yamaha RM800 24:8:2 studio mixer
ok guys- i just acquired a 90s yamaha rm800 24 channel 8 buss inline analog mixer for $400!!! i'm so happy with this console i just had to write a review.
i've gone through a lot of mixers in various studios over the years including my own- mackie (onyx, vlz, 8 buss), behringer (please don't hate me), A+H, toft, soundcraft delta, soundtracs topaz, ssl x-desk and my yamaha n12 (still in use).
i used my yamaha hs80m's and msp7's for referencing in a well treated studio (my review of these monitors with their sub combo's can be found here- http://www.gearslutz.com/board/revie...80m-hs10w.html). i may sound i little biased towards yamaha here but in all honesty i have found some of their products very proffessional for the price and tend to be overlooked in a big way. if i currently use some yamaha products in my studio with great pleasure its because it does what it claims and does it very well.
if you need specs for this console have a look at the manual here, as i only want to focus on how this baby sounds- Yamaha Audio RM800 user manual - Owner's Manual (Image)
first of all, i didn't know what i was in for when i bought this online. its really big and heavy! its construction is second to none. at first glance i could understand why people werent buying this thing... it looks like a behringer or typical stage console. but in studio use its a different story.
to my great surprise under the hood are channel strips! what the...? there's individual circuit boards that run up the length of each channel!!! i was totally expecting a big flat board with the usual surface mount stuff thats in 90% of mixers these days. that should be enough for any of you modders out there to raise your eyebrows. seems like decent components too- caps, resistors, ic's, thick circuitry... and a big ribbon cable connecting these together. i don't know much about this kind of stuff so if anyone out there knows a simple mod for this thing PLEASE write in! i have to say seeing this made me realize i had found something very special.
so lets get on with the job- what's it like in practice?
- sounds big, warm and punchy. it only has 8 mic pres, the rest are line. perfect for me in my synth studio. it sounds like the older soundcraft or sountracs topaz but MUCH cleaner with better dynamic seperation. may even give toft a run for its money. pass me that cigar!
- eq is average, nothing like a soundtracs topaz or toft atb unfortunately. think older mackie before the onyx 'perkins' eq. serviceable tweaking and very transparent, but nothing spectacular. does the job if you dont dial in too much, and very effective when you subtract rather than add. the eq in/out switch is very handy and a nice bonus.
- the 8 mic pres are fine, but i suspect will be great with a little modding. again, these pres are kinda like an older mackie vlz (very decent) but not as good as the onyx or n12.
- its the quietest noise free analog board i've used besides the new mackie onyx 1640i and my friends ssl x-desk.
- loads of headroom and very punchy. a little like the ssl.
- powerful headphone amp. i've always liked the amps on mackie boards, they never skimped in that area and the rm800 is on par.
- built tough, stronger and heavier than other similar mixers and the switches and knobs have a fantastic feel even after all these years. they don't make 'em like this anymore!
- the 100mm faders are a little cheap feeling in action. very light and smooth, but do the job admirably with no dead spots.
- unfortunately no meterbridge, the only real downer for me!
- individual modular channel circuit design and has an internal power supply.
so there you have it. looking for a bargain board that rivals the big name commercial mixers? check. want an 8 buss console with lots of inputs? check. warm, punchy sound with great seperation? check. extemely quiet operation with a (internal and unseen) modular design? check. excellent build quality? check, check, check. why would you want more? sure a neve, ssl or api is better but consider whats available in this price bracket. $5000 when first released, and found for about $500 today- wasnt promoted well at the time and lost its stand in the 8 bus market very quickly. i think this was the last analog 'studio' desk yamaha ever made during their digital mixer takeover.
from another reviewer that knows about this console more than me-
"even though it's 8 busses with the 8 direct outs on channels 17-24 it really serves as a 16 output mixer. 56 inputs at mixdown (if memory serves) will definitely be more than we'll ever need since we're running a 20 input/20 output pro tools system with this board. Also has a nice submixer input which we use with an external board for drum subs when the tracking gets too hairy with huge groups."
if all those studio boards of that 80's-90's era were placed in front of me in a blind test, this would most likely be the one i would pick. these days i may struggle a little comparing it the the budget onyx, toft and n12... but if you're after a cheap analog mixer that rivals the best of them, you should check out the rm800 before you shell out for the usual suspects.
looking for a a mackie killer for a bargain price that betters soundtracs and soundcraft of the 8 buss war era for a rediculous price? the sleeper bargain of the century.... look no further.
fan site here- Yamaha RM800
Had to add my own review of my board, the yamaha rm800-24.
This is insane. it's cheap on the used market. it's big, heavy, and VERY SOLIDLY built. I had a big, heavy tascam board before which was NOT very solidly built and even flexed when lifting it. This board is in a far better class in pretty well every way.
mic pres - I happen to really like them. Very full and neutral, transformer balanced. Superior to most affordable outboard and you get 8 of them in these boards basically as a freebie addon when considering the price. EXCELLENT for the money. I use them for lots of tracking and they have a different and useful sound from my outboard rack pres, all of which are colored (intentionally) because I know I always have these yammy pres for the cleaner stuff.
overall sound - yes, super quiet, super clean, nice and punchy, PLENTY of headroom, I've never made it clip unless doing something really really stupid. I've never heard noise from it in any tracking situation nor in the older days when I would mix in it. I sometimes sum in this and it's great for that as well.
EQ is very good, very useful, but I wish it had q controls. center freqs are very well chosen as are qs, and I happen to like them a lot. can be switched out which is nice.
4 mono aux sense and a stereo aux send on each channel, inline 24 so has another 24 channels without eq and without the first 3 (I think it's 3) aux sends if you choose to use the board for mixing... which gives basically up to 48 mixing channels using the main strips and more if you use the extra ins and outs.
good useful monitor controller, 8 bus, excellent metering although I wish it was per channel not per bus/aux which is certainly a limitation. However there are clip lights and such if needed per channel.
works great in both +4 and -10 setups and can even work in both at once which is crazy useful for a project studio.
Can work with an 8 or even 16 track recorder if you want to go daw-less, recording the old fashioned way or have a mid life crisis and want to run away from everything that uses a mouse :-)
Has inserts on some channels although I don't find them important as I Have outboard mic pres.... but still they would be useful for those without mic pres but with outboard compressors they'd like to use. The insert jacks work with project studio targeted compressors such as the RNC right away with a stereo 1/4" connector cable at both ends, so that is pretty cool and easy.
I leave a lot of my gear permanently connected to the ins of this thing and when tracking just turn things off and on accordingly since I do most of my work as a multi instrumentalist/producer/arranger.
In a small home setup the fact that there are no connections on the back is really helpful so you can put this up against your wall. Space saver, although that term is funny for such a HUGE mixing desk.
This thing is super reliable - I've had mine for years now and it was well used before, and it has zero problems other than one or two little plastic button tops popping off when I wasn't looking.
I strongly consider this to be the highest quality piece of gear I own, and I own a LOT of gear.
Also by far the best overall desk I've owned, and I've owned several over the years.
if you need 24 mic pres and insert on each channel, look at behringer. if you want a desk that will outlive you and continue to perform as it did when new, buy a used yamaha rm800.
there is also a 16 channel version if you don't need the 24.
Yes, I would agree completely about how great this board is. I have a Soundcraft Spirit Studio, and the RM800 blows it out. If you get your levels set up right, it is super quiet, with lots of headroom. Whats also great is you can route the effects returns to any of the 8 busses. Its built like a tank. Paired with an HD24 it rocks. The eq is very nice sounding, and yes, taking away is the way to go, rather than add. Outstanding value....
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