Randy Lane mixed this past summer’s Dream Theater using a Yamaha PM5D and DSP5D. New York (October 12, 2007)–Dream Theater hit the road this past summer for a popular shed tour, and will be following it up with a run through Japan this winter. Founded in 1985 at Berkeley College of Music, the band has gone on to sell more than 7 million albums, fortifying that fan base with loads of regular touring. This summer was no exception, of course, and found the group on the road with independent engineer Randy Lane mixing front-of-house on a Clair Brothers-provided audio system.
Key to any metal act, whether pop or prog, is the miking, which found Earthworks Periscope mics on the drum kit, as well as Shure SM57’s on guitars, with a Sennheiser 5000/Neumann 105-combination for lead vocals. The sounds they captured were eventually heard by the audience through a PA rig consisting of 24 Clair I3 line array cabinets and a dozen Clair BT-218 subs. What lay in-between the mics and the PA this time, however was something new, as the tour was the first to sport the new DSP5D expander, a stand-alone unit that broadens the capabilities of the Yamaha PM5D digital console to 96 mono plus 16 stereo input channels.
Using the new expander was something of a neccessity, in order to properly condense space at the FOH position. In Lane’s case on the Dream Theater tour, he used nearly 70 inputs, not including effects, which necessitated using a second console for Dream Theater. There were also two opening acts, which would mean a third console and a huge front-of-house footprint if you include processing in addition to console space. “Using the PM5D and DSP5D, the footprint is extremely small and amazingly powerful in features and capabilities,” notes Lane.
Lane says he doesn’t use any outboard processing on the console’s internal effects and gates with Waves Plug in cards installed in the card slots of the PM5D for various compressors. He’s also using six Yamaha MY16-AT ADAT cards for multi-track recording of every input channel. M-Audio Lightbridge interfaces and Steinberg Nuendo are used as a recording platform on an Alienware laptop to multitrack for every show. “The PM5D and DSP5D allow this due to the great quality of internal effects and processing as well as the design foresight to have interfaces having a direct out of every input,” he explains.
Self-taught on the PM5D and on the DSP5D by reading the manuals for the two devices, Lane says he felt right at home in a rapid fashion on both products. “From the outset, the PM5D has been a great sounding console and more reliable than anything that I have used,” notes Lane. “The compact size and sheer processing power of the packaging of the DSP5D and PM5D gives an amazing amount of power in a very compact system. The Yamaha console and expander is a very transparent and warm system that translates the power and finesse of Dream Theater.”
Lane adds that the system’s toughness was demonstrated to him when a 300-pound motor box rolled from the edge of a stage and fell six feet onto the PM5D console. The entire surface was crushed and all control surface features were sheered from the top. The monitor engineer on the tour used the track pad and display to finish the show with the console’s surface being replaced the next day. “Now that’s rugged,” he adds.
Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.