Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Yamaha FS1R Formant Shaping/FM Synthesis Tone Generator

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tux
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Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by tux » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:21 am

A Yamaha FS1R just sold on ebay for 480 euros. This was an auction that started at 1 euro and offered shipping to anywhere in Europe for a reasonable amount of 25 euros, so it's a very good benchmark of what people are currently prepared to pay for the FS1R (at least in Europe).
This was the auction: http://www.ebay.ch/itm/110981686453

IMHO this is a ridiculous price, I have a copy of 'Sound on Sound' magazine January 2001 here in front of me and I found some dealer ads in there who at the time were selling it brand new for as low as 429 UK Pounds which at the time was approx. 650 Euros, so the current ebay price is 74% of the street price for brand new units 12 years ago!!

I'm aware that the synthesis method of the FS1R is quite unique and no current synth offers it, but IMHO (judging from all the demos of the FS1R on youtube I have listened to), despite this unique synthesis method, the sounds that the FS1R produces aren't anything special or unique.
Furthermore I have the impression that a lot of what makes the FS1R sound good is actually the merit of the internal FX processors (that seem to be the same excellent ones that Yamaha also used in the EX5) and not of the synthesis method itself.

Personally, compared to a FS1R, I much prefer the sounds a SY77 or SY99 is capable of producing (and especially the SY77/TG77 can be had for a lot less than 480 euros, a TG77 for example just sold here in CH at an auction for the equivalent of 165 euros, a SY99 for 330 euros and that's a full keyboard not just a rack module) so again I think 480 euros is way too much for a one-trick pony as the FS1R.
(I'm doing the comparison specifically with the SY77/99 because they also use FM synthesis)

What do you think? Overrated or worth 480 euros?
(Please also state if you own or have owned a FS1R when replying!)

P.S: this is absolutely not meant as a troll post or to start a flame war, I'm genuinely interested in your opinions about this. Lets keep the discussion calm and friendly. :D


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My Yamaha synths: RM50, TG77, TG500, EX5R, CS6R (with PLG150-AN and PLG150-DX)

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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by Miks » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:35 am

Just a little bit off topic, but how about this one:

http://www.ebay.de/itm/320846060975?ssP ... 1423.l2649

To me it's even a ridiculous price... what do you think, tux?


My (key related) gear (in alphabetical order):
Kawai: K1 II
Korg: M1 (up'd to EX, w/ 'Cool Blue'), M1REX (w/ 'Cool Blue'), Poly-800
Roland: D-50, D-110, D-550, PG-1000
Yamaha: AW1600, DX7IID (w/ 'Cool Blue'), EX5R, RM50, RX5, SY99 (w/ 'Cool Blue'), TG500, TX-802, YMM2
Sector101: SYEMB05 (5x), SYEMB06 (3x), EXFLM2 (1kit), MCD Sweet16 (1x), WaveBlade 8MB Card (1x) & 1x Programmer Unit for WaveBlade


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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by tux » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:49 am

Miks wrote:Just a little bit off topic, but how about this one:

http://www.ebay.de/itm/320846060975?ssP ... 1423.l2649

To me it's even a ridiculous price... what do you think, tux?
Yes, that's completely ridiculous, AFAIK the RM50 sells between 70-150 euros (depending on any extras like included cards and sample RAM expansion).

But this thread is about the FS1R, Miks what do you think about 480 euros for a FS1R, worth it or overpriced and overrated?


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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by Miks » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:59 am

I've been watching some FS1R's on eBay, and they went for about 300- 450 Euros. For I have no experiences with this module (haven't heard it yet) I'm not able to say if this is too much or not... but it's not a price I would pay for it, I think. 8O


My (key related) gear (in alphabetical order):
Kawai: K1 II
Korg: M1 (up'd to EX, w/ 'Cool Blue'), M1REX (w/ 'Cool Blue'), Poly-800
Roland: D-50, D-110, D-550, PG-1000
Yamaha: AW1600, DX7IID (w/ 'Cool Blue'), EX5R, RM50, RX5, SY99 (w/ 'Cool Blue'), TG500, TX-802, YMM2
Sector101: SYEMB05 (5x), SYEMB06 (3x), EXFLM2 (1kit), MCD Sweet16 (1x), WaveBlade 8MB Card (1x) & 1x Programmer Unit for WaveBlade


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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by Derek » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:00 pm

Hi,

The only time I have ever used "buy it now" in an ebay auction was around 2006 to get my FS1r as it was at the price I was prepared to pay. That was £300, or €370 at today's exchange rate. This is actually close to prepal's tracked price of $480, so the auctions you are looking at are a little high, as €480 is about £389 or $626.

But they reflect what somebody was prepared to pay for this rare device, which was only on the market for a year, and which, like the EX5, was a marketing failure for Yamaha. You may think it a ridiculous price, but obviously it wasn't to somebody. :)

The problem with the FS1r is that a very powerful architecture is lying behind a poor front panel interface (painting the Sistine Chapel through a letter box is a good analogy) and probably one of the worst manuals that Yamaha has ever written.

I have both an FS1r and SY77/99 and I wouldn't be without either. Would I have gone another £100 to get an FS1r? Probably.

I don't think the Fs1r is a one trick pony. I would describe it's character as more hard and digital than the SY77, but sometimes I want that. But it is the only synth in the world with formant processing/sequencing and eight operator FM. Admittedly, I haven't explored mine as much as I should have by now, but once I start writing editors into my x.factory librarians the FS1r will be the first to be done (as the one in my rig that is the hardest to program), and I hope to explore it more then.

I've used the FS1r and SY77 together in songs, and they fit quite well with each other. If you listen to my "short" song Rusalka on www.carregddu.co.uk, you'll hear both in use together, but I won't say where. :)


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Derek Cook

http://www.carregddu.co.uk
http://www.echoes-music.co.uk
http://www.xfactory-librarians.co.uk
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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by Clyde » Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:02 am

It's like I said in the EX5 thread a while back, a particular model is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it at that point in time. Pick a synth, any synth, now that particular synth may not appeal to you and you would not be willing to pay much for it if anything at all if you really don't like it. Now lets say the same synth I happen to think is almost absolutely perfect and would fit my needs perfectly, have always wanted one and now is my opportunity, I might be willing to pay a premium above and beyond the normal selling price just to get one in my keyboard rig. In this case, you and I would have completely different outlooks on what that synths value is.
Clyde


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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by tux » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:35 am

Derek, thanks for your reply from the point of view of a FS1R owner, that makes it particularly interesting (to me at least).
Derek wrote:I would describe it's character as more hard and digital than the SY77
Exactly that's what I noticed too, when listening to the youtube videos featuring the FS1R. I also thought it somehow always sounds the same, I mean even when the sounds are quite different, there is always a common 'vibe' to them (don't really know how to call it, 'vibe' isn't the right word), which I don't think is the case with older FM synths.

Don't you think that a lot of what makes the FS1R sound good is actually thanks to it's FX units? I'd love to hear a demo of the FS1R with the FX units turned off, I think it would sound rather thin and very digital without them, or am I mistaken?
Clyde wrote:It's like I said in the EX5 thread a while back, a particular model is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it at that point in time.
Yes I'm aware of that and I said so myself in the first post of this thread, maybe I didn't express myself well but what I wanted to know is if it would be worth 480 euros to you and how do you rate the sound of the FS1R.


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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by Derek » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:14 pm

Hi,

Well, I can listen to my SY77, and it has a certain character caused in some part by the slightly lo-fi effects on top of its sound engine. My new acquisition, the SY99 is much clearer in comparison, but it seems to have its own character as well despite the fundamental architecture being the same. In this case it is the better effects that make quite a difference, but for the AWM engine the better samples also play a part. I've also noticed that a lot more of the SY99 presets use RCM, probably as the programmers had time between the SY77 and SY99 to explore RCM for the SY99 presets; most synth presets are usually thrown together just before release. I'd actually hazard a guess that this is the case for the FS1r as well; I use very few of the presets.

For just about every other synth you care to mention (if not all), the effects available will color the sound, and all synths put into dry mode will sound, well, like synths without effects.

Just as an example, my first two synths, a CS15 and DX7II had no built in effects. on their own they sounded pretty dry and thin. Put them through a WEM COPIKAT or reverb unit, and they came to life.

Does anybody actually like the sound of an electric guitar until it has been compressed, clipped, chorused, flanged, etc?

And our opinions of sounds (just like anything) are pretty subjective. People swear by Korgs, for example, but I've never been impressed with any that I have tried; although I have been impressed by the net demos of the Kronos, but I want to go and try one to see what I think of it whilst actually playing it.

If there was a one size fits all synth, I'd sell all of mine and get it! :)

If, I get five minutes (not this week!), I'll do some snippets of the FS1r and my favorite patches. In the mean time, check out Rusalka (see link above), and tell me what is FS1r in there! :) It is a bit of a challenge, as that song has all of my synths (inc soft synths) in there somewhere. But that is what matters, in my opinion, sounds in context, not sounds in isolation. :)


Regards
Derek Cook

http://www.carregddu.co.uk
http://www.echoes-music.co.uk
http://www.xfactory-librarians.co.uk
http://www.ex5tech.com

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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by tux » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:12 pm

Derek wrote: For just about every other synth you care to mention (if not all), the effects available will color the sound, and all synths put into dry mode will sound, well, like synths without effects.
True, but I actually find there are big differences between synths when listening to them without any FX, some sound thin and unassuming others sound thick and full even without FX. For example a Oberheim Matrix 1000 sounds great (I have one that's why I know this) even without any FX (it doesn't have in-built FX anyway) and even the RM50 which also doesn't have in-built FX (and uses the same AWM2 chip + filter and 22bit D/A chips as the SY99), still sounds punchy and powerful without FX.
I imagine the SY99 and SY77 have similarly good full-bodied sound without FX, while I have my doubts that the FS1R sounds good without it's internal FX (as I said I would be keen to hear the FS1R with FX turned off).
People swear by Korgs, for example, but I've never been impressed with any that I have tried
I like the warmth and lushness of Korgs, I do have a small X5DR module (M1 sound engine on steroids in a 1U half rack package) that I enjoy using, but of course it depends what kind of sounds you need, they aren't suited for every type of music (the Korg filters for example are fairly weak).
If there was a one size fits all synth, I'd sell all of mine and get it! :)
The EX5 come pretty close I think? No need to sell anything you already have it! ;)
While I doubt I would ever get a FS1R, as I'm not impressed by it, I do certainly want to get a EX5R sometime. :)
If, I get five minutes (not this week!), I'll do some snippets of the FS1r and my favorite patches.
If possible also with FX turned off please.
In the mean time, check out Rusalka (see link above), and tell me what is FS1r in there! :)
I did listen to it the first time you posted the link, I'm not sure what is FS1R in it, like I said I only know the FS1R sounds from youtube videos so my knowledge of it is still rather limited.


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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by Derek » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:31 pm

Whilst doing other things tonight, I managed to record the FS1r demo songs (on the Utility/Demo page). These are recorded "raw" in Cubase. I.e. no processing other than what's coming from the FS1r. I think they showcase the range of the FS1r reasonably well, including one of the best synth accordions that I have ever heard (not that I like accordions mind ;) ).

www.carregddu.co.uk/Songs/Demo/Fs1rDemo.mp3

Over the weekend, when I get some more time, I'll tell you where to listen out for the FS1r in Rusalka. :)


Regards
Derek Cook

http://www.carregddu.co.uk
http://www.echoes-music.co.uk
http://www.xfactory-librarians.co.uk
http://www.ex5tech.com

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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by tux » Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:15 pm

Derek wrote:Whilst doing other things tonight, I managed to record the FS1r demo songs (on the Utility/Demo page).
Thanks for that, but the factory demo is actually available on youtube, so I had heard that already:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRcfstepC3I
Factory demos always sound good (that's what they are there for) but IMHO the FS1R one isn't that impressive, I mean it does sound good, but there is nothing in there that makes the FS1R stand out much against other good synths.

I have also already listened to the factory voices as presented in these two videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2OQegZxWDg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wULEiMJ4o8s

What I would be interested in (if sometime you find the time for that) is a recording of some of the better voices (you choose which ones), first with internal FX switched on (as it is by default) and then with internal FX turned off. This would allow me (us) to judge the actual FS1R synthesis method itself (short of playing with an actual FS1R in real life :) ).


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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by synthjoe » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:18 pm

tux wrote:...(the Korg filters for example are fairly weak).
Sorry for taking this a bit out of context and my aim is surely not to start a flame war here - but just to put things where they belong.

Korg's AI and AI2 filters indeed are pretty weak, on the verge of usable. I'm not particularly impressed with the HI (Triton) engine's filter, either. Have not much of an opinion about the Kronos and Krome filters as I did not have a chance to fiddle around (but the Kronos seem to have some nice filter effects here and there, I've got yet to hear a sound predominantly determined by filters on the Krome).

However, the resonant ACCESS digital filters (Trinity) and the NJM2069 chip (analogue filter) used in the Poly800, DW series and DSS-1 are amongst the best of their breed, in my opinion. Now, this is just my opinion, but I think that a blanket statement of all Korg filters being weak would be somewhat misleading and over-simplifying this very interesing league. ;)

Just my 2 cents.



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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by tux » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:21 am

synthjoe wrote:
tux wrote:...(the Korg filters for example are fairly weak).
Now, this is just my opinion, but I think that a blanket statement of all Korg filters being weak would be somewhat misleading and over-simplifying this very interesing league. ;)
I agree my statement could appear too generic, I was referring specifically to the filters in the Korg AI/AI2 synths (i.e. most Korg ROMplers from the late 80's to the early 2000s) such as the X5DR that I mentioned.


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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by synthjoe » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:48 am

Now, that is something I wholeheartedly agree (even though still a very subjective topic and farly sure there's at least one person out there who loves that filter... :))



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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by Ego_Shredder » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:39 pm

I'm a big fan of Yamaha stuff and got to try the FS1R when it was launched, back when I worked at Academy Of Sound music store in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It struck me as different and interesting, but somehow felt a bit empty sounding and too silky. I could easily have bought one but decided against it, and bought a second MU100R module instead!


Yamaha SY55, TG55 + ALL WAVE & DATA card sets. Yamaha MU100R x4 + PLG100-VH, VL, DX, PLG150-AN, DR, AP. Yamaha RY30 x2 + ALL card sets. Yamaha RM50. Kawai K1r + 32MB RAM card + ALL sound data cards. Kawai MM-16 16ch MIDI Mixer. AKAI MPD-16. Casio CSM-1. Various studio rackmount gear, mixers, microphones, MIDI problem solvers & Quested S7 active monitors. Edirol UA-101. IBM Thinkpad Z61p. Steinberg Cubase 5.1 + various software and plugins + Yamaha Studio Manager for the PLG expansion boards.

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