Yamaha SY77

Yamaha SY77 Image

The SY77 is like having a super-sized sample-memory workstation with the added synthesis and sounds of a DX7mkII. For its synthesizer section it employs a 6 operator AFM synth engine similar to, if not better than, the original DX's. The AFM section offers 45 algorithms, 3 feedback loops and 16 waveforms for creating some of those unique FM sounds. Sampled sounds (AWM2) which are in memory (or on external ROM cards) can then be mixed with the AFM sounds to create entirely wild new sounds! And these sounds are quite shapeable thanks to the resonant multi stage Time Variant Filters which offer the chance to recreate the warm analog sounds of classic synths, or create something entirely new.

There's an on-board sequencer section for creating your songs right on the SY77. It's got 16 tracks, channel 16 belongs to the SY77's built-in drum synthesizer which holds up to 61 sounds. The sequencer can hold up to 16,000 notes, 99 patterns and 1 song. And since the SY77 features 16 voices of polyphony for the AFM section, and another 16 voices for the sampled sounds, there are (32) plenty of voices to go around to build your song. Add the fact that there are 4 independent digital multi-effects which include reverb, delay, chorus, panning and more and you have yourself a classic music production workhorse.

Yamaha TG77 Image

The SY77 was also marketed in a rack-mount module called the TG77. All the same features as the SY77, except the keyboard, sequencer and 3.5" disk drive are gone. Following the SY77 came the upgraded SY99. Its main features and guts were the same however it had increased memory, waveforms and a bigger keyboard. The SY77 (or TG77) is great for really controlling and creating sounds for use in various electronic forms of music and has been used by 808 State, Skinny Puppy, Brian Eno, Europe, Toto, Vangelis, Chick Corea, and Front 242.

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100 Visitor comments
April 22, 2010 @ 3:03 pm
Can sound awesome. truly awesome. But bland menu driven black boxes like this blow chunks in terms of usability.
Screen light goes. Disk drive stops reading data but a new belt will fix, easy DIY too.
Sold mine after 20 years. Not missed.
February 27, 2010 @ 2:20 am
I had a 77 then upgraded to a 99. The 99 offers a lot more if you're looking for the 'ultimate synth' : user samples, more waveforms, better quality sound. Yes they can sound as good as ANYTHING else and are really playable, but you have to go digging to make it happen, and I get bored quickly these days. No real character of their own, unless you count FM which lots of other Yamahas do (77/99 do it best though). Display fades with age. Keys and buttons can stop working, so they're not entirely future-proof. I wouldn't have another one, but if you're really into button pushing you'll like them.
January 20, 2010 @ 1:15 pm
Seriously beautiful sounding synth. I'm talking about AFM mode mainly, but even the PCM stuff when used right is quite tasty. It's like a spaceship control console too - looks the business, doesn't really even look that 'dated' to my eyes. This and the D-50 are the only real 2 *DIGITAL* synths you'll ever need (I'm not talking about new 'virtual analogs' obviously they have their place) but no mere ROMPLER can compete with this beauty (or the '99 of course). Last word, neither THIS or the D-50 are 'romplers' in the negative meaning of the word. Most new synths that followed ARE 'bad' romplers.

You could use this synth and make sounds on it until you die and it will still keep on giving new suprises! Don't judge on presets either.
January 14, 2010 @ 3:44 pm
Although I like this synth, I have found zero evidence that it was used by Mr. Brian Eno. I have scoured two books about him, multiple Keyboard Magazine articles, and the internet in general. Still, I cannot find a quote, article, photograph, or anything that ties Eno to the SY77 or TG77. Just because someone used a DX7, it does not mean that one used an SY77.
January 7, 2010 @ 7:47 am
I would have to agree that this is one of the best synths ever made. The combination of AFM and AWM just enables it to cross both analog and digital sonorities in the most excellent manner. The filters in this heavy beast in my opinion can rival Moog. Having two mod wheels make it among the most expressive synths of its time. I own a unit and it has a permanent place in my rig. I'm so happy with what it can do so I intend on maintaining it. If you think that you'd use an SY-77 just like a rompler, you're underestimating how much power it packs.
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Rated 4.33 (1137 Votes)

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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 - 32 voices: 16 AFM voices, 16 AWM2 sampler voices
  • Oscillators - 6 operator AFM synth with 45 algorithms, 3 feedback loops and 16 waveforms; 16-bit AWM2 sample ROM waveforms
  • Filter - Multi-stage Time Variant Filters with resonance
  • Arpeg/Seq - 16 track sequencer, 16,000 note capacity, 99 patterns, 1 song, 61 built-in drum sounds
  • Effects - 4 independent digital effects processors
  • Keyboard - 61 keys with velocity and aftertouch
  • Memory - 128 preset & 64 user patches, 16 preset & 16 user multi-patches
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - SY77: 1989, TG77: 1990

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