The Yamaha W5 and W7 synths are powerful workstations utilizing Yamaha's own AWM2 tone generation, coupled with an excellent GM set and a powerful set of onboard features including a 16-track fully featured sequencer. The W5 model is only slightly different from the W7 in that it has a full 76-note semi-weighted keyboard and the W7 has a typical 61-note keyboard, both of which respond to initial-touch (velocity) and aftertouch.
The AWM2 tone generation system provides 8 MB of wave memory with 384 realistic voices to choose from. Each voice is composed of 4 elements for added realism and depth. Editing is made simple with Voice Templates - choose from preset amplitude types (39), filter settings (59), pitch envelope settings (40) and LFO settings (33) to quickly punch up and edit various voice parameters. This eliminates the need to get deep into tedious editing of your sounds from scratch, but the option to get deep into editing is also there. A large backlit LCD display facilitates easy visual programming. There's also a double dial which allows for quick access parameter tweaking.
Also onboard are studio quality DSP effects. They can be assigned to individual voices or they can be used as a global effect over the whole system. There are 3 Insertion Effects and 3 System Effects available. With a ton of tried and true effects processors to its name, you can expect these Yamaha effects to be of superb quality and there are enough processors in the W5 / W7 to provide you with all the sweetening you need!
A powerful sequencer is onboard to provide you with the creative flexibility to create entire songs and performances right from the synth itself, with no need for any other gear! The sequencer has a 100,000 note capacity. It is a 16-track sequencer and its memory can hold up to 16 different songs. There is only 32 notes of polyphony, but it should be enough for most arrangements and performances. Sequences, voices and songs can be stored to an external disk and as standard MIDI files for archiving. Yamaha released a "Version 2" upgrade for all models made before 1996 which added more voice banks (P2 and P3). The W-series has since been replaced by Yamaha's new EX5 and EX7 synthesizer workstations.
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Images from Thomas R Kolb.