Yamaha Design “Synapses” CL Series

2012 / MIXER

iF Design Award
Design for Asia Award

Next-generation digital mixers that allow intuitive operation.


CL series mixers are shaped in such a way that their horizontal and inclined surfaces are smoothly linked, and they boasts graphics to match. This combination is clearly indicative of the smoothly contiguous configuration consisting of operation controls arrayed in front and alongside a central touch LCD incorporating a range of functions.


As a mixing console for live performances that undergoes repeated movement and installation, these products must be both sturdy and elaborate. The delicate operation controls are enclosed by the top panel and dynamic side pads, both of which feature an original design and are produced using metal-bending techniques that make them light and strong.


We aimed to create a clear interface so that the operator could use the mixer in comfort at live performances, where everything must be right the first time, and to build a reliable device in which every detail had been properly thought out—from the materials and the accuracy of the graphics right down to the ability to make adjustments using a single screw.


Naturally, panel information is clearly visible both indoors and out, and the StageMix application for the iPad allows flexible operation of the mixer—enabling the iPad to either control the device remotely from various locations or to function as a sub-display on top of the main panel.


The fader knobs that control input and output are also known as the mixer’s "handles." These are designed for fingertip control and with easy-to-read scale markings. Together with the oak front pads, this feature evokes a feeling of comfort in the operator.

Masafumi Ito
Masafumi Ito
Yamaha Design Laboratory

Taking up new processing technology to achieve ease of operation.

One feature of the CL Series is that Centralogic (which links the touch LCD and the horizontally and vertically arrayed operation controls, of which it can make use) enables the operator to call up a range of information and functions on the central section of the device. This allows him or her to make fine adjustments while checking the sound—from the same position every time. An important aspect of Centralogic is the smooth flow of operation or of adjustment to the operator’s line of sight—that is, the way in which the operator can comfortably switch his or her line of sight between the faders and the display, and (as an extension of this) the way in which the operator can check on the performers or the audience. We made use of the post-processing technique of bending pre-painted metal panels so as to achieve a smoothly curving shape that would not interrupt this flow. There were many problems in initial production, but, after about a year of repeated experimentation by the engineers and other specialist staff members, the device finally became a commercial reality. The result, I believe, is that Centralogic—a Yamaha strongpoint—has been showcased with beautiful clarity.
At the same time, the fader knobs (which serve as the point of contact between human and machine) were also regarded as key components of the mixer. In order to achieve a comfortable fit for the operator and allow various styles of operation, the upper surface of the fader knobs are curved like the bucket seat of a sports car, and both their front and rear top surfaces have also had an indentation added to them. The sides of the fader knobs have also been hollowed out so as to make the scale markings underneath more visible. The front pads on the front surface are made out of oak. Since this device is used by professionals in venues where top performance is crucial, I believe that we can improve on its design by adding something extra to the mixer’s existing advantages of high-speed operational capability and easy-to-understand functions—some element that will arouse the sensibilities of the user.

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