Yamaha SY77, I don't know what I am doing...

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Yamaha SY77, I don't know what I am doing...

Postby JadeyLynn » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:55 pm



Hi, all. I recently started teaching myself to play the piano, came across a little Yamaha PSS-270 at a garage sale, and thought "well, i can take this to work to practice on during my breaks"....then I realized that I was in love w/ the specific old school sounds from that little keyboard(my bigger keyboard is newer), started doing some research, most people suggested that for my budget, I get a PSR-36. So, I did. I ordered one from eBay that is on it's way now. HOWEVER, yesterday, I was on CL, and saw that someone had a SY77 for sale for 50.00. So, I bought it. I feel like that was too good of a deal to pass up. The lady said that the only thing wrong w/ it is that the disk drive isn't working(from what I read that is usually some sort of belt?) Anywho, I am planning on taking it to the keyboard shop here in town. How do you use one of these things? When people talk about programming it to get sounds, what does that mean? Can I just buy a floppy that someone has already loaded custom sounds onto? I have listened to all of these demos on youtube, and am amazed, just trying to figure out if the sounds that I am hearing are preloaded, or did these people "create" them. Any and every response would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks so much, and cheers!
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Re: Yamaha SY77, I don't know what I am doing...

Postby grabme » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:05 pm

Some people have all the luck getting bargains like that! I have one and I refuse to use the floppy drive, instead I got hold of FM-Alive and hooked it up via midi to my laptop using an external soundcard or usb to midi cable and that allowed me to copy sounds back and forth to it. Not sure why anyone would want to use the floppy disk option, it must be useful for something I guess but I don't miss it even though mine works fine apparently. For a start you can load almost any DX7 patch to it so you have 1000s of sounds available. Not come across any stunning Sy77 sounds just yet but there was a bank built in that sounded good.
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Re: Yamaha SY77, I don't know what I am doing...

Postby walkathon » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:13 pm

Grabme speaks the truth. Also, consider joining a user group ala: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/sy-77/
BTW, congrats on a steal of a deal ... beats my TG77 for $100 by a length or two.
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Re: Yamaha SY77, I don't know what I am doing...

Postby JadeyLynn » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:03 pm

Hey, this FM-Alive deal seems to be exactly what I need!! Thanx so much! I had to read the CL listing over and over again to make sure that I wasn't missing something!! :lol: I am taking it as a sign from the music gods that I am taking a step in the right direction... :mrgreen: Thanx again for these suggestions, guys.
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Re: Yamaha SY77, I don't know what I am doing...

Postby rhino » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:10 pm

Welcome to the board!

I had a 77, then traded it for an SY99...One of my all-time favorite synths

Get the floppy belt here: http://www.syntaur.com/3223.html

Some new sounds here: http://www.kidnepro.com/KN/Yamaha/SY77_TG77_list.html

and here: http://www.voicecrystal.com/catalog.htm

Owner's manual here: http://www2.yamaha.co.jp/manual/pdf/emi ... /SY77E.pdf

There are banks of sounds built-in to the synth. There is another bank you can put new sounds into - by making them from "scratch", making changes to one of the sounds you have now, loading from a disk(once it is working), loading from you computer (you'll need to find sounds (for the SY77) in a form called SYSEX. Then, you'll need a simple computer program (MIDIOX is one...) to load them into the synth. IIRC, the SY77 has a card slot for more sounds


FM synthesis is a nightmare inside of a Rubiks Cube wrapped in a graduate-level audio physics course taught in a foreign (to you) language.

BUT !!!!! Once you get a handle on the basics, few newer synths can touch the sounds you can get out of this thing.

When Yamaha brought out the DX7 synth back in the 80's, few players could figure out how to program it. That opened the floodgate for people who would sit around and create new sounds on their DX and sell them to those who could not - or didn't have time or desire - to do it themselves.

Good luck and keep us up on your progress.
"A thing may seem impossible...until it's done."
--Nelson Mandela
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Re: Yamaha SY77, I don't know what I am doing...

Postby Pro5 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:31 pm

I have a few 'stunning' patches on my SY77 - namely self programmed

the beauty of the disc drive - and why I use it, is because there are thousands of sounds out there in yamaha disc format, not sure if they eventually got converted to SYSEX but anyway, having gone through those there were a handful of stunning sounds including my favourite pad sound ever (a fully textured pure AFM atmosphere with a 5th included, and has so many harmonics going on between chord changes) - gorgeous.

It's a very deep synth - one for the sound designers who like to dig in. and one of my top 3 favourites :)
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Re: Yamaha SY77, I don't know what I am doing...

Postby pjablon » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:22 pm

Good buy. SY77 is very nice keyboard. It is, however, very complex. You can program your sounds and save them or you can download the sounds (called patches) form the web and load them to the SY, or you can buy floppy disks with patches and load them this way.
It is slightly complex process, like dealing with 1990s PC.
Patches on the net will be in one of the two formats: *.SYX - those are SYSEX files. You can load them through MIDI. You will need MIDI interface connected to your computer, MIDI cable and some software that can send MIDI SYSEX files (for example MIDIOX]).
The other format is *.T01, *.T02, *.T03 ect. Those are yamaha files. If you save a patch to the floppy disk it will be in this format. If you download such file, you will have to copy it on the floppy disk, and probably you don't have any floppy drive on your computer.
That's why you would probably like to convert *.T01 files to *.SYX format and send them over MIDI. You can do it with the SYCONV program.

BTW, THIS is probably the best explanation of FM synthesis there is.
Good luck :lol:
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Re: Yamaha SY77, I don't know what I am doing...

Postby wildpaws » Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:45 am

Good find on that super cheap SY77! There are other native file formats you may run across as well as the .T01 All files, etc. such as .J01-.J99 Synthesizer All file, .K01-.K99 Sequencer All file, and a few others, but most of the ones you run across will be .T01-.T99 All files. I've owned my SY77 since '89/'90 and added an SY99 several years ago, are they complex synths? Short answer is yes when you first start working with them, longer answer is once you learn how to program your own sounds, etc., it gets much easier and more intuitive. I call the SY77/99 and TG77 "chameleon synths" because you can make them sound like most anything you want them to. And someone mentioned loading DX7 patches in the SY77, while you can do that, they must be converted either by hand or by a software program to SY77/99 file formats, so you can't just take a DX7 file and load it to an SY77/99. Anyway, great synth, I highly recommend it, read the owners manual from beginning to end several times to get familiar with the features, functions, terminology used with them and above all, have a lot of fun!
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Re: Yamaha SY77, I don't know what I am doing...

Postby scottrod » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:09 pm

When you shove a disk in (you ARE using double-sided, double-density disks, not high-density disks, right?) can you hear the drive running and you get an error message, or do you not hear the drive running at all (broken belt)?

If you can hear the drive running, you probably just just need to clean the heads with some isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip.

I know of several SY77/99's which that was all it needed. A little normal maintenance and away you go.
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Re: Yamaha SY77, I don't know what I am doing...

Postby Pro5 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:47 am

This is why i just did the simple drive wire mod then bought a brand new £5 reliable modern belt-LESS sony drive (black) - fitted straight in. Super reliable and NEW!!

I bought some 'proper' floppys off ebay x10 and a usb floppy drive for my pc, so it's very handy with the (working) drive imo (I can have banks of sounds sat in the synth ready to load vs bulk dumping/to/from all the time)
V-SYNTH | JX-3P | AN1x | JD-800 | POLYSIX x2 | PERFORMER
HAD: SH101/JUNO 1,2,6,60/MKS70,50/JX8P/D50,70/JV1080/AX80/SY77,85/DX7,IID,S,100 /TG77,500/TX802,81Z/MS2k/DW8000/PROPHECY/WAVESTATION/M1/KSRACK/CZ1
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Re: Yamaha SY77, I don't know what I am doing...

Postby Pro5 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:47 am

This is why i just did the simple drive wire mod then bought a brand new £5 reliable modern belt-LESS sony drive (black) - fitted straight in. Super reliable and NEW!!

I bought some 'proper' floppys off ebay x10 and a usb floppy drive for my pc, so it's very handy with the (working) drive imo (I can have banks of sounds sat in the synth ready to load vs bulk dumping/to/from all the time)

For a chameleon/super flexible synth like the 77, access to a lot of sounds as fast as possible is a godsend. Obviously I also have a ram card filled with custom sounds too.
V-SYNTH | JX-3P | AN1x | JD-800 | POLYSIX x2 | PERFORMER
HAD: SH101/JUNO 1,2,6,60/MKS70,50/JX8P/D50,70/JV1080/AX80/SY77,85/DX7,IID,S,100 /TG77,500/TX802,81Z/MS2k/DW8000/PROPHECY/WAVESTATION/M1/KSRACK/CZ1
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