On the upcoming Steve Miller Band concert tour, slated to kick off in May, the band’s monitor engineer, Ira Malek, will be utilizing a Yamaha PM5D digital console.
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 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.”
Malek notes that the PM5D is very flexible. “Steve is on Future Sonics 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.” he adds. “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 ‘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 PM5D 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.”