Well, you saw this one coming – if probably a lot earlier. With the dance music market growing and synth fever spreading, Japanese giant Yamaha seems to have some new keyboard up its sleeves.

In a teaser video today, the first of a series, Yamaha promises something called “reface.”

Updated: there’s more. New Yamaha Synths Will Include “Totally Alien” New Technology, Says Interview

The video shows a blurry show of a Yamaha CS-80, the one synth mentioned by name in the artist videos. And there are keys involved (from the spread of the hands in the one artist video, they seem full-sized rather than mini keys).

It seems unlikely Yamaha is re-releasing the CS, and there’s already the phrase “new take” in the video. More likely than the KORG reissue route, Yamaha almost certainly is pursuing a Roland-style AIRA product – something with a clear connection to a classic, but via a new take. And digital seems more likely.

It’s fun to watch the Synthtopia readers speculate. (And the community at large has been bold with ideas – like user forum spec work made last year.)

I think an app is very unlikely (apart from use as a companion to hardware), for one simple reason – apps don’t make much money, and hardware can.

But I do like the thought that the DX series could be involved as well as CS. If this is something like the AIRA TR-8 and SYSTEM-1, there’s no reason Yamaha couldn’t do a retro-styled digital synth that brings back some vintage classic sounds.

Also, don’t miss the pianos in one of the shots. So it’s possible that piano sounds could be involved, too.

The big difference with the way you do that now and the way you did it in the 90s: more emphasis on hands-on control, like the original analog models. Now, whether Yamaha has figured that out yet, we’ll find out soon.

But with Roland doing Eurorack and KORG doing all manner of analog experiments, my big question is whether Yamaha will try the radical directions of its Japanese rivals.

I want to believe.

Wait – from this shot below, maybe aliens are involved.


Side note: does anyone think Reface is about the last name you’d choose if trying to remind people of synth cred?


Via comments by reader ‘foljs’ on another story (and generally, I agree):

A new product teaser from one of the most well know brands IS news. Heck, there have been posts based on less information and for less iconic brands.

Besides, it’s not “something” to be released “sometime” etc. You probably haven’t been paying attention or don’t know how to put 2+2 together.

We already know it has a keyboard (with “piano quality keys” no less according to the teaser).

We also know it will be revealed in Summer NAMM. Fuck, we know the exact date and time of the release, as there’s a countdown on Yamaha’s page: https://yamahasynth.com/

We also know it’s retro, not just from the teaser 80’s video graphics and tones, but also from the glimpses it provide’s into a CS-style hardware unit.

Whether it’s VA like AIRA or a new analog remains to be seen, but this is far from a total mysterious “Something. Sometime”…

I’m betting on an analog keyboard synth a la Korg, based on the CS legacy and styling (well, the styling part is already locked from the video), and with a price below near $1000 – $1500.