The Yamaha RIVAGE PM series digital mixing systems feature a range of highly configurable hardware, including five control surfaces, two DSP engines, two I/O rack units and two network protocols. These allow users to scale highly customizable systems to fit any modern mixing project's technical requirements.
Recognizing the superior sound quality, functionality and operation of the RIVAGE PM series, the RIVAGE PM7 was awarded the FOH GOLD STAR PRODUCT AWARD in 2019 for Best New Large Format Console and the RIVAGE PM5 and PM3 won the IBC 2020 Best of Show Award Virtual Edition, awarded by Pro Sound News Magazine. These awards also highlighted continuous program of refinement by Yamaha in developing cutting-edge products to address the technical challenges of the modern event landscape.
In recent years, hybrid events have gained popularity as a pragmatic approach to producing live events, while ensuring the health and safety of attendees, performers and staff. With the new technical challenges and workflow constraints that these events bring, Singapore-based Black Beard Audio and Yamaha Music Asia rental partner Aux Media Group have invested in Yamaha RIVAGE PM systems to seamlessly support live sound and live streaming, with the highest audio quality.
Held from 4th to 7th November 2021, Baybeats is Singapore’s largest free alternative music festival, organized by Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, Singapore’s national performing arts centre. The festival aims to showcase alternative music acts, especially local musicians, expose Singapore audiences to quality artistes and develop the performing arts industry. The three main stages are the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, Esplanade Theatre and Esplanade Annexe Studio. In addition, the Baybeats 2021 performances were streamed online, allowing audiences to enjoy the festival from the comfort of their homes.
A significant challenge was integrating the high audio channel counts from each of the three performing stages, all with low latency, high-quality sound from full band setups. Black Beard Audio and Aux Media Group created a comprehensive networked eco-system - meaning the streaming operation could be centralized in a single location known as ‘Home Base’ - and chose RIVAGE PM3 and PM5 systems to mix the live streams for online viewers.
Uthaiyan ‘Black Beard’ Kumanan is no stranger to RIVAGE PM systems. In 2019, he used a RIVAGE PM10 to mix Til The End Of The World, We’ll Meet In No Man’s Land - an award-winning, multi-sensory live theatre production - in binaural sound.
“Integrating RIVAGE PM systems into the Baybeats festival was the natural choice, thanks to their ability to be seamlessly moved into any venue, with a wide range of conversion options to integrate different digital audio formats,” says Uthaiyan.
The team configured the RIVAGE PM5 and PM3 with the DSP-RX DSP engine, providing 120 mono input channels and 48 mix, 24 matrix and two stereo bus output channels. The DSP engine from the RIVAGE PM10 and PM7 systems is backwards compatible with the newer CS-R5 and CS-R3 control surfaces, meaning the team could utilize the DSP-R10 DSP engine with a CS-R5, providing an additional 144 mono input channels, plus 72 mix, 36 matrix and two stereo bus output channels. This high capacity allowed the engineers to be fully creative in crafting their mixes, while maintaining extremely reliable ease-of-use when integrating the incoming audio streams from the venue.
The Yamaha RMio-64D Dante/MADI conversion I/O rack was the vital link between the venue’s audio infrastructure and the Home Base’s Dante interfaces. Dante digital audio networking over Ethernet was chosen for its ability to manage remote audio resources centrally and potential to scale the audio channel count on demand. It helped the audio broadcast team to streamline the workflow in input/output patch management, hardware and system monitoring, allowing them to focus on the creative aspect of mixing the bands.
“Building a cost-effective broadcast system with redundancy at this scale was possible with Dante, the audio quality was great and the system worked reliably through the entire project,” says Uthaiyan.
Comparing his experiences of this with the Til The End Of The World project, he adds, “The networking requirement for Baybeats was definitely more complex, but the Yamaha and Audinate networking eco-system made setting up and managing the audio systems and resources for a hybrid event like this very manageable.”
Yamaha RIVAGE PM systems host a comprehensive selection of plug-ins, regularly added to via firmware updates. These range from the renowned Rupert Neve Designs (RND) 5045 Primary Source Enhancer - a versatile and effective noise suppression tool - to the highly popular Eventide SP2016 Reverb Processor, providing new possibilities for users to enhance music of any style in a mix. Uthaiyan was particularly impressed with the RND Portico II Master Buss Processor (released with firmware v5.00) being, as he says, “very close sounding” to the hardware unit he owns.
Another advantage of using RIVAGE PM systems at the Baybeats 2021 festival was how Yamaha has kept the user experience and user interface consistent, providing an effective and efficient mixing experience that audio engineers worldwide are familiar with. “Starting with the Yamaha M7CL, through QL and CL consoles to the RIVAGE PM series, the intuitiveness in learning and operating the consoles has remained the same,” says Uthaiyan, noting how fast his team was able to learn how to operate the RIVAGE PM systems for the festival.
As hybrid live/online events become a new norm, the technical requirements and capabilities of production systems will have to evolve. A notable example might be sound engineers having to produce a broadcast mix in addition to a front of house mix. Baybeats 2021 proved that Yamaha RIVAGE PM systems have the necessary versatility for hybrid events, maintaining their compatibility with the evolving technological landscape of technical event production.