REVIEW: Yamaha's Audioversity: Sound Solutions, Part 1
Yamaha’s Audioversity in Vegas was an audio engineer’s wet dream...
From FOH and monitor mixing tips with some of sound’s best ears to how to’s on using EtherSound to network for live sound and console maintenance, the two day blowout on everything pro audio gave engineers and the aspiring real hands-on time in front of Yamaha’s newest gear, and one-on-one advice from top pros like Dan Dugan and Monty Lee Wilkes.
For the gigging musician, local band, or small church setups, Yamaha presented “Sound Solutions for Less,” a rundown of Yamaha’s more affordable digital powered mixers and speakers. Presented by Mark Rush, the class ran through not only all of the lower cost options, but demoed sample setups for different price ranges so attendees could hear the setup and see the size for portability.
First up was the StagePas Series, which, since it first came out, I have always thought has done wonders on the small PA portability side. Mark boasted that the StagePas is designed to go from rolling in to up and running in roughly 3 minutes. Though there wasn’t a demo of this, it seems completely doable based on its design.
You have two choices on the StagePas, the 500 - a 10 channel powered mixer (4 XLR ins) at 250 watts with built-in phantom power, 2 band Channel EQ, SPX digital reverb and an auto compressor/limiter. It comes with 2 10” two-way passive speakers, and the mixer stores in the back of the speaker with the cables for total portability. The MSRP on the 500 is $1,249.
For smaller setups, the StagePas 300 serves up 8 channels at 160 watts and the same basic features, with an MSRP of $789. Both of these units are designed for small footprint, fast setup and easy teardown, and offer the ability to mount the mixer on a speaker stand so you can have it right in front of you. And both sounded great. For solo, duos, or small acoustic acts, the StagePas series is a great option.
Next up was the EMX series of powered mixers. There are lots of choices in this series: two different flat consoles, and three different configs on the box style. Both of the flat consoles, the EMX5016CF and the EMX5014C deliver 500 watts, built in dual SPX effect processors, 9-band digital graphic EQ, and compressor with either 16 or 14 channels. The 5016CF also includes automatic feedback suppression, which was another highlight at the conference, as it seems to be something Yamaha has been pretty focused on lately. MSRP on the EMX5016CF is $1,250.
The box style EMX series mixers offer up even more affordable configurations of 14 or 12 channels with 7-band EQ, built in effects, and plenty of flexibility that are also rack mountable. The MSRP on these range from $500 to $750, so they are perfect for a band’s first PA or a church with limited funds that still needs power and flexibility.
Last in mixers was the MG series, a console series with included USB I/O for integration of two-track recording to Cubase A14 (Mark was careful to mention that the included Cubase version is demo only and that users will have to purchase full versions of Cubase). Basically, in this series you’ve got varying channel, bus, and aux send configurations with all the features of some high end digital mixers scaled for smaller setups. All include onboard effects and EQ and are incredibly lightweight for maximum portability. Going through all the features and configs in this series would take forever, so definitely check out the spec sheets on the Yamaha site.
Stay tuned for Part Two of Sound Solutions coverage where I’ll run though the speaker choices...