Yamaha Intros MX88 Synthesizer For Stage & Studio

Yamaha introduced the MX88 – the latest addition to their MX line of synthesizers – at Superbooth 17.

Yamaha says that the MX88 represents the logical extension of the MX line, offering a full-size keyboard with piano-style action.

The sound collection of the MX88 is based on the Yamaha Motif sound engine, and contains everything from synthesizer leads and pads to realistic acoustic instrument sounds. The Concert Grand Piano sound has been optimized for the MX88 keyboard to provide the highest level of expression.

The Yamaha MX88 connects easily to both Mac OS X and Windows computers via a class-compliant, bi-directional USB audio/MIDI interface. This makes it easy to record into a DAW, and you can also monitor the computer’s output through the keyboard’s ¼” audio outputs or headphone jack.

Other key features on the MX88 include:

  • A full selection of VCM effects
  • Easy Split/Layer Performance Mode
  • 16-part Multi timbral operation and 128-note polyphony
  • Extensive hands-on control for VSTs and DAWs
  • A software bundle that includes Steinberg Cubase AI

‘The MX88 will appeal to players who need the touch and feel of a real piano with 88 weighted-action keys,’ says Yamaha Product Marketing Manager Nate Tschetter. ‘Now, any keyboardist can take advantage of the computer and iOS integration and superb Motif sound that distinguish the MX line in the market. ‘

Pricing and Availability

The Yamaha MX88 is available now with an MSRP of $1,299.

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7 thoughts on “Yamaha Intros MX88 Synthesizer For Stage & Studio

      1. The ES/XS offer many advantages.

        1) It’s a full on synth engine. On the MX series, the editing is more like the offsets one would find in a Motif’s Performance mode, so basic things like editing envelopes, cutoff amount, octave and tuning, etc. but that’s it.

        2) You don’t need to hook a Motif up to a computer to be able to edit those things described above. You can do it on the MX as well, but there are limitations. The editing software is okay but working on a hardware Motif is actually faster in some ways and less fiddly.

        2b) What happens when the editor is no longer updated? I have several older Yamaha synths that I can no longer edit on the computer, so that’s a potential longevity issue as well.

        3) Onboard sequencing and sampling. This may not be a huge draw for some but that one time you’d like to drop a sample or run a sequence without having to bring extra gear, you may wish you’d had it.

        4) Four way splits/layers in Performance mode. You can actually do up to 16 way splits and layers on an MX, but you have to use the editor for more than anything beyond a simple split or layer, and again, it feels fiddly compared to the hardware.

        5) Keybed. The MX feels cheap and plasticky by comparison, and it lacks aftertouch, which may be a factor.

        6) Screen. Even the ES has a better screen than the cramped MX two line display.

        7) Audio quality. The MX is based on the XS engine. Having owned an ES and an MX 61, I can say that the sound quality of the Motif output stage is better sounding.

        8) Selecting sounds, navigation, etc. Getting around on a Motif is generally pretty easy and quick, and made even more so with Master mode. Getting around on an MX is frustrating by comparison. Depending on how you like to select sounds and Performances, you might find yourself selecting the wrong thing while playing live. It’s easy to accidentally select another part when in fact you wanted to change performances, and vice versa. To be able to select performances, the preferred method is with the knob, but if you want to be able to use the sound/part select buttons, you have to press a two button combo first. I found it awkward in practice.

        Advantages of the MX:

        1) Lightweight.

        2) Cheaper than a new high end product.

        3) Ease of use as long as you don’t want to go too deep.

        4) Sounds arguably better than low end products from the competitors because it’s a Motif XS engine inside.

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  1. Manufacturers like Yamaha are neglecting a major market — those who want great pianos and synth architecture but who also want to use a workstations to integrate with a soft-synth rig. I realize that this is possible, but it’s like it’s an afterthought. For those who don’t want to spend huge amounts on a Motif, they need a more thought-out interface, like an easy way to switch the front-panel controls between controlling internal sounds and various external sound sources.

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    1. You might want to check out the Kronos for this. I know it’s a higher end piece, but sometimes you can find them used for around $1500.00 if you’re really lucky. You can assign a part in Combi mode to an external device and have that be your computer. It’s also an audio/midi usb interface, so it’s one cable for everything. With a button press, you can use the sliders, knobs, and 16 switches in the left hand control section to send any CC’s you want. You can also save custom setups as a template I think.

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