Yamaha Reface - new information
Fresh information on the recently announced Yamaha Reface has started seeping out of the far corners of the Internet. Get used to it, as that is not likely to stop until Summer NAMM 2015.
An image that displays four Yamaha classics has started circulating the web. To be precise, it features the YC-20, the CP-70, the CS-80 and the DX-7. Could it be the case that Yamaha is emulating these four classics in a single new compact synthesizer? We've seen something like that happen before with the recent Roland Aira System-1 and System-1m - although nothing's to say that Yamaha will use a similar system, of course.
A tentative look at the inner workings
Let's assume that Yamaha is looking to reimagine these four classics in a new body. The YC-20 was a red combo-organ from the '70s. As it was much easier to transport than a Hammond B3, it was highly popular amongst touring bands. Of note is this instrument's aftertouch-triggered vibrato.
The CP-70 was an electric grand from the '70s, and it was Yamaha's attempt at creating a portable piano. Because let's be honest, who would carry a heavy, full-sized piano to each and every gig? And while the CP-70 was not perfect in it's reproduction of a piano's sound, it still has a very recognisable sound of its own.
The CS-80, also from the '70s, hardly needs an introduction. Its a core part of, for instance, Vangelis' instrumentarium. It's also a key instrument in classic movies like Blade Runner and Dune. However, its weight was as great as the instrument itself. If you're taking a CS-80 on tour, you had better hire a sturdy roadie, because calling it heavy would be an understatement.
In the 1980's, the DX-7 was a heavy blow to analogue synthesizers. All of a sudden, there was a whole world beyond sawtooths, squares and triangles. Even today, FM synthesis allows for a nearly infinite palette of sounds. However, the DX7 was rather cumbersome to use - it had so many different functions that not all of them could have their own dedicated controls. This ushered in a period of time where synthesizers mostly had buttons, instead of sliders or dials. For some people, controlling all of its parameters and functions through those buttons proved to be a bit too involved, meaning that many keyboard players only used the DX-7's built-in presets and presets that were commercially available.
If Yamaha indeed decided to combine these four into a single Reface product, then that will safe you a lot of carrying heavy equipment around. You'll have four legendary stage pianos in -what is likely to be - a single, compact device. Of course, the question remains whether the Reface has these built into its hardware, or if it simply comes down to virtual emulation. Whichever way they choose, either option would deliver excellent results.
This concludes today's rumour mongering! We have no doubt that Yamaha will keep feeding us little tidbits of information, slowly drawing back the curtain that hides their Reface concept. As soon as we know more, so will you!