Yamaha TF5 as an audio interface

For a long time, my studio has been centered on a Mackie Digital 8 Bus mixer and HDR 24 track recorder, with Cubase in the middle. Since the D8B speaks only ADAT I had an equally ancient Frontier Designs PCI card with ADAT connectivity.

I recently decided to retire the Mackie gear. My initial thought was to use the UR284 as I’ve been happy with the smaller members of that family. Unfortunately, you can’t chain them into 24 tracks. At that point I had to step back and consider my options. I then remembered that I had a Yamaha TF5 mixer in the live room that wasn’t really necessary there as I’d moved to IEMs.

When it was all said and done the Mackie gear was gone and the TF was in the control room console, connected to Cubase via USB. While there were a couple of minor inconveniences such as no built in talkback mic, I’m really happy with the new environment. Cubase sees it as 34 inputs and 34 outputs, exceeding even the capabilities I was shooting for with the UR824. I have SSL and Neve outboard pres. The TF pres don’t have the detail of the SSLs but compares favorably to the Neves.

Of course, a lot of people don’t need a mixer as part of their environment but if you do, this turns out to be a 32 channel audio interface with an excellent digital mixer attached. I know some of you use Presonus or Behringer mixers in a similar manner, so just wanted to share my experience with the Yamaha. It’s very nicely done.

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Hello!

I am about to use this mixer as interface for a live recording in multitrack, I am going to use Mac. Is there anything, I should know besides everything you already commented? Especially I am not sure, if there is any driver to install.

Thanks in advance.

Roger

Hi, Roger.

I run Windows and don’t have any familiarity with the Mac environment so I can’t speak directly to Mac OS. That said, for Windows I did have to install the Yamaha USB driver. I only see a Windows version on their download page but since they do have Mac versions of the other software perhaps Mac OS natively supports something that Windows doesn’t. I would, however, recommend downloading the latest firmware if you haven’t already. I’ve included a link to the Yamaha TF download page below.

I also highly recommend installing the TF Editor software. While you can do everything on the mixer itself, this emulates the mixer and syncs settings back and forth. It’s not only useful for backing up your mixer, I find tasks like naming and configuring 32 tracks are much faster and easier with a keyboard and mouse.

They have two mobile apps that are also worth installing on your phones / pads. One is a TF remote mixer that enables most of the mixer control from an iPad. The other app is Monitor Mix. This lets your musicians install it on their phones and have direct control over their monitor mixes, assuming you set up the busses on the mixer for IEMs or wedges.

Both the native software (TF Editor) and the iGizmo apps, which may also support Android, are very nicely done. Stable, good UI design and a joy to use. For what it’s worth, I pay the bills as a software developer and tend to be more critical than most. Yamaha has done a very nice job of software development, which is unusual for a hardware company.

Assuming you don’t need USB drivers on the Mac, Cubase will see the Yamaha as 34 ins / outs. I’ve tested recording 32 tracks at once and had no problems with dropouts or stability. Playback was equally seamless.

Here’s the Yamaha page. Hope this helps, man. It’s a really nice mixing environment.

http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/downloads/firmware_software/tf/

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Wish I’d forgotten I had a Yamaha TF5

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The Yamaha TF 5 is a beautiful mixer with upto date drivers for Mac and Window.

http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/downloads/firmware_software/yamaha_steinberg_usb_driver/yamaha_steinberg_usb_driver_mac_latest.jsp

The TF series mixers are also DAW controllers. Combined with a large computer monitor.
They’re a very cost effective option to the Yamaha Nuage…


For only $6500 you get the Yamaha TF 5 mixing package…
Or the TF 5 for $2600. Wow that’s an amazing deal for pro studios…

Just saying, you could have used the D8B with the probox to get all the faders and buttons on the mixer to work with cubase as a DAW controller. I have had that setup in use everyday for a couple of years now. Theres no sound going through the D8B, its just a USB controller. Search youtube for it, theres plenty of videos there, I have a little video too, made just after I got it.
https://youtu.be/JJ0Y3bKF3ss

I saw that when I was refitting the studio, but buying yet more stuff to convert my $10k mixer into a $1k control surface seemed impractical. The D8B was great, but moving to a modern digital mixer was definitely worth the upgrade. Added a Mackie MCU controller and overall usability is great.

Hi, how do you use the TF series as a daw controller?

I didn’t know it was possible

It’s not.

From Yamaha’s FAQ:
Does TF series have a DAW control function?
No, TF series doesn’t have any DAW control function.

I own a TF5 and absolutely love it as a mixer and 32 channel audio interface. The pres are very clean, the touch screen UI looks like something designed by Apple, there’s tons of functionality and it’s solid as a rock.

I use a Mackie MCU to control Cubase, and together it makes for a highly functional and very ergonomic setup for my particular needs.

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Tf mixers do not have daw control functions. They are capable of being used as a recording interface

I’m using the TF1 as my audio interface, and I also love it. It’s an incredible deal - you get tons of I/O channels as an audio interface, and a fantastic digital mixer thrown in “for free” (or vice versa). I’m really surprised that this isn’t a more popular option - as a matter of fact, this was the first forum post I’ve seen by somebody who uses the TF series as an audio interface for Cubase!

Thank you Chris, I have been running a TF5 with Cubase in my studio as well since 2017. It is such an awesome marriage between the 2 of them. You can go really deep in your mix if you use all of it’s capabilities. Imagine having 16 stereo soundcards for your final mix. The TF replaced a Projectmix I/O in my studio. It was a huge upgrade, but I should not have sold the Projectmix. I should have kept it and used it for it’s controller features. The TF is not mapped as a controller and this disappoints me. I wish Yamaha or someone would map it. there are remote apps for controlling the TF series so this means it can be controlled remotely. Please map it Steinberg/ Yamaha/ anyone.

Please i just change my studio desk to Yamaha Tf5 but am having issue with the multi track recording, i can’t record the 32input at once the maximum i can activate is 24input. Have try all i could but is not working, please what’s the cause

Please have you been able to use all your 32input at once? Because am having issue with mine please help me out

Sorry Brother, I have never tried to use all 32 inputs to record at the same time. I use my TF in Cubase. I normally record 1 stereo track at a time. Good Luck.

Cubase Elements has a maximum of 24 physical inputs. Please upgrade to Cubase Artist or Pro to use all 32 inputs.

I hope someone can help me. I have a TF1 connected to a PC via USB. I want to make a multitrack recording with Nuendo Live. This also works for all channels, only the stereo sum is always recorded on channels 1 and 2 instead of the signal from input 1 and input 2. Is that normal, or can it be changed?