BUENA PARK, Calif.âŽ¯2008 focused on every aspect of Steve Miller's multi-faceted music, from solo acoustic numbers and hard driving Chicago Blues, to R&B and his own classics, always including his top ten hits, “The Joker”, “Rock 'n Me”, “Fly Like An Eagle”, and “Jet Airliner”. Miller heads back out on tour this May with his band featuring blues singer Sonny Charles, Norton Buffalo (who's been with Steve for over 30 years) on Harmonicas, Kenny Lee Lewis on guitars, Billy Peterson on Bass, Gordy Knutsen on Drums, and Joseph Wooten on keyboards. And, the band's monitor engineer, Ira Malek, will be taking a Yamaha PM5D out along for the run.
With most of his mix years spent at front of house, Malek began using a Yamaha PM5D when it first became available for a Good Charlotte show in New York's MTV's Studio. “There is always something new to learn on the PM5D, and when I find a new function or technique, I like to teach it to a bunch of guys who are avid 5D users,” states Malek. “For example, you can't really store a song per scene on other consoles for a seasoned rock band because the dynamics are making you work the desk, not the scene. With PM5D Version 2 software, I am able to go to the mixer's set up and set it up to whatever I may need, making it that much more musical. The console doesn't limit me.”
In terms of speed, Malek says the 5D is very flexible. “Steve is on FutureSonics ear molds, and two of the other musicians are on ears, plus the guitar tech, and there are five wedge mixes. The great thing about the 5D is that I'm almost playing it like a keyboard. I don't have time to be looking through layers. I'm basically mixing for Steve's ears. He (Steve) used to have one full desk and a separate split just for him. Malek says that by using the PM5D and going to ears has enabled him to eliminate three wedge mixes and sidefills so the inputs are open for less EQs and more effects sends if he chooses. “I'm old school, I just need a knob. For monitors, one scene to one song changes your mix dramatically.”
“Other consoles with more layers are meaningless to me if I can't get to the channel I need quickly. With Steve's six-person band, I can't use the band's channels for Miller's ears so I set up virtual channels going to the band members' individual mixes. The band is very vocal and I've set them up on separate DCAs.” Malek only uses only the 5D's on-board effects. I'm very busy so I need to keep my â€˜A' game up when the band is on stage and don't need to spend extra time fooling with outboard effects.”
“Bob Harper of Starsound in Reno helped me with my wireless setup. It consists of a Silex SX-2000WG+ and a Fujitsu tablet pc. Using Yamaha Studio Manger and PM5D Editor software, I can go onstage and tweak wedges if I don't have someone to drive for me. And by using the 5D editor, I can pretty much do whatever I want from the desk. Its great not having to run back to the console, change something, and run back onstage. We do a lot of one-off shows, so it's great to be able to take my loaded 5D card, use a tablet, hook up a wireless to it, and go up on the stage to do a monitor check.”
Shure SM58s are the microphone choice of Scott Boorey, front of house engineer for the band and is also Steve's preferred mic.
Malek adds that many of Steve Miller's shows are outdoor shed-types, and that â€˜the console works flawlessly even in the rain'!
For more information on the Yamaha PM5D digital audio console, visit www.yamahaca.com.
About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YCAS) provides a full line of integrated professional audio products offering complete systems solutions for the broadcast, sound reinforcement/installed sound, touring, commercial recording, and post production markets. With the recent purchase of NEXO loudspeakers by Yamaha Corporation Japan, the company remains the official U.S. and Canadian distributor for all NEXO models. YCAS offers comprehensive in-house and field product training for its customers, a dedicated dealer network, and 24/7 technical support.