Focus On: Yamaha DM7 Series

After attending the official launch in London in June 2023, in early March we had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of Yamaha Music Europe GmbH – Branch Italy to get our hands on the new DM7 series professional digital mixers.

More than 30 years after the release of Yamaha’s first digital mixer, the DMP7, the professional audio landscape has seen a steady evolution of technological advances and innovations that have had a significant impact on mixing and recording styles. The DM7 series consoles represent a significant step forward in this evolution in form, function, and flexibility, with their intuitive user interface, compact design, and comprehensive suite of powerful features that enable use in a wide range of audio environments. From broadcasting, streaming, and music production to hybrid live events and concert performances, the DM7 series’ advanced features set a new standard in terms of operation and workflow, while remaining true to Yamaha’s sonic tradition of “natural sound.”

THE PRODUCT

An expandable all-in-one digital mixer with a wide range of inputs and outputs, the DM7 series includes two models. The DM7 has 32 inputs, 16 outputs and can process 120 input channels in a 793 mm x 564 mm footprint, while the DM7 Compact has 16 inputs, 16 outputs and can process 72 input channels in a 468 mm x 564 mm footprint. Both models feature a Dante network of up to 144 inputs/outputs at 96 kHz, as well as 48 mixes, 12 matrixes and two stereo buses. They can be used with optional Yamaha R Series I/O racks and a variety of Dante devices to achieve extremely scalable and flexible audio systems.
Both consoles can be expanded with DM7 Control to create the DM7-EX (or DM7-EX Compact) system. This unit adds more physical controls and is combined with the Broadcast and Theatre software packages, which we will discuss later. With improved performance and new features, the DM7 series is extremely flexible and adapts to the size and style of the application as well as the technician’s workflow.

SPECIFICATIONS

DM7 – Digital Mixing Console

  • Input mixing channels: 120 mono
  • Buses: 48 Mix + 12 Matrix + 2 Stereo
  • Display: 12.1″ multi-touch screen x 2, 7″ multi-touch screen x 1
  • Faders: 28 (12 + 12 + 4)
  • Analog I/O: 32 inputs / 16 outputs
  • Dante: 144 in / 144 out
  • AES/EBU: 2 in / 2 out (with SRC)
  • Slot: PY Slot x 1
  • USB Audio Interface: 18 in / 18 out
  • Power supply: Redundant power supply built-in
  • Power consumption: 240 W
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 793 mm x 324 mm x 564 mm (31.3″ x 12.8″ x 22.2″)
  • Net Weight: 23.5 kg (51.8 lb)

DM7 Compact – Digital Mixing Console

  • Input mixing channels: 72 mono
  • Buses: 48 Mix + 12 Matrix + 2 Stereo
  • Display: 12.1″ multi-touch screen x 1, 7″ multitouch screen x 1
  • Faders: 16 (12 + 4)
  • Analog I/O: 16 inputs / 16 outputs
  • Dante: 144 in / 144 out
  • AES/EBU: 1 out
  • Slot: PY Slot x 1
  • USB Audio Interface: 18 in / 18 out
  • Power supply: Redundant power supply built-in
  • Power consumption: 240 W
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 468 mm x 324 mm x 564 mm (18.5″ x 12.8″ x 22.2″)
  • Net Weight: 16.5 kg (36.4 lb)
THE FIELD TEST

We were welcomed by Product Specialists Marco Giovanetti and Andrea Aiello and after an exhaustive presentation of the entire DM7 series and its various components by Marco, we were dedicated to the DM7 Compact mixer. What stands out immediately is the console’s really small footprint with a functional and attractive layout, where a large 12.1″ multi-touch screen takes center stage and pleasantly surprises with a StripLED that illuminates the fader surface to give operators visual control even in dark rooms. While it often protrudes unattractively in other consoles, with the DM7 series the strip light is elegantly integrated into the console design. The angle of the display, the pitch of the faders and buttons, and precisely the position of the strip have been carefully designed to maintain high operability and visibility of the display in a truly compact chassis. The DM7 Compact can also be rack mounted by removing the side pads to make the most of limited space.

Marco Giovanetti (Product Specialist) e Andrea Aiello (Product Specialist)

We used a multitrack Nuendo Live session with all the separate drum, bass, keyboard, horn and vocal tracks from a concert by the Italian band “Ridillo” to simulate a live mixing situation. We immediately took advantage of the new “Assist” function, which suggests adjustment, naming and balancing of fader levels to help engineers focus on creative work and communication, thus reducing setup time. HA Assist suggests an appropriate gain level based on the input signal level, Naming Assist uses input signal information to suggest a channel icon/name for each channel, and Fader Assist suggests fader balance for the assigned channel. Amazing how this new function manages to analyze audio signals and suggest in addition to the name and gain levels a mix that can work well as a base from which to make personal adjustments later.
The layout of buttons and knobs, functions, and graphics of the DM7 series all adopt the interface standards of Yamaha’s other mixer series, thus giving a certain feeling of familiarity. The DM7 series also inherits the smooth lines of the RIVAGE PM, CL and QL consoles, resulting in a consistent design in terms of operation and modeling.

The large 12.1″ screen offers great operating convenience, allowing users immediate and intuitive one-touch access to the console’s impressive array of features. The selected channel display, which provides a list of operational information on the channel strip, retains the best aspects of previous graphical interfaces, but with an updated operating format that requires fewer steps and less time than ever before.

The new 7-inch Utility screen allows you to monitor essential elements such as scene list, User Defined Keys and Meter at all times for quick and efficient operation.

The DM7 series inherited the selected channel display and overview from the RIVAGE PM series, but also features updated and more intuitive operation. The selected channel display provides a list of important information for each individual channel, giving you quick access to the parameters you want to adjust. It also incorporates the advantages of touch panel operation to reduce the number of steps required to perform operations.

The Overview function is still available, allowing you to operate as an analog console. It lists information on multiple channels, allowing quick access to the parameters of the channel in use.

The DM7 series offers 144 in/out channels via Dante, a combination of software, hardware and network protocols that has become an industry standard, adopted and integrated into professional manufacturers’ audio equipment. Dante enables the transmission of hundreds of audio channels over a single Ethernet cable, allowing a powerful system to be built with a flexible and expandable network without having to worry about the number of channels in any field. Of course, HA Remote and device control are also supported, while the Device Mount function allows easy patching and control with Dante-enabled equipment.

As for further expansion possibilities: the DM7 series comes with a PY slot for up to 64 inputs/outputs that allows users to customize the console’s functionality and connectivity. The PY64-MD, which supports 64-in 64-out audio inputs/outputs via MADI, the PY8-AE with AES/EBU D-sub 25-pin 8-in 8-out connector, and the PY-MIDI-GPI, which features DIN 5-pin and D-sub 15-pin connectors to expand MID/GPI control terminals, provide flexible support for a variety of systems.

Very interesting is the Split Mode function that allows you to use one mixer as if there were two. Even if you had to have only one DM7 series console for space reasons, you can mix FOH and Monitor, or FOH and Streaming, etc. just as if you had two separate consoles.

The DM7 series USB Type-C connector offers 18 audio interface in/out functions for recording, streaming, playback, connection to conferencing systems, and more. It also enables additional functionality with MIDI control and DAW Remote functions to expand the “toolbox” for sound creation and simplify your workflow.

Valuable specialized features can be accessed by adding the Broadcast/Theatre package (which requires DM7 V1.5 or later firmware).
The Broadcast package includes 5.1 surround support, Mix Minus, Loudness Meter and other functions needed for broadcast applications and used conveniently in broadcast mixes.
The Theatre package offers functions that can be used effectively in musicals and other theater applications, including Actor Library, DCA Scene Grid, AFC Image Control, and other functions that can greatly enhance mixing in theater applications.
As mentioned earlier, both packages are included with the purchase of the Dm7 Control unit.

After testing with the multitrack session, we simply connected a dynamic microphone on the first channel of the console, starting from scratch for channel setting, using the Channel Strip equipped with many advanced functions. Sound creation turns out to be really convenient and intuitive. In addition to the channel EQ inherited from the RIVAGE PM, new FET limiters and the Diode Bridge Compressor offer greater control over dynamics, while the new History function combines with existing comps and gates for even easier dynamics adjustment. The Mix Balance parameter is another new feature that makes it easy to mix the original sound with a compressed sound and apply parallel compression. In addition, the order of EQ and Dynamics 2 can be changed to suit your creative preferences, further expanding the range of sound creation.

The DM7 series also features the Dan Dugan automatic mixer with up to 64 channels in the channel strip as a standard feature. In collaboration with Dan Dugan Sound Design, a U.S. company renowned for its automatic microphone mixer based on proprietary algorithms, the automatic mixer function is conveniently accessible from the channel strip without the need for EQ RACK resources.

The mixers also feature an extensive suite of plug-ins to suit a wide range of applications, including VCM models of the renowned Portico 5033 equalizer and Portico 5043 compressor/limiter, both developed in close collaboration with Rupert Neve Designs. Also included are original Yamaha plug-ins, such as the DaNSe dynamic noise suppressor and Dynamic EQ, well known to audio engineers.

The FX RACK features high-quality multi-effect processors with forty-three types of high-end effects, including the new REV HD and REV R3, to inspire a wider depth of creative sound reproduction.

The DM7 series comes bundled with VST Rack Elements and Nuendo Live, which enable creative sound shaping for a variety of live and studio applications. VST Rack Elements is plug-in host software that allows you to seamlessly configure your own effects rack using VST plug-ins. It is compatible with Mac and Windows platforms and offers the freedom and flexibility to create a fully customized plug-in environment.

Steinberg Nuendo Live is a DAW optimized for multi-track live sound recording and virtual rehearsal recording for rehearsal or songwriting. In addition, by installing the Yamaha Console Extension, you can control the transport and other functions of Nuendo Live from the console, so you can start recording without having to take your PC or use it conveniently for playback and other purposes.

CONCLUSIONS

The DM7 series is an innovative line of digital mixers that not only provides exceptional sound quality, ease of use, and high reliability, but is also highly scalable and flexible enough to be adapted to various applications. During the test, we were impressed by the different configuration possibilities in various forms, depending on the technician’s preference, to really support a wide range of applications.

Info: yamaha.com

Guido Block – main tester
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