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Yamaha PMD5D Digital Sound Reinforcement Console

Yamaha's answer to a complete hybrid console combining the best of digital and analog is the introduction of the PM5D mixing console. The Yamaha PM5D series is a self-contained design and expands on requests from live sound engineers that have been using the 02R and DM2000 for live applications, but can't afford the higher priced PM1D.

Yamaha’s answer to a complete hybrid console combining the best of digital and analog is the introduction of the PM5D mixing console. The Yamaha PM5D series is a self-contained design and expands on requests from live sound engineers that have been using the 02R and DM2000 for live applications, but can’t afford the higher priced PM1D. At a price range of $49,000 – $64,000, customers have a choice of two front-end configurations. Model PM5D includes 48 XLR/TRS balanced analog mono inputs with manual mic preamps based on the circuitry found in the DM2000, with an additional four stereo line level inputs. Version PM5D-RH includes 48 XLR analog mono inputs with recallable mic preamps, identical to the head amplifier design of the PM5000 analog console, including four stereo inputs that will accept mic level signals. The affordable PM5D series mixers compliment the choices available in the “PM” line; synonymous with high-quality, reliable mixing products for sound reinforcement companies, houses of worship, theaters and contracting markets.
Product PointsApplications: Sound reinforcement, live sound, installation

Key Features: Comprehensive input channel functions; 32-bit internal processing; 8 DCA groups and 8 mute groups; surround capable; digital scene recall control incorporating Recall Safe function; offline editing software; quiet power supply

Price: starts at $49,000

Contact: Yamaha at 714-522-9011, Web Site

The PM 5D comes in a “one box” design, including the mix engine and offers 64 input channels (48 mono + four stereo inputs, four internal stereo returns) of dynamic 96 kHz audio with 32-bit internal processing. The console is equipped with eight independent SPX 2000 class multi-effects processors and includes the Rev-X algorithm as a standard feature. All onboard A/D and D/A conversions make use of true 24-bit/96 kHz converters. A well-designed work surface is conducive to analog style operation. A nice large 10.2 inch 600 x 800 color LCD display is provided but is not required to fully operate the console.

The PM5D has 48 100mm motorized input faders that can all be labeled with a four-character name display and can instantly be layer-switched. All input channels contain four-band EQ, variable-frequency high-pass filter, independent compression and gating processors, L/R, L/C/R, and surround panning (5.1 or 6.1). Also, delay is adjustable up to 1000 milliseconds on each channel. Selecting the required input and adjusting in the selected channel control section changes all of these parameters.

An independent mix control block of 32 outputs is configured in four banks of eight, the top bank contains Matrix 1-8 and the remaining three banks consist of Mix 1-24. In addition to dual stereo buses, the 24 independent mix buses can be assigned for sub mixing, auxiliary, effects, or any other type of send your application requires. Each output has eight-band EQ (except for the matrix which has four-band EQ), compression and delay that is controlled via a select control and then adjusted in the master select section.

The Yamaha PM5D features eight DCA (Digital Control Amplifiers) faders for convenient grouping. Any input or output can be assigned to the console’s eight DCA faders. Each DCA also includes a four-character name display as well as MUTE and CUE keys. The faders can be assigned to control bands of the 12 internal 31-band graphic equalizers.

On the rear of the console, four 24-bit/96kHz mini YGDAI expansion slots accept a range of I/O and effects plug-in cards. The new MY16C CobraNet expansion card allows transmission and reception up to 32 channels (16 in/16 out) of uncompressed digital audio data. Dedicated cascade ports enable up to four PM5D consoles to work in tandem. The PM5D will also cascade with a Yamaha DM2000 or 02R96 mixer, if desired. Integrating the PM5D to Yamaha’s DME24N or DME64N for system control is also accomplished via the cascade ports or CobraNet expansion card.

The PM5D offers advanced digital scene recall capability to handle today’s varied and often complex entertainment requirements. Up to 500 complete scenes, with user-assigned titles, can be stored in the PM5D’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 PM5D scene recall system. In addition to the onboard memory, scenes can also be stored on external Compact Flash memory cards for unlimited storage and data portability.

In Use

Upon initial inspection of the PM5D, I thought I was looking a 24-channel console. With dimensions of 61 inches long x 37 inches wide x 11.14 inches high and a weight of 215 lbs. It is a streamlined package. I have had the opportunity to use both versions of the PM5D in concerts with Tony Bennett and his quartet and on a television show in Europe. Engineers who are used to working with PM4000/5000, DM2000 or PM1D consoles will immediately be comfortable with the PM5D.

The dedicated PW800W 3RU power supply unit is compact like the console and lightweight weighing 22 lbs. I was impressed with how quiet the cooling fans are. Additionally, two power supply units can be serially connected for failsafe switchover operation without the need for an external switching unit. It accepts 100-240 VAC so it can be used anywhere.

The rear panel of the PM5D console has standard XLR in/outs with 1/4-inch balanced TRS inserts on all the inputs. On the PM5D-RH, all external inserts are accomplished by using YGDAI cards in the expansion slots.

I must say that I really didn’t find a need for external processing. The reverbs sound so good that on one show I opted not to use the Lexicon 480 XL that were available. The PM5D is so quiet when using all internal processing that when inserting a Summit DCL 200 compressor, the increase of the nose floor was so noticeable I opted to use the onboard compression, which performed admirably.

On the rear panel there are two sets of analog two-track XLR connectors, two AES/EBU digital ins/outs, and a digital coaxial in/out making the mixer very flexible for playback and record needs.

There is no meter bridge per se, however a complete set of level meters is provided on the console panel (and can also be metered via the console’s LCD display), which is easy to view. The PM5D has a bank of display access keys with 24 categories that, when depressed, can show EQ or compressor settings, for example, on the LCD panel. An additional 25 user definable keys can be assigned to control console functions.

The PM5D Editor application software is available for offline programming and online control. It has a nice, comprehensive analog-style visual presentation of the console controls. PM5D Editor will run on Windows XP or Mac OSX compatible computers via the PM5D USB port. It might be helpful for engineers if a print out of channel lists from the Studio Manager software could be made available. This would come in handy during a show or festival so that when changes need to be made we would be able to send channel layouts to assistants working onstage quickly by just hitting print. I don’t know of any digital console that has this feature yet. I have heard a minor complaint from owners that the console does not come with a dust cover. Usually, consoles in this price range come with a cover.

Like all consoles one of the biggest selling points is the 5D’s sound and Yamaha has definitely created two impressive sounding products in the series. The mic preamps were transparent and complimentary to all the microphones used on our shows. The power and value in this console becomes immediately apparent when you first hear it.


If you have used high-end analog consoles before and feel uncomfortable trying digital, the Yamaha PM5D is a perfect solution. It was impossible to cover all the features of this well designed product in the scope of this article. With its power and flexibility, continual use of this console can enable you to become a better sound mixer. With Yamaha product reliability and excellent product support, the power and value in this product is worth considering for those in the market for a new sound reinforcement mixing console.