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Yamaha MX-61 Reviews

4.0 stars based on 13 customer reviews
  • John
    from Texas June 1, 2016Music Background:
    Have played professional for 40 yrs

    Yamaha mx61

    Love this keyboard Yamaha mx61 - man the sounds are awesome and the potential is incredible. I use it for church worship and the live performance capabilities is what I love most of all. Sweetwater has my business for good though, they have the VERY BEST customer service I've ever experienced in the music business.

  • Marcus Curtis
    from Tulsa May 1, 2016Music Background:
    Music Education, Musician, Recording Engineer, Home Studio Owner, Live Performance

    Amazing Diversity

    The thing that really impressed me with this keyboard was that it was the only keyboard that had all the features I wanted and more. I started out looking for a midi controller with a budget of about two hundred to three hundred dollars. I wanted to replace my my Roland Edirol keyboard because it would not work with windows 10 and there was no support for it.

    I spent 4 days looking on various websites looking at all kinds of midi keyboards. I found Sweetwater's site and ordered one. The service at Sweetwater was great, and the easy payment plan allowed me to go beyond my budget to invest in a piece of gear that really blew me away. It arrived much earlier then I expected.

    This is not just a midi controller but it is an actual Yahmah Keyboard with the MOTIF sound library, and this Library sounds incredible plugged into the system. The really great thing that that this keyboard has that no other keyboard I looked at has is a DAW remote button. With one push of a button I can shut off the internal sound engine and use it as a midi controller.

    I use it to control all the software synths in my computer and it is not complicated to use. I primarily use Sonar Platinum. I have invested a lot into that software and I purchased extra software synths. The Yamaha MX-61 does a great job controlling my software.

    Even though this keyboard comes with a lite version of Cubase and a few software synths I have not used any of that software. It works with third party software extremely well. I downloaded the drivers for the keyboard and the tools application. All in all I would say I am thankful that my Edirol does not work in Windows 10, because if it did I would have never discovered this totally awesome keyboard.

  • Walt Kerr
    from United States September 5, 2014Music Background:
    Pro video producer live sound engineer; keyboardist for over 50 years.

    Great keyboard; great price!

    I have been carrying a 70 pound 88 key hammer-action synth/controller around to gigs for 15 years. I was happy with the sounds but carting the beast around was too much. I tried the sounds on a friend's MX49 and was hooked. I needed 61 keys so I bought the MX61. I can't put it away! Brought to my first band rehearsal; I loved it; my band loved it! The pianos, organs, basses... everything works great for me. I came home from that first time out and put my Roland VK8M B-3 module up for sale. Sold my 88 keyboard the same weekend. Extremely happy with this purchase... thanks Yamaha for bringing this little gem to us for under $700. Quick note: download the 1.01 firmware to get the +6 db output boost and the convenient performance keys mapped to the category keys for quick changes.

  • rich whyde
    from sandusky,ohio August 5, 2014Music Background:

    great keyboard !!

    The Yamaha mx61 is a great keyboard.The keyboard is easy to get around on,the sounds are fantastic and for the price it can't be beat.Thanks to Sweetwater and Yamaha.

  • Andrew Oberg
    from Berryville, AR April 22, 2013Music Background:
    professional keyboardist

    Great Keyboard

    This little keyboard knocks me out! I own a Yamaha S-90XS, a S-90ES, Motif ES7, and a CP50, so I love the sound set on this little jewel. Very lightweight, but the action is high quality as expected. The splits, layers, personal favorite patch setups, etc. make this very easy to navigate without having to crack the manual every time. A great Swiss Army knife for my arsenal!

  • Dave Vandergrift
    from Goldsboro, NC March 4, 2013Music Background:
    cover band keyboardist, church praise team

    Love My MX-61

    This was everything Yamaha billed...and more. First the voices...right out of the Motif...all I needed, including a decent B3/Leslie sim. Great performance ease of use and porability. Price was right and Sweetwater service was great (Thanks Greg S.)!

  • Charles Robinson
    from Dallas Tx July 13, 2015Music Background:
    Music Director,Musician. Jazz, R&B,Gospel, Classical.

    Motif Mini Me

    I own the Yamaha Motif XF6 and the Korg Kronos 73. I needed a good keyboard for production, live performance and it needed to be easy to ship(lightweight). What sold me on the MX was the sound quality of the pianos,EP's and Organs. To my ear, I can tell the difference between the sound quality of the XF and the MX. However, the sound quality is not cheap sounding. I find this keyboard to be a great second keyboard or even main keyboard for gigging. The keybed feels good and I'm very picky! I see myself using this keyboard more for certain gigs due to its lightweight and great sound. I actually had this keyboard shipped to me while I'm was overseas and I received it less than a week. Kudos Sweetwater!

  • Martin Weltchek
    from Westland, MI July 7, 2014Music Background:
    I am more of a hack self taught love tech am a geek gadgeteer! Influenced by Thomas Dolby, Peter Gabriel and anything keyboard from the 80's!

    Little short on the keys but not short on sound!

    I'm used to having 88 keys but this one is awesome for using as a sound box to upgrade my old Ensoniq KT88! I just Midi into it and disable the sound on my Ensoniq KT88 and all is new and fresh sounding.

    Would prefer a bigger screen to scroll through on the keyboard but for the price it's more than decent enough for practice. It's extremely light and compact. For those that buy it beware it comes with a built in Auto Power Off function that's on by default and if you don't use it If you wish to disable the Auto Power Off function, turn the power on while holding down the lowest key on the keyboard. An “Auto power off disabled” message appears briefly and Auto Power Off is disabled. When it first did this I thought my Keyboard was broken! :p

  • jon kovash
    from moab, UT USA March 8, 2013Music Background:
    musician, sound engineer

    does the job

    Our garage band needed a new portable keyboard. We couldn’t afford a “flagship” $3000 keyboard, although I was intrigued by the Nords. A lot of internet surfing led me to little consensus about “value” keyboards. Some like Rolands, some hate ‘em, some like Korgs & some hate ‘em, and the same with Yamahas.
    All we wanted was something with good voices and decent keybed that is easy to use for rehearsals and performances. Yamaha’s MOX series seemed overpriced, so I was considering shelling out $500 for a Yamaha MM6, a plastic box junior synth, when the MX49 and MX61 came out at the winter trade shows. It looked like a budget MOX, with similar voices, sound engine and specs. The synth purists heaped scorn, saying the MXs aren’t “true” synths, but we will probably never even use this thing’s USB port, or use the supplied Cubase software. We wanted self-contained and minimal fuss.

    In this price range I can live with the plastic unibody – you’re just not going to get the bomb-proof roadworthiness of the pro models. With the MX series Yamaha made some unfortunate aesthetic choices that needlessly enhance the cheesiness, specifically the crudity of the plastic knobs and wheels. It won’t affect the functionality, but for a few cents the tactile/visual experience could have been notably improved. I’m thinking of gluing on a wooden strip to reinforce the fragile-seeming lip beneath the keybed.

    Nancy, our lead keyboardist, normally prefers to play our acoustic piano, but pronounced the MX61’s keybed fast and “fun to play.”

    It will take a while to preview 1000 voices, but in a few sessions we found plenty that we liked, including piano, electric piano and organ, which critics are fussiest about. More than enough choices for a garage band – some voices obviously make more use of the 128 note polyphony. We’re playing it through four PA cabs with 15” woofers, and the synth voices rock the house. The MX series invites you to tweak and mix and match to create your own user-saved voices, “performances,” that are added to the menu. To do this I have many pages of manual yet to plow through, the same with the arpeggios.

    Wish we could have done hands-on comparisons with competing keyboards, but we live in the boonies. As far as living up to our expectations, we give the MX a solid four stars. I’ll reserve the five stars for when they come out with a pure, idiot-proof stage synth that just junks the DAW components altogether in favor of a little sturdier build.

  • Bill
    from Colorado January 26, 2013Music Background:
    LiveSound engineer, Vocalist, Keyboardist, Song writer,

    Great for club gigs

    After hauling my CP-33 around, this is light and does the job! All the sounds I need without a MIDI cable to another module! The iPod aux in port makes rehearsing on headphones a breeze! The performance mode lets me set all my instruments up for quick and easy access during shows. My first synth was a Korg DW6000 that I bought in 1985 for the same price as this MX61! Technology has come along way and I think this is a great keyboard for under a thousand bucks!

  • Fly by Light
    from Atlanta, Georgia March 13, 2015Music Background:
    Pro pianist/bassist w/ day job

    Highly Versatile with Some Compromises

    The MX is a fusion between a great keyboard and a toy. It's pro keyboard DNA includes the most usable MOTIF sounds plus extensive programmability, including serious tools like pitch, filter and amplitude envelopes and lots of digital effects. An arpeggiator with many presets is included. Real-time controls including sustain and expression (standard Yamaha pedals, not included) two assignable wheels and four multi-function knobs. Outputs include dual 1/4 for stereo and other applications and 1/4 RTS headphone jack. Other connections include MIDI In/Out (no Thru), USB In/Out, and a mini stereo Audio In. MIDI playback is 16 channel with 128 voice polyphony. There is are layer and user-selectable split point options. Free software includes a DAW and a VST drawbar organ emulator. A powerful editor/librarian application is available for $24.99. And many sounds are usable to good. (I know it's cheating, but the onboard Hammond organs sound pretty sweet through my Mini Vent.) Documentation includes a 74 page Synthesizer Parameter Manual and 71 page Reference Manual. The MX series is designed to be a handy controller for your DAW and opens up interesting recording and live performance possibilities.

    Then there's the toy DNA. . .construction is all plastic and knobs are used in lieu of faders for realtime control. Keys are unweighted "diving board" style and splits are limited to two zones. The drawbars and "Leslie" buttons on competing units are absent. The unit is powered by a 12 volt wall wart with short cable. There are tricks to learn about navigating between presets, which can make quick patch changes tough when playing live. Auto Pan ruins a couple of electric pianos when played in mono (I suspect that some other stereo effects may have similar issues). Turning off Auto Pan requires programming, but changes can be saved (This capability is WAY superior to toys). The arpeggiator is limited to preset patterns. Perhaps most importantly, comparing sounds on the MX-61 to identical sounds on MOTIF keyboards reveals a lack of �weight� that shows up most in unaccompanied solos. The difference varies with the speaker/amp and showed up least on good systems for me.

    Cheap is not always bad. The 11 lb weight is a blessing. The initial learning curve is not as bad as more expensive Yamaha units, and the main manual is short. The cheap keys play pretty well (adjustable velocity curves!) and glissando painlessly. The category buttons have "sticky" memory, so they pull up the last piano/guitar/etc patch that you used (with exceptions). The less dense sound actually helps in a band context where nicer units require eq to avoid frequency wars in the mid-to-low ranges with other instruments. The arpeggiated presets are fun to play with. The pairing of two voices in presets makes instant switches between them simple. The stereo mini input, although cheap, is ridiculously useful for practice and live audio tracks without adapters.

    Verdict: For the biggest, lushest, sweetest synth, organ or piano sounds, optimally designed for live splits and sound switching, save more money. If you want an entry-level or second keyboard with highly-programmable synths and usable everyday sounds, DAW control capability, light weight, arpeggiator, MIDI playback with 128 voices, and optional editor/librarian software, the MX-61 is a contender.

  • steven essig
    from April 28, 2016

    Piano Sounds A LITTLE Tinny

    Overall, the sounds are great. The organ sounds, electric piano sounds, and synth sounds are all real good.
    But the grand piano sounds, one of Yamaha's signature sampled sounds, are a little thin. They take a bunch of EQ, but still not up to what I expected.
    I wish it had 76 keys.
    The weight is very good. Very light and portable.
    If you can live with the thin piano sounds and only 61 keys, this is a terrific board. A great second, or ancillary unit for stage.

  • Mike
    from Omaha, NE August 23, 2015

    Not what I was expecting

    I'm very limited of my knowledge of piano. Nothing about programming. The Yamaha pamphlet they send with the thing is very limited as well as the website. This thing needs an 1000+ page instruction manual! As well as a need of more videos on examples of use. Unfortunately Yamaha falls flat on this. It also comes with Cubase which is also very complicated. I use "Reaper." Its very cheap and simple for a musician to use. (Keyword here is musician. I'm not a recording engineer.) That said, this is a really nice synth with piano and effect sounds for someone with a limited budget to really expand their playing experience and have fun experimenting. The piano sounds are weak though. (Playing out of my Reference Monitors. Maybe playing out of powered Keyboard speakers sounds better?) Performances are kind of lacking in creativity. Unless you are into beats, hip hop, and techno. You have to download the driver to use with your computer. Also you don't get the Cubase, disk. You have to download it. Description says comes with it. Nope. Should come on disk. A thorough and well written manual would be nice. Nope you get a 40 page or so pamphlet. This Synth may be for you! Not what I was looking for.

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