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Yamaha DM3

Digital Mixer & USB Audio Interface By Mike Crofts
Published December 2023

Yamaha DM3

Yamaha’s new compact 'mixerface' console packs a lot of powerful features and functionality into a portable package.

The new Yamaha DM3 is a compact digital mixing console capable of taking 18 inputs to mix, with 16 onboard mic preamps and an ‘eight plus one’ fader configuration. The internal processing runs at 96kHz throughout, although there’s an option to set the clock at 48kHz if required. The preamps are, I understand, all‑new designs but borrow from some of Yamaha’s higher‑end products. Apart from the main stereo bus, there are six further aux mix buses, plus two matrix buses and two internal effects buses. Local ins and outs are all XLR on the rear panel, with four of the inputs having combi XLR/TRS connectors.

The DM3 is designed with various modes of operation in mind, and to that end, some of the physical buttons can be used for remote DAW control. Direct‑to‑stick stereo and 18‑channel multitrack recording is catered for, a feature aimed at portable live recording/streaming applications. When connected to a wireless router, the mixer can be remote‑controlled using an iOS device or Mac/Windows computer, and up to 10 individual mobile devices can connect and control different mixes. The DM3 weighs a mere 8.5kg, and is a truly compact piece of hardware, measuring only 320mm wide by 455mm front‑to‑back.

There are, in fact, two versions of the DM3: the DM3 Standard, and the DM3. Both have the same 18‑input mixing capability, but the latter includes 16‑in/16‑out Dante connectivity to connect with Dante‑equipped stageboxes, speakers and recording systems, as an alternative to the local I/O. The DM3 Standard (DM3S) has local I/O only, and this is the version I had for review. I mostly looked at this mixer from a live sound point of view, though it does have many other tricks up its sleeve.

DM3 - Out Of The Box

The shipping box itself gives quite a strong first impression, in that it’s far too small to contain an 18‑channel digital mixing console — or so you might think! The DM3 really is a diminutive piece of hardware, and would fit inside a rucksack‑style carry bag if necessary. After unpacking and powering up the DM3S I was struck not only by its tiny size but by the very large touchscreen that occupies pretty much the whole of the upper part of the surface. The look and feel of the DM3S, even before powering it up, give an impression of quality; it’s designed in Yamaha’s trademark style of straightforward, no‑nonsense ergonomics, and has a very ‘pro’ look.

As soon as I switched it on and the screen came to life I immediately began comparing it to Yamaha’s existing TF consoles, as the screen layout is almost identical in style. It’s not ‘just’ an updated TF though, even though it obviously shares much of the workflow — more on that a bit later. The powering‑up process took a shade over 40 seconds from hitting the switch to a state of readiness, and involved connecting an external power supply to a sturdy four‑pin connector on the rear panel. I suppose having an external PSU is one of the compromises involved in making such a compact product. For a studio install it’s not a problem at all, but as a travelling tool, the PSU is just another thing to carry around, and would have to be accommodated when considering flightcase capacity. Having said that, the PSU is not a wall‑wart type; it’s a heavy‑duty in‑line thing that looks and feels solid and tough, and the DC input connector is a quality piece of hardware that’s not going to get accidentally disconnected or easily damaged. I suppose if you’ve got to have an external PSU, this is the way to do it!

All versions of the DM3 feature 16 mic/line inputs (four of which are on combi XLR/jacks), plus eight line outs, a USB port for interfacing, and an Ethernet port for remote control. The non‑Standard version (pictured) additionally has two Dante ports, for up to 16 remote I/O.All versions of the DM3 feature 16 mic/line inputs (four of which are on combi XLR/jacks), plus eight line outs, a USB port for interfacing, and an Ethernet port for remote control. The non‑Standard version (pictured) additionally has two Dante ports, for up to 16 remote I/O.

Updating The Firmware

The first thing I did was update the firmware to the latest version, by downloading it from the Yamaha website and transferring it to the mixer with a USB stick. The update process is virtually foolproof, and only takes a few minutes.

Once switched on, it’s apparent straight away that the large touchscreen is the centre of operations, as there are very few hardware controls on the surface. The screen itself is pin‑sharp and a joy to interact with, being smooth, multi‑touch‑responsive and benefitting from an excellent design layout with lots of functionality. The channel overview (Home screen), for example, not only displays all the parameters and processing blocks in real time but also allows direct touch control of the main functions. Or you can pop out dedicated control screens to access everything in a larger view with additional control options, if available. The information...

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