The YAMAHA AN1x Synthesizer

This video, by Marko Ettlich, explores the Yamaha AN1x – a virtual analog synthesizer from the year 1997.


  • 10 voices
  • 2 oscillators per voice saw, square variable pulse width, fm, sync, edge
  • resonant filter 12/18/24dB/oct low/band/hi pass filter, notch
  • 61 keys (velocity and aftertouch)
  • ribbon controller
  • arpeggiator,
  • step-sequencer

If you’ve used the Yamaha AN1x, let us know what you think of it!

via MusicMarketingTV

17 thoughts on “The YAMAHA AN1x Synthesizer

    1. Strange comment above. Of course it’s not an analog, it’s a virtual analog and one look should be enough to know that. But look scan be deceiving. For one of the earlier VAs, it’s actually not bad at all, although it has some issues like aliasing (but which early VA hasn’t) and low encoder resolution and a complicated/limited control matrix system.

      But it sounds good, that’s what matters. Better, IMHO, than many other, even later VAs, which might have more capabilities (more oscs, filters, lfos, etc.). But the sound has character and the AN1x is actually not bad at emulating some classics and the sound engine, though it may seem limited at first, can stretch to do things you wouldn’t expect from a “simple” VA.

      1. Not really a strange comment, merely a statement, it looks analog but doesn’t sound it…..a bit like diet coke and coke.

        And I rather think it was trying to be analog, but using cheaper digital components, which gave a similar result, but not quite the same.

    2. It’s not trying to be analog, it is simply a digital subtractive synthesizer – which is what all VAs should be called.

      Digital subtractive synthesis is its own thing.

      This is the one piece of VA gear that I still want.

    3. Whether it applies to you or not I’ve no idea, but so many comments on synths are evidently based on “web research”, in particular demos on YouTube (some good, most piss poor) where it is not possible to gauge accurately a particular synth’s sonic merits and sound creation capabilities.

      Similarly, looking at YouTube demos, it’s evident that many people have not a clue about synthesis, additive or subtractive and just mess around with the presets a bit, to the wonderment of the unfortunate viewer who might be expecting something more worthwhile.

      I have in my studio an AN1X and it sits alongside two OB8’s, a Synthex, a DSI Poly Evolver and a Roland JX10, all of which are very fine analogue synthesizers. It is very surprising how the AN1X complements the above, and with the exception of the Poly Evolver, exceeds the synthesis capabilities of the others. It’s harmonically rich and the filters are as sharp and bright as you dare put through your monitors.

  1. LOVED mine, and I’d buy a second hand one in good shape in a second. The built in sequences were pretty cool, as was the strip that could be assigned to the filter or ???.

    It was years ahead of the competition, with the Virus being the only VA I could think of from the same era.


    1. I have the CS1x, the -CS2x and this very evening I will have a AN1x 🙂
      Three beasts from the same stable and yet so different, will never sell them !

  2. I wish I got the CS2x…damn…chalk up a few regrets with missed/departed yamaha products…I wish I got the EX7 & CS2x…I wish I never sold my AN1x and MOTIF ES6 w/mLAN…damn, damn, damn.

    Yamaha is making some solid steps in the iPad department. Their controller apps are good, that new phrase sequencer is great too.

    One thing that I like about Yamaha is that they seem to be strong in making performance orientated products…I NEVER was as productive on my K2500s as I was on my Motif…the Motif was (and probably still is) incredibly intuitively to use once one gets up and running, and that doesn’t take much for that to happen.

  3. Not a bad sounding VA but the styling of the case was unforgivably naff. Also mine had a problem, which I believe was common to certain OS versions, resulting in an ear shredding audio spike whenever the processor was overloaded.

  4. When I bought my AN1x (in 1997) I thought the sound was sort of “thin” but it is not at all. The cold/thin factor come from the onboard digital effects. Simply turn off these effects (global effects off function) and you have a monster synth…….

  5. How do the later S30 and Motif (assuming it has a similar VA sound engine?) synths compare with this?

    I agree with the comment about “digital subtractive” synths being their own thing.

  6. I love this synth. Nice sound, nice interface for performance (8 encoders) and you can get one for 300USD or less (just change the battery). Not too bad for a synth with 61 keys, aftertouch, ribbon (with pressure), sequencer and built in effects. Many 61 keys MIDI controllers cost as much as this.

    I currently use this staked with a Virus desktop 🙂

  7. It had terrific keyboard action and an amazing sound. It looked hard to program but actually it was pretty straight forward. Wonderful arpeggiator/phraser and split/scene modes (it was actually a 2 part/10 voice synth). Hard to find (at the time) functions like FM, feedback, notch filter and an incredibly silky 18db LP filter. The knobs lacked a fine resolution and it stepped like hell on high resonance and the case was all plastic. Sonically it gave the classic Nord a run for its money but I’d get one again just for the keyboard part of it and its aftertouch.

  8. Well, I bought a s/h AN1x few weeks ago because I knew quite well its sound: 2 PLG150-AN installed into a S90ES.
    PLG150-AN are wonderful synth card but they are so terrible to manage and program under MacOS. Thus I decided to go a step further and go for a AN1x. Every patch I programmed for the PLG150-AN is compatible with this synthesizer, so no wasted time to start from scratch.
    I find its sound very satisfying and open to great experimentations. It’s a pity that Yamaha didn’t develop this sound synthesis also to their modern and more recent products.
    I can’t imagine how many people could benefit from a new VA synthesizer with 128 voices polyphony, 16 independent arpeggiators, multiple FX, vocoder, audio in and 16 inserts…

  9. I don’t (yet) own an AN1X. But, I was just reading over the AN1X manual. The manual says that the oscillators are VCO’s (not DCO’s). Vintage VCO synth’s like Prophet 5, OB-8, Jupiter’s have a “tune” button to retune the oscillators as the drift over time. Though, the manual does not state that the AN1X has “tune’ button.

    Question: If the AN1X as VCO’s, then how do the oscillators stay in tune??

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