26 thoughts on “Yamaha Synth History At Superbooth 2018

    1. nah, it won´t come. but according to whistleblower “the knoq”, roland already has a mv-8800/mc-909 successor–“a 16-pad workstation/sampler”–in the pipeline ready to launch. he saw a detailed promo video 3 years ago and leaked the info at gearslutz. he broke a nda and lost his job over it. roland postponed the product for reasons unknown, but my guess is that it will come in a year or so when the tr-8s is outdated.

  1. Yamaha has been showing these for several years now at trade shows. I have to say I don’t see what they gain by pointing out how innovative they used to be decades ago: it just emphasizes how stodgy they are now.

    1. I’ve got an EX5R which has the single voice Yamaha VL and is supposed to be more elaborate than the Z1. But you need a software editor. I’ve also had fun with Madrona Aalto, a soft synth.

    2. I don’t know if that’s a fair statement; the Montage is a super powered keyboard version of an FS1r crossed with an SY-99 and pretty serious sample playback side as well. The Motif series, I get you. But even then, when you dig around say, a Motif ES from 15 years ago, it has a crazy complement of filters and modulation available. I think people would be surprised at how powerful they are for what were primarily sample playback devices.

      1. > an FS1r crossed with an SY-99
        lol, no, the sy-99 was a real workstation. it had a 16-part sequencer; the montage has not. i´d always prefer the motif xf over the montage.

        1. That’s true; if you’re looking for a traditional workstation then the Montage won’t work for you. I was referring more to the synthesis side of things.

      2. The DX synths were totally fresh; there were just no other products like them. Same thing with the VL synths. Both of these licensed innovative synthesis patents from Stanford and commercialized them. I’m less familiar with FS1r, but I see people bemoaning that there’s nothing else like it. Yamaha isn’t breaking new ground any more. (I suspect that the VLs and FS weren’t commercial successes for them.)

        Montage is respectable for what it is, but as you describe it, it’s a repackaging and refinement of synths from the last century.

  2. Definitely need some more physical modelling options these days. Not even sure what’s still available new. I remember they did a brilliant soft-synth VL nack in the 90s that was bundled with some of their soundcards but you can’t get it now (and it probably wouldn’t work with modern OSs). Wish they’d just simply update that and release it as a VST. Been looking at Korg Z1 as a used option. Anything else worth looking at?

    1. I’ve got an EX5R which has the single voice Yamaha VL and is supposed to be more elaborate than the Z1. But you need a software editor. I’ve also had fun with Madrona Aalto, a soft synth.

    2. There are some physical modelling Soft instruments out there.
      Look at the AAS products for example, and arturia Spark.
      In hardware there is Korg Kronos.
      For piano, there is Pianoteq, and arturia Piano V. In hardware form, Roland uses physical modelling of piano, in a couple of products.
      And there are some hardware and software that uses parts physical modelling parts sampling, Roland does that with some pianos as well.

      I would say that one issue especially with hardware with physical modelling, is that it can’t really be used as a general synthesis method, as each instrument really requires it own set of controls, to be manageable.

      1. Jon said: I would say that one issue especially with hardware with physical modelling, is that it can’t really be used as a general synthesis method, as each instrument really requires it own set of controls, to be manageable.

        He’s on the mark here. PM is a totally different world that can make FM look friendly. Don’t get too romantic over the idea of a new hardware PM synth. It requires a lot of added time to grasp AND to play one. It would not be profitable to market an instrument that isn’t at least close to instant gratification on a stick. I enjoy using Logic’s Sculpture and a pal swears by AAS’s Chromaphone, but its an alien world with its own weird physics, literally. Only part of your subtractive programming skills will mean anything. The sounds are distinctive and fun to apply, but IMO, its both realistic and wise to go the software route. Percussion and woodwind sounds in particular will take you on a field trip to Venus. Just take a little added time to understand its strengths.

    3. The Alesis Fusion has two physical models, reed and pipe. It also has formant fiilters, a bit of tuning and keyboard tracking and you have fake Karplus-Strong. The Fusion also offers sampling, virtual analogue and FM. If versatile polyphonic physical modelling is your priority the Z1 looks like a a winner as it has a greater number of models and is good value nowadays.

  3. oh boy.. blake has no clue. he says the vp-1 was used on michael jackson´s “bad” album.. *facepalm* “bad” came out in 1987, the vp-1 seven years later, in 1994. his given number of 30 produced vp-1 items seems to be highly questionable, too. my understanding is yamaha produced much more less.

  4. In my personal view, the durability of a synthesizer is determined by the personality and uniqueness of its sounds. This also determines the history of a company. Being listening to different musical genres and immediately distinguishing the synthesizers they play is a big trump for the companies. In the case of Yamaha, this course of the personality of the sounds stopped in the VL series, maybe up to the EX-5/7 due to its sound engine. From then on, all you hear in the Motif series is very good sounds, which have little difference to the synthesizers of other companies. With the evolution of Romplers, companies have lost the personality of their sythesizers.
    I can not imagine what the next step will be for companies. But I do not think it is in the re-establishment of the old analogue beasts, something they have been working on in recent years. History has taught us that uniqueness derives from something that does not exist, is born from an original idea and not from old good and tried recipes.
    Like Montage, which is an evolution of SY-99 revival.

  5. The $30,000 VP-1 was nice for its time, but the $199 AAS Chromaphone 2 or Logic’s Sculpture absolutely destroy it.
    I agree that Yamaha should get back into physical modeling and develop something that’s jaw-dropping.

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