Yamaha's DM2000 has created quite a buzz within the recording community, but what about its live sound capabilities? To check it out first-hand, I brought a DM2000 to the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Ore., and hooked it up to a second split on the stage box, running it backstage next to George Relle's PM4000M monitor desk. The Beach Boys brought their own monitor engineer, freeing me to make my own mix on near-fields, headphones and IEMs.
Like Yamaha's PM-1D, there are eight onboard effects units and they sound pretty good, but like many features on this console, quickly programming them takes some getting used to. Presenting this desk to an artist's live sound engineer for the first time requires having a competent technician preprogram it before soundcheck. Pre-production can be done offline using the (Mac/PC) Studio Manager software, which is easier than doing it directly on the desk.
The DM2000's 96 channels are addressed via 24 motorized faders paged in four banks, plus a fifth page to control the output levels of its eight groups, 12 auxes and four stereo matrices. Beyond its 24 XLR analog mic inputs and XLR analog stereo mix outputs, there are eight “omni” TRS jacks that can be assigned as any output. To accommodate additional inputs or outputs, optional mini YGDAI cards must be added to the six slots on the back. (See the table for all of the cards' specs.)
Of the dozen optional Yamaha I/O cards, the 24/96's are the likely choices for live sound. The MY8-AD96 adds eight analog inputs on a 25-pin D-sub connector, and the MY8-DA96 does the same for eight analog outputs. Adding eight channel inputs to all six slots yields an additional 48 line-input channels, bringing the total to 72. The last 24 channels can be used for internal effects returns and for double assignment of inputs that require different EQ or dynamics treatment for foldback. An mLAN/IEEE1394 card is available for networked system applications.
Apogee Electronics also offers high-performance, 8-channel, 24/96 I/O cards (the $1,495 list AP8AD) and the $1,195 AP8DA. It's beneficial to perform A/D conversion outside of a digital machine, so while its A/D input card made a negligible difference, using the AP8DA for console outputs provided a fuller, smoother sound on my Meyer HD-1s. Every DM2000 should be equipped with at least one Apogee D/A card.
Making the DM2000 a 48 mic-input desk would require an additional 24 channels of preamps and converters. The DM2000 sounds as good as a PM4000, and the need for additional pre's may be a blessing if your rider or installation specifies high-end preamps.
Installations where events are regularly repeated (such as houses of worship, theatrical performances, theme parks and industrials) will reap rewards from the DM2000's programmability, snapshot recall and SMPTE-based dynamic automation. Additionally, the ability to store scenes, copy settings from one channel to another and archive EQ, dynamics and effects in libraries give the DM-2000 an advantage for single-user, multi-act productions.
With six 27-band graphic equalizers that can be patched to any output, Yamaha has created a digital recording console with far more live sound appeal than the 02R. Though designed primarily for recording and post-production applications, the DM2000's large number of inputs, compact footprint and comprehensive recall capabilities should also appeal to the live sound and installation markets.