Yamaha SY85

Yamaha SY85 Image

In the early 1990's most synth manufacturer's quest to use digital forms of synthesis to re-create acoustic sounds (as well as analog sounds) led to an onslaught of rather boring instruments. Among the mob of digital synths some stood out such as Korg's M1, Roland's D-50, and Yamaha's SY85. Fading away were the days of Yamaha's FM-synthesis, replaced by Advanced Wave Memory (AWM2). Throughout the 1990's Yamaha used AWM2 in many of their successful products because of its high sonic quality and advanced synth-like editing features. The SY85 was a powerful workstation keyboard capable of some great sounds and full arrangements.

It's a 16-part multitimbral MIDI synth with a nice 61-note keyboard designed to be the main keyboard in your MIDI studio, with tons of sounds and sequencing features built-in. It has a long but narrow 40 character x 2 line LCD display and a 5x5 mode selection matrix which enhances operation by allowing fast easy access to any of the SY85's modes. In addition to pitch & modulation wheels and dual output level controls, the SY85 has eight slide controls that can be used to control a range of parameters while performing for expressive real-time power. Best of all it's got multi-mode filters and a dual-effects processor with chorus, flange, reverb, delay, exciter, parametric EQ, echo, ring modulation, leslie, distortion, etc. The effects can be used in series or parallel, and there are 4 busses to route sounds through them. Other features include a 3.5" floppy disk drive, external memory card slots and two assignable stereo outputs.

Check Yamaha SY85 Prices on eBay

The link above will take you to a 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

Comments

Are you looking to buy or sell a Yamaha SY85? 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.

56 Visitor comments
MAX
May 21, 2013 @ 12:10 pm
The SY85 wast the best workstation on the market well until 1996 at least, and that includes its Yamaha successors, the QS and WS, both failures. Only the EX was better 8and not that much). Siimilar in concept to the Korg M1, but far superior, the SY had EXCELLENT classical, pop and electronic sounds, an easy to use and very responsive sequencer (for the time), some realtime controls (unheard of back then) and a FANTASTIC semi-weighted keybed, the same as the DX7. It's over 20 yrs old, and you can't pay this over €/$ 200 or so. But it'll be a very fine studio keyboard indeed for ANYONE.
looneytoonmusic
March 3, 2013 @ 1:31 am
Almost forgot, Matt the SY-85 does not have weighted keys, though like I said earlier they are the most responsive keys I have ever played...
looneytoonmusic
March 3, 2013 @ 1:29 am
Gary, Karma is a completely different beast then anything else you will probably ever play. If you can get one get it and never let it go. I have been looking for one for just about forever.....
Matt
March 1, 2013 @ 7:30 pm
Gary:

I would take the $400 KARMA, provided it's sound mechanically. The JW-50's soundset isn't thought very highly of, and its sound-editing features are said to be pretty basic. Plus the SY85 has weighted keys, which are always nice. I would take the Karma and use it for analogue-ish sounds and also keep the SY85. Although I'm assuming you're the same one who posted about being able to get an SY77 for the same price too. The KARMA and the SY77 are both great keyboards (I have the latter and have heard great things about the former), but for the same price I'd take KARMA.
looneytoonmusic
February 22, 2013 @ 1:43 am
I have always thought of the SY-85 as more of a early prototype Motif then a followup to the 77 and 99... The realtime faders are great, and the keybed is the best I have ever played. Velocity and aftertouch response are still rock solid even after 20 years... I will never let mine go...
 
Post Comment!
VSE Rating

Excellent

User Rating

Rated 3.92 (310 Votes)

  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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
  • Oscillators - AWM2 (2nd-generation Advanced Wave Memory)
  • Filter - Digital LPF, HPF, BPF, BEF (Band Elimination Filter)
  • Sequencer - 9 tracks (8 normal+1 rhythm) 20,000 note capacity, 100 patterns, 10 Songs
  • Effects - 2 Discrete FX units, each with 90 effect types (Chorus, flange, reverb, delay, exciter, EQ, ring modulation, leslie, distortion, etc.)
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (w/ velocity and aftertouch)
  • Memory - Wave ROM: 6 MB.
    Wave RAM 0.5 MB.
    Expandable to 3.5 MB
  • Control - MIDI (16-part multitimbral)
  • Date Produced - 1992

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.