Yamaha SY22

Yamaha SY22 Image

The SY22 is one of these digital synthesizers with a thin metallic sound. It uses a synthesis method known as vector synthesis (similar to that on the ProphetVS and Korg Wavestation) in which samples and FM sounds (adapted from Yamaha's DX line) are altered and combined using the on-board joystick to create new and often interesting sounds. Joystick moves can be recorded and repeated too, a feature rarely seen until the JP-8000 came!

There is no filter, no resonance, no ring modulator sand no sign of any arpeggiators or sequencers on-board. Although this is unfortunate, its strengths lie in its ability to record data manipulation in real-time and its multitimbrality - both of which lend themselves to creating some complex and cool sounds perfect for ambient, dub and industrial styles. It also has a drum kit sound set and simple built-in effects. A desktop module version of the SY22 is the TG33 which also has increased memory. The SY22 has been used by Moby, Skinny Puppy and Scanner.

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40 Visitor comments
Peter Kadar
February 8, 2010 @ 1:13 am
This was one of the first pro synths I ever had.

FM info is correct in stating that there are no filters in this version of FM. What was happening was an FM level amount that does have a similar end result to filtering. I agree that the sound was somewhat thing, but the FM side of things brought in some warmth, and, paired with the AWM waves, and throwing in some vector motion, a decent sound can certainly be made.

You can approximate filtering by assigning brighter waveforms and then using the joystick to crossfade between them. It's a compromise of course, but still quite musical.

This was intended as a beginner synth for those who couldn't afford an M1, D-50, or SY-77 at the time. For the price point, it was a good starter synth. Be sure to check out it's patch generating 'random' function for some extra fun!
October 27, 2009 @ 6:39 pm
Sun Ra ocupó uno de estos al cosa de su vida.
October 16, 2009 @ 5:57 pm
I used one for 3 years, mainly to put notes in to my Atari ( / cubase )
that how old this synth is !
The sounds are interesting if a little thin, the random mode select 4 voices and every now and them a real sonic gem comes out.

The keyboard is very good, better than similar priced Rolands like the D5/10/20 or Kawai K1 etc.
I sold mine to buy an SY77 - which is a beast !!!
FM info
June 23, 2009 @ 11:20 am
@sir raven: FM synthesis does not use 'subtractive synthesis' type filters.
Sir Raven
April 25, 2009 @ 9:30 am
You can read it again and again in forums, reviews and even written by owners that the SY22 does not have a filter. That's simply not true. The SY22 has a filter indeed but only in the FM section. You can find it in the division Tone on the page Tone. It contains the parameters Lev (frequency) and FB (feedback). As mentioned before, the page can only be found if you edit an FM element. If I'm not mistaken it is a low pass filter. The manual doesn't say much about it.
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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 - 16 notes (8-part multitimbral)
  • Oscillators - 2 digital FM Operators and ROM samples (2 osc per voice)
  • LFO - Amplitude Mod & Pitch Mod with Saw Up, Saw Down, Triangle, Square and Sample&Hold waveshapes
  • Filter - None
  • Effects - 16 Digital Reverbs and Delays
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (with velocity and aftertouch)
  • Memory - 64 preset / 64 user
  • Control - MIDI IN/OUT/THRU (8 channels)
  • Date Produced - 1990

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