AW16G Introduction
Introducing the AW16G Professional Audio
By Blake Angelos
Product Specialist, Digital Product Support Group
Yamaha Corporation of America
The Yamaha AW16G is the newest product in Yamaha’s family of powerful
professional audio workstations. What you get in this product is all of the important
features of the AW4416 and AW2816 in a remarkably cost efficient package. The
AW16G delivers on the promise of what you would expect from something that
claims to be a Professional Audio Workstation.
In today’s highly competitive digital recording market only truly compelling products
make a big splash. Manufacturers are constantly working to create great products
that deliver on needed features and still maintain a price point that people can
realistically afford. Usually the way it works with digital recording products is the
cheaper models force you to make a big sacrifice, be it in audio quality, ease of use,
features and what is included in the box. Sometimes you have to go back to the
store to get that crucial piece that will make your recorder a complete entity.
This is not the case with the AW16G. This little powerhouse will, right out of the
box, gives you essentially all the tools you need to record, mix and master an audio
CD. This product delivers on the promise of what a low cost digital audio workstation
should be. Consider these specifications:
Up to 36 channels at mixdown, including 8 analog inputs, 16 tracks, 2
stereo effect returns, stereo digital I/O, dedicated sampling pad
tracks, aux bus 1/2
24-bit AD/DA, 32-bit internal processing—just like AW4416 and 2816.
4 band fully parametric EQ with library—just like AW4416 and 2816.
Two 32-bit effect processors built in—just like AW4416 and 2816 but
with some added electric guitar, acoustic guitar bass and vocal input
effect algorithms.
Dynamics processing (compressors, limiters, gates, companders
expanders, etc.) on virtually every channel—just like AW4416 and
8-track simultaneous recording/16 track playback.
Same track editing as 4416 and 2816 with the added bonus of
exporting all 16 tracks at once.
Sound Clip area for recording quick ideas without burning a track.
A remarkably cool, eminently usable Quick Loop Sampler featuring 4
pads that can be played simultaneously divided into 4 banks (total of
16 samples at you fingertips). In addition to this, a looped sample
can utilize the slice feature similar to other Yamaha products (Motif,
RS7000, SU700 and SU200) enabling you to sync sample loops to the
tempo of the song. Included on the HDR is a library of over 270
megabytes of loops, sound effects and one shots and you can sample
via an input channel or lift WAV files right off of an audio CD that is
not copyrighted.
CDR/W drive and 20 Gig HD included in the box.
$1299.00 MSRP represents a price breakthrough for this quality.
Did I say $1299.00 MSRP? With a CDR/W included? And 2 32-bit effect
processors INCLUDED? And dynamics on EVERY INPUT INCLUDED? And 4-band
This short guide will introduce you to the features of the AW16G. In addition, look
for several Power Users that will address specific features such as the Input Effect
Library, the Quick Loop Sampler and CD Mastering. Also look for guides specific to
Motif users of the Motif Studio Music Production System (The AW16G and the Motif
as a powerful, all encompassing music production rig).
• AW16G Anatomy
First off, let’s start with a brief overview of the AW16G signal flow and front panel.
Figure 1 (below) shows the signal flow of the AW16G. This should give you an idea
how audio is routed and processed in the machine:
Fig. 1: AW16G Signal Flow Diagram:
Now let’s take a look at the front panel of the AW16G. The best way to get a feel for
how things work on the machine is to divide it up into several areas where certain
tasks are accomplished. Figure 2 below divides the AW16G into different areas:
Fig. 2: Front Panel of AW16G
cursor updown-leftright and
FADERS: (Can be flipped from inputs to
tracks on the fly)
• Work Navigate, Quick Navigate and Main Modes
Now let’s take a look at the Main Modes of the AW16G. These primary modes are
conveniently grouped in a the WORK NAVIGATE and QUICK NAVIGATE section of the
Main Modes
SONG: Anything pertaining to loading,
saving, importing and overall song settings
including tempo, MTC frame rates, etc.
Anything pertaining to tracks
within songs.
REMOTE: Settings for Remote control of
sequencers. Templates for “Apple” Logic,
Cubase, Protools, Sonor, XG, included
CD: CD Write, Play, Back Up, Restore and
overall Settings.
Track editing, including time
compress/expand and track export (all 16:
different than 4416 or 2816).
preferences, etc.
To enter a MODE, simply press the desired button. Navigation with each mode is
consistent and each screen displays a good amount of information.
When a mode is selected, the menu items will always be on the right hand side
within the LCD display. Press the [TRACK] button successive times to toggle through
each menu item, or hold down the [TRACK] button and use the cursor up/down
controls (right-hand side of the machine) to move through up or down. Figure 4
(below) shows the main screen when TRACK mode is selected:
Fig. 4: TRACK Mode Display
Shows [TRACK] Mode:
VIEW: Main Track View
V.TR: Virtual Tracks x 8
PAD: Sample Pad Tracks 1-4
CD IMPORT: Allows User to Import Data from CD/R*
Currently Selected
(CD Import allows 16-bit, 44.1 via the CDR/W
drive from the AW4416 and AW2816).
Active Tracks
Tempo, T.S,
A Meter is
provided in
any mode
where it is
needed and is
always going
to be on the
left side
(unless you
are viewing
metering in
the via the
VIEW mode—
last button in
• Input Channels, Track Channels, Monitor and Selected
Press [MONITOR] under Quick Navigate and you get the screen below:
Fig. 5: Monitor Mode Display
(Input Channels)
Input Channels 1-8
(Track Channels)
Stereo Sample
Pads 1-4
Track Channels 1-16
(1-8 are mono or set
up as stereo pairs;
stereo pairs)
Turn Channels on and off by touching the corresponding
buttons. Press the [MONITOR] button to cycle through
the menu of SOLO (soloing tracks), INIT (Initialize
Mute/Solo), and ST. TRACK (Stereo Master Track).
You can select Input Channel and Track Channels via the corresponding buttons
located directly below the mixer inputs and above track inputs.
Touch input
channels, track channels or sampling pads to mute or un-mute.
One of the powerful features of the AW16G is what is available to you on each input
channel and track. As stated before, each input or track channel has a 4 band fully
parametric EQ, a dynamics processor that allows you to apply several different
styles of dynamic processing for each selected channel (compression, expansion,
companding, gating or ducking) and 2 effect processors—all with library.
Accessing these effects are easily done with the SELECTED CHANNEL strip as seen
below in Figure 6. You can view the processing attributes for each input or track
channel that you have selected: Simply press the knob that you wish to select and
the LCD display will update to what you have selected. In addition to this, the knobs
are both push and turn knobs. Press any channel (input or track), then push any
of the 5 knobs. Pushing repeatedly toggles through menus (libraries, algorithm
edits, etc.). Pushing and turning at the same time allows you to immediately get
to the library and select a setting for each function.
EQ: Pressing opens EQ
for selected channel,
turn adjusts EQ Freq.
DYN: Pressing opens Dynamics for
selected channel, turning adjusts
4 Buttons for selecting 4
bands of the parametric EQ
EFF 1: Pressing opens Effect 1 for
selected channel, turning adjusts
wet/dry mix
EFF 2: Same as effect 1
PAN/BAL: Pressing opens up
Panning for selected channel,
turn moves left or right in
stereo field.
VIEW button toggles through various
channel and metering views
• Transport and Locate
The Transport and Locate section allow access to standard play, stop, record fast
forward, and rewind functions. Above the Transport controls are comprehensive
Locate buttons that allow place A and B points and set up to 99 markers. The Auto
Punch button engages Auto Punch in Record, and the IN and OUT buttons set where
that will occur. Repeat allows you to repeat that section. The Sound Clip button
accesses the convenient Sound Clip Function that allows you to record a quick sketch
without burning up a track on the recorder.
Fig. 7: Transport and Locate
• Setting For Recording:
Pairing Channels, Routing
Channels, Applying EQ, Dynamics And Effects
The following is a step-by-step process for setting up to record on the AW16G where
we will first set up a stereo pair, route the pair to two tracks, then apply EQ,
Dynamics and Effects to the two tracks that we routed out input to (rather than the
inputs themselves). GENERALLY you will not want to record with effect unless you
are using something where the effected sound is an integral part of the instruments
character and affects the way a player performs, like distorted guitar, chorused
acoustic guitar, an electric bass sound through a pre amp and so on.1
So let’s begin by setting up a stereo pair on two Input Channels. This is useful when
you are using the AW16G to record a stereo source such as a keyboard or an
instrument that you wish to record in stereo with two microphones (such as a piano).
In this example we are recording the output from a keyboard and, since most
keyboards have ¼” outputs, we will use Input Channels 3 and 4:
Fig. 8: Pairing and Panning Inputs 3 and 4
Step 1: Press and hold input button 3, then button 4.
This screen will appear, press [ENTER] to confirm.
Step 2: Press the [PAN] button on the Selected Channel Strip
Step 3: This screen will appear. Press input button 3 then
turn the pan knob hard left, then press input button 4 and
turn the pan knob hard right. Inputs 3 and 4 are now a
stereo pair.
These effects can be generated entirely by the AW16G via the input effect section, which will be briefly
discussed in this document and is explained in detail in “Power User #1 Using the Input Library on the
AW16G for Electric Guitars, Acoustic Guitars, Basses and Vocals”.
Now we have a stereo pair. The next step is to route the stereo pair to 2 tracks of
the recorder. First of all, pair 1 and 2 and pan them hard left and right as we did
before with Input Channels 3 and 4, then follow the steps below:
Fig. 9: Routing Input Channels 3-4 to Track Channels 1-2
Step 1: Press [RECORD] Under Quick
Navigate, then press Mixer Input 3 or 4
(Since we paired them beforehand: you
need only select one).
Step 2: Press Track Channel 1 or 2.
LCD Display will show you that Mixer 3-4 is routed to Track 1-2
Now, with tracks one and two selected, let’s apply some EQ using the EQ Library:
Fig. 10: Applying EQ to Track Channels 1-2
Under Selected Channel, touch the EQ knob
(which functions as a button when pressed).
Hi, Hi-Mid, Low-Mid and
buttons. EQ knob adjusts
To adjust other
settings (Bandwidth [a.k.a.
“Q”] and frequency), use
the cursor controls and the
data entry wheels
4-band fully parametric EQ
Library settings accessed by pushing
and turning the knob.
pressing the knob moves you through
the 2 items in the EQ menu.
Dynamics Processing is applied is a similar fashion:
Fig. 11: Applying Dynamics Processing to Track Channels 1-2
Press the [DYN] knob under selected
Repeatedly pressing
the knob allows you to
toggle through the 2
items in the dynamics
Dynamics processing is available on EVERY input
Library accessed and viewed
via “push/turn” move.
Lastly, Effects processors 1 and 2 are also accessed in the same way as EQ and
Dynamics. To send effect to a track, simply select the track and turn the knob.
Fig. 12: Applying Effects to Track Channels 1-2
Touch the [EFF 1] or [EFF 2] knob to
access the affect processors.
Library access via the “push/turn” move.
Repeatedly pressing either EFF 1 or EFF 2 knob
toggles through the 3 menu items under Effect
1 or Effect 2
Screen shot of send page
You should now have a fairly good understanding of how the AW16G works and
hopefully you are saying to yourself, “Wow. This thing is really easy to operate!”
There are a few more bits and pieces to cover in this document that will add to your
understanding. One of the coolest additions to the AW16 is the Quick Loop Sampler.
• Quick Loop Sampler
The Quick Loop sampler brings a feature found in several Yamaha sampling products
(Motif, RS7000, SU700, SU200) the AW16G. You can load in up to 16 samples into 4
banks (total of 44 seconds at 44.1 kHz stereo). Loops can be sliced into 8, 12 or 16
parts and beat matched to the song tempo. You can sample from an audio source
through the audio inputs, lift audio. Directly from a non-copyrighted CD or load in
something from the unit’s hard drive, which is loaded with about 270 megabytes of
wav data for the sampler. This is a powerful and unique feature.
Fig. 13: Quick Loop Sampler
LIBRARY: Allows you
to import samples from
the 270-megabyte
sampler library stored on
SETUP: Top screen in the Quick Loop Sampler that allows
you to set attributes for each sample including pad bank,
playback attributes (loop, one shot, etc.) among others.
CD IMPORT: Allows you
to place a standard audio
CD of non-copyrighted
audio into the CDR/W drive
and import into the Quick
Loop Sampler.
TR IMPORT: Allows you to
import audio recorded onto a
track and import it directly
into the Quick Loop Sampler
MEMORY: Give a graphic
overview of the amount of
memory taken and left in the
sampler’s memory
(Sampler Screen 2)
(Sample Wave Edit
• Sound Clip
The Sound Clip feature allows the user to record a track of audio from any input
without using one of the tracks of the recorder. You can use it as a quick
sketchpad—simply plug in to any available input, set appropriate levels and go.
Fig. 14: Sound Clip Feature
(Screen shot of sound clip mode)
• Input Channel Library
A very powerful feature of the AW16G is the Input Channel effects. Simply press and
hold an input channel for a few seconds and you can access input effects for pre
amplifiers for electric guitar, acoustic guitar and bass, and you can select different
speaker simulations, dynamics, and equalization libraries, too. There are even effect
settings for vocal inputs.
Fig. 15: Input Channel Library
2. Choose which effect processor to use
1. Press and hold desired input
Pre Amp Types
Speaker Simulations
3. Main input setting screen appears
(The guitar effects are especially good!)
Dynamics Library
• Mixdown And Mastering
The AW16G is designed to make mixdown fast and easy. To access the Mixdown
feature, press the [RECORD] button under QUICK NAVIGATE repeatedly until you
have selected MIXDOWN from the menu. Select the inputs and tracks you wish to
mixdown to a two-track master, add some dynamics specifically designed for
finalizing a mix and burn a CD! It is just this simple:
Fig. 16: Mixdown and Mastering
1. Select the tracks and inputs
You wish to mixdown…
2. Select mastering
3. Burn A CD!
For more detailed information about Mixdown, check chapter 9 in the manual,
“Mixdown and Bounce Operation”.
• Remote Functions
The AW16G offers users of leading software sequencers and keyboard workstations
yet another bonus: It can function as a remote control surface. Supported software
out of the box are Yamaha’s own SQ01 Sequencer, Apple Computer Logic (Formerly
Emagic), Steinberg Cubase, Cakewalk Sonar, Digidesign ProTools and any hardware
sequencer that responds to MIDI control messages. And last but not least, these
remote functions make the AW16G an ideal companion to the MOTIF—hence the MOTIF
STUDIO: A complete synthesizer/sampler/sequencer and hard disk music studio!
Fig. 17: Remote Functions
Remote function
accessed from
Main Mode area.
Remote Screen showing different supported
software sequencers
• Miscellaneous Cool Features
Here are just a few more cool features of the AW16G that are worth mentioning:
Fig. 18: WAV Export, Scene Library, and Fader Flip
Want to edit or master your project in a software digital audio editor or send your tracks to a top
mastering engineer for finalization? The AW16G makes it simple by allowing you to export single
tracks, the stereo master track, even 16 tracks at once as .WAV files direct to the CDR-W! This
single feature takes the AW16G from a simple digital recorder into a fully professional digital audio
Scene store and recall saves a snapshot of the entire mix picture—
levels, pan settings, effects settings, dynamics settings, EQ settings,
etc.—and allows you save and recall complex mixes with the touch of
a button. This is a feature you may have come to expect from all
Yamaha professional digital mixers and recorders and something
included with the AW16G.
A Screen shot of the Utility Mode/Preferences. Note “Fader Flip”.
This allows you to use the AW16G faders to control either tracks or
inputs/pads on the fly right in the middle of a recording or mixdown
• F.A.Q.
Q: What do I gain if I step up to the AW4416 or 2816?
A: Two important features are included with the bigger brothers of the AW16G:
Comprehensive On-board Automation (“Flying Faders”) and a host of expansion
options including several forms of digital and analog expansion options (ADAT, TDIF,
AES-EBU, etc.). In addition, the WAVES Y56K processing card, a remarkable, high
quality effects card from WAVES Corporation, is only available for the 4416 and
Q: So if I want to automate a mix on the AW16G and there is no automation
on board, how do I accomplish that?
A: You have to use a software or hardware sequencer or a keyboard workstation like
the Yamaha Motif. Since the AW16G is already set up for remote control it is easy to
record fader movements, mutes and other supported controllers and play them back
through a MIDI sequencer.
Q: Okay, I see the digital I/O on the back but for some reason I can’t seem
to figure out how to get it to work? How do I set this up?
A: Is your source transmitting digital signal? Make sure that is happening, then on
the AW16G go to the [UTILITY] mode, select “D.IN – HDD” cursor to DISABLE under
DIGITAL IN PATCH and enable it to bring your digital signal in on Input 1-2, 3-4, 5-6,
7-8 or the Stereo Bus. If you get the message “Wrong Word Clock” the device that
is supposed to transmitting is either not enabled or you may have a bad optical
Q: Does the AW16G accept files from the 4416 and 2816?
A: Yes, as long as the files are in 44.1, 16-bit format.
Q: Does the AW16G have the same audio quality as the 4416 and 2816?
A: The AW16G has the essentially the same DACs as the 4416 and 2816 (24-bit), as
well the same effects quality, the same dynamics processing and the same EQ.
Q: Are there any expansion slots?
A: No.
Q: Can I synchronize the AW16G with my Motif Workstation, or with my
Cubase Software?
A: Yes. AW16G will synchronize with any MTC compliant device, including MOTIF,
RS7000 and virtually all professional sequencing software packages.
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