Yamaha Teases New ‘Reface’ Synths That Will ‘Bring Back Memories’


Yamaha today released a teaser video for Reface – what appears to be a new line of synth keyboards, inspired by some of their classic synths:

In the teaser video, several musicians share their impressions of the Yamaha Reface. Here’s what they reveal:

  • It’s reminiscent of ‘one of the main synthesizers in techno’;
  • It’s a keyboard synth that feels ‘like a piano player made the keys’;
  • The Yamaha Reface is ‘a new take on a classic concept’; and
  • It has some connection with the classic Yamaha CS synths of the 70s.

The soundtrack to the teaser video may reveal some additional clues, with some sounds that are definitely reminiscent of the Yamaha CS series.

In addition, the YamahaSynth.com site includes the Reface tagline, ‘Get ready to create your sound any place, any time.’ This suggests that Reface won’t be a monster synth like the CS-80, but something a lot more portable.

Yamaha filed a trademark application for ‘Reface’ earlier this year, for ‘Musical instruments, namely, music synthesizers and electronic keyboard instruments; structural parts and structural fittings for all the aforesaid goods.’

Yamaha promises another video on 6/24. For now – check out the video and share your thoughts in the comments!

52 thoughts on “Yamaha Teases New ‘Reface’ Synths That Will ‘Bring Back Memories’

  1. So something along the lines of a DX / CS hybrid… now that would be interesting. Hopefully its not just a rompler and they actually take the time to come up with something unique instead of repackaging the same tired ass presets bundled in every Motif keyboard.

    1. something like a CS1x but the form factor of say a minibrute would be a big win – i still have my CS1x (which I used a lot in the past) but don’t beak it out so often because of it’s size.

    1. 10/10 for observation skills….. they could be just a red herring, although a new slant on FM could be interesting

  2. They said make music anywhere anytime. This leads me to believe that the new product will either be very portable or an app. I really hope that this isn’t some over-hyped campaign.

  3. So “like a piano player made the keys” suggests a real physical object and not an app, CS and quality keys may mean poly-aftertouch.

    Then “structural parts and structural fittings” is interesting terminology when talking synths in the trademark. And they say “Get ready to create your sound any place, any time”, and “a new take on a classic concept”, and then more CS talk. So something adaptable yet not a new concept. Then, the brand ReFace is very interesting word choice, are we talking about reFacing a keyboard with panels.

    From that – I am thinking they are doing their own modular range based around the CS line of synths. I think maybe a solid poly-aftertouch keyboard with a multi-purpose modular setup that you reFace for your own needs – pull out the filter, etc… I am thinking likely made up of digital emulations of CS synths on small multi-purpose modules, like the Roland range, but slotting into a rig above a quality keybed.

    1. True true haha. Maybe a lightweight multi-layered setup with an iPad-era light efficient brain for installing classic dx softwares?

      Or maybe the Keith Emerson fantasy suggestion: midi controlled roadies

  4. “It’s a keyboard synth that feels ‘like a piano player made the keys'”

    I’m not getting “App” from this story.

    1. That would be ideal. High resolution digital oscillators with all kinds of options ran through analog filters and VCA with overdrive.

    2. Yamaha CS6X with PLG150-AN and PLG150-DX. You get 64 voices of AWM2, 16 voices of FM, and 5 voices of analog modeling, all for about $1000 from eBay. Is that what you are looking for?

      1. Not quite, those CS6x Oscillators are 44.1khz 16bit and are going to alias like crazy when you get a lot of harmonics going. Otherwise it looks really cool but I’m looking for something like 96khz 24bit Oscillators ran through real analog filters and analog overdrive VCA with overdrive. That would be epic.

        1. My only other suggestion, then, would be to get a CS80 and a DX1 for $10,000 each, tear them apart and stuff them into a custom case that will probably cost another $10,000. That would probably be close to what you are seeking.

          1. No man, just wait for the AN2X 🙂

            I reckon high res oscillators are going to be the big new thing over the next few years,
            but I just hope somebody really runs with it and does a nice HD additive wave generator!

            1. Considering the AN1X has been out of production for eighteen years, the PLG150 cards for fifteen years or so, and Yamaha’s last stab at analog modeling was the AN200 in 2001, you will excuse me if I do not hold my breath.
              Have you thought of getting a nice Kawai K5000? Or how about a Yamaha SY77? That can do additive quite well and is superior to the DX7 in every way. Or go American and get a Dave Smith Prophet ’08 or Prophet 12. That is about the best of hybrid on the market today.

  5. Yamaha rather than bringing a new face to the synth field are going to re-face the analogue cs range (excuse the shite pun) I’m also guessing an Aira ACB type technology and if so then cool, if analogue also cool. Either way connection to the analogue world would be ace.

  6. Yamaha has along time to release a new REAL Synth.
    Motif series and others are very good workstations but not synths.
    It’s a hybrid version between home keyboards like Tyros and a good Rompler.
    I hope its time has come to answer to Korg and Roland with a REAL Powerful Synth with a new synthesis engine. Yamaha has thousand patents. It;s time to use them.
    Everything else will be a Bu*****t.

  7. Something that you can actually play and express yourself with, not just another piece of hardware to plug into a laptop. Somewhere between an AN1x and CS50 would be good.

  8. retro
    korg, roland and now yamaha
    this is so boring

    but I liked the video, perhaps something good is coming?

  9. “One of main synthesizer in techno”
    I believe the video says they continued on the cs1x and kept the vibe alive. Awesome!

  10. Sliders, rocker switches, full size keys, and invoking the CS series. Hmmm.

    I think I might hold off pulling the trigger on a certain mini-key monosynth until I see what’s been cooking over at Yamaha.

  11. The whole “feel likes a piano player made the keys” statement troubles me a bit. I don’t want piano keys on a synth, I want synth keys to feel like a synth player made them,.. Just sayin,

      1. Well, you don’t hear a lot of people ever having complained about the feel of a CS-80 or DX-1. Having that extra resistance can really work wonders for an immersive playing experience, and you can always mini in a lightweight midi controller if you need to. Even having decent weighted keys on my Kronos is a blessing with some synth sounds.

  12. I’m really hopeful this is a reworking of the early CS series; the CS5, CS10, CS15. Those are some really underrated synths, full of character that sound great. They’re not well served in the second hand market either, (not in the US anyway). A modern rethinking of the CS15 would be a welcome addition to those of us wanting to keep working with analog hardware. I couldn’t give a shit if it had minikeys either, nor if it was a slavish reproduction from the original schematics. The weirdness of a modern CS30 might be a contender for best monosynth ever. I hope your not messing with us Yamaha, don’t be doing the hyperbole thing.

  13. it would be nice if the DX sounds were included dx100 dx7 sound that would be awesome I would buy it in a minute if it does

  14. The name “reface” implies to me a re-skinnable digital synth, a la Roland’s PlugOut, a la Arturia Origin, a la Muse Receptor. So I’m expecting a physical keyboard, that either has a slot for an iPad (probably not ipad, but the line about portability points to something removeable), or internal capacity to run different modeled synths, cs, dx, etc. I’m thinking touch screen.

  15. Portability? Again, a system 1 type keyboard. 2.5 octaves, lightweight plastic case, downloadable plug ins of classic synths. The refference to staple in Techo, and the CS, suggests plug in synths as that sounds like two different things.

  16. If it was something like a Volca based on the CS synths then yeah I’d preorder. But it’s more likely to be a DX with a touchscreen :/ (which is cool and all but not really my thing)

  17. I would have loved this concept if it had proper full sized keys but from the videos it is looking like it is mini-keys (another one!!). Even if it was a VA CS80 (a CS80D as it were) in a smaller case but with the right control interface (and poly aftertouch keyboard) I would have been all over it (and I expect a lot of others would too). Even Roland have relented and have managed an actual analogue hybrid with the JDXA. This is looking like it will just be a mini key CS, DX, CP and YC which is ok in itself but still disappointing for anyone who actually plays. I would have already bought the Korg Odyssey if it had full size keys. Maybe Yamaha has something else up their sleeve but I somehow doubt it……………its a damn shame, the CS80 it is one of their most expressive and sought after synths and one so few of us can justify (or afford) the crazy prices they now command, a new incarnation is long overdue.

  18. Hmm… Yamaha finally gets in on the retro re-release band wagon. About time! So here’s my wishlist… A new CS analog – with all the functionality and power of the CS-80 but none of the troubles, maybe in a smaller, more compact and lightweight design. Or… a CS-30 or CS-40M type synth that is duo phonic. But not a new DX-7 please… unless it has proper controllers rather than endless diving through sub menus.

  19. Sounds like CS80 ring modulator Adsr towards the end.
    I hoe it will have polyphonic after touch and long pitch ribbon.

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