refacetop

Yamaha’s Reface synth line are out now, with full details. You can dig through the site rather than have to do it here – but let’s look at what you might find surprising.

It has Web MIDI, not just MIDI. Yamaha promises the line will connect to Google Chrome via Web MIDI. Now, theoretically, that’s possible in the latest Chrome builds with any MIDI keyboard, not just the Yamaha. But it suggests that Yamaha are atypically embracing bleeding edge tech (previously seen only at hackdays and such) and making it a standard feature. And there’s more: “Soundmondo is a free sound sharing community that lets you discover, create and share reface Voices and Set Lists using Google Chrome any place, any time youโ€™re online.” Okay, then.

Those mini keys don’t have a mini action. This is the best news. Yamaha says the action comes from their Motif XF flagship – and those feel great. So this may be the first mini keys that don’t make you say, at best, “meh,” and at worst, “$#(&*$.”

refaceback

Each keyboard supports multiple sound models on the engine. 4-operator FM on the DX + 12 algorithms – limited to that (no 6-voice FM, sorry), but you get continuously variable feedback on every operator. The YC has five organ models – “American tonewheel,” British, Italian, and Japanese “transistor organs,” and the Yamaha YC-45D. The CS, which initially didn’t interest me so much, has selectable waves: Multi-saw, Pulse, Oscillator Sync, ring mod, and FM. And the CP (sorry for the acronym) covers everything a gigging keyboardist could want apart from the organs: Rhodes mk I, Rhodes Mk II, Whirly, Clav, CP80 electric gran=d (of course), and even a toy piano. (The tine pianos aren’t called by those names of course, but… well, you do the math.)

You get up to 128-note polyphony. Thank you, digital technology. That’s on the YC; there’s less on the other models.

They fit in a tote bag. Just watch this excellent artist video with Ingrid Michaelson. (I think it’s fine, anyway. YouTube viewers are voting it down, because YouTube commenters are mean. I’d like to put a tote bag over their head so I can’t hear them.)

They run on batteries, too. Six AA’s, so… uh, you probably want to buy rechargeable alkalines, as on the KORG volca series. Fortunately, USB power works, too. But it is great to be wireless.

You can route your iPad through them – and they’ve got speakers. There’s a minijack (3.5 mm) input. Plug in an iPad, an iPhone, or anything else, and the sound passes through the speakers and audio jacks. When it comes time to gig, though, the Reface series still have full-sized dual 1/4″ (unbalanced) mono jacks.

They list for US$799. That’s probably about twice what you expected. Two ways to read this: one, fluctuating currencies these days almost demand a higher list. But two, it could be good news: you’re finally getting a mobile product that’s premium. Who says small has to mean worse? Also – US$499 street we’re hearing, so this isn’t astronomical for a full-featured keyboard. It’s just that lately a lot of products have cut corners to hit a lower price point.

refacebox

The packaging is really pretty. This may seem like a small thing. But this is some of the slickest packaging I’ve seen in our business – and that actually means something. It means Yamaha is breaking some old habits and behaving like a company that makes things that people buy, rather than a musical instruments company repeating what it has always done.

Unsurprising: it’s a relief when the industry stops listening to the same old customers again and again and again. I have no idea what’s going on in this video. But I do know what’s going on in this comment: “Give me five octaves or more of a full sized keyboard, 256 patch memories or more, and a FULL control panel, and you have my money. Polypressure keybeds while you’re at it.”

Um – no. You’ve had your turn. Also: what?! In fact, you can get effectively unlimited patch memories online – and 32 onboard, which ought to cover most gigs. Polypressure keybeds, well, buy a ROLI.

I stand by my prediction. These things are going to get a lot of hate online — and a lot of love in stores, including from people who don’t read any of our dull specialist websites, like this one. Though… please, read CDM. I’ll go skateboarding with you. And that’ll provide some comic relief.

Look, they’ve finally given us Web URLs that make sense, even.

https://yamahasynth.com/

http://yamaha.com/reface

  • divbyzero

    May I point folks to the unfairly ignored Korg Microarranger? Forget about its autoaccompaniment features and focus on the fact that it’s a Triton (minus the sampler) in a case with five octaves of high quality mini keys (really usable touch sensitivity) and decent built-in speakers. Fills a very similar portability niche to these Yamahas with arguably greater flexibility (within the realm of an S&S synth) at a street price that’s far lower.

    • just passing

      > at a street price that’s far lower.

      Not for long, if people listen to you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Steve Conrad

        I’m happy I grabbed a 2012 Korg MicroStation – while they were still available

        http://www.korg.com/us/products/synthesizers/microstation/

        • just passing

          I missed the chance to get one cheap at the end of their (far too short) run myself. That was… annoying.

        • Yeah, I like the microStation a lot. The microArranger… ugh, I imagine it may be terrific, but it’s just too ugly for me to bare. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • divbyzero

    May I point folks to the unfairly ignored Korg Microarranger? Forget about its autoaccompaniment features and focus on the fact that it’s a Triton (minus the sampler) in a case with five octaves of high quality mini keys (really usable touch sensitivity) and decent built-in speakers. Fills a very similar portability niche to these Yamahas with arguably greater flexibility (within the realm of an S&S synth) at a street price that’s far lower.

  • divbyzero

    May I point folks to the unfairly ignored Korg Microarranger? Forget about its autoaccompaniment features and focus on the fact that it’s a Triton (minus the sampler) in a case with five octaves of high quality mini keys (really usable touch sensitivity) and decent built-in speakers. Fills a very similar portability niche to these Yamahas with arguably greater flexibility (within the realm of an S&S synth) at a street price that’s far lower.

  • Are We Not Men?

    I was honestly completely uninterested in these when the details first started coming out, especially after hearing the price point, however I’ve literally had a 180 after listening to the sounds. They really do sound fantastic and I admire that they’re going for something that’s portable and powerful. I think the built-in speaker usually makes people think “it’s a toy” but I’ve really enjoyed the built-in speakers on the Volca series and think it’s great for sketching out ideas when you don’t have headphones and aren’t in the studio. The fact that they offer that kind of ‘fun’ and have such a strong sound makes these devices really intriguing.

    • Thane

      I was exactly the same, before I watched the Sonicstate video of the CS I was on the fence and my the end was totally sold. Mind you, I like small portable synths with minkeys. After a difficult day at work nothing beats putting head phones on and noodling away with my mininova on my lap.

      • vroom lao phen

        i actually really like that!

  • Are We Not Men?

    I was honestly completely uninterested in these when the details first started coming out, especially after hearing the price point, however I’ve literally had a 180 after listening to the sounds. They really do sound fantastic and I admire that they’re going for something that’s portable and powerful. I think the built-in speaker usually makes people think “it’s a toy” but I’ve really enjoyed the built-in speakers on the Volca series and think it’s great for sketching out ideas when you don’t have headphones and aren’t in the studio. The fact that they offer that kind of ‘fun’ and have such a strong sound makes these devices really intriguing.

    • Thane

      I was exactly the same, before I watched the Sonicstate video of the CS I was on the fence and my the end was totally sold. Mind you, I like small portable synths with minkeys. After a difficult day at work nothing beats putting head phones on and noodling away with my mininova on my lap.

      • vroom lao phen

        i actually really like that!

  • Are We Not Men?

    I was honestly completely uninterested in these when the details first started coming out, especially after hearing the price point, however I’ve literally had a 180 after listening to the sounds. They really do sound fantastic and I admire that they’re going for something that’s portable and powerful. I think the built-in speaker usually makes people think “it’s a toy” but I’ve really enjoyed the built-in speakers on the Volca series and think it’s great for sketching out ideas when you don’t have headphones and aren’t in the studio. The fact that they offer that kind of ‘fun’ and have such a strong sound makes these devices really intriguing.

    • Thane

      I was exactly the same, before I watched the Sonicstate video of the CS I was on the fence and my the end was totally sold. Mind you, I like small portable synths with minkeys. After a difficult day at work nothing beats putting head phones on and noodling away with my mininova on my lap.

      • vroom lao phen

        i actually really like that!

  • Frikandel

    CS will sell. Another compact mini key synth to add to many collections.
    YS is an anomaly. Compact clone wheel sub $500. Attractive for giggers who do an organ tune a few times a night?
    DX, meh. Yamaha has so many FM synth based products floating around eBay and CL that are better spec’d
    CP interesting idea. All the right sounds and FX. But definitely meant to be played on a different keyboard. Although, city guys can throw in a bag and do a little gig on the corner or corner club. And I guess that’s true of the rest as well.
    It’s been suggested this mini key thing is hotter in the Asian market. Maybe you can comment on that Pete?

    • genjutsushi

      I am 100% behind your assessment. The YS (organ one?) looks to me like the perfect pub / bar band instrument. Small, battery powered. It can sit unobtrusively until used for the couple of songs a night that require it. Sounds good too. Neither of the synth ones stack up against the better speccd competition from Korg, Roland, Novation or Arturia at that price point. The CP is, for me, the most compelling – looks like a really interesting unit.

      • just passing

        Completely on board re the CS, but what’s the competition for the Reface DX? The Mininova doesn’t have oscillator FM at all, and nor do I think do Roland’s synths; and the Microkorg XL’s FM implementation isn’t really up to even old-school DX standards. The DX does face challenges, but a competitor isn’t (yet) one of them.

        • Bynar

          Hopefully a competitor arrives soon. I think the demand exists for a FM synth on steroids. Hopefully with lots of hands on control too. Maybe this is the other thing Yamaha is working on?!

          • just passing

            I’m not sure it does. I think certainly people exist who are unwavering in their demand for one, including me – but that’s not quite the same thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Yeah, I’d like to see more FM synths. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • 082071

            The Korg Kronos MOD-7 engine does amazing FM synthesis & can also import Yamaha DX-7 SysEx data.

          • ื‘ื•ืจื™ืก

            This is the first Yamaha FM synth in about 20 years, with a modern UI and running on a modern hardware. It doesn’t make sense to invest in R&D to produce just one miniature synth ))

          • 082071

            Roland’s brand new “Boutique Synths” seem very interesting & they’re priced from $299-$399. I’d rather have them than the Reface.

    • foljs

      “””YC is an anomaly. Compact clone wheel sub $500. Attractive for giggers who do an organ tune a few times a night?”””

      Don’t just think “electronic musicians” (as in “EDM”).

      Think of the tons of hipster / neo-folk / psychedelic / alternative pop / etc bands, from MGMT to the one in your local Startbucks.

  • Frikandel

    CS will sell. Another compact mini key synth to add to many collections.
    YS is an anomaly. Compact clone wheel sub $500. Attractive for giggers who do an organ tune a few times a night?
    DX, meh. Yamaha has so many FM synth based products floating around eBay and CL that are better spec’d
    CP interesting idea. All the right sounds and FX. But definitely meant to be played on a different keyboard. Although, city guys can throw in a bag and do a little gig on the corner or corner club. And I guess that’s true of the rest as well.
    It’s been suggested this mini key thing is hotter in the Asian market. Maybe you can comment on that Pete?

    • genjutsushi

      I am 100% behind your assessment. The YS (organ one?) looks to me like the perfect pub / bar band instrument. Small, battery powered. It can sit unobtrusively until used for the couple of songs a night that require it. Sounds good too. Neither of the synth ones stack up against the better speccd competition from Korg, Roland, Novation or Arturia at that price point. The CP is, for me, the most compelling – looks like a really interesting unit.

    • foljs

      “””YC is an anomaly. Compact clone wheel sub $500. Attractive for giggers who do an organ tune a few times a night?”””

      Don’t just think “electronic musicians” (as in “EDM”).

      Think of the tons of hipster / neo-folk / psychedelic / alternative pop / etc bands, from MGMT to the one in your local Startbucks.

  • Frikandel

    CS will sell. Another compact mini key synth to add to many collections.
    YS is an anomaly. Compact clone wheel sub $500. Attractive for giggers who do an organ tune a few times a night?
    DX, meh. Yamaha has so many FM synth based products floating around eBay and CL that are better spec’d
    CP interesting idea. All the right sounds and FX. But definitely meant to be played on a different keyboard. Although, city guys can throw in a bag and do a little gig on the corner or corner club. And I guess that’s true of the rest as well.
    It’s been suggested this mini key thing is hotter in the Asian market. Maybe you can comment on that Pete?

    • genjutsushi

      I am 100% behind your assessment. The YS (organ one?) looks to me like the perfect pub / bar band instrument. Small, battery powered. It can sit unobtrusively until used for the couple of songs a night that require it. Sounds good too. Neither of the synth ones stack up against the better speccd competition from Korg, Roland, Novation or Arturia at that price point. The CP is, for me, the most compelling – looks like a really interesting unit.

    • foljs

      “””YC is an anomaly. Compact clone wheel sub $500. Attractive for giggers who do an organ tune a few times a night?”””

      Don’t just think “electronic musicians” (as in “EDM”).

      Think of the tons of hipster / neo-folk / psychedelic / alternative pop / etc bands, from MGMT to the one in your local Startbucks.

  • For that price you can get a Teenage OP-1. While the keyboard is worse, it’s WAY more versatile and fun.

    • Frikandel

      And yet everyone sells them after 3 months. Fun factor gone, they move on to the next person. Maybe same for these?

      • just passing

        Mind, consider the number of people who have owned TB303s vs the number that were made.

      • I still have mine after more than a year. You have to really dig in to understand everything it can do – it’s not an instant gratification machine.

        • just passing

          Isn’t the whole point of the OP-1 that it *is* an instant gratification machine? ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • foljs

            No, it’s that it has tons of possibilities for clever tricks one can discover…

      • foljs

        “””And yet everyone sells them after 3 months.”””

        Citation needed.

    • Yeah, I’d probably personally have the OP-1 over the Yamaha. But… it’s not the same price. $500 street for this is not the current going street price of a new OP-1. OP-1 is closer to US$850, maybe $700.

  • For that price you can get a Teenage OP-1. While the keyboard is worse, it’s WAY more versatile and fun.

    • Frikandel

      And yet everyone sells them after 3 months. Fun factor gone, they move on to the next person. Maybe same for these?

      • I still have mine after more than a year. You have to really dig in to understand everything it can do – it’s not an instant gratification machine.

      • foljs

        “””And yet everyone sells them after 3 months.”””

        Citation needed.

    • Yeah, I’d probably personally have the OP-1 over the Yamaha. But… it’s not the same price. $500 street for this is not the current going street price of a new OP-1. OP-1 is closer to US$850, maybe $700.

  • For that price you can get a Teenage OP-1. While the keyboard is worse, it’s WAY more versatile and fun.

    • Frikandel

      And yet everyone sells them after 3 months. Fun factor gone, they move on to the next person. Maybe same for these?

      • I still have mine after more than a year. You have to really dig in to understand everything it can do – it’s not an instant gratification machine.

      • foljs

        “””And yet everyone sells them after 3 months.”””

        Citation needed.

    • Yeah, I’d probably personally have the OP-1 over the Yamaha. But… it’s not the same price. $500 street for this is not the current going street price of a new OP-1. OP-1 is closer to US$850, maybe $700.

  • just passing

    Thing is, are any of these things still going to be talked about in 20 years? That’s where I can’t see them. (Although I probably wouldn’t have picked the TB303 to be an eternal classic either, in fairness.)

    I’ll probably end up picking up a reface DX in about 2 years, when the market is flooded with the damn things and you can get one in exchange for a decent Cornish pastie. And if enough people do the same, *then* I might suspect that they’re going somewhere…

    • NRGuest

      Since they have MIDI and aren’t tied to an iPad, we at least know they’ll be viable instruments in 20 years, that’s more than can be said for a lot of modern great these days.

      • just passing

        But there is an iPad lock-in; Yamaha are proposing iPads as the only way to store patches on all but the DX.

        • NRGuest

          Really? That’s too bad. I thought I had heard they were going to work with a computer. You can always write down the parameters though. These look like they’d be simple enough for that.

          • Aaron

            NRGuest: no, not really. just passing is just completely making shit up. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muXCx-rLTTQ

          • just passing

            No, Aaron, just passing is not “completely making shit up”, just passing misinterpreted the bit at the end of the launch webcast and is happy to be corrected.

            But, you know, do please continue to choose the worst possible interpretation of any circumstance. I hope you have a wonderful life as a result.

          • Hey, hey, easy, everybody… that’s why we’re chatting.

            Yamaha has not entirely clarified how this stuff will work with patch management, etc. I think WebMIDI can work offline, not only online, for instance, so … still some questions here.

          • just passing

            Don’t tell me to calm down and then promote the comment libelling me to a feature.

          • just passing

            Actually, no, it’s not just the libel, though that’s annoying. It’s the fact that you just made “if you want to pick on someone, I’m fine with it being THIS specific commenter” official CDM policy. My email address works; if I’m not welcome here, all you had to do was say. But when you say “oh, you’re welcome, I love watching people kick you” – that’s a whole different kind of site you’re fostering here, Peter. And one that should have you hanging your head in shame. And I’d be just as disgusted if you did it to Aaron, or foljs, as I am that you did it to me.

            You’re supposed to be the ringmaster, Peter. Not the ringleader.

          • foljs

            “””do please continue to choose the worst possible interpretation of any circumstance”””

            Karma’s a bitch, right?

            Yesterday I was a miserable person specifically targetting you, etc — instead of just presenting my contrarian opinion to yours.

          • just passing

            So how would you have reacted had Peter promoted one of my comments that was particularly (if, in my mind at least, retaliatorily) mean to you and featured it? Would you have felt, as I do right now, that Peter was saying it was OK to scapegoat you?

          • itchy

            i think this is brilliant.

  • Will

    The input is a good call. That sort of thing always comes in useful in real life non-studio scenarios.

  • Will

    The input is a good call. That sort of thing always comes in useful in real life non-studio scenarios.

  • Will

    The input is a good call. That sort of thing always comes in useful in real life non-studio scenarios.

  • Peter, I feel that this article is somewhat clutching at straws to justify a shiny new product. By comparison, I just picked up a Korg Micro X for ยฃ100 – again, a digital synth that seems more feature filled than these Yamahas and in a similar form factor.

    • Wait a minute.

      I’m passing along information on a new, untested product. It’s not a review; it’s things I find interesting.

      Now, on the other hand, we have several people comparing the *list* price of a not-yet-shipping product to anecdotal *used* prices for discontinued products. I mean… no new product can compete with that.

      How you spend your money is of course up to you.

      • Sure, second hand prices are never going to compare to the price of new gear. You make a good point, though it’s also true that for the same money or less that consumers can find better value in other products.

        My “clutching at straws” argument is in part from you highlighting the “pretty packaging” as a feature. Now I know it’s good for the environment and cheaper for Yamaha to ship if they have smaller packages (Ikea regularly use this in their marketing), but I don’t believe that “pretty packaging” is important to many in the context of a synthesiser and a new product ought to be judged on the merits of the product’s capabilities and eventual price.

        I apologise for any offense and I look forward to reading your review once you have had some hands on time with them.

        PS: Doctor Mix’s brilliant demo videos that actually show off how the ReFaces can be used together are worth watching. If you haven’t already taken a look I would recommend them.

        • Oh, no offense. I agree that you should comparison shop!

          I thought I explained why the pretty packaging mattered. Yamaha has had a culture of doing things the same way over and over again – often, this whole industry. Packaging might appear superficial, but taking the time to consider how it’s designed requires a cultural shift from the status quo in musical instruments.

          It doesn’t mean you should go out and buy it because of the box. It means that there’s some needed changes happening at Yamaha — and those could have impacts out of the box.

        • and thanks for the tip on Doctor Mix, I’ll check that out!

          Yes, when it comes to your money, you should absolutely make tough comparisons including to what you can get used! In fact, a feature on the best used products would be nice… wait, except it might drive up the prices on those things.

          So maybe I should keep covering just the shiny stuff. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (wink, wink, hello eBay!)

    • Bb

      many of peters articles read like this! good for calling it out chris- its about the sponsors and the freebies- wish there was an unbiased version of CDM somewhere. RIP Musicthing

    • DjAlexia Tippell

      Hey what’s the K.Micro mapping with LogicProX?

      • Not sure, I don’t use Logic! I assume there is an outdated control map for Logic in the MicroX menus but if all else fails you ought to be able to set one up with control signals.

  • Peter, I feel that this article is somewhat clutching at straws to justify a shiny new product. By comparison, I just picked up a Korg Micro X for ยฃ100 – again, a digital synth that seems more feature filled than these Yamahas and in a similar form factor.

    • Wait a minute.

      I’m passing along information on a new, untested product. It’s not a review; it’s things I find interesting.

      Now, on the other hand, we have several people comparing the *list* price of a not-yet-shipping product to anecdotal *used* prices for discontinued products. I mean… no new product can compete with that.

      How you spend your money is of course up to you.

      • Sure, second hand prices are never going to compare to the price of new gear. You make a good point, though it’s also true that for the same money or less that consumers can find better value in other products.

        My “clutching at straws” argument is in part from you highlighting the “pretty packaging” as a feature. Now I know it’s good for the environment and cheaper for Yamaha to ship if they have smaller packages (Ikea regularly use this in their marketing), but I don’t believe that “pretty packaging” is important to many in the context of a synthesiser and a new product ought to be judged on the merits of the product’s capabilities and eventual price.

        I apologise for any offense and I look forward to reading your review once you have had some hands on time with them.

        PS: Doctor Mix’s brilliant demo videos that actually show off how the ReFaces can be used together are worth watching. If you haven’t already taken a look I would recommend them.

        • Oh, no offense. I agree that you should comparison shop!

          I thought I explained why the pretty packaging mattered. Yamaha has had a culture of doing things the same way over and over again – often, this whole industry. Packaging might appear superficial, but taking the time to consider how it’s designed requires a cultural shift from the status quo in musical instruments.

          It doesn’t mean you should go out and buy it because of the box. It means that there’s some needed changes happening at Yamaha — and those could have impacts out of the box.

        • and thanks for the tip on Doctor Mix, I’ll check that out!

          Yes, when it comes to your money, you should absolutely make tough comparisons including to what you can get used! In fact, a feature on the best used products would be nice… wait, except it might drive up the prices on those things.

          So maybe I should keep covering just the shiny stuff. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (wink, wink, hello eBay!)

    • Bb

      many of peters articles read like this! good for calling it out chris- its about the sponsors and the freebies- wish there was an unbiased version of CDM somewhere. RIP Musicthing

    • Hey what’s the K.Micro mapping with LogicProX?

      • Not sure, I don’t use Logic! I assume there is an outdated control map for Logic in the MicroX menus but if all else fails you ought to be able to set one up with control signals.

  • Peter, I feel that this article is somewhat clutching at straws to justify a shiny new product. By comparison, I just picked up a Korg Micro X for ยฃ100 – again, a digital synth that seems more feature filled than these Yamahas and in a similar form factor.

    • Wait a minute.

      I’m passing along information on a new, untested product. It’s not a review; it’s things I find interesting.

      Now, on the other hand, we have several people comparing the *list* price of a not-yet-shipping product to anecdotal *used* prices for discontinued products. I mean… no new product can compete with that.

      How you spend your money is of course up to you.

      • Sure, second hand prices are never going to compare to the price of new gear. You make a good point, though it’s also true that for the same money or less that consumers can find better value in other products.

        My “clutching at straws” argument is in part from you highlighting the “pretty packaging” as a feature. Now I know it’s good for the environment and cheaper for Yamaha to ship if they have smaller packages (Ikea regularly use this in their marketing), but I don’t believe that “pretty packaging” is important to many in the context of a synthesiser and a new product ought to be judged on the merits of the product’s capabilities and eventual price.

        I apologise for any offense and I look forward to reading your review once you have had some hands on time with them.

        PS: Doctor Mix’s brilliant demo videos that actually show off how the ReFaces can be used together are worth watching. If you haven’t already taken a look I would recommend them.

        • Oh, no offense. I agree that you should comparison shop!

          I thought I explained why the pretty packaging mattered. Yamaha has had a culture of doing things the same way over and over again – often, this whole industry. Packaging might appear superficial, but taking the time to consider how it’s designed requires a cultural shift from the status quo in musical instruments.

          It doesn’t mean you should go out and buy it because of the box. It means that there’s some needed changes happening at Yamaha — and those could have impacts out of the box.

        • and thanks for the tip on Doctor Mix, I’ll check that out!

          Yes, when it comes to your money, you should absolutely make tough comparisons including to what you can get used! In fact, a feature on the best used products would be nice… wait, except it might drive up the prices on those things.

          So maybe I should keep covering just the shiny stuff. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (wink, wink, hello eBay!)

    • Bb

      many of peters articles read like this! good for calling it out chris- its about the sponsors and the freebies- wish there was an unbiased version of CDM somewhere. RIP Musicthing

    • Hey what’s the K.Micro mapping with LogicProX?

      • Not sure, I don’t use Logic! I assume there is an outdated control map for Logic in the MicroX menus but if all else fails you ought to be able to set one up with control signals.

  • Peter Giles

    Very thoughtful assessment, Peter. These keyboards do sound great, the keys feel great, with a lot of iOS versatility, and you can tote them anywhere and whenever creativity strikes.

  • Peter Giles

    Very thoughtful assessment, Peter. These keyboards do sound great, the keys feel great, with a lot of iOS versatility, and you can tote them anywhere and whenever creativity strikes.

  • Peter Giles

    Very thoughtful assessment, Peter. These keyboards do sound great, the keys feel great, with a lot of iOS versatility, and you can tote them anywhere and whenever creativity strikes.

  • Zymos

    I believe this is called “polishing a turd”. That’s really great the boxes are so nice and the stupid mini keys, while still being stupidly mini have such a nice action. And that, even though 3 of them have no preset storage built in, you can still store presets on Yamaha’s site.

    • foljs

      Some of us like mini keys. We already have like 3-4 keyboards and a big-ass controller…

      You either like portability, or this is not the product line for you, it’s that simple.

      My only qualms is with the price: if it was more like $500-$400 it would be killer.

      • Yeah, no question – lots of complaints on price.

        My concern there is really how good this sound engine is and how controllable it is via MIDI. Because otherwise, even with a high-end keybed, I agree that this is on the steep side.

  • Zymos

    I believe this is called “polishing a turd”. That’s really great the boxes are so nice and the stupid mini keys, while still being stupidly mini have such a nice action. And that, even though 3 of them have no preset storage built in, you can still store presets on Yamaha’s site.

    • foljs

      Some of us like mini keys. We already have like 3-4 keyboards and a big-ass controller…

      You either like portability, or this is not the product line for you, it’s that simple.

      My only qualms is with the price: if it was more like $500-$400 it would be killer.

      • Yeah, no question – lots of complaints on price.

        My concern there is really how good this sound engine is and how controllable it is via MIDI. Because otherwise, even with a high-end keybed, I agree that this is on the steep side.

  • Zymos

    I believe this is called “polishing a turd”. That’s really great the boxes are so nice and the stupid mini keys, while still being stupidly mini have such a nice action. And that, even though 3 of them have no preset storage built in, you can still store presets on Yamaha’s site.

    • foljs

      Some of us like mini keys. We already have like 3-4 keyboards and a big-ass controller…

      You either like portability, or this is not the product line for you, it’s that simple.

      My only qualms is with the price: if it was more like $500-$400 it would be killer.

      • Yeah, no question – lots of complaints on price.

        My concern there is really how good this sound engine is and how controllable it is via MIDI. Because otherwise, even with a high-end keybed, I agree that this is on the steep side.

  • noticed one thing: no pitch and modulation wheels. the cp looks cool to me.

    • Ha, actually, I didn’t comment on the single most obvious omission here. Seems like they’ll take some licks on that on the DX and CS. (Not so important on the CP or YC.)

  • noticed one thing: no pitch and modulation wheels. the cp looks cool to me.

    • Ha, actually, I didn’t comment on the single most obvious omission here. Seems like they’ll take some licks on that on the DX and CS. (Not so important on the CP or YC.)

  • noticed one thing: no pitch and modulation wheels. the cp looks cool to me.

    • Ha, actually, I didn’t comment on the single most obvious omission here. Seems like they’ll take some licks on that on the DX and CS. (Not so important on the CP or YC.)

  • heinrichz

    I like the idea of good mini keys!

  • heinrichz

    I like the idea of good mini keys!

  • heinrichz

    I like the idea of good mini keys!

  • Orly

    “Um โ€“ no. Youโ€™ve had your turn. Also: what?! In fact, you can get
    effectively unlimited patch memories online โ€“ and 32 onboard, which
    ought to cover most gigs. Polypressure keybeds, well, buy a ROLI.”

    Seriously ? Do you still make music today or you just speak about gear you don’t even use ?

    Little KBs are ok when they are well done. This DX is meh, sliders are the best way to handle FM deepness (this is a very good point for them) but they are fucking too small, you need to rub them like crazy to do a complete sweep, come on ! I’d rather use a mouse wheel.

    Little KBs are ok when they get a proper sequencer, this looper is cheap as hell, you can’t even change sounds between takes !

    No multitimbrality ? NO MULTITIMBRALITY ? 2015 guys.

    Wake up Yamaha, we are not in 1980 anymore.

    • just passing

      Strictly speaking, Yamaha’s last unitimbral keyboard FM synth was the DX7S, released in 1986. But I don’t think that materially affects your point.

      Goes double for Novation, though, who pioneered whole-synth multitimbrality (raw sounds and effects) until after the KS range – when they just sort of gave up. I wish I knew why; I briefly had a KS4 with the infamous phantom knob-twiddler issue, but I don’t think that was because it was multitimbral.

    • Jaybeeg

      These are being marketed as gateway instruments. While we’re sitting around wonking about euro modules and Euclidian sequencers, there are millions of musical youngsters eager to buy a keyboard. Built-in speakers are handy when you don’t have a $2000 monitoring rig.

      Who is going to use 4 or 8 part multitimbrality on a these, anyway?

      For years, Yamaha, Roland and Korg churned out multitimbral sample-playback workstations that were about as user friendly as supermarket cash registers. The end result was that people used them as preset boxes, and most often they were used as glorified electronic pianos.

      • just passing

        Layering patches is always useful, especially when you have 128-note polyphony for 37 keys. And multitimbrality would be a way to keep them useful when their primary function isn’t in play.

    • Well, it may not be 1980, but if you have a way of manufacturing a polypressure keyboard instrument for $500 street, I’d love to hear it.

      And whether it’s 2015 or not has nothing to do with whether you should make an instrument multitimbral. That’s a question of how people intend to play it.

  • Orly

    “Um โ€“ no. Youโ€™ve had your turn. Also: what?! In fact, you can get
    effectively unlimited patch memories online โ€“ and 32 onboard, which
    ought to cover most gigs. Polypressure keybeds, well, buy a ROLI.”

    Seriously ? Do you still make music today or you just speak about gear you don’t even use ?

    Little KBs are ok when they are well done. This DX is meh, sliders are the best way to handle FM deepness (this is a very good point for them) but they are fucking too small, you need to rub them like crazy to do a complete sweep, come on ! I’d rather use a mouse wheel.

    Little KBs are ok when they get a proper sequencer, this looper is cheap as hell, you can’t even change sounds between takes !

    No multitimbrality ? NO MULTITIMBRALITY ? 2015 guys.

    Wake up Yamaha, we are not in 1980 anymore.

    • Jaybeeg

      These are being marketed as gateway instruments. While we’re sitting around wonking about euro modules and Euclidian sequencers, there are millions of musical youngsters eager to buy a keyboard. Built-in speakers are handy when you don’t have a $2000 monitoring rig.

      Who is going to use 4 or 8 part multitimbrality on a these, anyway?

      For years, Yamaha, Roland and Korg churned out multitimbral sample-playback workstations that were about as user friendly as supermarket cash registers. The end result was that people used them as preset boxes, and most often they were used as glorified electronic pianos.

    • Well, it may not be 1980, but if you have a way of manufacturing a polypressure keyboard instrument for $500 street, I’d love to hear it.

      And whether it’s 2015 or not has nothing to do with whether you should make an instrument multitimbral. That’s a question of how people intend to play it.

  • Orly

    “Um โ€“ no. Youโ€™ve had your turn. Also: what?! In fact, you can get
    effectively unlimited patch memories online โ€“ and 32 onboard, which
    ought to cover most gigs. Polypressure keybeds, well, buy a ROLI.”

    Seriously ? Do you still make music today or you just speak about gear you don’t even use ?

    Little KBs are ok when they are well done. This DX is meh, sliders are the best way to handle FM deepness (this is a very good point for them) but they are fucking too small, you need to rub them like crazy to do a complete sweep, come on ! I’d rather use a mouse wheel.

    Little KBs are ok when they get a proper sequencer, this looper is cheap as hell, you can’t even change sounds between takes !

    No multitimbrality ? NO MULTITIMBRALITY ? 2015 guys.

    Wake up Yamaha, we are not in 1980 anymore.

    • Jaybeeg

      These are being marketed as gateway instruments. While we’re sitting around wonking about euro modules and Euclidian sequencers, there are millions of musical youngsters eager to buy a keyboard. Built-in speakers are handy when you don’t have a $2000 monitoring rig.

      Who is going to use 4 or 8 part multitimbrality on a these, anyway?

      For years, Yamaha, Roland and Korg churned out multitimbral sample-playback workstations that were about as user friendly as supermarket cash registers. The end result was that people used them as preset boxes, and most often they were used as glorified electronic pianos.

    • Well, it may not be 1980, but if you have a way of manufacturing a polypressure keyboard instrument for $500 street, I’d love to hear it.

      And whether it’s 2015 or not has nothing to do with whether you should make an instrument multitimbral. That’s a question of how people intend to play it.

  • haitch

    The DX has me really interested – the touch strips and screen editing instantly puts it ahead of any other FM product, and if it’s true (as they mentioned on Sonic Talk today) that you can use alternate waves to sines for each operator, that would open the sound possibilities right up despite it only being 4-op.

    • just passing

      I think “alternate waves” just means feedback on every operator, which turns it from a sine wave (at 0) to a sawtooth (at 127) or a square wave (at -127 – turns out that if you multiply the feedback by itself, a square wave is what you get).

  • haitch

    The DX has me really interested – the touch strips and screen editing instantly puts it ahead of any other FM product, and if it’s true (as they mentioned on Sonic Talk today) that you can use alternate waves to sines for each operator, that would open the sound possibilities right up despite it only being 4-op.

  • haitch

    The DX has me really interested – the touch strips and screen editing instantly puts it ahead of any other FM product, and if it’s true (as they mentioned on Sonic Talk today) that you can use alternate waves to sines for each operator, that would open the sound possibilities right up despite it only being 4-op.

  • Jhon clerk

    http://www.fortemusic.com.au/joondalup-piano-lessons-childr/ offer a FREE trial lessons for classes and some offer a Free Trial private lesson.

  • Joshua Schnable

    Yamaha, from a product strategy standpoint, is probably on point with this. It’s worked well for Korg, so why not do the same thing?

    The mini keys make the CP and YC models a bit perplexing, but hell, why not another DX100 variant? FM synthesis is seeing a bit of a boost lately, though personally I’d prefer my M4L devices and Primal Audio’s FM4 iPad app.

    The biggest drawback of the DX100 is that it still had that first gen 4OP chip in it – which only provided sin waves to work with. The second gen showed up in the TX81z and the V50. If this DX reface has that second gen, then you get to select (I think it’s 8?) waveforms to work with. This makes a tremendous difference in the range of sounds you can create.

    These aren’t going to be for everyone, myself included (tho, possibly the DX). But these do sound good, and look a lot better than most of the crap Yamaha’s put out in the last decade +. I hope they sell boatloads, if only to allow them to make other interesting stuff that may eventually appeal to me.

    • just passing

      Looks like an all new FM implementation. Only sine waves, I’m afraid, but every operator gets feedback (and two kinds of feedback, at that – one turns the operator into a sawtooth, one into a square wave). Also, from the cleanness, it looks and sounds as though Yamaha are finally using proper multipliers (and maybe even a DSP) rather than hacking it with adders and log tables.

  • Joshua Schnable

    Yamaha, from a product strategy standpoint, is probably on point with this. It’s worked well for Korg, so why not do the same thing?

    The mini keys make the CP and YC models a bit perplexing, but hell, why not another DX100 variant? FM synthesis is seeing a bit of a boost lately, though personally I’d prefer my M4L devices and Primal Audio’s FM4 iPad app.

    EDIT: I finally watched the soniclabs videos. Architecture is 4OP FM, with sine waves, but you can apply feedback to each operator, modifying each waveform into a square or sawtooth wave. That definitely expands what, say, a DX100 can do, and puts it relatively on par with the TX81z (though, more editable for sure). The whole engine makes a lot more sense than any other DX they’ve released, though I have a feeling I’d be left wanting for more complex modulation routings.

    These aren’t going to be for everyone, myself included (tho, possibly the DX). But these do sound good, and look a lot better than most of the crap Yamaha’s put out in the last decade +. I hope they sell boatloads, if only to allow them to make other interesting stuff that may eventually appeal to me.

  • Joshua Schnable

    Yamaha, from a product strategy standpoint, is probably on point with this. It’s worked well for Korg, so why not do the same thing?

    The mini keys make the CP and YC models a bit perplexing, but hell, why not another DX100 variant? FM synthesis is seeing a bit of a boost lately, though personally I’d prefer my M4L devices and Primal Audio’s FM4 iPad app.

    EDIT: I finally watched the soniclabs videos. Architecture is 4OP FM, with sine waves, but you can apply feedback to each operator, modifying each waveform into a square or sawtooth wave. That definitely expands what, say, a DX100 can do, and puts it relatively on par with the TX81z (though, more editable for sure). The whole engine makes a lot more sense than any other DX they’ve released, though I have a feeling I’d be left wanting for more complex modulation routings.

    These aren’t going to be for everyone, myself included (tho, possibly the DX). But these do sound good, and look a lot better than most of the crap Yamaha’s put out in the last decade +. I hope they sell boatloads, if only to allow them to make other interesting stuff that may eventually appeal to me.

  • Chris Stack

    I love the keys on my Yamaha MO8. Looking forward to seeing how the feel of these compare.

  • Chris Stack

    I love the keys on my Yamaha MO8. Looking forward to seeing how the feel of these compare.

  • Chris Stack

    I love the keys on my Yamaha MO8. Looking forward to seeing how the feel of these compare.

  • celebutante

    Mini keys are for children. I can’t imagine ANYONE preferring mini keys to full-size. And I can deal with a three-octave mono synth, but poly anything needs to be at least four (or five) octaves. And a three-octave piano or organ is downright stupid, unless you just started playing piano within the past week, in which case you’re likely a child, so maybe those mini keys are a win.

    • Thane

      People don’t accuse a violin of being a toy because it’s not as big as a cello.

    • itchy

      i love mini keys, and if im considered a child at my age, i thank you for the compliment. may i stay child like forever.

  • celebutante

    Mini keys are for children. I can’t imagine ANYONE preferring mini keys to full-size. And I can deal with a three-octave mono synth, but poly anything needs to be at least four (or five) octaves. And a three-octave piano or organ is downright stupid, unless you just started playing piano within the past week, in which case you’re likely a child, so maybe those mini keys are a win.

    • Thane

      People don’t accuse a violin of being a toy because it’s not as big as a cello.

    • itchy

      i love mini keys, and if im considered a child at my age, i thank you for the compliment. may i stay child like forever.

  • celebutante

    Mini keys are for children. I can’t imagine ANYONE preferring mini keys to full-size. And I can deal with a three-octave mono synth, but poly anything needs to be at least four (or five) octaves. And a three-octave piano or organ is downright stupid, unless you just started playing piano within the past week, in which case you’re likely a child, so maybe those mini keys are a win.

    • Thane

      People don’t accuse a violin of being a toy because it’s not as big as a cello.

    • itchy

      i love mini keys, and if im considered a child at my age, i thank you for the compliment. may i stay child like forever.

  • Thanks to Aaron – Keyboard Magazine got a look at what Yamaha are planning for the browser connectivity.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muXCx-rLTTQ

  • Thanks to Aaron – Keyboard Magazine got a look at what Yamaha are planning for the browser connectivity.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muXCx-rLTTQ

  • Thanks to Aaron – Keyboard Magazine got a look at what Yamaha are planning for the browser connectivity.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muXCx-rLTTQ

  • matterhorn

    Maybe Yamaha is going to release a new mega-synth in 2016. The revolutionary DX releases were preceded by the aesthetically wimpy, preset based CE-20/25. They appeared to be relatively crappy string/brass synths. However, they were perhaps more of a market reception and production test for DX technology. Yamaha is likely foreshadowing something new and “alien”, as confirmed by Richard Devine. It’s probably digital and will employ crossmods of AN, SCM, AWM(2), FM, AFM, RCM, etc….most likely a new iteration of where the SY99 left off IMO. I’m also guessing time and sequence, relative to timbre will play a larger role.

  • matterhorn

    Maybe Yamaha is going to release a new mega-synth in 2016. The revolutionary DX releases were preceded by the aesthetically wimpy, preset based CE-20/25. They appeared to be relatively crappy string/brass synths. However, they were perhaps more of a market reception and production test for DX technology. Yamaha is likely foreshadowing something new and “alien”, as confirmed by Richard Devine. It’s probably digital and will employ crossmods of AN, SCM, AWM(2), FM, AFM, RCM, etc….most likely a new iteration of where the SY99 left off IMO. I’m also guessing time and sequence, relative to timbre will play a larger role.

  • matterhorn

    Maybe Yamaha is going to release a new mega-synth in 2016. The revolutionary DX releases were preceded by the aesthetically wimpy, preset based CE-20/25. They appeared to be relatively crappy string/brass synths. However, they were perhaps more of a market reception and production test for DX technology. Yamaha is likely foreshadowing something new and “alien”, as confirmed by Richard Devine. It’s probably digital and will employ crossmods of AN, SCM, AWM(2), FM, AFM, RCM, etc….most likely a new iteration of where the SY99 left off IMO. I’m also guessing time and sequence, relative to timbre will play a larger role.

  • itchy

    i think these are cool , but i really think the price point should be 300 usd and nothing more.

  • itchy

    i think these are cool , but i really think the price point should be 300 usd and nothing more.

  • itchy

    i think these are cool , but i really think the price point should be 300 usd and nothing more.

  • what if we could trigger webpages with web midi? using sites as samples sources and send them trough other websites which use as a filter for example. the web as a processing rack. javascript is I guess the musical and sound language of the future.

  • what if we could trigger webpages with web midi? using sites as samples sources and send them trough other websites which use as a filter for example. the web as a processing rack. javascript is I guess the musical and sound language of the future.

  • what if we could trigger webpages with web midi? using sites as samples sources and send them trough other websites which use as a filter for example. the web as a processing rack. javascript is I guess the musical and sound language of the future.

  • John

    That is silly, Bb. Pretty clear CDM comes from genuine interest and enthusiasm. The content and commentary is always thoughtful and worthwhile.

  • Carlos

    USB power on Yamaha reface CP does not work at all! I have just connected a power bank. NO WORK!