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  1. david
  2. Vanity Monster Sherlock Holmes The Voice
  3. YC Series Stage Keyboards
  4. Tuesday, 13 April 2021
So I read the history on the FM origination and how Yamaha incorporated it into the DX7 in the 80s.

Super odd that Korg some 40 years later figures out how to make it useful on a simple analog-like interface.

Did the patent expire or something? So Yamaha never really figured out how to make the technology simple to use. FS1R was nuts with a few knobs.

I know it's all embedded in the Montage but you still have to dive for it. Still, 40 years later? We're supposed to have anti-gravity hover cars by now.

Anyway I can now use my YC73 as an FM monster but needed Korg to do it. That still sounds funny to say that in my head.

Yamaha is the lamo of FM accessibility even today. They knew the most about it but did the least with it and for an enormous upcharge.

I think what they did do is find a way to milk it for 40 years at a premium fee.

How much money did the DX line make Yamaha I wonder?

I can turn a few knobs and make a bazillion cool FM voices instantly without diving or even understand the technology. Took 40 years. That's insane.
Responses (5)
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If you go back just a little bit further in time, you'll find a much darker history to FM synthesis.

It was the result of attempting to find ways to kill with sound. That Kate Bush song wasn't about a myth. It's almost a satirical documentary.
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Did the patent expire or something?
Yes, in 1995.

I know it's all embedded in the Montage but you still have to dive for it.
There are basically two kinds of boards: Boards that do tons of things, and boards that specialize in just one or a few things. Unless you want a control surface that couldn't fit into a car, boards that do tons of things will involve some diving and/or repurposing of multifunction controls. That's as true of the FM in Korg's Kronos/Nautilus as it is on Montage/MODX.

Yamaha is the lamo of FM accessibility even today.
Yamaha Reface DX is a nice take on a more accessible FM synth.
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Not sure if Korg's affinity towards FM (MOD-7, Op6, etc) is influenced by Yamaha's takeover (acquiring controlling interest) of Korg in 1987. This was during the production run of the DX7 (1983-1989).

Note that after 5 years, Korg bought shares back from Yamaha in 1993 which set Korg back on a more independent path.
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I forgot about the DX200, another more accessible FM synth from Yamaha.
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I used to repair hundreds of the DX200s in a previous life. And/or steal the cards out of them and sell them for a premium for the synths.

They did break after pounding on the buttons too many times.

I just looked up some current selling prices and they are listed for more than the new Korg OPsix. Like $!,200, $880, $990 and $850 the cheapest.

I used to buy them for $250 and resell the card for $500.

Seriously that's crazy since they are likely going to need repair soon.

I can't remember what all it did, seem it's more of a drum machine pattern sequencer except with FM with on the fly tweaks.

Korg likely took that function and philosophy, improved on it and added real keys and sliders, programmability etc.

Yamaha never did much with it except dangling it like a carrot as a feature or engine inside a larger platform synth.

Same with AN200 and analog. AN1x of course was fun and I repaired some of those as well. Synthetic analog but still fun.

I learned a cool trick about the mechanism of that crazy key bed it had.

If keys stopped sounding I would take out that long contact strip and slide it down like 1/8" and then the keys would work again.

I've repaired anything Yamaha made that quit.

At one time I had 30 SY series boards (77 or 99) laying around here. The tact switches were a nightmare and the backlight was even worse.

Literally every internal part had to be removed to replace it. Had to remove 1000 screws every time too.

Had they thought about this in the design phase the screen could have been accessed from the top and taken 5 minutes to replace.
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