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.

Lookup Yamaha SY22 Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Yamaha SY22? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

40 Visitor comments
January 7, 2011 @ 6:02 pm
wow..doing more with this synth then i thought could be done! some cool sounds can be made here! now i know how skinny puppy used it! and only for $100. so far the best buy for 2011. perfect for electro-industrial music!..well, i did some tricks with it that i think puppy did as well! if you find one used and your into writing industral, you better GRAB IT!
December 1, 2010 @ 6:28 pm
I own an SY-22 and back in the days I really tried to squeeze every sound out of it that it's capable to produce. To sum it up the SY-22 is an SY-77 made cheaper and cheaper until it was little more than a toy.

The combination of FM synthesis and samples is a good idea, but the SY-22 simply lacks sound quality. Two operators are to few and the lack of filters makes thick sound layers an impossible task for the Yamaha. The samples are low-rez, too, definitely not 44 kHz and I think only 12-bit.

It was fun using this synth, but it's possibilities are very limited. This makes the SY-22 a synth few will miss.
May 22, 2010 @ 4:29 pm
Kinda cheesy but decent sounds. Worth it for the 61 keys, with aftertouch, and the basic FM/AWM combo.

(Thing is im stumped to how to save presets, and the velocity sensity is restricted to like 30-80 instead of 0-127?)
May 20, 2010 @ 6:21 pm
The Polish Band Closterkeller also uses one of these.
February 11, 2010 @ 3:49 pm
In addition to all the positive things already stated here (which I fully agree with), there are also two major letdowns:

The FM implementation is only 2-OP FM (not 4-OP). Although you can combine two 2-OP FM sounds, that doesn't really make 4-OP, since you cannot modulate one with another. The sound variety you can get out of 2-OP FM is not very impressive.

The other problem is that most sounds that make you go "wow" are nothing else than a ROM wave sample. What sounds like the result of an incredibly great synth engine (think complex evolving pads) is really just a sample that was probably created with another synth - that's a bit of cheating in my book. Since there aren't that many samples to start with, and samples cannot be tweaked at all, you can actually only create a fairly limited amount of different sounds.
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 3.46 (404 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • 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

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.