Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

The Yamaha SY85 is a digital music workstation introduced in 1992. Unlike other Yamaha synthesizers of the time (SY77 and the SY99) the SY85 does not use FM synthesis. Instead, its sounds are based on samples, which can be layered and modified to create new sounds.

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Re: Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

Unread post by loziodavid »

Just to say that in the end I got a Roland JD-990 from ebay for 650€ incl. shipping. I'm waiting to make the payment.
It seems in good overall conditions, just a few scratches on the top, but ok for a 25 years old expander. Front panel is clean, buttons and data wheel perfectly working, display not so bright but still usable.
Initially my first choiche was the JV-1080, but I found a lot more flexibility in the JD-990 and a more user-friendly display. The JV-1080 is definitely the most warm and analog-like sounding unit of the entire JV and XV family, but the synth engine of the JD-990 has an extra gear and the larger LCD display is more readable.

The Yamaha EX5R option has gone. The last price of the seller was 550€, too much considering that at 450€ you can find the EX5 that has the keyboard also. He thinks that it's right that an expander is more expensive than the keyboard version because it's more flexible, less bulky and weigh less. I greeted him politely and closed the deal.
550€ for a monophonic virtual analog is too much. I prefer the 64 virtual analog voices of the JD-990.
I was asked 200€ for a Yamaha PLG150 AN card, I could have put it in the Yamaha CS6R, but 5 voices polyphony can be limiting for 2 hands pads.


Overall I'm satisfied because I think I got a good deal, and a couple of expansions like the Vintage Synth card or the World card could be the icing on the cake for this powerful digital synth.


Last edited by Macke on Sat May 02, 2020 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed youtube link

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Re: Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

Unread post by parametric »

THAT sounds like a great sounding Module - you must be pleased . . . . .

Mind you - Roland have been doing this for a long time - so no surprise that it sounds great . . . .

Rick Wakeman still has a number of Roland Modules in his rig . . . . the sounds are just unique to them . . . .

ATB

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Re: Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

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loziodavid wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 11:45 pm
Initially my first choiche was the JV-1080, but I found a lot more flexibility in the JD-990 and a more user-friendly display. The JV-1080 is definitely the most warm and analog-like sounding unit of the entire JV and XV family, but the synth engine of the JD-990 has an extra gear and the larger LCD display is more readable.
It's true that the JD-990 sounds even better than the JV-1080, but IMHO it's not €500 better. The JD-990 has been hyped a lot since many years, that's why prices have gone way too high for it. But if you don't mind spending that kind of money then you will certainly enjoy it. :)

550€ for a monophonic virtual analog is too much. I prefer the 64 virtual analog voices of the JD-990.
I think you misunderstood something, the JD-990 does not have a virtual analog synth engine at all, it's a sample based synth engine just like the Yamaha AWM2 synth engine in your MOXF and in the EX5R.

The first ever virtual analog synths from Roland were the JP-8000 (keyboard) and JP-8080 (rack version) that came out several years later.

But that of course doesn't change that the JD-990 is a very good sounding sample based synth.
My Yamaha RM50 page
My Yamaha synths: RM50, TG77, TG500, CS6R (with PLG150-AN and PLG150-DX)

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Re: Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

Unread post by Macke »

loziodavid wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 11:45 pm
Overall I'm satisfied because I think I got a good deal, and a couple of expansions like the Vintage Synth card or the World card could be the icing on the cake for this powerful digital synth.
By chance this video review was posted yesterday by Espen Kraft featuring the JD-990 for anyone interested in finding out a litlle more about it.

Last edited by Macke on Sat May 02, 2020 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed youtube link

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Re: Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

Unread post by loziodavid »

I'll try to reply to all in random order...

I had a little misunderstanding, the JD-990 is sample based, not a virtual analog, but the synthesis engine seems very powerful. It can go from acoustic sounds to evolving pads and old synth sounds without too much effort. I heard a lot of interesting synth sounds that the MOXF6 can't produce, at least with stock presets and waveforms. Probably, with an FL1024/FL512 flash rom + the WaveForm Editor program by John Melas + a lot of work searching, buying and importing custom waveforms, the MOXF6 can do something similar, I don't know, but I don't have neither the flash card nor the Waveform Editor. And it's easier to turn a knob and have your tone stocked, rather than building your tones from scratch with a software one by one.

And yes, you're right again when you say the price of the JD-990 is hyped a lot, but as well as the price of others expanders and keyboard synthesizers. I think in the next years, we will see with more strenght the comeback of the 70s-80s-90s synthesizers, and the prices will raise again and again, so it will not be so unlikely to see a used JD-990 close to the 1000€ threshold, or even beyond. Even now there's some units on ebay at 800-900€.
I read on another gear forum, a guy in 2014 got a Roland JD-800 for 350$...today a Roland JD-800 ranges from 800€ to 1400€. :confusion-questionmarks:

Yes, the JD-990 it's definitely a nice sounding module, used not only by Wakeman and ATB. If you refer to the keyboard version, the users' palette widens a lot: Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Depeche Mode, Tangerine Dream, Apollo 440, Pet Shop Boys, Genesis. Just to quote the most influencial users...
With the JV-1080 it's the same, used live and in studio by a lot of famous keyboardists and producers, even for movies and videogames soundtracks. They are the 90s analogues of the Moog and the Odyssey.

Anyway, I'm impressed that in a specific brand forum we can speak easily about other brands...I surf the web since 2001, and it is not so obvious... :obscene-drinkingcheers:

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Re: Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

Unread post by parametric »

loziodavid wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:00 pm
Anyway, I'm impressed that in a specific brand forum we can speak easily about other brands...
The Forum originally came into existence to find information to repair an ailing Yamaha SY85 Synth.

That is probably the origin of the Name. . . . . However, as time went on, new members came onboard, and questions

started to appear about other makes. I Think guitars were also in evidence in the early years, but several years ago,

the string section exploded into activity and is now very extensive . . .

What is significant about this Forum, apart from the expertise that lives here in a very knowledgeable membership, is the

fact that it is Independent - in as much as it is NOT funded or supported behind the scenes by ANY Manufacturer.

The opinions expressed, both good and bad are based on User's experiences of the instruments discussed . . .

BTW - There is also a Motorcycle section :o - which naturally includes Yamaha :lol:

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Re: Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

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parametric wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:48 pm
BTW - There is also a Motorcycle section :o - which naturally includes Yamaha :lol:
parametric
Yeah - but I'm still waiting for the Velocette section :D
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Re: Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

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jima wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 9:30 pm
Yeah - but I'm still waiting for the Velocette section :D
You mean like those Stealth bikes the cops used to ride?

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Re: Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

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I was rather thinking of my old long gone but much loved Thruxton Venom - I had forgotten about the 'Noddies' :)
Jim
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Re: Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

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Called "Noddy Bikes" Bikes apparently because they were required to "Nod" to more-senior officers they encountered . . . .

Noddy Bike.jpg
Noddy Bike.jpg (18.77 KiB) Viewed 693 times
Noddy Bike 2.jpg
Noddy Bike 2.jpg (19.27 KiB) Viewed 693 times

I Once got pulled over by one, for "Riding a push-bike that was too big for me" :roll:

The Velocette LE was 192cc . . . :o I understand they had a water-cooled motor - so were virtually SILENT . . .

I certainly never heard it coming :lol: :oops:


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Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
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Re: Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

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loziodavid wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 11:45 pm
Just to say that in the end I got a Roland JD-990 from ebay for 650€ incl. shipping. I'm waiting to make the payment.
It seems in good overall conditions, just a few scratches on the top, but ok for a 25 years old expander. Front panel is clean, buttons and data wheel perfectly working, display not so bright but still usable.
Initially my first choice was the JV-1080, but I found a lot more flexibility in the JD-990 and a more user-friendly display. The JV-1080 is definitely the most warm and analog-like sounding unit of the entire JV and XV family, but the synth engine of the JD-990 has an extra gear and the larger LCD display is more readable.

The Yamaha EX5R option has gone. The last price of the seller was 550€, too much considering that at 450€ you can find the EX5 that has the keyboard also. He thinks that it's right that an expander is more expensive than the keyboard version because it's more flexible, less bulky and weigh less. I greeted him politely and closed the deal.
550€ for a monophonic virtual analog is too much. I prefer the 64 virtual analog voices of the JD-990.
I was asked 200€ for a Yamaha PLG150 AN card, I could have put it in the Yamaha CS6R, but 5 voices polyphony can be limiting for 2 hands pads.


Overall I'm satisfied because I think I got a good deal, and a couple of expansions like the Vintage Synth card or the World card could be the icing on the cake for this powerful digital synth.


Late to the party ...
Welcome to the club (sort of...)
I have a JV-2080, expansions cards are a little on the pricey side now.
I have the orchestral 1 and 2 cards. Both the JD and JV can have quite a full sound,
especially the phaser :) sounds similar my SE70, they can be quite 70's sounding if you get the right tweak.

I haven't seen a JD 990 myself in person, I imagine programming it might be like a JV2080,
if that is the case not much different really to an MC-307.

One thing to keep in mind the LCD is not a common type in the JD990 so to the JV-2080.
it is 320x80 and is not Toshiba T6963 controller compatible. The screen has no controller of its its own
it is built in to the motherboard. There are limited after market replacements for these screens.
However buyer beware, not of the product, of the seller. If your screen is getting a bit dull
maybe consider buying a replacement screen, mind you it also is a little on the pricey side,
(another 2080 could almost be bought.) you'll be paying for the convenience of P'n'P.

Rara 0-)

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Re: Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

Unread post by loziodavid »

After a couple of weeks, I can say I'm loving my JD-990 .

At first sight I was impressed by the amount of controls and paramaters. A lot of effort is required to build your tone, especially if you want to create your patch from scratch, step by step layering 4 tones. But even on a preset, there is a discrete amount of work to tweak ADSR, cutoff frequency, and so on, because the JD-990 has multiattack, multidecay, multisustain and multirelease time.

Then, I was thinking to send it back to the seller and ask a refund because I was searching mainly an analog/virtual analog synth, rather than another sample based synth like my MOXF6. I thought I bought a MOXF6 replica, another synth that can do more or less the same things I can do with my actual workstation. Moreover, the JD-990 doesn't have any arpeggiator nor sequencer, and I was looking for a synth with arpeggiator/sequencer to create real time backingtracks with bass lines and percussion, the arpeggiator/sequencer on my MOXF6 being too tricky.
So in the next days I looked at a lot of synth modules, new and less new, Nord Rack, Blofeld, Access Virus, Korg Radias, Korg MS2000, but I didn't found the same character and personality.

Let's be clear, the strong point of the JD-990 are the pads. It's the perfect synth for ambient and cinematic atmospheres, but not so good for lead tones, at least in the standard configuration. With the vintage expansion card it could probably go far beyond, I dont' know, but to a newbye looking for a synth focused on lead tones, I would not advise him the JD-990.
Where the JD-990 shines, as I said, is the "pads territory". All this last-generation synths (Blofeld, Access Virus, Nord Rack, and so on...) are great, but I found them too much hifi, too chirurgical, too precise. They can do nice pads, but their pads are always flawless.
The JD-990 has a pulsating heart, has a breath inside. When you use a preset, maybe you tweak a little bit with LFO, vibrato, chorus, delay, this thing becomes alive. I'm not so good with english, but you need to have it on your hands to understand how it sounds, and how much is powerful.
I'm sorry guys, but the MOXF can't replicate the JD-990!! :) The JD-990 has a lot more depht and movement, it seems it can speak.

I'll get a VA in the future (99% will be the Korg Radias because I love his bubbling tone, and has a powerful step sequencer), but I will not dump the JD-990. I'll probably regret it, as said the seller, and he was definitely right!!
BTW, is very difficult to find a JD-990, is not like a Blofeld that you can find it as a surprise in a chips bag :D
Some units has the screen dead or not so bright, and they often go on ebay for 800-1000€. I would spend more to buy it back, so in the end I decided to keep it and enjoy it.

PS: I had a talk with a long-experienced synth guy, he plays since at least 20 years. He also found the MOXF/Motif arpeggiator/sequencer very complicated. He told me the Radias step sequencer, in comparison, is easy as pie.

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Re: Yamaha TG500: a good value in 2020?

Unread post by ArmandoGainn »

After having a tg500 for about a week, I'd say it still has it's uses. It's a lot harder to use than a lot of the other similar aged modules, but with some dumps from an 85 that's not a problem. It plays pretty well with FL Studio too, so in some ways it's more convenient than the SY.

But I do lust after a JD-990. Never seen one for sale in reasonable condition here and the headaches and bills I've had getting old gear restored (RM1X, TG-33 and a TR-808) makes me wary.

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