Yamaha’s latest addition in the high end analog console market is the PM5000 sound reinforcement mixing console, a worthy successor to the industry standard PM4000. The console was designed with many new features to fulfill the needs of the ever-changing live sound business as well as control, convenience and versatility inherited from the PM1D introduced in 2000. There is still a strong demand for analog consoles with their familiar, efficient control interfaces, in addition to a demand for digital-style recall capability in the analog format. At a list price of $93,000 for 52 channels (48 mono + 4 stereo), improved sound quality, 35-bus configuration, and motorized fader scene recall, the new PM5000 is a good choice for FOH and monitor applications. With the NSCA release of the PM5D, a relative of the PM1D, the company is now well fit for the high-end console market.
Product PointsApplications: Live sound, sound reinforcement, installation
Key Features: Comprehensive input channel functions; 35-bus configuration for FOH or monitor applications; two VCA groups and 12 (4 Stereo + 8 Mono) matrix; Variable Sum Gain control; digital scene recall control incorporating Recall Safe function; refined panel layout retains the basic PM-series; high-reliability, low-noise power supply
Price: as reviewed $93,000
Contact: Yamaha at 914-522-9011, Web Site
The PM5000 is available in three size configurations: 28, 36 and 52 channels. All versions are equipped with four stereo input modules as standard. Additional stereo modules (replacing mono modules) can be ordered as an option. The comprehensive input channel functions are mono input channels featuring a phantom power switch, 26 dB pad switch, continuous 50 dB gain trim, phase switch, variable frequency 12dB/octave high-pass filter, four-band full parametric equalizer (the high and low bands can be switched to shelving operation), EQ on/off switch, and insert I/O (pre/post-EQ switchable). LCR panning which uses the mono buss as the center channel is also provided. A CSR (Center-Side Ratio) control is provided for the LCR mode. Stereo modules include all of the above functions, without LCR panning, plus a L+R switch.
The 35-bus output configuration makes the console useful in front of house and monitor applications. The versatile configuration includes: 12 stereo auxiliary buses, eight group/auxiliary buses, a stereo bus, and a mono (center) buss. The eight group/auxiliary buses can be switched for group or auxiliary operation in pairs. If configured as 12 stereo and eight mono auxiliary busses for FOH operation, or as 32 (12 stereo + 8 mono) auxiliary busses for monitor applications, the console provides total convenience, quality, and control. When set up as group busses, 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.
In addition to the PM5000’s basically versatile bus configuration, the console features 12 VCA groups. The VCA groups can be cascaded with another PM5000 console, PM4000, or PM3500 (VCA groups 1 through 8 can be cascaded on the 3500 and 4000). There is also a four stereo + eight mono matrix mix section for all 35 bus outputs. For large applications the console provides more than enough outputs.
Yamaha has added a new variable Sum Gain control to the master faders on all buses. Previously, when overload or clipping occurred at a console’s summing amplifiers, 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 20 dB attention immediately prior to the corresponding summing amplifiers, eliminating the need to readjust numerous channel level settings. This is a nice feature for improving operating convenience and maintaining good signal input level for optimum signal to noise.
While handling all audio signals in the analog domain, the PM5000 offers advanced digital scene recall capability for today’s varied and often complex entertainment requirements. Recallable parameters include channel ON/OFF switching, assignments, and fader positions. Up to 990 complete scenes, with user-assigned titles, can be stored in the PM5000’s onboard 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 has proven to be a valuable feature on the PM1D and has also been included in the PM5000 scene recall system. In addition to the on-board memory, scenes can also be stored on external CompactFlash memory cards for unlimited storage and data portability.
Upon initial inspection of the PM5000, it was easy to see that care was taken in control surface design so engineers who are used to working with earlier PM models will immediately be comfortable with the PM5000. Most channel functions are right where you would expect them to be for easy operation. The spacing and feel with so many output knobs for versatility of a hybrid FOH and monitor board, however, takes a little getting used to for smoothness in operation.
The dedicated PW5000 power supply unit delivers clean, plentiful power to the PM5000’s analog circuitry via a high-performance transformer-based system. The digital control and switching relay circuitry is powered by a high-efficiency switching power supply system. Operating efficiency has been significantly increased, and operating temperature range has been dramatically enhanced in comparison to the PW4000 power supply. Furthermore, two power supply units can be coupled for fail-safe switchover operation without the need for an external switching unit.
Like all consoles one of the biggest selling points is its sound, and Yamaha has definitely made improvements with the PM5000. The mic preamps were noticeably more transparent and quieter than the PM4000 with a significant improvement in overall sound quality. While using the console with Tony Bennett and his quartet for a private show, I didn’t have the need to use the recall feature, but playing with it during the day prior to my sound check, I could see the power and value in it, when comparing it to competitive consoles. I didn’t find the EQ section as responsive as I would have liked, however, a vast improvement over the PM4000.
If you have used a Yamaha PM console in the past, you will feel very comfortable with the Yamaha PM5000. With more than 30 years of PM series design expertise, Yamaha continues to provide enhancements to products requested by engineers for touring and professional sound installations.And as with other Yamaha consoles, the reliability should be first rate.
D & B speakers and amplifiers; Lake Contour digital processor/controller; Sennheiser SKM 5000 wireless mic system with Neumann KK 105 head; AKG 414, Neumann KM 184, AT 4050 microphones; Summit DCL 200 tube compressor; Lexicon 480 reverb.