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