New York, NY (May 20, 2020)—Since its introduction in 2014 with the PM10 digital mixing system and the subsequent PM7 in 2018, Yamaha’s Rivage Series has been the company’s flagship for touring and installation mixing consoles, with the distinctive desks often spotted at front of house on tours or in megachurches. Pro Sound News recently got an exclusive sneak peek of Yamaha’s most ambitious expansion for the series yet, as the company introduces two new consoles—the PM5 and PM3—as well as a pair of new DSP engines—DSP-RX and DSP-RX-EX—and Version 4 firmware that provides features to new and legacy Rivage systems.
Yamaha Rivage PM5 Digital Mixing System
Both of the new consoles feature large, capacitive touchscreens that let engineers use multi-finger gestures (think the “pinch” motion used on smartphones), with the PM5 sporting three screens, while the PM3 gets one. As with their predecessors, the PM5 and PM3 each have 38 faders—three bays of 12, with two masters—but the new control surfaces are laid out with an eye toward efficiency.
“With the PM5, some people will think of it as the as the PM5D replacement, but it’s so much more than that,” said Kevin Kimmel, systems application engineer, Yamaha Commercial Audio. The CS-R5 control surface for the PM5 may be roughly the same width as a PM7 or PM10, but it has a shorter depth, at just over 23 inches, and is laid out somewhat differently. Making room for that third screen, the Selected Channel section on the right side of a PM10 or PM7 now has a smaller footprint and fewer knobs as well. Likewise, the meters that were above the ‘on’ button and by the Select buttons are now alongside each fader, while the LCD channel strip is gone, replaced by names across the bottom of the screens. While the drastic change might give some engineers pause for thought, Kimmel notes, “After I got to mix on it, I went, ‘Yeah, this is actually pretty cool.’”
The shorter depth of the CS-R5 control surface isn’t only about dropping the LCD channel strip; it puts the touchscreens within a comfortable reach, is expected to provide clearer sight lines and helps bring the control surface’s weight down to 93 pounds, aided in part by the fact that the frame on both new control surfaces is now aluminum.
Yamaha Rivage PM3 Digital Mixing System
The PM3’s CS-R3 control surface scales things down even further, resulting in the most compact Rivage console to date, weighing in at 84 pounds and measuring 45 inches wide, making it only slightly wider than a CL5 digital mixer. “It’s a natural progression to go from a CL or QL to this because within the GUI we’ve made it look a fair amount like CL,” said Kimmel. “If you come to it from those consoles, you’re not so intimidated when you walk up to it.”
DSP-RX and DSP-RX-EX
Of course, control surfaces are only part of the story—it’s the DSP and firmware under the hood that do the heavy lifting. As it happens, both the new DSP-RX and the DSP-RX-EX, as well as the existing DSP-R10, can be used with any Rivage system except the PM7 (its DSP is already built-in).
“The DSP-RX is 120 inputs by 48 mixes and 24 matrices—the same number of inputs as a current PM7, with a bit fewer on the output side—and visually, it looks very similar,” said Kimmel. “The DSP-RX-EX doubles the inputs, going to 288 inputs with 72 mix outputs and 36 matrix outs. It also increases the amount of plug-ins—in DSP-RX, there are 384 ‘slots’ for plug-ins, and now you get 512 with DSP-RX-EX. It’s quite a jump. Now, if you’re using the DSP-RX and eventually decide you’ve outgrown it, there’s a DEK-DSP-RX expansion kit so you can bump it up to become an EX with the same channel count and plug-in amount.” DSP mirroring is also supported by the new DSPs, allowing two DSPs to be run simultaneously to provide redundancy.
Version 4 Firmware
As for the firmware update, Version 4 brings legacy and new Rivage desks a number of additions, including an Eventide SP2016 reverb plug-in that includes presets developed by the likes of George Massenburg, Dave Pensado and Joe Chiccarelli. Additionally, Yamaha’s MonitorMix app for iOS is now supported, allowing individual wireless Mix/Matrix/Aux mixing from up to 10 iPhones or iPads simultaneously. Rivage PM7 owners aren’t left out from the updating—the v4 firmware increases the PM7’s channel count from 120 to 144 and serves up another dozen Matrix Outs for a total of 36. Other new features include flexible HY-car slots in DSPs, updates to the GUI, NuendoLive included for both the PM3 and PM5, and more. Users can expect continued support for some third-party efforts, like the L-Acoustics’ L-ISA DeskLink, and Yamaha plans to add third-party plug-ins down the road.
At press time, Yamaha was still hammering out prices on the new offerings, but the summer months will see the PM5 and v4 firmware debut, while the PM3 will hit the ground in the fall.