Yamaha RY30 Live Jam

Sunday Synth Jam: Reader Alex Juno has a new Yamaha RY30 – a vintage drum machine that offers a fairly sophisticated sample-based synth engine. He programmed custom sounds for it and then created this improvised industrial jam.

Here’s what he has to say about it:

“It starts off entirely live with no programmed parts, just playing the pads, and then about half way through a loop does come in, because I ran out of hands!

A little delay was added at the beginning and end, and a little bitcrusher in the middle for flavour, then i compressed and limited the whole thing so it was nice and loud 🙂

Juno also shared his thoughts about the Yamaha RY30:

  • “I quite like the basses you can get out of the machine, these are a good use of some of the stock synthetic waveforms that come in the ROM, saw, pulse, etc and combine nicely with the powerful and classy digital filters.
  • Most of the odd pad sounds I made came from combining a waveform with the filter set at max resonance, you get this weird self oscillation which deviates slightly in frequency depending on the waveform used.
  • For the pad sound in the middle, i used two such filters on each pad, tuned in minor 3rds, which created a quite unstable and unique dual note timbre on the pad.
  • I love the noise on this unit, it’s a looped waveform that gets very unstable and glitchy when you pitch it up 4 octaves, with slight bit of velocity to pitch, it leaves nice artefacts!
  • Mashing 16s on a bass sound and playing with the pitch wheel = instant win.
  • Pitch envelopes are great fun!

12 thoughts on “Yamaha RY30 Live Jam

  1. I love my RY30. I used the synth waveforms quite a bit back when I had nothing else with a filter on it. Since each sound can have two waveforms, you can make some really killer sounds.

  2. This is an education sound wise with one of those. It is great to see old gear used well and it makes me want to track one down. I bought a dx 100 from new and have a dx 21 now.
    The yamaha fm sounds can’t be beaten. Yamaha over the years have made some rock solid equipment
    Thanks for this demo.

  3. The Yamaha RY30 design was so ahead of its time. This machine can do almost anything, program sounds like a synth, respond as multitimbral sound source and it is built like a war tank. It sounds and feels amazing!

  4. tbh JayD, it does very much to my ears sound like an RY-30, which sadly I think is more an indicator of how little we’ve come, hearing little change in the sounds over the last couple of decades. But the RY-30 is still a great machine, and the reason, as already mentioned, that it was quite ahead of its time when released. I just wish other manufacturers would sit up and listen, and stop being so cynical by the continual marketing of little boxes that either sound like 808’s or 303’s (Korg, Roland…. I’m looking at you!)

    I just wish Yamaha would do iRY-30 for iPad, then I could flog my RY-30, and buy another iPad!

    1. “I just wish other manufacturers would sit up and listen, and stop being so cynical by the continual marketing of little boxes that either sound like 808?s or 303?s (Korg, Roland…. I’m looking at you!)”

      And yet all anybody ever asks Roland & Korg to do is to release these nostalgia-trip instruments.

  5. This is probably one of the most underrated drum machines out there and would crush if there was a way to load user samples and waves onto those rom cards, maybe someone knows a way? When I got mine I was really surprised at its flexibility and capabilities. Love seeing it put to use like this.

  6. I’m looking into buying a used RY30. I’ve looked in a couple places but I’m having trouble finding the info I want. Can somebody tell me where I can find the years specific drum machines were produced?

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