Photo ID: L to R: Front of house engineer Brian Bavido and monitor engineer Brad Galvin at Yamaha PM7 front of house.
Ringo Starr and His All Starr 2018 Band is touring with two new Yamaha PM7 Digital Audio Consoles in both the U.S and Europe (one at front of house for engineer Brian Bavido and one at monitors for Brad Galvin) that CLAIR Global is providing as part of the tour’s audio production requirements. The 2018 All Starr Band includes Colin Hay, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie, Gregg Bissonette and new member Graham Gouldman. On sax, percussion and keyboards is Warren Ham.
Brian Bavido, front of house engineer is no stranger to Yamaha consoles and found the PM7 extremely fast at his mix position. “The amount of custom fader banks has really helped me with my workflow on this tour,” states Bavido. “It’s something I’ve needed for years. Also, in an age where display monitors on digital desks are mostly flat, the two heads-up screens are huge when I’m trying to make adjustments, yet able to keep my eyes on the stage. The mic pres are world class, and the plug-ins are extremely accurate and fast to adjust on the desk without a keyboard, mouse, and need to look away at another monitor. I like the simplicity of the RPio boxes as well. I am using the virtual sound check extensively.”
Bavido said he is using the SILK feature on pretty much all the inputs. “For me, I came in with the attitude that this was simply a marketing positioning, but I find myself using it on just about everything and in ways (Red versus Blue) that I didn’t think I would. When I brought Ringo’s drum tech of 29 years, Jeff Chonis, out to take a listen after the first day of rehearsals, he was amazed at how accurate and uncolored the sound was. When I showed him the inputs (maybe six filters engaged on Ringo’s entire kit), he was shocked at the lack of EQ yet how great the sound was. I’m a big fan of uncolored/natural sounding gear, and as the years go by, I find myself wanting to EQ less and less on everything from rock tours to corporate work. I’m convinced that top artist on wedges know when you’re touching an input EQ too much at FOH. This is the first console I’ve been happy with, out of the gate, in achieving that goal; it takes everything from a snare to a vocal and makes it sound almost exactly like the source, which for me is the highest compliment I can give a desk. I’m also using the onboard Rupert Neve Designs 5045 Primary Source Enhancer on many of the inputs.”
“I had a very particular corporate event producer, who at the end of listening to the opening video roll of an event (in a notoriously bad sounding arena) first and foremost make a comment on how good the sound quality was,” Bavido says. “To get that out of a visual centric person is quite the compliment. For our tour rehearsals with Ringo, all of the house technicians were really into checking the desk out and seeing how little I had to do in order to make the mix really pop. At our first show in Europe, there were multiple people, including the house audio systems engineer that were really amazed at the quality and how smooth the overall mix was for being such a loud band on stage, especially with two drum kits. I know it’s such a small thing, but the onboard ability to record to a stick (in multiple formats, rates, etc.) is a big deal for me. I’ve found this to be an indispensable tool. I look forward to the future firmware updates, and it’ll be exciting to see what other features get packed into the desk.”
“This is my first time touring with the Yamaha PM7, but I have spent many hours on most of the other large format Yamaha desks,” states Brad Galvin, monitor engineer. “I mixed monitors on a TV show where we exclusively used a PM5D for monitors and also spent a lot of time on the PM1D as well. I find the PM7 extremely easy to navigate; the first time using it was in a local mega church and with some help, was doing 12 in ear mixes almost immediately. The channel strip section is fantastic. Everything that I would want to see on a channel is right there as soon as I hit select.”
Galvin said that the custom fader banks on the PM7 are super fast and easy as well as the ability to link certain sections of the console together. “I initially started by linking the L and R bays and keeping the center section as a master section, but what I’ve done now is create custom fader banks for the left and center sections (that are linked) and the last 8 faders are actually output masters that never change regardless of what custom bank I am in. The right side is then similar to the center section in how it’s laid out, and used mainly for channels that get turned on and off throughout the evening, as well as those that I need quick access to. Since we have five different lead singers in the All Starr band, I need to be able to quickly turn them up and down across mixes throughout the show. The console easily allows me to do that in ways other consoles haven’t since not everyone wants them turned up and down equally. In order to solve that problem, I use the User Defined Knobs and have them control the selected channel to specific aux sends. That way I can live on my main mix, and spin the knobs to get the send to the proper locations without having to spend time flipping faders and changing solos, etc. It’s very quick. This console has a fantastic sound, and there’s no doubt in my mind that that has something to do with it. There is warmth and depth to the sound that a lot of digital consoles don’t have.”
Galvin adds that at the end of the day, the band is a rock band, and the players and sounds are so good coming from the deck, he just tries not to get in the way, “This is a testament to how good this desk sounds. I want the band to hear what they are giving us, not what I have EQ’d it to sound like, and the PM7 does a great job reproducing the input. Adding in the SILK just makes it that much nicer.”
For more information on CLAIR Global, visit www.clairglobal.com.
For more information on the Yamaha RIVAGE PM Series, visit www.yamahaca.com.