Yamaha PM5000 Mixing Consoles

YAMAHA Updated: 2007-10-05
Yamaha PM5000 Mixing Consoles

In the 30 years or so that have elapsed since the field of "sound reinforcement" began to emerge from the simple PA systems that were the norm throughout the 60's and early 70's, Yamaha has made significant strides toward perfection. When the very first PM console was introduced way back in '72, it was a front-line contender in the field, with superior performance and features. The same could be said of the PM1000, then the PM2000 … right up to the PM4000 which has become the de-facto industry standard. Each new model in the PM series has traditionally built upon and augmented the strengths of its predecessor, adding new features and functionality that became the templates that others would follow - the matrix mix system introduced on the PM1000 and the PM3000's VCAs are perfect examples. In a sense Yamaha has led the field of modern console design and production all the way. The same can be said of the incredible PM1D all-digital console, which has essentially defined the role of digital technology in sound reinforcement for the foreseeable future.

The evolution continues to this day.

The PM5000 is simply the most advanced analog sound reinforcement console in its class. It is a "pure analog" console in the audio sense, and it borrows freely from the world of digital technology to give you unprecedented control flexibility and efficiency. The PM5000 is the culmination of Yamaha's extensive experience and expertise in many areas - professional console design and production, control interface design, and of course sound itself. There's really only one choice if you need the best in terms of capacity, versatility, reliability and, most importantly, unmatched sound quality: the Yamaha PM5000.

The Basics …
Advanced Features That Set the PM5000 Apart

If you're familiar with the industry-standard PM4000 console, you'll feel right at home with the PM5000. All the features that you want and need are still there, but with some significant improvements. The basic control layout has been retained, with a few modifications to accommodate the PM5000's new features. Great emphasis has been placed on the tactile aspects of the PM5000 interface to ensure the smoothest, most efficient possible operation. This section covers some of the innovations that can take your mixes to the next level.

Analog Evolution Continues - Advanced Circuitry and Sound
The PM5000 takes full advantage of the latest analog technology - both in terms of the devices and components used and the way in which they are used in refined new circuitry - to deliver unprecedented sonic quality. But achieving such performance is not easy, because there are no simple equations that describe the way a circuit will sound once it is built. It's a process of trial and error - build, test, listen, and repeat until the sound is right. This is both technology and art.

Thorough Grounding Measures for Maximum Performance
In a console the size of the PM5000 grounding is critical - and not only to minimize hum and noise. Proper grounding can mean the difference between merely "good" and "great" sound. The PM design team has gone to unprecedented lengths in the PM5000 to maximize performance through no-compromise grounding measures such as the use of a solid, seamless plate of 3-millimeter thick high-purity copper running the entire width of the console for the main system and mix buss ground. Other "tweaks" include locating ground lines adjacent to audio lines for maximum noise cancellation, and of course totally separating and isolating the digital ground from the critical analog ground.

Top-performance Head Amplifiers
It's safe to say that an overwhelming portion of the sound quality of any console is determined by its head amplifiers. It is here that the greatest amount of gain is applied, and it is therefore this stage that has the greatest potential to degrade the delicate audio signals it must handle. Special care and attention was given to head amp design in the PM5000. The approach was to simplify the circuitry as much as possible in order to minimize signal deterioration, and use the finest parts available throughout. The results are audible - you won't hear anything but the input signal, with every delicate nuance fully intact.

35-bus Configuration for FOH and Monitor Applications
The 35 buses that make up this extraordinarily versatile configuration include 12 STEREO Auxiliary buses, 8 GROUP/Auxiliary buses, a stereo buss, and mono (center) bus. The 8 GROUP/Auxiliary buses can be switched for group or auxiliary operation in pairs. Whether configured as 12 STEREO and 8 GROUP buses for FOH operation, or as 32 (12 STEREO + 8 MONO) Auxiliary buses for monitor applications, you get total convenience, quality, and control. When set up as group buses you can select either the input-channel pre- or post-pan signal as the source. And since the STEREO Auxiliary master sections feature L+R switches, they can be used as mono sends, as required.

12 VCA GROUPS and 12 (4 STEREO + 8 MONO) Mix Matrix
Another Yamaha innovation that has been expanded in the PM5000 is VCA grouping. 12 VCA Group switches next to each channel fader enable that channel to be assigned to and controlled by one or more of the console's full-length VCA Master Faders. The VCA Master Faders control the assigned input channels directly as well as the related post-fader auxiliary send levels. And, of course, the PM5000 employs the finest VCAs available for utterly transparent control with no degradation in signal-to-noise performance. There is also a 4 STEREO + 8 MONO matrix mix section for all 35 buses. In mono terms you have a total of 16 possible matrix sub-mixes for large system applications.

Variable Sum Gain Controls
Previously, when overload or clipping occurred at a console's summing amplifiers - prior to the master faders on all buses - it was necessary to adjust the input channel fader and/or head amplifier levels of all related channels. Yamaha's new SUM GAIN control provides variable 0 through 20dB attenuation immediately prior to the corresponding summing amplifiers, eliminating the need to readjust numerous channel level settings. Another advantage of this feature is that optimum input levels can be maintained for peak sonic performance.

Standard L-R or L-C-R Panning with Center-Side Ratio Control
Even the PM5000's main STEREO and MONO buses can be used in more than one way. All mono input channels can be assigned to the STEREO master bus with normal L-R panning and/or the MONO master bus. They can also be assigned for L-C-R panning using the MONO bus as the "C" bus. When L-C-R panning is engaged the CSR (Center-Side Ratio) control can be used to adjust the L-C-R panning curve for optimum positioning of sound in any venue.

Refined EQ Response
The PM5000's 4-band fully-parametric channel equalizers have been refined and updated to provide the kind of warm, natural response today's engineers prefer. The eminently "musical" response of these equalizers means you achieve the sound you want easily without harshness or "edginess".

Advanced Control Capabilities
Digital Technology Where It Really Shines

Although the PM5000 is a fully analog console in all audio-related areas, digital technology provides some profound advantages for control. So in a sense the PM5000 is a hybrid, giving you the finest analog audio performance and features combined with state-of-the-art digital control - much of which was created for and proven in the PM1D digital console - for a truly refined mixing experience.

Digital Scene Storage & Recall
While handling all audio signals in the analog domain, the PM5000 offers advanced digital scene recall capability to handle today's varied and often complex entertainment requirements. Recallable parameters include channel ON/OFF switching, assignments, and fader positions (see chart below). Up to 990 complete scenes - with user-assigned titles - can be stored in the PM5000's on-board memory. And because motor faders, illuminated switches and LED indicators immediately respond to the recalled parameters, console status can be visually confirmed in an instant. The RECALL SAFE function that has proven to be a valuable feature on the all-digital PM1D has also been included in the PM5000 scene recall system.

External Memory for Extra Capacity & Data Portability
In addition to the 990-scene on-board memory, PM5000 scenes can be saved to plug-in compact flash memory modules. In addition to providing unlimited storage capacity, this also means that scene data can be easily transferred from console to console.

Motor Faders
The PM5000 features high-performance motor faders on all input channels and VCA masters for instant scene level recall - recall a scene from the PM5000's scene memory and the faders are right where they're supposed to be. A single engineer can now make fullboard level changes by simply pressing a button - and get the levels right every time.

MIDI Automation Control
MIDI program change messages can be used for scene recall. If you need more than basic scene automation, MIDI control change messages can be used to control fader settings and all other scene parameters in real time.

GPI Control
A D-Sub25 Pin connector provides 8 control outputs for fader start/stop control of external playback or recording devices, as well as scene recall. Three control inputs are provided for scene memory increment and decrement, plus talkback switching.

Comprehensive Software Implementation
The PM5000's digital features go way beyond simple scene storage and recall, Utility functions let you specify how individual channels and the overall console will function in quite fine detail. There are also plenty of "safety" features to prevent accidents during a performance - recall safe, fader safe, mute safe, solo safe, memory protection, lock, and more. There's even a preview function that lets you check and edit scenes before actually recalling a scene. Monitor time alignment is made easy by a built in DSP delay stage that can be programmed in time, feet, or meter units.