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Yamaha M7CL sound quality

#1 User is offline   ghance 

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 12:50 PM

hi

has anyone done an AB comparison of yamaha's M7CL console? or used one for an extended period?

I've never particualry liked the sound of yamaha's digital consoles, but I can see that given its price the M7CL may well suit some jobs - in the same way the PM5D (non-RH) can fit the job at that price level (prefer digico D1 to a PM5D-RH though if spending that kind of money). I'm thinking cross market applications: rock, theatre, corporate - the small / medium sized events where we normally use something like a soundcraft MH3 or midas verona. I.e. cost sensistive but need for reasonable quality. speaker systems are usually d&b, and IMHO think the Q series can have issues if used with budget consoles..gotta be an above average console to get the best out of the Q series.

what are your thoughts on the sound quality of a M7CL?

thanks

#2 User is offline   RustyBrooks 

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 05:36 PM

hi ghance,

had the m7cl out on a job last month, was a small room, couple of stacks of d&b, and 4 bands, record company type gig, with two of us, and a flight of steps. Sound quality impereative, but needed to be small enough to get the whole shebang upstairs if just the two of us, and no help in the out...

M7CL, first time I'd used it, sounds fine, like the PM5D, sounds a little squished, not quite the dynamic range of the digico or a good analogue, but when running, couldn't hear anything to put me off, nice and quite, and fantastically easy to use. Between me, and FOH guy, we'd only had 15 minutes with it before the job, yet not a hitch, wholehaeatedly recommend it. It's been out with Q's as well as some Martin boxes, and all the feedback from peeps I know who've used it is good, think it stands up very well against cost competition.

#3 User is offline   Chris Hinds 

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 08:04 PM

While I'm sure Mark from Sound Foundation will be able to chime in better here, I'll be using an M7cl (Mark's!) tomorrow and Sunday for a show doing live and direct out recording simulataneously.

I'm a little confused how the desk can 'lack dynamic range' and sound 'squished' without a compressor being inserted or the gain being wound up against the digital 0dB stop. I was also under the impression that a D1 was slightly more pricey than a 5D-RH, but I haven't ever gotten much info out of Digico about the D1. I admit freely and frankly that I like the Yamaha interface better than Digico - knobs that stay the same and so on makes more sense to me, but I'm open to learn any Digital desk should I need to.

I've had no sound quality problems with using the 01v96 to drive L'Acoustics ARCS at times. That's a system just as 'high end' as D&B Q. Bottom line I think with the new range of digital desks and the good analogue desks you can make much more difference to the sound of your system with the hang and alignment of the speakers and the position of mics than the device you use to combine the inputs. Note I refer only to the sound of the system, not the sound of the recording. I have heard tell that the Type II yamaha EQ is more analogue in feel/sound but I'll let you know if I can hear a major difference tomorrow.

I've time on the MH3 and Heritage 1000, and in all honesty I can't tell the difference in sound between the two boards. I like the MH3 better because it cost less, it's a lot smaller and the EQ is more effective (I like that the low mid parametric goes down to 75Hz rather than 100 on the H1k). I like the lighting on the H1000 better because you can see where things are going more easily. Sound quality though... couldn't tell you which is being used without looking.

Regards

Chris

#4 User is offline   ghance 

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 09:32 PM

cheers chris. yes I'd agree that under some conditions its impossible to tell the difference from one desk to another, and certainly new digitals (post-01v96) have got pretty good.. but I'd also agree with rusty.. that there is a perceived lack of dynamics with cheaper digitals and I still haven't been 100% satisfied with yamy digital eq when used in anger. let us know how you get on with type II eq. spike

#5 User is offline   Bobbsy 

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 11:53 PM

The Type II EQ has a much more "analogue" sound to it...I tend to run that as standard now.

As an aside, all the modern Yammies (DM1K, DM2K, PM-5D, M7CL) give you four band fully parametric EQ, I.e. including adjustable Q on each band. I sometimes wonder if this extra flexibility can be one of things people don't like when it's in the hands of the inexperienced...you can get some very steep slopes.

Bob
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#6 User is offline   marc 

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 11:25 AM

The big problem with digital is that everything is in the board, and people feel inclined to use it all,

Use a digital like a analogue desk, with only selected inserts and compression, and try and leave the sound as natural as possible, you don’t ALWAYS have to compress this, or ALWAYS insert on this,

But as a digital board has it there, it’s used. People mix with there eyes and not their ears, as they can see an eq curve, as it may "look wrong" so its not done, or "it looks better like that" in some ways the best digital board would not show the eq curve, I know this is unworkable, but it would get away from the syndrome now upon us.

I have always liked the sound of a Yamaha digital board, there is nothing that glares at me, but as said before in this topic, the eq can be used to great effect and sometimes this can sound a little wrong.

Mk

#7 User is offline   Bobbsy 

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 12:51 PM

Agree 100% Marc. I'm doing a show now with 13 channels of radio mic (luckly I'm not superstitious) plus about 16 wired mics on the band and PCCs on the stage lip...and I can count on one hand the number of channels where I'm using compression or gates (mainly the drum btw) despite it being available everywhere.

Plus, I do NOT tend to use any of the EQ presets, preferring to use my ears in the old fashioned way. (Actually the one preset I've used is one of my own, setting he Q and centre frequencies to be similiar to a favourite analogue desk of mine, then tweaking from there).

Used this way, I LIKE the sound of my Yamaha desk.

Bob
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#8 User is offline   ghance 

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 01:53 PM

marc - absolutely. I'm sure its just a matter of getting used to it, but when using a PM5D I'm conscious of mixing with my eyes a bit.. looking at an eq curve and deciding if it 'looks' right. I found myself having to consciously ignore the screen.. or even cover it up.. think I just need more time on a digital console to make the connection between my eyes and ears.

but anymore comments on the M7CL please??

#9 User is offline   mackerr 

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 03:53 PM

View Postghance, on 7 Jan 2006, 8:53 AM, said:

...but anymore comments on the M7CL please??
Sorry I'm ignoring your plea for comment on the M7, but I've not used one. If you want to hide the visual of the eq on the screen, you can un-check the preference for screen auto follow eq. You can leave the screen on whatever you want, it does not have to follow what you are doing. The same is true for dynamics (where I like the screen) and patching, routing, HA control, etc.

Mac

#10 User is offline   Chris Hinds 

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 02:06 PM

Hi there,

You can find my comments on using the M7cl here:

http://blogs.warwick...ry/yamaha_m7cl/

Regards

Chris

#11 User is offline   ghance 

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 03:52 PM

thanks chris.. that the kind of thing I was after. interested by your comments on the sluggishness. I noticed the same problem on two 'quick play' occasions - plasa and a private demo. the lack of delays on inputs is pretty slack..would have liked to see at least two channels with delay on inputs.. say for the ambient mics when doing a recording. (don't laugh, but I've got a couple of behringer sharcs for this job.. they got phantom & delay on inputs.. not good enough for a proper recording, but fine of a bit of rough ambient noise to mix in with a 'dry-ish' board mix). but I thought the outputs had delay.. reading the manual (I know... what kinda crazy talk is that..), there seems to be an 'output delay' setting in the system setup screen - see page 96 of owners manual. - daft place to have delay settings anyway.. regards.. .gh

#12 User is offline   mackerr 

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 06:01 PM

View Postghance, on 9 Jan 2006, 10:52 AM, said:

the lack of delays on inputs is pretty slack..would have liked to see at least two channels with delay on inputs.. say for the ambient mics when doing a recording. (don't laugh, but I've got a couple of behringer sharcs for this job.. they got phantom & delay on inputs.. not good enough for a proper recording, but fine of a bit of rough ambient noise to mix in with a 'dry-ish' board mix). but I thought the outputs had delay.. reading the manual (I know... what kinda crazy talk is that..), there seems to be an 'output delay' setting in the system setup screen - see page 96 of owners manual. - daft place to have delay settings anyway.. regards.. .gh
The outputs do have delay, but it is not on channels, it is on the output port. There are at least 64 output ports, and they all have delay, but the fact that any input delay is missing is a drag.

I am curious about your comment about delaying ambient mics. Since they are already hearing the PA late, doesn't adding delay only make the problem worse? I usually try to get audience reaction mics close to the PA so that the sound of the PA picked up by the mics is masked by the direct sound.

Mac

#13 User is offline   ghance 

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 06:45 PM

er yes.. wasn't thinking when typing. have used the sharcs to time align a desk output to the ambient mics - which was a bit noisy, but perfectly aceptable for a rough MD recording. and have also used sharcs as pre-amp for condensors when run out of ch inputs and only left with group ins or returns etc.. and where fine - and not too noisy if used carefully. I'm just amazed that something that costs less than a letter from the bank can actually be this useful. but I have often though I'd like a 1U digital 8x8 matrix mixer in the rack.. something with mic preamps, delays & dynamics that I can use for DAT, press feeds, etc ect

#14 User is offline   Mark Payne 

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 05:53 AM

Hi all

Insomniac moment... Can't sleep, so a cup of tea and a read of blue room.

Firstly, the next M7CL training sessions (free!) at Sound Foundation are

Thursday 19th Jan 2006 ..... opps this one is not on the site and its next week!
Thursday 2nd February 2006
Thursday 2nd March 2006
Thursday 20th April 2006
Thursday 4th May 2006

I am now teaching both the M7CL and PM5D courses using the syncronised video footage and the raw unprocessed live tracks from the Howard Jones 20th aniversary (?spelling at this time of the morning!) gig at Shep Bush Empire. Its a lot of fun mixing that stuff. Its like being there again..

Anyway... I have been swapping between the PM5D and the M7CL in the classroom a lot and I have now used the M7 on a few gigs. The last one was new years day doing crash mixed Gospel in Illford Town Hall. I had Mark Young at the other end crash mixing monitors on the 5D ;-) I liked my job better!

The M7CL is easier to walk up to for the first time compared to the PM5D. As Chris says ... I sent one out to him and he did a live show and digital recording using our Alesis HD/Yammy interface setup and he had never used one in anger before (right Chris?).

I know what Chris means about the screen lag but I am not sure I have noticed it that much. Maybe my 43 year old processing is more syncronised to a slower world!

The M7 has less config layers with less hidden stuff and less options and is much more intuitive to configure than the 5D. Both the consoles present nice, immediate mixing controls but the PM5D can loose you a bit when you come to patch it up and config it because there is sooooo much stuff you can do.

It's interesting that the later mixes I did on the M7CL in the class sound better than the earlier PM5D ones to my ears (I tend to mix through d&b Q7 in the classroom) . The main reason for this is that I am still sonically on the learning curve of Yamaha EQ, dynamics and FX. I went back and remixed some stuff on the PM5D and that was better again... I have done literally 100s of gigs using BSS/DBX/TC processing in "my" rack and it will take more gigs untill I am fully at home in the new world.

For me the challenge of both these consoles and digital in general is that it replaces so many old friends in one big hit.

I can't really say yet that the PM5D sounds better than the M7CL. I want it to! I can take my family on a lot of holidays on the price difference! I will need another 10 gigs on each at least to fully answer that question.

The surprising amount of space left at the end of vans when we pack them tell us both these consoles sound real nice!
Mark Y and I were looking at eachother having loaded for a 12 way monitor mix event thinking... "this cannot be right, what have we forgotten?"

If you are in Reading this Friday... come to the Rivermead Leisure Centre and see Ian Paice (Deep Purple) playing a gig/drum clinic with a full lineup of old rockers. We will have a PM5D on FOH and M7CL on monitors. See www.drumwright.co.uk for details. I have to teach a FOH engineer even older than me how to use a PM5D tomorrow!

Feel free to call me or email mark@soundfoundation.com if you would like to get some exposure to these consoles. This is what we are here for ;-)

Peace

Mark
Mark Payne mark@sflgroup.co.uk
Sound, Lighting and AV: Hire, Sales, Installation and Consultancy. www.sflgroup.co.uk

#15 User is offline   Tree Tordoff 

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 06:40 AM

Dear All,

My name is Tree and I work for Yamaha as a product specialist for M7CL. I'm not an insomniac but currently in Japan! Technically the available dynamic range of M7CL and Digico D1 or D5 is limited by the 24bit samplers both companies use. I've never done side by side listening tests with M7 and Digico but I would be surprised if there was truly a squashed sound with the M7.

One of the appeals of Yamaha digital consoles is the all in one box approach but you can control remote Yamaha preamps if you wish. (Yamaha AD8HR). This will give you the same audio preamp and qualities as a PM5D.

Yamaha digital consoles (except PM1D) have a choice of EQ Types. They are just different ways of doing the maths that results in EQ. We recommend Type II as being more "musical" or "analogish" and in almost every case it is agreed it sounds better. So why have type I? Well TypeII does exhibit some unexpected EQ responses when used for several very strong negative EQs, the type of multiple notch filtering used by monitor engineers or for bad problem solving. Type I is always predictable, but practicably not as nice!! So the choice is left to the user.

I know the offering of all the extra features and choices can lead to some engineers over processing their mixes and messing it up, but what are manufactures to do? M7 has the option to strongly restrict access to processing but surely its better to educate the sound engineers to use the features that are there.

Sound foundation (in the UK) and Yamaha worldwide currently offer a limited amount of training and I strongly advise you take advantage of these. http://www.yamahacommercialaudio.com/comme...ings/index.html.



Tree

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