bluezplaya

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« on: October 02, 2008, 01:05:05 PM »
I have been skimming the threads here for the last few weeks trying to research and learn what I could do to my board to make it sound stellar. I bought this board a year or so ago for cheap...$87.00 in immaculate shape on the Bay. The sound I am wanting to get out of it is what most people I assume want...warmth, punch, detail and clarity, and overall total control of shape and depth, by way of input gain and EQ.

I use all outboard mic pre's for tracking; Neve's, API's, JLM Baby Animals and Green pre's. So my tracks are pretty much already "colored" and warm. I used to have a pair of the RME Multifaces and then went to the Lynx Aurora 16 which is light years ahead. I didn't know I had a murky, foggy mix until I hooked up the Lynx. So with the Lynx I output 16 channels to the board and am getting more or less the "colored" tracks on a "colored" board (am I sounding racist? hope not  :green: ). The Yammy is transformer coupled throughout with the Tamura iron.

I guess what I am saying is I need this board to sound less fluffy and more transparent/in your face. The overall soundstage is somewhat scooped, if you will. Unlike that of a Pultec when you kick the bypass off and the tube just makes the track leap off of the monitors. I'm thinking another board (transformerless) might do the trick but I don't have the money to buy one of a caliber worth using. So what mods could I do to the Yammy?

For instance:
(BTW)I already recapped the PSU, master fader and channel strips audio path lytics with Panasonic FCs.

I swapped the JRC 4558's in the EQ section with OPA2604's and bypassed the vregs that dropped from +-24v to +-16v. So now the 2604's are getting the full +-24v.

Next considerations?
Maybe a different output transformer for the master channel? Cinemag, Edcor, Carnhill, etc?

Change the master strips to a different type out? Class A, AB, change opamps to 99v, 990, 2520, etc? I just don't know.

Here is the schematic for the channel strip. Page 14
http://www.adamholtmusic.com/diy/M1516/M1516ChannelStrip.pdf

Here is the schematic for the Master strip.
http://www.adamholtmusic.com/diy/M1516/M1516Master.pdf

If anyone could comment, I would appreciate it.

Adam
Alabama is the only state in the country where the tooth fairy had to file for unemployment.


bluezplaya

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2008, 04:46:04 PM »
...
Alabama is the only state in the country where the tooth fairy had to file for unemployment.

khstudio

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2008, 03:20:31 AM »
It's hard to say... I ripped my M1516 apart.

I DO like the large OT's... don't think your problem is there.

I would try some test:
Run signal or mic into a channel & pull the signal at the "Insert send" point.
Sweep & "Listen" to JUSt the channel's to see what they're doing first.
BTW... they DO make GREAT channel strips/Pre's for tracking this way. :wink: Try it out.

If you like the channels, then try routing them to the Buss/SUB out's... & listen to how they sound compared to the Master.
You MAY start to hear & narrow down what section you don't like.
I'd also run "SWEEPS" on EACH of these sections to see what they're doing to your audio (+ listen)

I don't remember if the output section has DOA's or not... don't think so.
But your voltages are there & plenty of room to build or add NEW Summing & Fader Amps/Booster's.
This I can NOT be much help with but the talent & info is around here.

I've got many random parts left over from my board. No DOA's or TX's though.

Good luck bro.
Kevin
Kevin ~ KHStudio

lang_dave

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2008, 04:12:22 PM »
Hi - I saw your post on my M916 thread.

I'm more of a "solder to someone else's specs" kinda guy. I asked for a lot of help with my project and then followed the advice I was given.

I'm not sure I understand your signal flow - what are you comparing the sound of your board to? How do you go from the outboard pres to your board and then back out again? I don't think the M1516 has direct outs, does it? Are you matching signal levels when you compare? Are you just listening or have you done any analysis with a scope etc.? What's your room like?

Don't take questions the wrong way - not trying to insult, just help.

happy sunday!

dave
and so it goes...

Dave Lang
www.davelang.com

khstudio

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2008, 04:24:30 PM »
Quote from: "lang_dave"
I don't think the M1516 has direct outs, does it?

dave


No but it does have insert points... IIRC they're after the EQ, so good for Channel strip Pre's.
Kevin ~ KHStudio

lang_dave

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2008, 08:36:16 PM »
you got it - so let's examine how everything's being routed...


 :grin:
and so it goes...

Dave Lang
www.davelang.com

bluezplaya

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2008, 11:37:49 PM »
Quote
I'm not sure I understand your signal flow - what are you comparing the sound of your board to? How do you go from the outboard pres to your board and then back out again?


I am not using the board's mic pres for tracking. I could, and I probably should on some things, but just don't because I have about 18 outboard pre's in the rack. I use these mic pre's to record the tracks with my A/D converter . Then on playback, the individual tracks are routed through the preamps on the mixer board through the channels. So the board is more of a line level mixer.

After some contemplation about sound and certain opamps, I think the sound I am hoping for can be acheived by changing the stock opamps on the master channels with possibly the JLM Hybrid opamps. These I know are super fast and snappy, uncolored and with some "bite". That is what I lack in this board...snap and bite. With a transformer-coupled audio path full of slower opamps, I think the master channels output need some prescence and clarity to offset the soft mid/low mid. Can you understand what i mean?
Alabama is the only state in the country where the tooth fairy had to file for unemployment.

lang_dave

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2008, 08:13:40 PM »
So you go from the outboard pres to the Lynx then into your DAW software then come back out again from the Lynx and go into the 1516 then out of the 1516 PGM L&R back into the Lynx and the DAW software?

- mic
- outboard pre
- Lynx
- DAW
- Lynx
- 1516 channel strips (thru insert or input?)
- 1516 PGM out
- Lynx
- DAW

Are you doing that because you think using the 1516 as a 'summing mixer' will sound better than mixing 'in the box'?

or to use the 1516's eqs?
or some other outboard gear?

I'm still not sure I understand how you've A/B'd the sound of the 1516 to something else.

I checked out the audio you have on your homepage - did you record that with your current setup?

I'm no expert, but when I compare the schematic for the M1516 channel strip and the M1516 program strip, I don't see an NE80200 (the Yamaha version of the JLM 990 style opamp) on the program strip - just a couple of line amps and 4 TA7322P opamps like on my M916 - those are 9 pin SIP chips that don't have a drop in replacement. The line amp circuit on the M1516 looks very similar to what's on the schematic for my M916.

If nothing else, I had fun looking at the two schematics and comparing - it's all learning for me. Sounds interesting - let us know what you decide to do.

have a good one,
dave
and so it goes...

Dave Lang
www.davelang.com

hitchhiker

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2008, 09:06:38 PM »
Like Dave says , .... in the box is better than the average mixer. If you have a stack of outboard gear to effect the mix then great but if not then you might want a high pro level mixer or a better summing box to make it worth while. Just my my view, if the eq is sweet then then stick with the Yammy but if not then move on.

bluezplaya

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2008, 10:40:14 PM »
I appreciate the feedback from everyone. Yes, Dave, that is how I am using the studio. And the music you heard was not recorded with this equipment. I have MUCH better gear now than with that. I have to disagree that mixing in the box is a better sound...just my preference. I would rather all my tracks be summed with real voltages instead of binary code.

I don't want a summing box, i want to use my mixing board, but like you say...I could buy a high pro level mixer. i would prefer that over the Yamaha but since i already have a lot of time and money invested in it and don't have a $20,000+ budget, that's why I am wanting to take the mixer to it's full potential.

Hence, modding the master channels to deliver a sound comparable to a "high end" mixer.
Alabama is the only state in the country where the tooth fairy had to file for unemployment.


Baltimore

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2008, 11:03:05 PM »
I owned and used an m1516 for a while.  it is exactly as you say...pretty mellow, scooped, and fluffy.  i record very aggressive music and it didn't work for me except for the pres.  the sound through the board always lost some of its edge.  I would've loved it if i were doing anything mellow.

I do really like the pre's in those things though.  i do still have a couple channels of pres i built with the yamaha parts (input and output TXs and 80200s) that i use quite often. (kick drums, overheads, bass guitar and vocals sometimes hit these things) the EQ was ok, but certainly not fantastic.

i think perhaps a lot of the "problem" is that the line in is padded down before the input transformer, then stepped up by the transformer. maybe modding it with a transformerless line input could help?  or a 10k:10k on the front end? I never got this far with my experimenting.  i do find that the pres I built have a lot of the same character as the board, so it might just be in the input or output transformers, since the line input never hits the 80200 discrete amps.

i've since moved on to an auditronics 501 which destroys the yamaha in every way.  I track on a trident 70 all the time and it too kills the yamaha.  both have way more "snap" and "punch" and "presence" but they also cost 20 or 30 times what the 1516 costs.

so consider transformerless or a different transformer on the input, maybe try a couple channels?  maybe steel transformers for the master outputs?
if those don't help...get a new board.

kevin

lang_dave

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2008, 01:09:38 AM »
Hey! You guys keep putting words in my mouth - you'd think we were on the internet or something!

 :wink:

I'm not saying mixing in the box is better or worse than using a summing mixer. I was just investigating the source of your frustration with the sound you're getting.

Seems like you've got a plan in mind - best thing might be to go for it and see how it turns out!


good luck - keep us posted,

dave
and so it goes...

Dave Lang
www.davelang.com

bluezplaya

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2008, 01:48:31 AM »
Ahh...Kevin knows what I'm talking about  :wink: . I will definitely consider a transformer swap and see if that helps. So the Son of Grand console kicks that ass, eh? I presume it gives you the snap you were looking for? That's cool. Do the EQ's sound sweet on that board?
Alabama is the only state in the country where the tooth fairy had to file for unemployment.

mattnj

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2008, 07:59:32 AM »
Hey,

I am being forced to rack a few of the channels from the m1516. I have a complete board, but the owner of it wants to rack up a few pres and a couple channel strips and is leaving the rest of the board for my use.  He wants the fluffy sound of it. Whatever....Does anyone have any suggestions on modding the EQ though? It's less than appealing to me. Thanks,

-Matt

Baltimore

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2008, 11:35:07 AM »
Yeah, i love my 501.  It took a ton of work to make it work and sound right,  but it is finally nearing completion.  The EQ is fantastic.  i find myself overdoing it sometimes because it doesn't sound bad at full boost.  it has a pretty short signal path for a console. from the line in to master out each channel only travels through i think 6 5534s.

it is really punchy. and they get compared to API boards all the time.  its not quite in that league, but it isn't terribly far away either.  if i owned a different console i feel like i'd probably reach for more outboard pres.  i find the tone of something like trident can be a bit overwhelming for certain genres when a whole record tracked and mixed on one.  i track and mix on mine all the time and don't have that problem.

i haven't had a chance to look at those schematics you've posted, but i believe either the summing or line output driver on the 1516 is a discrete amp built into the board, which would be very hard to replace.  i'd maybe get some cheap edcors for a few channels, and try edcors or cinemags for the master out transformers and see how that grabs you?

if that doesn't work, you can make a killing parting those things out........and buy a toft or something....or maybe an auditronics 110, i think you can still get those pretty cheap.

bluezplaya

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2008, 01:14:02 PM »
I have put a lot of time into the M1516 and would rather keep rolling with it as far as modding it goes. If I do decide to part with it (no pun intended  :wink: ) , I would rather sell it to someone whole instead of parting with it (no pun intended, again  :wink: ). I have heard great things about the 501 and have considered that one for the future. But I also have considered finding a 32 channel M1532 and swapping the master channels and the first 16 channels with the ones I have now and doing channels 17-32 the same way...you get the drift. I want to keep trying some things to wake it up sonically and have looked into the Edcor stuff. I know they have some 10k:10k line transformers for ridiculously low cost...around $10. And I use the XS1100 trannies on my Pultecs and 1176's, as well as their WSM600's on some Baby Animals. They're great.

The summing amp and buffer amp on the Master channels are Toshiba TA7322P 9 pin sip amps. The line amp is a discrete transistor in A/B, as per Joe Malone checking the schematic for me. He says the sum and buffer amp "affect the sound definitely" ...his words.

In regards to the line amp being transistor based, why would that be hard to replace? The line amp signal path has the bipolar power lines, + and - inputs, and a single output. Is there a way to bypass those and wire to an opamp? Or is there a lot more to it than that? I'm sure there is and that's what I haven't learned yet.
Alabama is the only state in the country where the tooth fairy had to file for unemployment.

Baltimore

My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2008, 03:16:52 PM »
yes, the discrete line amp could be replaced with an opamp, it would require cutting traces and somehow rigging something in its place, that is what i meant when i said difficult.

that is a mod that would be too much work for me to bother with.  but if you're dead set on making the board sing, give it a try.

djgout

Re: My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2009, 10:14:07 AM »
Hello There,

I have an M1532 which is a 32 channel version of this desk, but mine is only loaded out to 24 channels.  I have done some modifications to clean up the mix bus and added some transformers right after the pan buffer amp for balanced direct outs on the first 8 channels.

The over all design of these things is pretty good but can of course use a bit of tweaking. The ICs in the EQ are really only acting as gyrators so I haven't changed them out. I still haven't figured out a good mod for the EQ yet to make it more useable.

The biggest difference I was able to make was I bypassed the summing and boost IC's on the master section for some Sphere SPA 60's.  They are a discrete opamp that'll run on the Bipolar 24. It was really easy to do, just lift a jumper on the master cards then run out to the Sphere's and come back into the master section through the insert send/return.  I left the original output amps in place because they are discrete and actually drive the output transformers really well.  It absolutely cleaned up the soft mids issue. I'll try to take some photo's of what I did tonight perhaps.


Oh and on one of my input channels I did swap in one of the Purple AB class opamps just because I had one about. I didn't think it was really necessary to try to change the gyrators or the two Toshiba's that are really only buffering everything else.

-justin

p.s. let me know if there's anyone with a good eq mod

bluezplaya

Re: My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2009, 10:37:21 AM »
That's awesome. I would love to see some pics of the mod and hear more about the results. I have an EQ mod that I will email.

Adam
Alabama is the only state in the country where the tooth fairy had to file for unemployment.

djgout

Re: My Yamaha M1516...do I sell or modify more?
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2009, 09:58:54 AM »
Okay, Here's a photo of the inside of my M1532 with the Sphere Summing cards as promised. It's two of the SPA-60's per bus. One for summing and the other is doing the boost. I am picking up the bus signal straight from the master module and into the first SPA-60, then there's a little 1K trimmer that feeds into the second SPA-60 for the boost. The output of that booster card is going out to the insert send on the back of the desk. The insert return is the normal Yamaha buffer amp then the master fader then the Yamaha output amp and transformer. This is essentially lifted exactly out of an Eclipse console.  The light bulbs on the summing SPA-60's are just the older style, there aren't lightbulbs on the boosters, but they are pretty much identical opamps, I just had two of each that were in my working pile.



 

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