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Microphone Month 3

Yamaha MM8 88-Key Synthesizer Reviews

4.5 stars based on 9 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Carson McClain

    A perfect keyboard workstation for the producer who might not have a full computer recording set up in his home. I have spoken to many people looking for a sequencing solution that is not inside of a computer and this keyboard always comes up. Multi-track sequencing, great sounds, USB connectivity, it's all here. If you need an all-in-one that is geared towards hip-hop this is the keyboard for you.

  • from Tiverton, RI January 19, 2017Music Background:
    Piano, Guitar and Accordian player. Non-professional

    I love this keyboard

    Words alone cannot describe the way I feel about this keyboard. This thing is simply amazing.

  • from Des Moines, IA February 9, 2016Music Background:
    Minister of Music


    I am a die hard Roland man and never owned a Yamaha board until now. I have been playing for 38 years. The last Yamaha I touched was the DX7 years ago. I own the Roland VR-700 that I absolutely love and the Casio WK3000. To my Juno 6 R.I.P. The clarity of the MM8 and the feel of the hammered keys are exhilarating to say the least. It's a beast! I was rocking out in the church sanctuary and various choir members started rockin & b-bopping while I was setting it up and doing sound checks. The funny thing about it I stumbled onto this board. Great bang for the buck!!!

  • from Gridley,Calif. January 15, 2014Music Background:
    pro musician

    MM8 awesome keyboard

    for a giging keyboard its great...lightweight..the sound engine off of a motif and stereo..use a volume pedal and sustain and youre ready to rock the house..with 88 keys of wonderful..

  • from Pittsburgh May 25, 2012Music Background:
    Music Production, Performance

    MM8 - Great Gig board - moderately useful in studio

    The Good:
    The MM8 has some motif-ish sounds right up front in all the categories, a decent "song" and "accompaniment" mode, and various performance banks to save preferences. All very speedy and user friendly. The keyboard feels natural - maybe a slight 2nd place to the S90. The piano sound is "Power Grand" from Motif/S90. The classic/al piano sound is mellow and still useful with some EQ. The pianos sort of thin out in the last octave. Organs are good. Strings are pedestrian. Some interesting bass/synth pad and lead sounds.

    The Not so good.
    After the first 10 patches of each category, you realize that this isn't the sound engine for the studio. The polyphony limit isn't all that bad, but it really needs 64 note poly.

    Summary: This is a light 88keyer for gigs. As a performance unit it has all the sounds one would need for rock and jazz. Having an S90 as well - it does not compare in terms of editing features and wealth of sounds. However it is surprisingly light for what it is. I might not record with these sounds, but they are perfect for a live situation.

  • from United States April 30, 2012Music Background:
    23 years of piano, 12 years leading worship on keyboard

    Great Keyboard!

    I have been playing the piano for 23 years and have played on maybe different boards, both real and electric and I absolutely love this Keyboard! It feels and plays like a real Piano! It is light and easily mobile yet durable. It's output is smooth and sounds great! If you are ok purchasing a keyboard without built in speakers, this is the one for you!

  • from Mesa, az, USA July 1, 2011Music Background:
    Experienced musician, hobbyist, ametuer recording engineer

    No complaints. Amazing.

    This is a great keyboard. I've been playing piano since I was 4. I'm blown away by this. It can work for live or recording purposes. However, even though I've worked with many full sized Roland synth and stage synth/pianos, this was my first advanced keyboard.... I would not recommend this for beginners because of it's complicated uses and purposes. I did learn on the go, so it is do able, so I would not recommend it to the inexperienced or unwilling.

  • from Hopewell, VA August 30, 2010Music Background:


    Before buying the MM6 that I know own, Itried out its 88-weighted key big brother, the MM8. MM means "mini-mo".because its sound setup is based on Yamaha's very pricey MOTIF XS series of pro-grage instruments, but there's nothing "mini" about the MM8's sounds. It's 400+ sounds are easlier found usinging the CATEGORY SEARCH and INC/DEC buttons or the PERFMORMANCE MEMORY bank buttons. Both methods are much more reliable than the data wheel, especally in gig situations where down time between songs must be kept to a minimum. The four sythn control knobs on the left side of the MM8 offer some unique touches to certain sounds. Be ready to invest a lot of time in finding the sounds to siut your personal taste. One of the drawbacks of all of Yamaha's newer keyboards (including this one) is that it's time-consuming to scroll through the FUNCTION and UTILITY settings in order to tweak the volume mix and other mixing parameters. Make these settings BEFORE playing a gig! Also take time to practice with he backing (accompaniment) and their variations; it's well worth the effort. I haven't tried recording yet, so I can't make a fair assessment of this feature yet. At 34 pounds, the MM8 is MUCH LIGHTER than most graded-hammer action instruments. Even though the organ sounds are decent, there are no drawbars or tone wheel modeling features on the MM8, so don't expect a B3 clone; this is not it! You'll need to spend at least another grand to get that feature! Even though the MM8 (and the MM6) are targeted as keyboards used for hip-hop and rap, the pianos, organs, brass, synth leads and "world" sounds wi8ll accomodate virtually any kind of music you want to play. To get tthe true sound of this or any other stageworthy keyboard, feed its signal to a amp/speaker setup that can handle its VERY LARGE sound range. Last but not least, the MM8's MOTIF-based sound setup does not carry the $3,600 price tag of the MOTIF XS58 or the $2,000-$2,500 price tag of the MOTIF XS56 and XS57 respectively. But then it doesn't have all the recording bells and whistles of the pricier MOTIF series. But if you're looking to get a monster sound collection and the acoustic piano touch to boot, this is the way to go.

  • from Toronto Ont. Canada December 23, 2008Music Background:
    Part time musician

    A little ugly but pretty cool...

    I'm still very much missing my S90 which I foolishly gave up and just never seem to see one come in used at my local music store. Though somewhat heavy and a bit bulky, it was still portable, had a very good piano sound and was overall a pro end board. The MM8 has somewhat the same portability but is much lighter in weight but also in features as the lighter in weight the weighted keyboard is, the less in terms of piano sound, editing, features and options Yamamha will give it would appear to me. The MM8 has a decent piano sound; it's bright and quite meaty in the lower half while it starts to hit portatone sound quality level in the upper half. Maybe a notch above that but the sample gets quite digital from middle 'C' upward. It's not lousy or anything but it's a second rate offering compared to even the CP33 which is good but still not as good as say the S90ES piano sound or my beloved, missed, S90 piano sound,in my opinion. A weighted board to me means piano but for $999.00 one gets what they pay for in the piano sound department. But as I said, it's bright and should cut live but keep in mind that it has 1990's level polyphany at 32 notes, so, for sustained passages the notes will cut out but they seem to do that better than even the S90 where I found holding down the sustain peddle and doing arpeggios, I could audibly hear pops as the notes were being stolen when polyphany was maxed out. The MM8 seems to handle that aspect well but it's still noticable to me. Yes, there are some nice Motif sounds under the hood and some great effects but too bad they didn't allow for say, the mod wheel to trigger fast and slow on the rotary effects and such. No control other than amount of effect here but atleast it's available on all the three parts not like other budget minded keyboards where the effect might only be available for the main part. So your rotory effect on the organ is slow or fast but no way to toggle between the two via controls. Also the foot peddle will only do sustain and volume and it's preset. No activating any vibrato and such via a foot peddle. Very minimal sound sculpting here other then layering, adding effects, or using the useful but basic designated knobs for Cut-off frequency, resonance, attack, and release. But what's nice is 64 performance memory slots. It also has a memory stick slot which is great but really, on this keyboard there isn't that much to edit and save. That feature should have been on other units where you actually have a lot of editing to save! The MM8 has 3 parts but I noticed I wasn't able to get sustain peddle on the split (lowest part) which foiled attempts at using the keyboard in different manners and configurations. One has Upper, Layer, Nas Split parts. Much is preset in this keyboard but there are still some editing options. Also, not the best unit to use as a controller as you can't have it play only a certain part of it's own internal sounds and get it to control another part from an external source without the MM8 playing it's sound on all parts. It's either local off or all parts either are off or on which means your external unit can't play on say the layered part of the MM8 without the MM8 also sounding it's internal sound on that same part. It would have been cool if you could assign and external part but then again this isn't designed to be a controller. The sounds are good, the EP'S, Organs, Guitars, and Synth sounds all brought satisfaction. The piano sound is just okay but by no means bad. I really like the accompaniments. They are fun and quite inspiring. I wish for a few more comtemporary ones for the lounge thing but the modern ones are quite good. They also lean towards the ethnic side in many cases. From the little bit of time I spent with the arpeggiator, I was able to get some neat guitar strumming things happening that synced with the patterns and were a lot of fun to jam with. The key action is pretty firm. I really like Korg's weighted action as it's a bit lighter for my personal taste but this one allows you to dig in. The weight of the unit is stellar; it's under 35 pounds which is great but the package? Yikes, this may be one of the ugliest keyboards I've seen in a while. It's very box-coffin like and that grey color does nothing for me. Why Yamaha insists on making these boards so bulky and wide I'll never know. It should be smaller to go with the light weight but there must be a reason for it. I can't see that much more circuitry inside especailly with all the limitations on this keyboard, to warrant this size. They have the P85 and other units that are much smaller, but no, Yamaha can't somehow put these sounds with this light weighht into a physically smaller package. Can they?? Maybe in 2020 by the looks of things. In closing I will say that I have had fun playing this keyboard and slso done some serious work with it. If it were $799. it would be a great deal,; $899. it's a good deal while at $999. which is what it costs here in Toronto, it's a decent purchase. Overall Sound rating -7.5, Features - 7, Inspiration and playability factor - 8. Price/Value -7.5 Piano sound - 6.5. Thanks for reading, check it out and have fun!

  • from Michigan September 18, 2008Music Background:

    At last, a light-weight, great-sounding, 88-key weighted synth.

    Tired of lugging that 55 or 60 pound weighted synth to gigs? The MM8 has great sounds, nice weighted action, and weights around 34 pounds! The shell of this keyboard isn't as bulletproof as the S90, etc., but get a decent case for it and you're good to go. Great sounds from the MOTIF series, and sounds are categorized for easy searches (unlike other models). Sll this at a nice price.

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