Music Makers Equipment Scene
New Yamaha Products
A special feature this month, looking at the latest releases from the Yamaha stable.
During 1984 Yamaha will release a number of computer controlled synthesis and signal processing units. At the centre of this new MSX system is the CX5 Music Computer. This is the first computer produced by Yamaha and incorporates Microsoft BASIC. The MSX system is not purely a Yamaha standard, it has been adopted by over 20 manufacturers and has been developed jointly by 'Microsoft' of the USA and 'ASKY' of Japan.
The main advantage of the MSX system is that it uses plug-in ROM modules that allow you to change software programmes quite simply. This enables the system to develop and expand rather than becoming outdated.
Yamaha have produced several specialised music-orientated software packages for the CX5. One program will, for example, simplify the creation of sounds on their DX-7 and DX-9 synthesisers. Further add-on units such as a MIDI interface, FM sound module and 3½ octave Keyboard will also be available. Released around October.
The QX1 8-Channel Digital Sequencer allows you to record up to 8 different polyphonic melody lines via an external keyboard or computer in real-time or step time. All 8 tracks can be edited note by note and a MIDI interface will allow you to link the QX1 to drum machines or other MIDI instruments. Memory contents can be stored on diskette with a capacity of one megabyte, approximately 80,000 sound events. The QX1 can also be used to control the new T-8PR Modular FM Sound Generator. Yamaha have developed this as a reasonably priced modular system which accommodates up to 8 FM modules in a 19" rack housing. This gives you the creative potential of 8 DX-7 type sound generators without the prohibitive cost. Available August.
A new remote keyboard controller, the KX5 features a 37 note touch-sensitive keyboard. You can access up to 32 sounds at any one time and control one of the two other keyboards linked through the MIDI bus. Other controls include an octave changer, pitch ribbon strip (as on the CS80) and a modulation wheel. This instrument will undoubtedly appeal to all stage-active keyboard players looking for a replacement for their Moog Liberation. Available July.
The success of Yamaha's CS-01 mini synthesiser has led them to develop and restyle the instrument into the CS-01 MkII which now has an improved filter section. Available March/April.
With the introduction of several new professional signal processing devices, Yamaha have started to broaden their market. The REV-1 Digital Reverb is designed to simulate all known reverberation characteristics and spatial acoustic factors. An extensive range of variable parameters allows the realisation of up to 40 early reflection with a pre-delay of up to 255ms and a maximum reverb decay time of 99 seconds. The unit is 19" rack-mounted with a separate remote control. Judging from the unofficial £5000 price the REV-1 is definitely orientated towards large recording studios and film/video soundtrack production. Available July.
To complement the REV-1, a state-of-the-art digital delay unit, the YDD2600, will provide 4 channels of delay at 655ms per channel. Each channel has a stereo output and may be linked in series with other channels to provide longer delay times. Features include 12 memories and a facility to load preset programmes. For the working musician the well-priced D1500 Digital Delay offers 16 memories, a maximum delay time of 1023ms and external selection of memories from a DX-7 via the MIDI. Both available around July/August.
Finally the RX11 and RX15 Digital Rhythm Machines represent Yamaha's first venture into this area. The extensive pattern memory and PCM encoded natural percussion sounds make both these machines very appealing. Features include MIDI for synchronising to sequencers etc, RAM cassette storage of rhythms, 16 instrument sounds (12 on the RX15) and 50 memories. For a more in-depth preview see this month's Electronic Drum Supplement. RX15 available June, RX11 around August.