Yamaha EMX 5016CF Powered Mixer Offers Power Via Simplicity

2/12/2007 [Live Sound]

By Jamie Rio From Singer & Musician, #43, February 2007

EMX5016CF Powered Mixer
Power via simplicity
Eight years ago, I reviewed the first Yamaha EMX Powered Mixer. At the time, it was nice but didn't have enough features and horsepower to propel a band or sound company into the big leagues. The years have been good to this board and there have been several versions and lots of upgrades. Let's take a look at the latest.

The EMX 5016CF sports 12 mono mic/line input channels and 4 stereo input channel pairs. A 1000-watt (500 + 500) stereo power amp is built into the board, sending its wattage through 1/4" phone jacks or Neutrik Speakon outputs.

Even if you are not a tech expert, you can operate tools on the EMX that are usually the domain of the gurus. For example, not one but two SPX effects processors are included, giving you buckets of effects possibilities. Individual compressors are present on channels 1 thru 8 but there are no intimidating "ratio," "threshold," "attack," and "release" controls. This compressor is a unique single knob device. Turn it to the right and you raise the compression ratio while adjusting the gain accordingly. All channels have gain knobs and 80 Hz roll off (high pass filter) buttons but only channels 1 thru 8 have a 26dB attenuator button.

Basically, 1 thru 8 are set up for mics and have insert jacks and, while all channels feature 3 bands of EQ, only the first 8 feature a sweepable mid-range. All channels get 2 Aux sends with pre and post buttons and 2 effects knobs for those SPX processors. Pan knobs are present along with nice, large, on/off buttons. Signal and peak indicator lights adorn each channel and a PFL button sends the signal to the headphone jack.

As we get to the Master section we can really see some of the Yamaha innovations. An array of output jacks, using 1/4" and RCA plugs, are designed to send your mixed signal to external power amps or powered speakers, recording devices or an additional mixer. There are also foot-switch operated on/off jacks for the internal effects processors. Aux sends 1 and 2, an XLR lamp jack, and a stereo 1/4" headphone jack finish off the output cluster. So far pretty standard-the cool stuff lies ahead.

Following the jacks, we are outfitted with a 9-band digital graphic EQ controlled by a simple on/off button. The FRC (Frequency Response Correction System) is very handy. We can measure the sound characteristics of our environment through a pink noise generator and adjust the EQ to match the room with the touch of a button. I won't get into the set-up and operation, but it's simple and it works. There's also a bank of Vocal, Dance and Speech buttons for presets and User 1, 2 and 3 for storing your own settings. (If you have a few place where you regularly play you can save each as a preset.)

There is a feedback suppressor section laid out just under the graphic EQ with auto and manual detect buttons. A Maximize button engages a 3-band compressor to the Stereo L/R bus signal enhancing the sound and volume of the overall mix.
 
EMX5016CF Powered Mixer
Yamaha EMX5016CF Mixer
A phantom power switch gives you the 48volts you need for whatever and a power adjust switch lets you choose 500, 200 or 75watts (all stereo at 4ohms) so you can use the 5016 for bigger gigs and for small coffee house type shows without blowing the audience's hair back with too much power. Power amp limiter lights let you see if you're blowing up your speakers. Here we are left with the Yamaha Speaker processing switch or YS switch. This button will kick up the bass if you don't have any subs. There are faders present for effects returns 1 and 2, for the aux sends and the stereo out. There is also a cool little mute button that mutes channels 1 thru 8. That's pretty much what you get.

Road Trip
The first run with the EMX mixer was at a local hotel. I had another gig, so I sent one of my best techs by the name of Walter Olney to the hotel. Walter mixed a five-piece jazz band for an audience of about two hundred. He used the Yamaha to power two passive sub boxes loaded with 15" speakers and two full range boxes with 2-10's and a high compression horn each. Besides the jazz band he was running an audiovisual signal and some program music though the board. The first thing Walter reported was how clean the mixer is. "The sound quality is really transparent" were his exact words. He also commented on how nice the effects sound and he liked the punch that the Maximize button gave the whole mix.

I figured I better be there for the next show and I was. We both set up the same system for a city event in my hometown of Sierra Madre, California. One of our acts was the local kids choir and with lots of little voices I had to set my mics hot-the feedback suppression came in very handy here, allowing me to get maximum volume with a minimum of howling. I also got a firsthand experience with the onboard SPX effects and I found them to be very pleasant and very clean.

During the course of this event, I had everything from the aforementioned choir to a solo autoharp player with an attitude. And, of course, I was playing programmed music via my iPod throughout the entire day. I really enjoyed working with the EMX mixer. I loved some of the features more than others but I didn't feel let down by any single aspect of the board. I think this would be a great mixer for a band or a church's youth house or in my case as a "B" system. It's super easy to set up and operate and with all the features you need to sound good (as long as you actually know how to mix). SM
  • What is it: An all-in-one mixing board
  • Who it's for: Bands, schools, churches
  • Pros: Lots of great features
  • Cons: Maybe a little more wattage
  • By Jamie Rio From Singer&Musician, #43, February 2007 - www.iLiveToPlay.net / Posted with permission

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