected that was the case, but for some reason I never had quite as much of an issue with the LS9 ….
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on February 05, 2013, 10:20:29 pm
Just finished a show with a touring act that specified a 5D at FOH and a Venue at monitors.  Our monitor guy was not up on the Profile but he worked hard to get up to speed to handle the opening acts.  Headline crew arrives and the monitor guy turns out to be their usual FOH guy and he had never used a Venue before and didn't have the show on a stick from the regular monitor engineer.  The FOH guy was strictly analog and had never used a 5D before. It was a long night.   ::)

I don't hear nearly the differences between console brands that many golden ears do but I certainly appreciate the differences in usability that different design approaches yield.  I was really stunned to discover that the rented Venue consoles had quarter inch jacks for i/o at the local rack.  It suddenly felt like hooking up a Mackie mixer.

The 1/4" TRS jacks were the only way to get the needed connector density.  It's fully balanced.  Does a non-XLR patch bay give you the same feelings?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Justice C. Bigler on February 06, 2013, 02:21:15 am
+1 ... The 5D always sounded fine to me.

We're talking about the RH version here?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Justice C. Bigler on February 06, 2013, 02:21:47 am
Does a non-XLR patch bay give you the same feelings?

Yes...?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Josh Hana on February 06, 2013, 09:42:54 am
Yes...?

In a live situation, yeah.
We only ever have 1/4" cables as spares for backline when we rent it out.
We built an XLR panel for the Venue FOH rack but it threw off a BE once because he assumed being XLR, that they were mic inputs but they're strictly line level ins.

I've worked with other rentals that send out the FOH rack un-modded with all 1/4" and don't really mind either way since I carry adapters, but once you actually need all 8 of those outputs, it's easy to run out of 1/4 to XLRm
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Riley Casey on February 06, 2013, 12:55:37 pm
Real mixing consoles use XLR connectors for primary in/outputs.   ;D
I'm not sure how the connector density is of significance.  There appeared to be ample room to afford the two or three extra rack spaces required for XLR connectors.  Not a huge deal, just a surprise.  I had to dig deep in the shop to find the required xlr to phone patch cable count as we had three Venues in play that night between two shows and at least one was almost maxed out with feeds to and from video, CD deck, iPod, house records, press mults, yadda, yadda, yadda.

The 1/4" TRS jacks were the only way to get the needed connector density.  It's fully balanced.  Does a non-XLR patch bay give you the same feelings?
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: brian maddox on February 06, 2013, 02:18:59 pm
Real mixing consoles use XLR connectors for primary in/outputs.   ;D
I'm not sure how the connector density is of significance.  There appeared to be ample room to afford the two or three extra rack spaces required for XLR connectors.  Not a huge deal, just a surprise.  I had to dig deep in the shop to find the required xlr to phone patch cable count as we had three Venues in play that night between two shows and at least one was almost maxed out with feeds to and from video, CD deck, iPod, house records, press mults, yadda, yadda, yadda.

i of course, being a longtime Yamaha User like yourself, agree with you.  but this is a reflection of one of the big historical design differences between the Yamaha desks and most of the british boards.  Yamaha standardized on XLR a very long time ago as the input/output connector of choice, regardless of mic or line level signals, and only used TRS for insert points.  British desks have long used TRS for line level inputs and XLR for mic inputs, and often a mixture of the two for outputs.

So, if you've been a heavy Yamaha user, you associate TRS inputs with Mackie/MI mixers.  if you're a long-time Soundcraft/Midas/etc. user, you don't.  No right or wrong.  just a thing that is.  This one goes right alongside the Channel On/Off versus Channel Mute thing.  Us Yammie guys will always prefer the former, while others will always see the logic of the latter.

of course, we're right and they're wrong.  but i digress.... :)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Frederik Rosenkjær on February 06, 2013, 03:25:11 pm
Between TRS and XLR it IS a matter of right and wrong. XLR is right, TRS is wrong. Think about it; There is ALWAYS problems with TRS/phone jack. Call to the stand: Headphone- and guitar cables. I rest my case.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: brian maddox on February 06, 2013, 05:42:37 pm
Between TRS and XLR it IS a matter of right and wrong. XLR is right, TRS is wrong. Think about it; There is ALWAYS problems with TRS/phone jack. Call to the stand: Headphone- and guitar cables. I rest my case.

i agree with you.  i was just trying to be nice...  :)

back in my sound co. days, many pieces of equipment that were an excellent value were not purchased solely based on the lack of XLR connectors on them.  One, because it just wasn't 'Pro'.  and two, because everything in the shop was standardized to XLR and adapters suck....
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: alan hamilton on February 07, 2013, 06:20:34 am
Just finished a show with a touring act that specified a 5D at FOH and a Venue at monitors.  Our monitor guy was not up on the Profile but he worked hard to get up to speed to handle the opening acts.  Headline crew arrives and the monitor guy turns out to be their usual FOH guy and he had never used a Venue before and didn't have the show on a stick from the regular monitor engineer.  The FOH guy was strictly analog and had never used a 5D before. It was a long night.   ::)


I think if I saw a 5D at FOH and a Venue in monitor world I'd think someone got the desks placed wrong... ;)
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: Andrew Broughton on February 07, 2013, 06:27:54 am
I think if I saw a 5D at FOH and a Venue in monitor world I'd think someone got the desks placed wrong... ;)
I've seen that combo several times.
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: alan hamilton on February 07, 2013, 06:32:37 am
I've seen that combo several times.

I've seen it plenty... It just is not something I'd do for myself...
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: kristianjohnsen on February 07, 2013, 08:12:44 am
i of course, being a longtime Yamaha User like yourself, agree with you.  but this is a reflection of one of the big historical design differences between the Yamaha desks and most of the british boards.  Yamaha standardized on XLR a very long time ago as the input/output connector of choice, regardless of mic or line level signals, and only used TRS for insert points.  British desks have long used TRS for line level inputs and XLR for mic inputs, and often a mixture of the two for outputs.

So, if you've been a heavy Yamaha user, you associate TRS inputs with Mackie/MI mixers.  if you're a long-time Soundcraft/Midas/etc. user, you don't.  No right or wrong.  just a thing that is.  This one goes right alongside the Channel On/Off versus Channel Mute thing.  Us Yammie guys will always prefer the former, while others will always see the logic of the latter.

of course, we're right and they're wrong.  but i digress.... :)

Actually, Yamaha's choice of connector type for various purposes is not as black-or-white, nor as consistent, as you might think (even accross several models in the same range):

DM 2000:
http://vintageking.com/media/catalog/product/y/a/yamaha_dm2000vcm_2.jpg

DM 1000:
http://www.futurestyle.org/archives/images/y/yamaha/dm1000rear.jpg

02r96:
http://www.dv247.com/assets/products/gallery/64477_g7.jpg

01v96:
http://medias.audiofanzine.com/images/normal/yamaha-01v96-v2-439727.jpg
Title: Re: Why no love for the 'sound' of Yamaha digital consoles?
Post by: brian maddox on February 07, 2013, 05:34:06 pm
Actually, Yamaha's choice of connector type for various purposes is not as black-or-white, nor as consistent, as you might think (even accross several models in the same range):

DM 2000:
http://vintageking.com/media/catalog/product/y/a/yamaha_dm2000vcm_2.jpg

DM 1000:
http://www.futurestyle.org/archives/images/y/yamaha/dm1000rear.jpg

02r96:
http://www.dv247.com/assets/products/gallery/64477_g7.jpg

01v96:
http://medias.audiofanzine.com/images/normal/yamaha-01v96-v2-439727.jpg

i was referring to the PM desks, going all the way back to the PM1000.  so pretty much all the Yamaha Pro-level Live Consoles.  i agree that once you get into the post-production and lower end desks, the standard changes significantly.