Yamaha LS 9 digital console – a review

Yamaha ls-9.

Yamaha LS-9

Yamaha LS-9

I have been using the ls9 for a few days and it seems to do it’s job capably. The model I have been using is the ls9-16, which it designation implies is the 16 channel version. There is also a 32 channel version of this console. The unit that I am using has a small footprint, it will sit comfortably on a standard 19″ rack. Since I have always used analog consoles this was a bit daunting to start of with. You soon realise that it has the same features as an analog desk plus a lot more. All the feature you expect are found in the menu structure or on the front panel. In fact it does not take long to get a simple mix happening.

LS-9 Rear Panel

LS-9 Rear Panel

On the back panel there are all of the inputs and outputs. 16 inputs and 8 omni outputs along with word clock in and out, midi in and out and 2track digital in and out. The LS9 is 16-bus, eight-matrix to stereo and mono, which can also be configured as LCR. All outputs have to be routed to the “Omni” outs. There is also an Ethernet port for attaching a computer to the system. There is also a slot for inserting digital in/out cards to expand the number of inputs. On the right-hand side you will also find a port for a usb stick. With this you can record the mix or playback music from it. You can also save your own personal settings for the desk.

The front panel contains all of the faders and controls you need to get to set up the desk and get a mix happening. Each channel also features a motorised fader, a LED meter, and buttons for channel on, SEL and cue.

Home Page View

Home Page View

When you turn the desk on the screen will default to the “home” page and you can always return to this page when you press the Home button on the front panel. If you look carefully at the screen it contains a lot of info. The information that is displayed is related to which channel you have selected. So if you press the select button above the channel 1 fader the screen will display info about the channel. The info will include eq settings, send levels etc. It does not take long to connect this mixer to your system. There is no real need for an effects rack as the desk contains a reasonable amount of processing within its software. You can patch the built in effects and graphics to any input or output.  One useful feature would be that the screen was a touch screen like Yamaha’s bigger brothers.  To the right of the display are a bunch of controls that adjust the various parameters of what you have selected. When you have a channel selected you can from these controls adjust the eq, head amp, sends to the mix/ matrix(when you use selectors on the left), al of the mono channels have 2 dynamic processors. There is also a rotary encoder to adjust levels, an up/down and left/right navigation keys. Also there is a INC and DEC buttons.

On the left hand side of the screen. you will find the display access controls, layer controls and the mix/matrix selectors. The Diplay access control allow you to access preferences, set

Yamaha showing USB

Yamaha showing USB

up menus for the desk. There is also access to the graphics/effects rack, these can assigned to any input and output. Using the 31-band graphic EQs was facilitated by switching the EQ to Fader Assign mode, in which the faders function like the sliders on a graphic EQ. The layers controls are two input layers — a “master” layer and a custom layer — where you can mix and match any combination of input, output and matrix channels or mix masters. If you want the star channel, two aux masters and a matrix master on one layer, you can have that. Pressing any Mix button once tells the LS9 which send you want to address using the Selected Send rotary in the selected channel section.  If you press the Mix button a second time, then the desk enters Sends on Faders mode, in which the faders control send level.

In use this console is pretty good. You patch in mics into the channels, connect the FOH amps to omni outs 7and 8 and then maybe 2  foldback sends on omni’s 1 and 2. Working with channel 1 you press the select button and ON button and adjust the Headroom amp to get a nice signal, you then wind up the master until you have sound happening. You can now adjust the EQ, add any dynamic effects. You press the mix/matrix button 1 and you can now send your signal to this output, in the intial setting of the desk this signal is PFL but this can be changed if you so desire. You do this now for all channels and you have a rudimentary mix. happening. You can then assign the graphics to the outputs, you have 4 31band graphics which can be changed to 8 15band graphics. You can assign also several effects to various channels. You would use the mix matrix buttons and assign one or more to send a signal to the internal effects and return the effects on one of the stereo returns or a desk channel.

With this desk you can also store scenes, that is you can record changes in levels, channels on and off etc., for later recall. This is very handy for theatre style shows or musicals, especially if the have radio mics in them. With this feature you can turn radio mic channels on and off in the correct scenes.

Next to the faders on the front panel you will notice a set of 12 buttons, these are the user definable keys. These are extremely useful, you can make them mute buttons or scene go buttons. Basicly any function of the desk can be assigned to these keys.

One of the LS9 features is a built-in USB recording/playback device. The USB port accepts a standard memory stick (up to 2 GB) and allows you to record the desk’s output to MP3 files. You can record audio from any bus on the console.  The USB recorder can also play MP3s that are stored on the stick. MP3s may be linked to scenes so that when a scene is recalled, a specific MP3 plays automatically.  This feature will be a boon in theatre applications.

The more you use this desk the more you will discover want it can do. Coming from an analog desk to this digital console was an eye opener. This desk is very versatile. No longer do you need to cart a van load of gear with you. You can carry this desk under your arm to the gig. For its small size this console packs a punch. This is a pleasant but powerful console to use. As you use it you will find more and more functions that you can use to make your task easier therefore concentrating on the task at hand- making the show sound great.

Overall I rate this device as a 8/10

Basic Overview

• 16 or 32 mono mic/line input channels plus 4 stereo input channels, expandable up to 32 or 64 channels in two layers.

Desk in use

Desk in use

• 16 mix buses, 8 matrix buses, plus stereo and mono buses with LCR mode.
• Top-performance analog mic/line preamplifiers.
• Compact and light enough for one person to move and set up easily.
• Yamaha Selected Channel interface allows smooth, intuitive access to detailed channel functions via a color LCD display and
logically arranged encoders.
• Extensive gating, compression, and equalization facilities.
• Built-in USB memory recorder/player for recording or BGM playback.
• Virtual Rack packed with effects and EQ for just about any processing requirements.
• Scene memory for instant store and recall of all console parameters, including head amp gain.
• Advanced access management includes user keys (standard USB memory devices) that can be issued with different access levels for
different users.
• LS9 Editor Software for enhanced operability and programmability.

Technical Specifications

Technical Specifications

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