I'm a big Yamaha fan and have acquired many of their classic synths in recent years; and can testify to their stunning legacy.
When you list:
EX42, GX1, CS80 (and entire CS range), CP80, GS1, DX1 & 7, SY77 & 99, VL1, EX5
you really are looking at arguably the most consistent, impressive and innovative lineage of synthesizer and keyboard development by any company in history. Today, Yamaha are a pale reflection of this legacy.
I suspect something happened with the EX5 that scared them away from synths. With the EX5 they took a battering from the Internet on its low DSP capabilities and I believe it caused them to run scared from synths; while also striking gold with the Motif as a "bread and butter" gigging workstation. Financially they are better off; but it deeply saddens me that THE company with the clout and ability to drive the innovation listed above has abandoned the cause today. I simply do not know how the President of Yamaha lives with himself, given how much 'honour' seems to be integral to the ethos of such Japanese companies.
That said, Yamaha have sustained astounding developments in related areas:
- Digital Mixers, Disklavier, Clavinova and Graded Hammer Action, Silent Series, Unquestionable professionalism in Tyros and Motif and the Electrone Stagea - all of these are substantial developments - just not on pure synthesis. Interestingly, Yamaha is also a distributer for Arturia's CS80V
I've argued for more than five years (and also wrote to Peter Peck in Yamaha UK before Korg's OASYS appeared) for Yamaha to bring their current technologies together to produce an astounding synthesizer that provided the spontaneity of control found on the CS80, with a graded hammer action keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch and with expandable DSP cards (based on their O series digital mixers) allowing for expandability or the addition of their legacy synthesizer technologies (in far more spontaneous and capable ways that their current expansion cards).
But of course it’s probably not financially feasible - I'm also a Korg OASYS owner and as stunning as that is it only sold about 3000 units in total.
It's just a great pity that, at a time when we could produce, say, a CS80 devoid of the inconsistencies and problems of the original; they don't bother. What was the point of all of this technical innovation over recent decades if it’s not used to produce improved versions of what were after all stunning original instruments/concepts. The interface and performance power of the CS80 is still unsurpassed; and I for one am shocked that nobody is even attempting to duplicate the likes of that instrument along updated with the benefits from modern technology) and at a good cost point.
I own (and love) buckets of soft sythns- including Arturia's CS80 V (and I haven't installed V2 of CS80V yet but believe it’s a major improvement - they put a lot of time into improving the filters and overall accuracy of sound) - but I can tell you, I have never, ever, experienced the feeling from those that I get when I sit infornt of a pristine condition CS80, even if it did take over 10 years and quite a lot of money to have it restored to better than original factory condition by Kent Spong and Richard Lawson.
The bottom line for me is – Yamaha, more than any other music company, had the ability to produce stunning new synthesizers and keyboards for more than two decades. Today they are barren (and embarrassing) in this regard (just look at the new KX series for example), and I dearly wish they would apply their unique resources to a new generation of synthesizers which interface to computers and all of that; and which provide hitherto unimaginable tactile control over sound synthesis and performance.
Last edited by knolan
on Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:52 am, edited 1 time in total.