Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Yamaha FS1R Formant Shaping/FM Synthesis Tone Generator

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tux
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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by tux » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:42 pm

scottrod wrote:Just purchased one for $700 USD. They've been going for $800 to $1000 USD on eBay here in the states.
Looks like FS1R prices are inflating almost as fast as London house prices... 8O
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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by db7 » Mon May 05, 2014 7:49 pm

tux wrote: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).
OK, I’ll bite. As much as I love the 77/99, why would they have some intrinsic advantage in basic sound quality over the FS1R? Assuming you’re keeping the comparison fair by referring solely to FM and not any device-specific features, why do you think the FS1R would be inferior? acreil at Gearslutz has proven – alongside many other hugely valuable reveals in that thread – that the DX7 family, 77/99, and FS1R all have the same horizontal sine resolution (1024 samples per quarter-cycle). I’d bet they have the same vertical resolution and the same underlying parameters in most other areas. And there’s not going to be any magical vintage quality to the DACs or outputs in the 77/99. So where could this difference that you claim come from?

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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by Derek » Mon May 05, 2014 7:58 pm

scottrod wrote:Just purchased one for $700 USD. They've been going for $800 to $1000 USD on eBay here in the states.

Will see how it stands up against the rest in a few days.
That's not too bad given the rarity these days, and if you don't enjoy it, you can probably make your money back and a little more.
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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by Derek » Mon May 05, 2014 8:06 pm

tux wrote:
scottrod wrote:Just purchased one for $700 USD. They've been going for $800 to $1000 USD on eBay here in the states.
Looks like FS1R prices are inflating almost as fast as London house prices... 8O
Supply and demand. :)

Very few FS1Rs now come on the market. They had a production run of less than a year, and the FS1r was a dismal failure for Yamaha: Nobody wanted another FM box that was even more difficult to program than a DX7 (via a User interface even more tortuous than the DX7) , and Yamaha screwed up by making Formant sequencing pretty much inaccessible in terms of easilyadding your own.

People who have them tend to hang on to them. Mine will never be sold. :) It's not used heavily in my songs, but when I want something a little different to layer over another sound, it's where I tend to look!
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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by tux » Wed May 07, 2014 12:23 am

db7 wrote:Assuming you’re keeping the comparison fair by referring solely to FM and not any device-specific features, why do you think the FS1R would be inferior?
Fair? In what way? I wasn't doing a scientific comparison (who cares about that? with a synth what matters is the sound that comes out of it) I was simply comparing the sound of the SY77/99 with the FS1R as it comes out of the synth, i.e. to me the SY77/99 has a pleasant warm full-bodied sound, while the FS1R sounds thin/metallic/harsh/unpleasant to me, the only thing that seems to save the FS1R is the FX which is probably the same great FX chip as the one used in the EX5 (or an evolution of it).
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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by db7 » Wed May 07, 2014 10:15 am

I wasn't doing a scientific comparison (who cares about that? with a synth what matters is the sound that comes out of it)
Very Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance… An interest in the scientific side is valid and doesn’t ruin one’s ability to enjoy the artistic side too, as so many people seem to think. Because you personally don’t have that interest is no reason to imply that other people who do are being absurd: “who cares about that?” Me, for one
I was simply comparing the sound of the SY77/99 with the FS1R as it comes out of the synth, i.e. to me the SY77/99 has a pleasant warm full-bodied sound, while the FS1R sounds thin/metallic/harsh/unpleasant to me
I can read, btw so I know what you were comparing. My point was to ask for a rationale of how that supposed difference in the raw sounds – very cliched and vague descriptions, and I’ve heard examples of both from both synth families – could be explained by something intrinsic to the waveform generators. I personally doubt it, and you don’t seem interested in actually backing it up, so never mind, I guess!

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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by tux » Wed May 07, 2014 1:43 pm

db7 wrote:could be explained by something intrinsic to the waveform generators. I personally doubt it
If by waveform generators you mean the FM chip then I doubt that's the cause too, my guess would be the D/A converters, as early '90s D/A converters sounded warmer than late '90s ones. I noticed this with various synths of different brands (Korg and Roland) not just Yamaha.

In the case of the FS1R I would guess (based on the demos I heard of it) that it probably has rather precise/'clinical' D/A converters that accentuate the more unpleasant side of FM sound (the metallic, thin side of it).
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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by db7 » Wed May 07, 2014 2:52 pm

True, if anything does differ, that’s more plausible. :) As I can’t measure both, I can’t totally rule it out. However, I presume the 77/99’s DAC is quite high-quality, maybe not with any audible ‘signature’*. The 77/99 weren’t of the same time, nor budget, as things like the DX7 mk 1 (12 bits of DAC + 2 of analogue companding) or the pre-TQ5 4-op synths (fully discrete DAC with 10 bits of mantissa and 3 of shift), where the DAC seems humble enough to alter sound. So, I wouldn’t expect the 77/99’s DAC to be audibly noticeable. I also wouldn’t suspect opamps or suchlike – which may even be the same; I don’t know what the FS1R uses as we still lack a scan of the service manual. :( But you’re right that – if anything differs – the DACs and subsequent analogue circuitry seem like the likeliest culprits – certainly more than the FM chips and their waves. It might happen in the future that I’ll be in a position to compare and measure the 77/99 and FS1R side by side… Till then, more YouTube ;)

*assuming the trimmer is calibrated properly, which the non-linear decay distortion on my SY99 indicates it isn’t, so it must’ve gotten a bump in the past :( Some day I’ll work up the courage to open that poor box again…

P.S. While we’re on the subject! The combination in the FB-01 et al. of that somewhat low-bit DAC plus the 256-point quarter-sine in the OPM/P chip make for some delicious lo-fi! It’s not quite on the level of the awesome YM2612 with its built-in 9-bit!! 8O DAC, but it’s still splendidly retro. :D

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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by midiquestions » Mon May 12, 2014 8:06 am

"You may think it a ridiculous price, but obviously it wasn't to somebody."

True though the question is whether it was a well-informed judgement on that individual's part or not.

Anyway, the FS1R interests me, though the $800-$900 price definitely has kept me at bay so far, and I'm pretty happy with the SY77 for now. I haven't delved much into formants much, but the 8-op FM part is intriguing. I wonder if users who've used this extensively could comment on what specifically they tend to use the "extra" two operators for compared to how they do 6-op voices on the DX/SY gear.

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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by scottrod » Wed May 28, 2014 12:55 am

Ok, so I've had it for about 3 months now. And while I'll admit to being a GAS fiend, the FS1R really has become my favorite synth regarding, "<heavy reverb here> THE SOUND". I've used it more than any other synth in the arsenal in the past three months I've had it.

I have, or have had a bunch of Yamaha gear (SY99, EX5, ES8, AN1x, TX816, CS20/40M, KX5 :mrgreen: ) and the FS1R definitely sounds like a Yamaha. It has a certain purity of tone (I suppose some would call digital), but it's soooo smooth, so clean, so tweakable and responsive (aftertouch being my controller of choice) that it's just a serious piece of pro gear. I've been using K. Take's free editor with much success which provides all the programming interface I need.

Tell you what, it's really got my heart. It also has the even/odd midi setup like the SY99, and I'd buy another one for the increased polyphony if I could get it for around $600 USD.

It's really too bad Yamaha didn't put it in a sweet keyboard package with knobs; it's a wonderful synth. Ugly though.

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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by stimresp » Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:57 am

:/:

:D

I've owned an FS1r for about three years now. I paid 400 euro which I felt was on the high side for a pristine unit. But I knew the guy etc.
I see them going for upwards of 450 now - too much! I think it's true value should be in the region of 300euro.

Mostly I wanted it it for the 8-op FM engine rather than the Formant sequencing, which I still find gimmicky. The formant sequences clock-sync-able unlike the LFOs, so they do have potential (that I haven't gotten around to exploring yet).

After fiddling around with the PC editors I opted to learn how to program it from the front panel - and it's actually not that bad! The four knobs function as a fast navigation system that works well when you get used to it. Still a few idiosyncrasies for sure, but far from impossible. I've thought about doing a video tutorial on navigating the machine. Any interest?

IMO it is the FX on the FS1r provide the bulk of it's character. Take a preset and bypass the FX to hear what I mean. Not to say that the FM engine is a slouch - but with over 1000 voice presets, it's fair to say that most standard FM ground has already been covered, and you need never even touch the FM engine to get all the classic FM tones - just mix-and-match the preset voices and put them through those delicious FX. Plenty of instant gratification right there.

Things become more complex when you want to build your own FM patches. I've analysed some of the voice presets - the EPs and Choirs are particularly good - and have seen a level of detailed programming that left me in awe.

The noise generators output a sine wave at zero bandwidth which, with a pitch envelope per operator, does some mean percussion synthesis. The Formant operators are quite interesting when used as FM modulators.

The main filter is not great - it becomes very brittle when turning-up the resonance - more suited to shaving-off those unwanted frequencies. There is also a 3-band EQ on the output - a nice feature. Also, there seems to be some harmonic boosting at the outputs that may account for the unique 'sound' (you know what I mean).

Is FS1r over-rated? Probably. The average unit likely has several owners before finding a home. A lot of people may be impressed on hearing it the first-time, but baulk at the programming side. To create your own patches requires a patience/determination and a systematic approach.

I won't be selling mine - I knew it would require a time investment, and I've enjoyed exploring it so far.

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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by Heruvimium » Sat May 02, 2015 8:22 pm


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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by Derek » Sun May 03, 2015 9:15 am

Heruvimium wrote:NOw this is just ridicolous :))

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/281674276582? ... EBIDX%3AIT
Like I said before earlier in this thread: " Supply and Demand" :) I've added this to my watch list just to see what it does go for!
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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by Derek » Mon May 04, 2015 8:52 am

Went for £886. I purchased mine in 2006 for £300! And the original list price was £699.....

Supply and demand, supply and demand... :)
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Derek Cook

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Re: Yamaha FS1R overrated?

Unread post by tux » Mon May 04, 2015 9:45 am

Derek wrote: Supply and demand, supply and demand... :)
Currently prices (not just of synths but of all 'investment' goods) are rather irrational due to the prolonged near zero interest rates and years of QE by the US, the UK, Switzerland, Japan and now the EU central banks.
In other words the world is flooded with cheap money, everything is in a bubble, stocks, house prices, art and even synths (at least those that have collector value).
If we get negative interest rates for retail customers along with restrictions on cash (which seems to be the plan to avoid bank runs) then prices will get even more irrational in the near future. :(
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