Yamaha EX5

Yamaha EX5 Image

The EX5 features a unique Extended Synthesis system which incorporates a number of the most advanced tone generator technologies currently available...plus a full-featured sampling system. It offers a Four-Element Voice structure which allows for up to four independent waves from any of the tone generators. The tone generators implemented here include AWM2 (Advanced Wave Memory) Synthesis, AN (Analog Physical Modeling) Synthesis, FDSP (Formulated Digital Sound Processing) Synthesis and Virtual Acoustic (VL) Synthesis. According to Yamaha:

"AWM is Yamaha's original system for effectively using sampled waveforms in synthesizers and tone generators. The strength of AWM synthesis lies not only in its extraordinary ability to "shape" and control the sound of the samples with a comprehensive system of envelope generators, filters, key scaling parameters, modulation, and more. AWM voices can have from 1 to 4 AWM elements. Each AWM element can use a preset wave or a sampled waveform. The ability to combine AWM elements means that you can, for example, combine separate samples for the attack and sustain portions of an instrument's sound, with independent control over each.

Yamaha AN Synthesis (Analog Physical Modeling) offers all the benefits of traditional analog synthesis with the stability, reproducability, and precise control of digital technology. It is capable of accurately reproducing the sound of classic analog synthesizers without patch cables, setting charts, or the frustrating instability that was the bane of the analog age. A standard (Poly) AN voice can have 1 AN element and from 1 to 3 AWM elements. Classic analog synth type sounds can be created with the single AN element alone. AWM elements can be added as necessary to "modernize" the sound.

FDSP adds a sophisticated note-dependent effect processor to the basic AWM synthesis system. In contrast to a stand effect stage, the FDSP synthesis stage uses individual note and velocity data to control effect parameters, thus making it possible to simulate the characteristics of a number of real-world musical components, as well as produce totally new effects. FDSP can produce totally new sounds that are responsive and "alive". FDSP voices have from 1 to 4 AWM elements with an FDSP stage between the elements and the main effect stage. The FDSP stage can be applied to any or all of the AWM elements used, as required.

Yamaha's Virtual Acoustic ("VL") Synthesis tone generation system applies sophisticated computer based "physical modeling" technology to musical sound synthesis, accurately simulating the very complex vibrations, resonances, reflections and other acoustic phenomena that occur in a real wind or string instrument. VL voices can have 1 VL element and from 1 to 3 AWM elements. The VL element can be used alone to emphasize the full realism and expressive power of the VL tone generator, or with added AWM elements for thicker textures.

The EX5 allows the AN and FDSP tone generator systems to be combined in "AN + FDSP" voices which can have 1 AN element and from 1 to 3 FDSP elements. The FDSP stage can be applied to any or all of the AWM elements used, as required."

The EX5 also features sophisticated sampling capability. Samples can be used in AWM voice elements or mapped to and played via individual keys of the keyboard using the Key Map mode. It is also possible to sample internal sounds created in the EX5. The Sample mode has all the features you'd expect from a professional sampler and is compatible with WAV, AIFF and AKAI formats. Sampled waveforms can be saved to floppy disk or to an external storage device via the optional ASIB1 SCSI Interface.

The features don't stop there. Six Controller Knobs can be assigned to a wide range of parameters for extraordinary real-time control capability along with the Pitch wheel, two Mod wheels, assignable Ribbon Controller and Scene memory buttons. Two types of full featured built-in Sequencers are on-board. A 16-Track Song Sequencer has real-time play effects and "groove" quantization. An 8-Track Pattern Sequencer has most of the functions and features of the 16-track song sequencer, but is more suited to the production of drum tracks, dance grooves, or other frequently used phrases. There's also a great 4-track Arpeggiator with 50 preset and user patterns.

Top-quality digital effects processors of two types are onboard. The "System" effects includes two separate effect units: Reverb and Chorus. Independent reverb and chorus settings can be made for each voice in the Voice mode, and for each performance setup in the Performance mode. Two "Insertion" effects provide up to 79 additional effects like chorus, distortion and overdrive, amp simulation, auto wah, equalization, delay, reverb, and other effects.

Use the 16-part Performance mode to create elaborate sequences, layer sounds and so on. Different parts can be assigned to different areas of the keyboard, there are up to 16 zones. The EX Key Map mode allows you to assign individual samples, patterns, or pattern tracks to different keys of the keyboard. These can then be played or triggered from the keyboard or an external sequencer or other MIDI controller. Every knob and controller on the keyboard sends and receives MIDI data in real-time.

Yamaha EX5R Image

The EX5 is also available as a rack-module, the EX5R.

The less expensive EX7 is a "lite" version of the EX5. It has a smaller 61 note keyboard and has no "VL" synthesis nor "AN + FDSP" mode. However, the EX series represents a giant leap forward in synthesizer technology from Yamaha!

Yamaha EX5s Image

There is apparently a limited edition version of the EX5 that was either released as a "Millenium Edition", or marked the end of the production line (pictured above). It was only available in the Aisian market, so picking one of these up in the states would be a very rare find! Supposedly, only 2000 of these were slated for production, but only around 500 of them made it off the production lines. All of the specs of the EX5s are exactly the same as the EX5 except the EX5s is in a silver housing.

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57 Visitor comments
September 29, 2011 @ 10:07 pm
Once your foundation tracks are in place, and your Math is perfect - you will be quite pleased at how easy it is to add fill instruments. Remember in "Performance" mode; this mode has a relationship with the "Song" mode: you must assemble your performance first and press "Store" after each and every change. Also remember that when you save your Song, it should be saved as "Save All Data." Therefore your "Pattern," "Performance," and "Song" will all be saved to Disk. Pattern tracks are shared with the first 8 tracks of the Song mode. It's a simple computer, with many degrees or parameters.
September 29, 2011 @ 9:47 pm
There are no timing issues with the EX5; rather, the timing issues that people experience are actually human error. The Sequencer records perfectly, just what is played. If you experience timing errors, you must correct your performance. Quantize is a great feature, for bringing your Math up to par. I promise you; the machine is right. I would recommend starting with a pattern, and Quantize at 100%. Any other drums or foundation instruments like the Bass, should also be Quantized at 100%. When you want more freedom, like piano tracking, one can Quantize to a lesser degree or not at all.
September 29, 2011 @ 9:38 pm
The Yamaha EX5 is known for being the "Prototype" for the Motif Series Synthesizer/Workstations. As prototypes go, a lot of work went into the EX5. If you can operate an EX5, you'll have no trouble at all getting around the Motif and vice-versa. The Motif has been seriously upgraded over the years, but mostly it's the "more" factor: more of everything. That doesn't always mean better.

One myth I'd like to put to rest, is about the EX5 Sequencer: it is a very capable and reliable 16 track sequencer. One just needs to get used to it. The Stereo Piano is beautiful; Synth, Brass, etc...
July 19, 2011 @ 10:15 am
just got an ex5, very nice lookin' machine, i'll not be using its sequencer so if there are timing problems then that won't be an issue, rs7000 is my machine of choice for that, had the an1x and its good to get that sound back even though its 2 note poly instead of 10, played through some of the presets, a quality sound, the uk model comes as standard with the scsi connection/interface, something i didn't know until getting mine, scsi is slow on the ex5 but usable, got mine in mint condition with plastic still on display all boxed and as new, best second hand buy i've had yet.
May 15, 2011 @ 10:17 am
If you wanna hear a good result of the use of Yamaha EX5 in a production have a look at this.

EX5 is the bass, the arpeggio, and solos. I love its sound.

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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 128 voices maximum
  • Oscillators - AWM2 (Advanced Wave Memory) Synthesis, AN (Analog Physical Modeling) Synthesis, FDSP (Formulated Digital Sound Processing) Synthesis, Virtual Acoustic (VL) Synthesis
  • Sampler - 1 MB, expandable to 65 MB using SIMMs; optional EXFML1 Flash Memory Boards(4 megabyte each) add additional 8 MB; Mic or Line input
  • Arpeg/Seq - 16-Track Sequencer, 8-Track Pattern Sequencer; 30,000 note memory; MIDI clock sync, MTC (Midi Time Code)

    4-Track Arpeggiator with 50 preset and user patterns
  • Effects - System - Reverb (12 different reverb-related effects) and Chorus (17 effects including flanging, phasing, symphonic, and others)

    Insertion Effects - 79 additional effects like chorus, distortion and overdrive, amp simulation, auto wah, equalization, delay, reverb, and other effects via two independent effects units
  • Keyboard - 76 keys with 16 assignable zones, EX Key Mapping, initial and aftertouch response
  • Memory - 512 preset voices (256 preset+256 internal); 128 performance setups
  • Control - 2 MIDI IN, 2 MIDI OUT, 1 MIDI Thru; each 16-parts multitimbral
  • Date Produced - 1998 - 2000

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