Small Is Beautiful - Yamaha DM7-EX Tours Clubs With Twenty One Pilots

In May 2024, global superstars Twenty One Pilots played five secret club dates in Berlin, London, Mexico City, New York and their hometown of Columbus, Ohio, in anticipation of their upcoming album release and worldwide arena tour. Sound engineers Cliff Skinner and Kenny Sellars were faced with the challenge of how to shrink the band’s arena-sized audio system into small clubs without compromising audio quality. The answer was built around Yamaha’s DM7-EX digital mixing console.

The short An Evening With Twenty One Pilots tour was booked in anticipation of the band’s new album, Clancy, to be released in late May, and a world arena tour which kicks off in August.

Front of house engineer Kenny Sellars and monitor engineer Cliff Skinner are used to mixing arena shows on Yamaha’s flagship RIVAGE PM5 and PM10 digital mixing systems using Yamaha’s Genius.lab software and the Open Sound Control (OSC) protocol to create highly customized setups. They faced a major challenge because of the band’s commitment to delivering the best sounding show possible.

“The band care about being perfect - it doesn’t matter where we are. In the past, whether it’s an arena or a club, we were bringing in triple width racks with full size consoles,” says Kenny. “This time we needed a compact and also cost-effective package, knowing we wouldn’t be selling 20,000 tickets every night.”

Having seen a demo of the Yamaha DM7 at Clair Global’s Lititz headquarters, Cliff realized that the DM7-EX (the DM7 coupled with the DM7 Control expansion controller) would have the capacity and flexibility they needed, in a small, physically manageable format. “Being in the Yamaha family, and with the similarities between it and the RIVAGE PM systems we’re comfortable with, it was the obvious choice,” he says.

“To be honest, I was a little hesitant at first. Sound engineers don’t always like change! But Cliff was like, ‘Dude, you’re gonna love this’,” smiles Kenny.

“I was kind of worried about some of my workflow, but it’s only got a few less faders than a RIVAGE PM control surface. My layout’s almost exactly the same, the layers and center section are the same, and it programs just like the RIVAGE PM system. I was like, wow, this feels just like home.”

He continues, “The band didn’t want us to scale down and and not be as good. We had to say trust us, we feel comfortable making it happen on these consoles. It’s the first time we’ve been able to say that - we can take a smaller console and still give the band what they need, with all the tools to do the things that we need for the show.”

The two DM7-EXs were on the same Dante network, along with a Rio3224-D2 I/O rack, eight channels of Axient digital wireless microphones and playback. Every input in the system was either local I/O on each desk or from the devices on the Dante network.

“There are only two people on stage, but we have a lot of communication between techs and band members. We’re hitting 70 channels before we’re even talking about returns and everything else,” says Cliff.

Meanwhile, Russ Long at Yamaha has been available to help. “Russ will always get an answer for me right away. Working with Yamaha has been a great, great experience,” says Kenny. “Everyone at Yamaha has been great, working with us to help implement things better,” agrees Cliff. “Having that relationship, the trust between us and their support has enabled us to be more creative.”

As the club tour ended, both engineers described the experience of using the DM7-EX as completely positive. “The console has allowed us to maintain the highest possible standard in the smallest possible footprint. I never expected to have 120 channels available on something this small, which didn’t feel claustrophobic. The familiarity with the Yamaha ecosystem has allowed the transition between the RIVAGE PM to DM7 and back to be seamless,” says Cliff.

“The DM7-EX has everything I need. It’s the perfect solution to keep me comfortable in the Yamaha world, and fit the bill for these club shows in four different countries,” concludes Kenny.

Pull quotes

“We needed a compact and also cost-effective package, knowing we wouldn’t be selling 20,000 tickets every night” - Kenny Sellars

“The console has allowed us to maintain the highest possible standard in the smallest possible footprint. I never expected to have 120 channels available on something this small” - Cliff Skinner

Pull quotes

Ohio, United States

Yamaha Digital Mixing Console DM7

DM7 Series

The DM7 series is an innovative digital mixer lineup that not only guarantees unparalleled sound quality, ease of operation, and high reliability for connecting engineers, artists, and audiences, but is also highly scalable and flexible enough to be adapted for various applications. It can be configured in a variety of forms depending on the engineer's preferences to support a wide range of applications.


To fully support the sound engineers who support the artists and performers, Yamaha makes absolutely no compromises when it comes to quality. Sound, operability, and reliability must all be first class, and implemented in a way that allows engineers to concentrate fully on helping artists and performers deliver their message. The RIVAGE PM series embodies this ideal at the highest level, connecting technology, art, and audiences with waves that encircle the world.

R Series (AD/DA): 2nd-generation

The second generation of R Series Dante-enabled I/O Racks (AD/DA) offers significant advances in sound, reliability, and visual status confirmation. Together with the CSD-R7 control surface, these I/O Racks are components of the RIVAGE PM7 Digital Mixing System. They can also be used with CL and QL series digital mixing consoles.