Yamaha YC61 Stage Keyboard: Classic Organ + Vintage Keys + Virtual Circuitry Modeling

In advance of the 2020 NAMM Show, Yamaha has introduced the YC61 Stage Keyboard, a new organ-focused instrument combining iconic organ sounds with sonic versatility and real-time control.

The YC61 employs a Yamaha’s newly-developed ‘Virtual Circuitry Modeling (VCM) Organ’ engine. VCM models the behavior of vintage electronics at the component level. This allows realistic organ character sound along with familiar and modern keyboard controls.

They say that authenticity is further enhanced by a new VCM Rotary Speaker effect, capturing the two-speed, physically spinning speaker that is part of the organ sound.

The musician playing the YC61 has full command of the sound via drawbars, percussion, rotary speaker speed and more. Users also have the ability to personalize “under the hood” organ and rotary speaker settings like drawbar leakage, key click and rotor speed up.

A 61-note waterfall keyboard makes for smooth rock and jazz playing techniques such as “palm smears,” as seen in this sound demo by Jonas Gröning, (video is just YC61 sounds, no talking):

Beyond organ sounds, Yamaha’s YC61 stage piano has two comprehensive “Keys” sections that offer acoustic pianos, electric pianos, strings and brass, analog-style synths, and more. Dedicated effects like delay, chorus, distortion and more allow keyboardists the ability to quickly create new sounds on the fly.

“The organ is the original keyboard, and in some ways, the original synthesizer,” said Nate Tschetter, manager, Synthesizer Marketing, Yamaha. “It always adds a soulful sound to the music, regardless of genre. We hope YC61 provides that essence of soulfulness to keyboard players through its sound and controls.”

Audio Demos:

Pricing and Availability

The Yamaha YC61 Stage Keyboard (MSRP: $2,499) will ship to retailers in June 2020. For detailed information and product specifications, visit the Yamaha Synth website, or check out the latest episode of Yamaha Synth’s Behind the Synth podcast.

18 thoughts on “Yamaha YC61 Stage Keyboard: Classic Organ + Vintage Keys + Virtual Circuitry Modeling

  1. VCM = Yamaha`s answer to Roland´s ACB?

    I wonder how far they want to take this new Virtual Circuitry Modeling concept 🙂

      1. Andreas, stephenlayton2013 is not doubting key click, but rather is pointing out that the level of the key click in the YC61 is much higher that one would find in a real B3 with dirty contacts.

        1. Actually keyclick level can be regulated in any modern clone wheel: I expect Yamaha to provide a setting for keyclick. But again, I’m quite sure this is just a slightly updated YC engine (which is barely decent).

        2. Yes indeed. I was merely stating that so much emphasis on key click is unnecessary and decidedly un-Hammond like, which is a gentle mechanical soothing part of the sound rather than a sharp white noise at the start of a note.

  2. I tried this out at a Synthfest thing in LA earlier this fall, and really wanted to like it since Nord Stage’s and Electros are expensive. But the sound quality was poor IMO, and there were weird limits on the engine. NS3 is still king even for the price.

  3. Great idea for a gigging keyboardist but damn, that is not an attractive instrument. Particularly as compared to its rather handsome red competition.

  4. $2,499? With a 61-keys keybed and that organ engine? Who in their right mind would buy this over a Nord Electro or, if you don’t need synths, a Mojo?

  5. Its clearly a well-appointed instrument, but yeah, that GUI sure is a bowl of mud. I learned to combat that by carefully trimming day-glo tape into dividing strips and small indicators. Its made things far easier at times, but for $2499, you shouldn’t need to do that. You’d think Yamaha could spring for a decent graphic designer who had seen other approaches, maybe even played a couple of keyboards a bit…?

  6. Think about. In the Reface Series, you have the CP, YC, CS and DX models. And now, Yamaha have released larger keyboards, the CP73 and the YC61. If there is a logic connection here, CS and DX are the next two models.

  7. The Zebra stripes are needless for a seasoned organist who uses one hand to shape the sound required. There is no counting out the absolute value of the 2′ stop when on stage. You mold it until it feels right.

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