Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by killedaway » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:04 am

i did always find it curious that Yamaha never produced a true successor to the AN1x. the numbers must have just been that low.
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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by Yoozer » Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:12 am

zoedrone wrote:What happend? They had the CS, DX-, SY- and VL-Series.
The DX series was mass-produced. Eventually you had so many 4-op machines that the market got pretty much saturated and people tired of the FM sound. Add to that that you got the OPL chips in every Soundblaster. Keep in mind what the goal was; realistic instrument emulation (because that's proven by the preset names and patch sheets) - and the D50 ran over that, only to be ran over again by the M1.

The SY-series were the workstations and they've evolved via the W-series to the EX into the Motifs. The fact that FM was included on the SY might've had to do more with legacy than anything else; the engine was so cheap to include and offering DX patch compatibility could yet let them tap again in the userbase who sought an upgrade for their DX and didn't want to go Roland/Korg.

The CS-series (1, 2 and 6) - well, do you still hear about grooveboxes? It was a brief flare-up, and dance music producers have gone the software route. The CS machines didn't age that well and had a cheaper form of synthesis than the workstations.

The VL-series were an interesting and expensive idea, and the idea that all samples could be replaced with modeling was a nice one - just not a viable one when the computing power just wasn't enough. Because of the lack of jumps in that field (the "high-end" VL algos are still excellent!) nothing happened; because of the difficulty with editing, it didn't catch on.
Is it that making synths just isn't profitable any longer? Looking at how Korg and Roland are still going...
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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by Ashe37 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:02 am

killedaway wrote:i did always find it curious that Yamaha never produced a true successor to the AN1x. the numbers must have just been that low.
No, but they sold the same technology from the AN-1X up until well... last year, in the form of the AN card fro the Motif.

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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by braincandy » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:00 pm

Maybe the reason they never released a true successor to the AN1x (in keyboard form) is because the AN1x wasn't that great of a seller at its original price point. It wound up being closed out and sold at something like 1/2 the original retail price (that's how I got mine at Guitar Center).
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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:15 pm

You're a Vulcan aren't you Yoozer? :D

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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:35 pm

zoedrone wrote:Is it that making synths just isn't profitable any longer? Looking at how Korg and Roland are still going...
Roland has the SH201 as their lone VA and it's a low end machine. Then there's the V-Synth which is a very interesting synth but not a hot seller. Everything else is derived from their workstations.

Korg has only the Radias and it's offspring (R3, MicroXL) plus workstations.

The real profits are in designing flagship machines and then releasing feature reduced variations over the following years until the next flagship is launched. It must be a good strategy because I see Big 3 workstations in use on stages all over the world :?

My prediction on what to expect next from Yamaha is more advanced computer/instrument integration rather than radical new synthesis hardware.
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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by V301H » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:43 pm

Last week I got a Yamaha CP35 Electric Piano which was a pre-DX-7 FM instrument from about 1981. It apparently uses four operators that are analog filtered to simulate various Piano and Harpsichord-like sounds. The filter settings are pretty much pre-set with treble and bass controls which allow limited high-pass and low-pass-like variations in the sounds. The CP35, though limited, doesn't necessarily sound like an FM instrument. It seems surprising that Yamaha didn't think to add a full-featured resonant filter to FM until the SY series. This could have increased the capabilities and maybe warmed up the sound of the DX7 and the four operator FM synths. This is an area that if Yamaha chose to pursue they could apply to a modern instrument and not be directly competing with anything else on the market. Besides FM and analog filtering, maybe having at least one analog oscillator per voice would allow some unique possibilities. It would also need a panel full of knobs or sliders for a hands-on experience.
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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by mrfrisky330 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:26 pm

I think Yamaha are responding to the "playstation" generation whereby people just want to press buttons and have great sounds rather than actually learn about how sound is made and use given tools to create something unique and special. Which is a shame, the AWM has really come in and to see an uprated FM/AWM combination again would be superb.

Especially as the sound chips are now radically more advanced we could gated reverbs and cascaded pitch shifting, but we have to wait for the arm chair generation to realise theres a better world of sound out there. I did I bought a DX7s and its fascinating learning about the FM and creating your own sound from scratch, shame modern players don't have this interest which of course is what synths are all about :)

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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by b3groover » Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:01 pm

It's a good thing the SY77 / SY99 are so reasonable on the used market. Great synths. The EX series has some nice features as well.

It's a tough market right now. Anything and everything can be done inside the computer (not making a judgement call on the actual results, just stating a fact). To develop new hardware is an expensive proposition.

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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by Pro5 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:40 pm

Much like the music industry, I guess a lot of hardware makers are trying to get their heads around the all conquering PC/Internet/software solutions. Hardware will always be desirable to some (me). Yes thankfully the 2nd hand market is a godsend to us AND for the most part, synthesizers being what they are, they don't have a time limit of usefulness like PC parts tend to (i.e not just scrap - there's always a use for some 'sound' new or old - less so romplers of course but after 20 years there's only so many new rompler sounds you can make in a new instrument).

AN1x, DX7IID, SY77 - glad to have them around. :mrgreen:

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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by Yoozer » Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:24 pm

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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by 23 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:49 pm

meatballfulton wrote: Roland has the SH201 as their lone VA and it's a low end machine. Then there's the V-Synth which is a very interesting synth but not a hot seller. Everything else is derived from their workstations.
This statement is somewhat incorrect. As the SH-201 might as well be regarded as nothing more then a HIGHLY stripped down V-Synth (it's based off the same engine), and considering that a V-Synth/GT can copy a 201 arch dead on if one wants it to, I'd say it's wrong to call the 201 the lone VA.
It's just that it's older brother goes far beyond a mere VA capability set.

Outside of this, the XV\Fantoms can largely be said to be the successors of the Roland D line.
D-50, JD, JV, XV...you're just looking at later incarnations.
That said, the arch of the XV's (and the JV's before them) is pretty damn deep. And once you consider the way the touch sceen works on the Fantom G coupled with it's controller set, you end up with a pretty darn deep synth arch that really isn't at all that tedious to program. Not as convenient to work with as say the V's, but hardly anything to complain about either.

To be honest, I'd almost say Roland is THE ONLY of the Big 3 that is rolling out synth with massively deep archs in mass. (As outside of toned down versions of the V, the primary thing they are rolling out are toned down versions of the XV\Fantom G. Except in the case of the toned down XV's, the entire arch is typically being held in tact, and it's only things like UI or onboard sampling capability that are being cut back on. The base deep synth arch always gets maintained though. In regard to depth of Arch, the 201 is one of the shallowest Roland currently offers).
meatballfulton wrote: The real profits are in designing flagship machines and then releasing feature reduced variations over the following years until the next flagship is launched. It must be a good strategy because I see Big 3 workstations in use on stages all over the world :?
Exactly. =)
Outside the Big 3, EMU was HUGE on doing this back during their hardware days as well (amongst others)
[but again, Roland's Flagships just tend to be pretty darn deep in their synth archs]

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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by Ashe37 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:08 pm

With the DSP capabilities of the ARX cards in the new Fantom G, I'm wondering if Roland is goung to make a VA on a card for it... a JP8k-type VA as an ARX card mught inspire me to look at a new Fantom Rack instead of a used one...

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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by Zamise » Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:23 am

Get this:

RS14000 is coming soon!... In my dreams.

They've had some severely under appreciated synths and groove gear in the years past. Its probably hard to wait 5 or 10 years for the market to realize it so they've moved on to what has worked for them more immediately, and not us synth gurus. Might be more due to the hard economic times than anything, and their willingness to take risks on concept type synths and experimental gear. They have become conservative in this area.

I think their focus has been on the Motif line, software, shitty-cheap music gear, dumb controllers and an oddball bubble light sequencer thing. If they ever get a knob or slider setup nearer to the RS7000s for their Motifs then they might have something that will once again interest me.

Come on Yamaha! I'm waiting.
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Re: Yamaha are not really making any synths anymore

Post by tim gueguen » Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:34 am

V301H wrote:It seems surprising that Yamaha didn't think to add a full-featured resonant filter to FM until the SY series.
From the perspective of those who designed the DX7, and presumably John Chowning before them, sticking a resonant filter after an FM tone generator would have been like sticking giant circa 1960 tail fins on a Lamborghini. They would have seen no need to stick something "primitive" like a low pass filter into their high tech design.
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