It was late last year when we first heard rumblings about a new recording hardware/software system from Yamaha Commercial audio called Nuage.

It will be officially unveiled at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show in April in Las Vegas. But, just before NAMM, the Rev. got in the car and pointed it toward Cali and sat for an hour with Yamaha Commercial honcho Larry italia and we talked about the new system, audio networking, standards in pro audio gear and even about the new CL Series live system and where it sits in the Yamaha ecosystem.

For those wondering about Yamaha and recording, keep in mind that it has been more than a few years ago that Yamaha bought Steinberg, the makers of both Cubase and the Nuendo system that is rapidly gaining favor as a live recording platform.

STANDARDS

“The great thing about standards in pro audio is that there are so many to choose from.” So went the tongue-in-cheek observation by Mr. Italia when we were discussing audio networking. It’s funny but does speak to a real issue  when it comes to the issue of openness and the ability of gear to talk to each other. 

Aside: As the networking thing was just starting to get going, I was on an AES panel with reps from a bunch of manufacturers and Dave Shadoan of Sound Image about audio networking except we were still calling it “digital snakes.” Neither of us was very popular. All of the mfg reps were there to tell everyone how great their system was. And every system they were talking about operated under a different proprietary format. I spoke first and kind of rolled a live grenade into the room by saying that none of this was going to work until every piece of gear could talk to every other piece of gear and that if the MI side of the biz could make it happen via MIDI, there was no reason—except greed and an insatiable need for control—that the pros could not do the same thing with audio transport. Dave got all the laughs at the end when he said that in order for it to happen “we need a standard and all of the old guys have to die.” He’s much funnier than I am. Bastard.

But from the beginning of this, Yamaha has taken a different “everybody in the pool” approach. Instead of a single option for bringing audio in and out of their systems digitally, you can buy cards that will work or virtually every format out there. 

CLOSED VS OPEN

Wrapping it all up. We also talked about the CL Series, the PM5D, and how the Yamaha ecosystem is laid out. At least until the replacement for the PM1D becomes a reality. Hint: Expect it to be modular and for Dante to be involved…

Last thing. Too good not to share. A little story about the name “Nuage” and how it relates to gypsy jazz, Larry’s formative years and trying to play Django Reinhardt tunes without a backing band…

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