It was just a matter of time: Yamaha are finally going back to their roots! And it was worth the wait - the new Yamaha reface range is simply amazing, and will without a doubt be one of the hottest new releases of 2015.
Over the past few years, amidst the new analogue synth revival, there was one huge thing missing - Yamaha. How come one of the most legendary synthesizer brands was missing the boat? After all, Yamaha made synths that were used by all of the biggest names in music, from Vangelis and Jean Michael Jarre to Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, U2, Depeche Mode, Daft Punk and many, many others.
With over 40 years in synthesizer history, Yamaha influenced Rock and Pop music like no other instrument manufacturer. Legendary models and series like the CS Control Synthesizer or the DX7 are an inherent part of music history. Vangelis' iconic 'Blade Runner' soundtrack featured the Yamaha CS-80, and still remains a reference for any synthesizer fans:
Other classic brands such as Moog, Korg and Roland, as well as newer ones like Novation and Arturia have all been flying the flag of analogue synths, bringing back the warm, fat tones of vintage 70's / early 80's synths to a new public. But from Yamaha... nothing, leaving synthesizer fans baffled, if not downright disappointed.
To be fair, Yamaha have been busy in the meantime, making some great home keyboards, digital workstations, digital pianos and, of course, the famous Tyros range, legendary in its own right.
It seems Yamaha were just bidding their time, to release the right synth at the right time. And they did better than that - with this new reface range, which includes four keyboards that bring back the legendary, classic sounds of vintage Yamaha instruments: reface YC Electric Combo Organ, reface CP Electric Piano, reface CS Analogue Synthesizer and reface DX FM Synthesizer.
What is Yamaha reface?
The new reface range includes four Mobile Mini Keyboards with the legendary Yamaha sound, ultra-mobile design and connected creativity.
Based on legendary synthesizer models like the DX7 or CS series, the company presents four compact instruments, which play to their strengths on the road, on stage or even in the studio. reface is perfect for songwriters, sound designers, live performers and those looking for access to an instrument which allows them to react when inspiration strikes.
The online collaboration with musicians around the globe via Yamaha’s ‘Soundmondo’ sound community, and the easy connection to notebook, Apple iPhone and iPad are making the four models ideal for being creative together.
Battery power and integrated stereo-speakers make the reface quartet ready to play at all times.
Time for a small revolution:
With the reface Mobile Mini Keyboards, Yamaha presents a range of ultra-mobile synthesizers and a stage-piano that impress with their compact design and web-based sound-exchange. They build the bridge between the sound tradition of the legendary prime fathers and the cooperative music production over the internet.
A new mobile instrument generation
It started as a sketch of a young Yamaha design team: Under the concept name “reimagined interfaces of classic Yamaha keyboards” the group presented a series of four compact instruments, in which every single one celebrates the personality of a legendary Yamaha instrument – but with a character of its own reimagined for today’s ‘on-the-go life style’.
The concept also integrates a web-based sound exchange between musicians and allows a cooperative sound design. With the introduction of reface, this vision becomes reality.
At home, in a studio, in a park or on a train – the compact design and the powerful integrated stereo speakers allow inspiration in seconds – without any equipment to set up.
Creativity can be realised anywhere: Thanks to the battery power, all reface Mobile Mini Keyboards are ready at any time – even when there is no power socket nearby. The setup is done in seconds, even the connection to notebook, iPhone or iPad for the recording and saving of sounds.
It’s (not) a toy!
All four reface models are presenting themselves as a creative toy for sound design. But despite their compact design, they are professional instruments that are inviting to play. All models feature Yamaha’s brand new ‘HQ’ Mini-Action keyboard with 37 keys (3 octaves).
The user interfaces were designed separately for each instrument introducing features such as drawbars for the reface YC organ and the capacitive Multi-Touch surface on the reface DX.
MEET THE REFACE SERIES
reface CS: analogue Synthesizer
The polyphonic tone generator with 8 voices and 5 oscillator types (multi saw, pulse, oscillator sync, ring modulation, frequency modulation) offers a rich bandwidth of exciting sounds from analogue to digital. All parameters are changeable intuitively using sliders. View More
reface DX: FM Synthesizer
A carefully developed user interface offers intuitive access to the FM tone generators even for starters. A capacitive multi touch controller allows dynamic modifications of a sound. The reface DX is also polyphonic with 8 voices and features 7 effects. the reface CS unites simple handling and creative sounds with a massive dynamic. the reface CS unites simple handling and creative sounds with a massive dynamic. View More
reface CP: Electric Piano
The reface CP offers six classical keyboard sounds with excellent quality thanks to SCM (Spectral Component Modeling) and AWM2 sound generation. Carefully selected vintage effects increase the authenticity of the sounds even further, instantly evoking memories of legendary songs throughout the history of rock and pop – for example by Keane, U2, Genesis and Billy Joel. It really does sound great if you want to get that classic Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer tones! View More
reface YC: Electric Combo Organ
Rich, punchy sounds are its area of expertise: The reface YC offers additive synthesis paired with a unique power of expression using nine drawbars and virtual rotary speakers. The instrument combines five different models of organs, the sound is created using a special “Organ Flutes Tone Generator”. In addition to the possibility to carry around five organs in a single piece of hardware without breaking your back, the reface YC delivers the authentic spirit of playing an organ using the smallest user interface possible. View More
Discover and share sounds online
All four reface models offer a rich potential for creative sound design – and the opportunity to get in touch with the whole world: With Soundmondo, Yamaha created an online hub connecting the reface community all over the globe. Soundmondo offers creative possibilities to create, share and discover sounds.
The connection is established intuitively using a special Web MIDI technology for Google Chrome. As soon as a reface model is plugged in, it offers the possibility of direct synchronisation. Voices and set lists can be stored in a private area as well as shared with the community.
reface iOS App for iPhone and iPad
Quick and easy storage as well as management of sounds with iPhone and iPad: The free reface iOS app for Apple mobile devices makes data transfer extremely simple. A name, a picture and multiple tags can be applied to stored voices; they can be sorted in different ways as well.
Search functionality is also included. Using a set list, voices can be arranged in a specific order and recalled one after the other. Another impressive feature is the possibility to exchange voices using QR codes: A distinctive code can be generated from any stored voice and can then be shared using the different options available with iOS. It can for example be sent via email or read using the camera of another iPad to import it into the app.
By Ivan Silva