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September 03, 2015 03:14 PM

Yamaha Revives 4 Legendary Synths

reface modelsMusicians and dealers in the world markets are paying keen attention to 4 reface compact size synthesizers, which revive characteristic tonal quality and features of 4 renowned electronic keyboards introduced by Yamaha in July.

Yamaha has expanded its synth line with MOTIF XF workstations as the most recent flagship to meet the needs of professionals for live stage and music production. Last year Yamaha synthesizers celebrated 40th anniversary. Looking back into the history, Yamaha introduced CS series analog synths from late 1970s, DX7 featuring FM sound generators, and still much favored CP stage pianos, all of which were widely supported by name artists.

reface instruments inherit original sounds, functions and looks of the CS, DX and CP instruments in much reduced size. Yuji Yamada, Supervisor, DE Development Group, Electronic Musical Instruments Development Dept. Musical Instruments Development Division, says, “Synthesizer has upgraded and sophisticated keeping pace with technological advancement, having increased number of voices, features and functions. We understand that workstation is in part a result of our quest for ultimate synthesizer.

reface-3reface-2reface-1“What’s a real fun of playing synthesizer? We think it is unique and unrestricted sound making original to individual player. Unlike the old days, musicians are increasingly familiar with DAW and software synthesizer today. Our concept in designing reface models is more enjoyable instruments to be casually played in relaxed atmosphere at home, for example, like strumming a guitar placed in one corner of sitting room.

“I find myself feel fun making sound simply controlling knobs of old CS01 analog synth with small-size keys, which was introduced in 1982. We wanted to provide today’s customer with a revised pleasure of music making in new style and value.”

Among many legacies of Yamaha digital music gears, the engineers chose FM sound generators, electric piano and organ sounds to pack separately in a compact enclosure with built-in speakers. At the same time, their design goal was to create a real value as a musical instrument, without sacrificing every detail.

Compact but astonishingly exciting instruments
reface instruments are consisted of CS which provides sound making with AN sound generators modeling voicing of analog synthesizer, DX, a modern version of DX synthesizer featuring FM sound generators with touch-controlled sliders for sound edit, CP which comes with SCM sound generators modeling old time electric piano voicing, and YC featuring Organ, Flutes sound generators for versatile organ sounds from tone-wheel to combo type.

Their appearances from texture of the chassis, thoughtfully determined weight, to finish borrowed from the original masterpieces are sophisticated, and sound delivered through the built-in speaker system is quite comfortable. The 37 HQmini small-size keys exclusively developed for the reface instruments are 10mm longer when compared with conventional compact type instruments. Designed after the keys of Pianica keyboard harmonica, they provide the player with more authentic touch and play feel. Yamaha calls them ‘Compact’ keys.

Control knobs and switches of the legendary instruments were redesigned for the new models. The attractive clicking touch of sliders is really fun and indulging to maneuver. They look simple at a glance, but parameter setting and effect level offer many hidden surprise.

Yamada explains, “reface can be interpreted as re-interface, but we prefer ‘reface again’ that invites people sit at the instruments in front of you again.”

Minako Shintake, Synth Marketing Section., ProMusic Department, Musical Instruments Sales and Marketing Division says, “At first, we expected music creators for CS and DX, and keyboard players and singer-song writers for CP and YC as main target groups. But creators are interested in CP and YC as well saying those to be used in their production work. When we showed a keyboard player of a band CS and DX, other members came to see and they all got excited. Chances are that guitarist may like CP, or drummer may be intrigued by YC.”

reface-peopleEnjoy sound and get inspired
The new models were unveiled and streamed online to the world on July 8, a day before 2015 NAMM Summer Session in Nashville. Shinchiku says, “Professional musicians and dealers accepted reface very positive. Once they started playing, they hardly left. Overseas players with larger hands said that they felt comfortable playing HQmini keys. They even preferred to play on stage. Perhaps, they got inspiration from the Compact keys not found in traditional size keys of 88-key acoustic piano.”

(photo: from l. to r., Masato Komatsu, Yuji Yamada and Minako Shintake)

Yamada added, “The industry has inspired consumer with advanced technology, but they are substantially fulfilled today. Then, how can we please them? Reface is one answer. Quite simple though, you can feel difference by a single control of a knob of reface. Something different can be felt. It’s our hope that reface helps player to find inexperienced pleasure of musical expression.”

Attractively priced and built compact, reface can explore the market as musicians add 2 or 3 different models to their instrument collection.

Masato Komatsu, Leader, Planning Department LM Division, Musical Instruments Group said, “At present, we have rush order for DX, and the same goes for YC and CP which we start distribution in November. Old DX fans are nostalgic for reface DX. On the other hand, young players find sound making with FM sound generators very interesting. Compactness of reface instruments will appeal to those musicians who have hesitated to buy bulky and expensive workstation. They are well accepted by the dealers as well. We expect reface instruments serve as entry models to entice new players into synth market.”

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