Yamaha Tyros 5 76-Key Arranger Workstation
WOW is right. Yamaha has really done their homework on this board. As a reference point I also own a Korg Kronos, Roland Jupitor 80 and Yamaha Motif XF. The instrument sounds out of the new Tyros 5 are absolutely gorgeous. Most of the annoying reverb that has been so prevalent in their previous versions is gone.
Good news for those of you who struggle with "change"s, the operating is the the same (like it or not). The plus being you won't have to learn a great deal about where things are. The front panel is display now sports a black background which infinitly improves readability - especially for those of us in our late 50's.
The Style, Style Control, Mulit-Pad, etc are all in the same relative places on a slightly darker skin. I wish that Yamaha would built these with a choice of black - it looks so much more professional on stage. There are several new buttons; one for acoustic guitar and one for electric guitar as well as separate buttons for Organ World and Ensemble.
I have historically used the Tyros for playing MIDI seqences primarily because of the excelent instrument sound. I use Sonar as my choice of sequencing software. All my tracks use channel 9 for bass and channel 10 for drsm. I send to two individual lines out for each instrument with the remaining tracks (channels) run out of left/right out. this allows me to pump up the "bass" or "drums" during a performance on my mixing board. With the Tyros 5 you now get an additional two outputs. I am hopeful to send my vocals out of those two tracks assuming I can come to grips with the new vocal harmonizer.
Piano - I prefer a brighter sounding piano for live playing as it tends to cut through the mix a bit better. I don't have any real complaints. Sounds are a matter of opinion anyhow. The 76 key has a decent feel for what it is, it's not sloppy, of course if you are wanting weighted or semi-weighted keys you won't find that on this board. I do find myself digging into the keys more often than not to activate the after touch- which is awesome (not on the piano....my bad)
Electric Piano - all the bases are covered here. There should be something for everyone. The Rhodes are decent and in my opinion would be able to get you through most gigs without carting a real one around.
Organ - Not to be confused with ORGAN WORLD. The organs are still the same. I don't hear much of an improvent. Also, you can't control the "rotor" speed via a foot pedal unless you change the voice so that rotor speed is the parementer to be switched on and off. This would require a lot of extra work. I have historically played a B3 and for the past several years use the Hammond XK3C. The Tyros Organ Voices just don't compete - in the type of music I typically play. Now, if you're a European you're going to think that the Organ voices are perfect.
ORGAN WORLD - Now this is really cool Sure you heard or watched the demo. You've got to play and listen to this. I won't review all 5 organs Vintage/Home/Euro/Concert/Theater but will speak to the "Vintage". Drawboards that you can contrrol, a rotor effect that is decent (middle of the road....but usable). The downside is that using the ORGAN WORLD as a preset will use all three potential voice selections. No big deal. I think there is promise with the Vintage Organ. Yamaha still has it's work to cut out on the Leslie (rotor) effect. Perhaps with a little tweaking I can alter the tone to my liking. By-the-way, there is a lot of tweaking available in this beast.
ENSEMBLE VOICE - 3 choices of Brass or Woodwinds and 2 presets for strings. This is very clever work indeed. Yamaha has programmed logic into to the board so that specific instruments will be on top and others on the bottom whatever 4 note chord you are playing. You need to remember to ONLY play 4 notes - otherwise the Tyros struggles a bit to figgure out what your fat fingers were supposed to do. The strings are drop dead perfect. I pulled out some classical music from many years ago (when I was actually taking piano lesson) and had a blast playing those same works not with the piano but with a string quartet. Awesome.
Note - the trick to playing many of Yamaha's voices are knowing how the two articulation buttons work (when lit) on the left side of the board. You should also know a little about the instrument you're attempting to emulate. When playing a woodwind....don't foget to take a breath. Anyhow, it is just simply amazing how realistic these voices are.
There are a lot more voices and a lot more that I could say, you deserve to go audition this keyboard. It is difficult to compare this to the other boards I own (other than the tyros 4) as this is an arranger keyboard and not a "workstation" from the Korg or Yamaha Motif line of boards. Hands down though, nobody has better sounds. This is not to say you should sell you MO or Kronos, they have good patches as well and provide different technology/functionality than the Tyros. It is not an apples to apples.
The arranger part.....yeah, that's what this is. I only use the built in Styles for goofing around. There are many users however that will find or build a style that is a close approximation to the song they wish to perform. I prefer the MIDI way. Again, both have their merits and not. My biggest complaint is that Yamaha is still extremely week on American Rock styles. The Blues styles are improving. The general Country styles are fairly decent. There are still far too many polkas and the like...really??? They're good styles, just not my cup of tea.
This is a pricy board, although not much more than the T4 when it came out. I'd certainly recommend the 76 key over the 61 unless space is a concern. It is not heavy to move around. Do yourself a favor and get a hard case (from Sweetwater) or have one built.
I'm waiting for the 1 gig of flash memory so that I can begin the transfer of voices that I purchased from Yamaha. This, I'm sure will be a challenge. There are however, several very informative user sites on the internet that can provide a wealth of information.
Future improvements - Fix the organs so not all of them sound so cheezy. A direct control to the rotor effect is warrented as well as a separate knob to add distiortion (put it right under Organ - on the front panel). I would like to see BNC connectors much like those of the PSR9000.
The Tyros series keeps getting better. I'm all about how to realistically play a variety of instruments.... on a keyboard. The guitars, both electric and acoustic have been upgraded with several patches. Wait until you start playing with the individual effects...it's like haviing your own pedal board of stuff (lol).
I have been dealing with Sweetwater for several years now. They are by far the most personal company to deal with. Most of the prices on gear are about the same throughout the business. However, it is always worth calling them up if you have a question. Their customer service is top notch. If you need a professional rep, ask for Paul.
I am absolutely delighted with this keyboard and I am absolutely delighted with Sweetwater.
Happy New Year