Should Yamaha Make These Digital Synth Designs?


Over at the YamahaSynth forum, user PIOTR shared these design concepts for three new Yamaha keyboards.

They are unofficial design concepts – so don’t ask when they are going to be released! But, they are attractive design concepts – so, check them out and let us know what you think of them!


The Yamaha 10 Series consists of three performance-oriented digital synths: AN, DX and VL. Each of the synths in the series would offer velocity, afertouch, full size ribbon controllers and a TG-33 style joystick for parameter morphing between 4 selected presets.


The Yamaha DX-10 synthesizer is an FM synth with hands on interface. FM-8 style operator matrix, dedicated motorized faders for envelope programming, keytracking and index settings. Two filters and FX section.yamaha-dx-10-closeup

103 thoughts on “Should Yamaha Make These Digital Synth Designs?

  1. I hope they do!! Yamaha has made some of the greatest and most underrated digital and analog synths ever. I’d buy all three. My AN1x and SY77 are still going strong, I’d really like to see them start making synths again.

  2. Holy Crap – they have to be some of the sexiest looking synths I’ve seen in a while. Particuarly with those cool LCDs on the DX-10 concept. If they made these, Yamaha would instantly be desirable again, and I’d certainly add them to my ‘must have’ list. Of course, looks aren’t everything, and they’d need to be sonically awesome, but this would be a step in the right direction for Yamaha…

    I’d add in a new ‘CS-30’ pure analog synth as well just to round it off.

  3. Great design work ,great concept.
    Definitely 3 octaves . I would add sequencer section (at least like an/dx 200 ) with buttons/lights.

    If 2 filters though ,I would want separate controls for filter 1 & 2 . Notwithstanding issues of ” knob pickup ” with multifunction knobs on digital devices set to different values, I would ideally like to adjust both at the same time .

    I assume DX could load dx7 patches .

    Of the 3 I would most likely get the DX for sonic variety in my setup reasons , but if there was a local off control surface mode , maybe even with a separate preset section , so the controls could be used as a control surface with the motorised faders ,independently of the synth engine which could continue to be sequenced ,that use as a three octave keyboard & motorised fader midi control surface would be an additional compelling feature for its purchase .

  4. Finally some great news from Yamaha. The existing AN family is a much underrated bunch, some of the very best VAs ever made. An upgraded version with lots of knobs would be wonderfull. However, 37 keys on a polysynth is not enough! I own both an Ion and a Miniak, and I can testify that the extra octave on the Ion is a necessity for two hand playing!

  5. Roland cannot make digital synths, but we will suck dicks to get digital Yamaha synths?

    These looks something out of my dreams, but fortunately it seems I wasn’t the only one dreaming.

    1. “we will suck dicks to get digital Yamaha synths?”

      well…I don’t think I’d go that far… (cue that scene from ‘American Pie 2’)

  6. Not if it’s just going to be yet another softsynth sold in a metal case. I got enough of those useless things, with their poor latency and jitter, just like a desktop hosted softsynth. Any DX reboot would undoubtedly have bad timing, just like most pseudo-hardware synths these days. (Synths running on software on an underpowered processor inside a physical case.)

    With physical modeling, things like the VL-1 are still next-generation, and there really isn’t anything competing or able to because Yamaha and Stanford have so many patents locked up, which they won’t use themselves.

    Given the advancements in technology, Yamaha could revamp the VL-1 at a new price point of $149, and it would be awesome, and a huge seller.

    But they won’t do that.

    1. Huh? What hardware synth do you have that has noticeable latency and jitter? That would be down to the manufacturer’s faulty design, not a symptom of putting a ‘processor in a physical case’. The Atari ST is an ‘underpowered’ processor in a box and I think it generally does ok, timing-wise. This comes down to how smart the designers and programmers are about using their clocking, interrupts, and buffers. Don’t let a few poorly-programmed synths put you off digital hardware for good.

  7. Some modern colour OLED wouldn’t be a stretch, or would that isolate the colour-blind market, maybe go vintage on the inside only.

  8. This shouldn’t actually cost Yamaha that much to do, because they already have the engines ready to put in them: The PLG150-VL, PLG150-DX, and the PLG150-AN! In addition, they could put extra slots, so that by adding PLG cards you could expand the polyphony and multitimbrality (perhaps not necessary in the DX case since that is already 16 part multitimbral).

  9. Hell Yeah! All of them look really sleek and modern. I would buy the AN and DX in a heartbeat. If they do end up producing these, I would be more impressed if they included analog filters into the mix

  10. Most definitely should make all three! Although 37 keys can be a little restricted especially for live work. Do a 49 or 61 key version and you’ve got a sale!

    1. I disagree. They should team up with TouchKeys!
      Who needs only 12 tone music nowadays? All digital synths should have pitch and filter or what ever controller parameter to be tweaked separately for each note.
      That would make me want one too.

  11. Yamaha dx 100’s are on of the best small synths around.
    Any new synth needs knobs and sliders.
    I was one of the fools who bought their FS1R.Worst synth ever .
    Lots of audio outputs yamaha whatever you make.

  12. I have to stop looking at these pics…its just going to leave me heartbroken if all they end up being is artist’s conceptions..

  13. 37 or 49 DX10 based around the FM engine in the sy77…no need for motorised faders…maybe led to tell you where the current patch is when you change then just match up the fader.

    F.M. special sound that hasn’t been around for ages.

  14. I’m an owner of several CS80s, DX1, VL1, SY77 & 99 and AN1x.

    Overall, like the concepts and there the designer is going- but they look quite generic to me and, if these additions were made to this footprint, I believe they’d be better

    a) Look at the control surface of the DX1 and SY99 and combine those. you controls are generic – and critically – do not make FM programming easier.

    b) Hence, provide the per-operator control of the DX1 and the broader screen editability of the SY77/99 and you have a VERY powerful combination

    c) AFM and RCM synthesis are significantly better than FM on its own

    d) Breath controller needed

    e) Polyphonic Aftertocuh on the DX1 is as radical and important as on the CS80 (and not widely known because only 300 DX1’s were ever made). In particular, the DX1 polyphonic aftertouch allows for per-operator response to individual key aftertocuh, and beings FM into an entirely new dimension of sonic capability and performance control. you can lean into the most gentle flute and turn it into a distorder raging monster and back again, under the finger. It’s immense. FM and Polyphonic Aftertouch are made for each other.

    AN10 – Look’s great – but –
    a)the AN1x control surface is excellent and offers far more control than this implementation suggests

    b) the scene morphing feature of the AN1x is critical and needs to be retained

    c) the sequencer capabilities of the AN1x are huge – a plethora of capabilities including, as just one example the ability to lay individual sequences on each key in the lower two octaves and then use the upper three octaves to perform them. a powerful realtime sequence environment. So this proposed footprint looses that because your’s has a smaller keyboard.

    d) on the same issue – realtime sequencer capabilities such on the sub37, GAIA and Pro2, as just three examples, would surely be an advantage, taking the AN1x sequencer to the next level.

    a) The VL1 and VL7 are already equipped in one exquisite way: performance control. They both include: 3.5 octave keyboard with velocity and aftertouch, breath control, two modulation and one pitch bend wheel, three sliders and foot controllers. With Virtual Acoustic, arguably performance control is more important than parameter control (and is one of the reasons the Z1 does not sound as acoustic as the VL1) – and this proposed implementation seems to be more focused on parameter control than realtime control. Parameter control – yes the more the better – but realtime performance control is king, and the VL1 and VL7 are already beautifully designed in this regard – and all of those features would be needed in any new implementation.

  15. The interface on DX10 should be reversed. The knobs on the left and algorithm matrix on the right. More ergonomical 😉 Motorised faders are a nice touch, but would make it more expensive. But yes, having so many envelopes, it’s a nice idea!
    5 octave version, too, please 😉

  16. Motorised faders are not expensive. Behringer BCF200 had 8 of them and cost 180gbp.
    Every solution has it’s pros and cons:
    Rotary Encoders:
    + no problem with value jumps or pick-up when the same encoder adjust different parameters
    – low resolution (typically 24 steps per revolution) so we have to spin them like crazy (vide Elektron) or use Shift/press and turn for quick adjustment and then we have stepping
    – needs additional display or LEDs that show the value of the parameter

    + high resolution ) as high as you want since A/D converter is used for read-out.
    + the position of the pot shows the value
    – needs value pick up
    – will show the wrong value when we switch to another parameter/patch

    sliders – the same as pots but we can adjust up to 4 at the same time with one hand

    motorised faders
    + high resolution ) as high as you want since A/D converter is used for read-out.
    + the position of the slider shows the value
    + we can adjust up to 4 at the same time with one hand
    + no problem with value jumps or pick-up when they adjust different parameters

    – none

  17. Not sure the world needs another virtual analog synth. But swap that out with an “A-10” sampler based on the A5000 and I’d buy all three! The octave range and design are perfect on these guys. Hardware only though!

  18. What great fantasy synths. I’d be surprised if Yamaha DIDN’T go for these in some form, as they suit the general shape of the buying market. Its also a semi-no-brainer because Yamaha has those PL board designs in-house already, so there’d be a lot less work needed to attach them to such hardware. I agree that motorized faders are an affectation that will add to cost on both ends. Let’s not complicate things for a novelty. just IMO. I also lightly q

  19. OOPS! I slipped. 😛 I also lightly question the VL model. Unlike the others, that’s a super-serious-engagement instrument. If you look into the original, you’ll realize that it required some serious technique, featuring standard fingering, pressure and pedals working in a unique form of concert. Its SO not press-&-play! Its a committed soloist’s instrument. If you’ve played with any physical modeler, then you know how you must play INTO the instrument, because its not triggering a sample, Its triggering a MODEL. Just press a key and not much happens. Its when you grasp the shaping process that it comes to life. Its light-years past “merely” playing a Volca.

    On the flip side, yeah, FM is so sterile in some ways that poly AT makes added sense. A DX9 can’t touch a DX1’s sensitivity. It brings FM further into the spotlight. Good luck getting that implemented in hardware, but the point was well-made.

    I’d also like a longer, decent keyboard, but its near-2015. You either buy a higher-end workstation or digital piano in large part FOR a quality action, or you buy the best controller you can find. I use 2- 4- and 5-octave ‘boards for their different strengths, so for the kind of power these ideas offer, that’d be acceptable. PIOTR, a high 5 for the great presentation. There is funsy Photoshopping and more serious ideas like this. You clearly understand the basics well; that’s why this is a winning idea. It’d be a wise left-turn for Yamaha to offer these.

  20. Love it. This guy can totally make a living doing virtual hardware mockups. Really like these. Of course, the FS10 would be better than DX10 unless going for name recognition. (FS1R in my rack could use some knobs … and I’d buy an FS1R keyboard right bloody NOW!). 🙂

      1. Yes, my brain functions and allows me to think, talk, and type. Funny how that works. Yes, people can make a living in cad/cam, previz, engineering, manufacturing … But I suppose most trolls don’t know what any of those activities are.

        1. industrial design, interface design, or product visualisation sure. that is not what you said.
          there is no virtual hardware mockup industry. outside of you perfectly functioning brain that is.

          1. Sheesh, lighten up. I’ve been doing CAD and mechanical design for twenty years, and while the *exact* industry terms may be different, I understood what Christopher was talking about just fine, thank you. I do virtual mockups for customers all the time, so I don’t get your outrage and indignation over this. Chill.

  21. With electronics as it is, can’t they put all three engines in one keyboard? That would give Korg a run for their money. Considering Yamaha has been riding the AWM2 train since the SY85 and has been looking like the AMTRAK of the synth world for a decade now. Motifs are great, but what about that 75% of the time you don’t WANT a Motif? Well, someone at Yamaha has stepped up to the plate with an answer. Or should I say they have stepped up to the mound, since they are pitching this. I say let’s swing and swing hard and see if it gets knocked out of the park. I think even grouchy old Yamaha can afford to get radical once in a while. But put all three in one keyboard. Scare the KRONOS faction a little. Or better, put the engines on upgrade boards and a keyboard with multiple slots so you can mix and match. Just want one or two? Want to upgrade later? Have at it. Give Roland a run for their money, too. And upgradeable multipurpose keyboard that does the best of the old and has room for anything new that might come along. Might Yamaha have the first granular keyboard? Or how about spiral or fractal synthesis, when those get perfected? Plug’n’play your favorite real solid state analog? Why not? Yamaha has the deep pockets for that kind of research. I’d buy a ticket for that train.

  22. Ok, here we go again, these are only ideas, concepts, that someone post to the public so they can be discussed.
    Taking that into account I think they would be nice, I’d buy the AN10 and DX10, rack mountable.
    Then again, I just love my TX81Z (that Lately bass!!)

    1. Yeah, it is a bit like posting a fan art movie poster of Peter Jackson’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, a space age science spirit epic of galactic proportion, with starring Adrien Brody as Ziggy Stardust with a surprise cameo by David Bowie himself as the Star Voice.

  23. Obviously these 3 synths are a fan art design.
    Yamaha, make a synth with all those knobs, faders, with 2 screens, joystick, ribbon ? That’s a joke.. Yamaha will never make these.
    These synths look like what musicians would like to have, but it is not credible, unfortunately

  24. They look great. Who ever designed them did a great job. But this is like seeing a picture of a pretty girl and speculating whether or not she’d make a good wife. …Maybe?

  25. This debate is probably long gone stale – but maybe this will rejuvenate it.. I emailed Yamaha sales with the weblink for this story… their response below…
    yes we have seen it and were all discussing it last weekend.

    Cannot comment beyond that.

    Yamaha Customer Support

    ————— Original Message —————
    From: [[email protected]]
    Sent: 9/12/2014 9:03 AM
    Subject: Product Support

    I know these are not actual Yamaha products – but they SHOULD be!!! You need to check out a story on Synthopia –

    Just a strong suggestion (nb…read the very enthusiastic comments).


  26. Motorized faders are not required in my opinion. Significant cost can be saved by using just ordinary but high quality faders. Modulation of envelope sections (A, D, S, R, etc.) could be adjusted in a mod matrix. I have sincere doubts that we would ever see something like one of these fan art pieces, lovely though they are, come from Yamaha.

  27. It should have 5 octave keyboard, especially for the FM synthesizer. Nice concepts though. I like the fact that there’s no color LCD, and no dreaded touchscreens. My preference is sliders to knobs, but anywho, I am pleased that there’s not cheesy bloated oversized touchsreen LCD’s.

  28. these are the best, if only companies would start making what we want! I mean it’s money in the bank! why not?? They should set up polls on that forum for peoples priorities, I for one, would want more knobs and less screens on that DX, also I’d want more versatility, throwing in saws and squares and a resonant filter would be nothing to implement, make it an AN-DX and call it the new powerhouse that leaves FM8 in the dust. Seriously, FM’ing saws and squares opens up radical aggressive possibilities that are just plain INDISPENSABLE.

    1. Very interesting. Well done renderings…they look convincing and plausible. But it seems the idea was already there in the EX-5 and in the first two generations of Motif which had DX, AN and VL plug-in boards available. (These were deemed incompatible with the 8-element architecture of the Motif XS, although I do not see why, as the plug-in boards were in effect separate synths from the AWM section of Motif.) I like the idea of hardware versions–it is much better to have all those knobs and faders for controlling the parameters. As far as three-octave keyboards, look at Korg, bringing back the Odyssey (which IS real, although why it is only 86% the size of the original is a mystery to me.) Hey, I’m all for it–and on board with a new development of the FS1R as well. The more new toys, the better!

  29. Yes, please built these hard ware synth, especially AN10 and DX10 and let the legends awake to a new legend and with modern features. Very important: Please give them real slots for Plugin PLG150- cards compatible to lets say at least PLG150-DX and PLG150-AN and maybe also new Plugin, maybe new modules like PLG200- …
    I have have a Yamaha S80 and also a PLG150-DX, both sound very excellent together, if there would new synth modells as above in the “pre study”, I would buy immediately an AN10 and would hope, that more new Yamaha PLG200-… cards will be built in the future (like sound sampler card with integrated SSD, new virtual polyphonic synth cards, …). These are just dreams, but big companies make somedays dreams become reality.

    One remark: When I bought the PLG150-DX card, I paid 270,- Eur, actually used ones are offered via e-bay for arround 400,- Eur and will be sell.
    So please “Yamaha” think about this point, it indicated a huge marked interest in this area.

  30. YAMAHA has sonic sound power behind its brand! There’s not much even today, that can rivival YAMAHA sound! The virtual analogue engines they created in the late nineties early 2000’s were as good as it comes! Naturally the legend and brand of the DX is without reproach except for difficult programming ! It’s time YAMAHA retake there throne and do these synths! They’ve cornered the market in the past with the greatest selling synth of all time, they can do it again! It’s the right time to go after KORG, AND BEAT ROLAND TO THE PUNCH!

  31. I’d be interested in the digital one… But if they’re calling it a virus killer it better be the best digital synth ever made, because that’s what the virus Ti is …… So, to say I’m doubtful on its ability to top the Virus is an understatement….

  32. I have a dx7 mkII and a tx802 , I use an electrix analog filter with them and the results are awesome. Adding a modeling or a real analog filter can make these machines killer as well.

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