Yamaha Reface Teaser
Yamaha must have looked at the clock and noticed it was time to start a little rumour. Other manufacturers make plenty of use of the grapevine, after all, so why shouldn't the Japanese brand?
Think what you will about this type of communication - these days teasers are a popular way of creating buzz for your products. Anyone remember Behringer's Midas synth? Online communities are less enthusiastic about this trend, however, especially because these short snippets hardly ever disclose any details.
After a little sleuthing, we managed to unveil the following general information. Yamaha's new Reface series consists of synthesizers and keyboards. Its teaser web site tells us to "get ready to create your sound any place, any time", and the actors in the featured video seem to have an emotional response to the product because it reminds them of something from their past. One of the actors explicitly mentions the CS series.
Yamaha gives us very little to go by, but that won't keep us from making a few predictions based on their suggestions.
- First of all, there's the tag line: any place, any time. This strongly hints at a portable device, although it might refer to tablet or laptop software as well. It could even be combination: a tablet or laptop-powered controller with matching software.
- On the other hand, we could also simply be dealing with a synthesizer or a keyboard that is portable because it is powered by batteries. This latter option could lead to even more speculation - why exactly were the actors so overcome by melancholy? Could the reference to the CS series be of any significance? A classic device like the CS-80 could easily make fans wax nostalgic... The sound and controls, that is - its excessive weight and erratic clarity made it less than ideal live on stage.
- Yet another possibility is that Yamaha has taken a good look at the plug-out synthesizers Roland has recently released (the System-1 and the System-1m). A Yamaha plug-out synth would be a great way of breathing new life into the old CS series.
In all probability, Yamaha's Reface series will mostly show its merits live on stage, and less so in the studio. This assumption is predominantly based on recent trends, and is true for an increasing number of brands and devices. In the 1980s and 1990s, there were 19-inch rack modules of keyboard synthesizers (and sometimes even keyboards) galore, but no-one seems to be releasing them anymore these days. This is probably due to the fact that studios nowadays are either optimised for live acts (therefore having more use for tabletop synths), or focus solely on product. For the latter applications, software is rapidly taking over, and virtualisation is key.
And that about sums it up for today's conjecture! All we can do now is wait for more news from Yamaha. Our guess is we'll hear more about the Yamaha Reface series during the Summer NAMM (9-11 July).