Synth Site: Yamaha: QY-8: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 2.6 out of 5
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Brent Santin a part-time user from Canada writes:
This is a review of the QY8, but a lot of it applies to the QY10 as well. I just got a QY8 in the year 2008. I already own a QY10, which I got in 2003. When I got these units they were already considered "old". However, I feel they still deserve a look.

In the year 2008, these machines are a little dated but they are still quite useful. Precisely because they are considered to be "dated", they are quite cheap to buy. I got my QY10 for free and the QY8 for $40 Canadian. C'mon, for those prices, I'm not going to turn down a self-contained, VHS-cassette sized device that can function as a drum machine, basic MIDI tone module, portable music composing device and live accompaniment band-in-a-box no matter how dated it is.

The QY8 actually came along a few years after the QY10 (despite the numbering sequence). It's probably true to say the the QY10 is a slightly more powerful device in terms of features. For instance, the QY8 is lacking the mini keyboard, you cannot program your own drum or accompanyment patterns, and I don't think the QY8 will sync to an external MIDI clock or MTC as the QY10 will.

However, the QY has a few big advantages over the QY10. It's partially GM compatible (the QY10 is pre-GM) which makes it easier to transfer songs you've composed to a "real" PC sequencer or DAW, or to play them through your pro-quality MIDI sound modules at home. Also, the display on the QY8 is MUCH larger than the QY10's single line display and the interface is therefore easier to understand. I really love the music staff and bar/measure guage in the QY8's display. I tend to think visually, so the single line display of the QY10 really wasn't doing it for me. Navigation has been simplified with the addition of a "gameboy like" cross-pad. The QY8 also has more memory for recording and storing one's own songs. The BIG advantage of the QY8 is that it has the Automatic-Bass-Chord feature. Using an external MIDI keyboard, the QY8 will "sense" which chords you are playing and change its accompanyment to match. The QY10 cannot do this (it's the only QY-series sequencer that can't). This ABC accompanyment is critical feature if you're looking to use the QY8 in a live performance setting. Even when composing with an attached MIDI keyboard it makes things easier.

The sounds are nothing to write home about. Both the QY8 and QY10 contain a few dozen basic tones useful for various genres of music. They are passable, but the sample rate is low, they are mono (panned mono) and many of them are reedy sounding. The piano is okay, for instance, but it suffers from aliasing effects & the decay is very short. Try to keep in mind that these devices were meant to be economical, portable "scratch pads" and you'll be happy. Don't compare them to modern rackmount synths or sound modules.

If you love (or even seek out) cheesier sounds like I do then you'll have no problem with the QY8. There are, however, a couple of sounds that are quite respectable (organs, bass & and some strings). With some creative effects, I might even consider using some of the sounds for "real" recordings. I just don't get the user comments that these units are "crap and useless". I've heard good musicians make a cheap home "toy" keyboards sound amazing. The key is you need to approach the QY8 creatively while using its limitations as an advantage.

The drum sounds are another story. They are actually decent (especially if you are into 80s or 90s retro drum sounds). Even if you don't use the QY8 as a sequencer it can be a cheap alternative to a stand-alone MIDI drum machine! Some of the electronic TR-X0X type sounds are lots of fun.

The QY8 and QY10 become much easier to use when you coneect a portable MIDI controller keyboard. In the case of the QY8 it's almost necessary (unless you love entering data in step-time) and really makes the unit a joy to use. While the QY10 has a mini keyboard built in, its range is limited to a single octave at a time and it's not polyphonic so that is only a marginal improvement over the QY8.

Okay, if I was composing at home, I'd much rather use a computer based MIDI sequencer like Cakewalk or Bars & Pipes on the Amiga than a QY device. Using a mouse, having a big screen with all the MIDI tracks displayed and a full sized controller keyboard is just so nice. Sure, you could take this functionality on the road with a modern laptop, but then you'd have to wait for boot-up and worry about viruses & carrying around an expensive and overly complicated device. The QY8 is so cheap you won't worry about losing it or having it stolen, it's still smaller than a laptop, it turns on instantly, and is designed for one function - music making. For simple, quick, on-the-go composing, the QY8 (or QY10) fits the bill. I wouldn't pay more than $50 for either, but at less than $50 they are an excellent value.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Dec-17-2008 at 11:22
writes:
Yeah, but it can't touch the might sixtrak for bass! ;)

posted Sunday-Oct-26-2003 at 07:37
Gary a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I got rid of my QY-8 and actually bought the older QY-10. The little chicklet keys on the QY-10 at least give you the feeling you're getting somewhere..... the QY-8s gameboy interface is the worst! There were more sounds in the 8, but they were nothing special and the 10 has some more original ones. The QY-10 even LOOKS cooler, it's jet black. Skip this one and get any of the other QYs. I want a QY70 when I have the $$$.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Sunday-Oct-26-2003 at 01:22
Jason Vine a part-time user from London writes:
I got one of these at the weekend to partner my SU10 Sampler, at what I thought was a bargain price of £50.

The internal sounds are a bit weak, but it was really the sequencer I bought it for, which has both step-time and real-time recording. (Real-time requires triggering from a separate MIDI controller, but the pads on my SU10 work fine for that).

All in all, it does exactly what I expected it to, although I can understand how it would appear a bit limited as an 'all in one' portable music solution.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Monday-Jul-08-2002 at 06:10
Renato Barbieri a hobbyist user from UK writes:
I agree with one of the comments above where it's stated that the QY-8 is a toy. As such, it's pretty powerful. Yes, you can record in real-time up to 4 tracks and mix that with another 4 tracks of patterns. It's very limited indeed when compared to other hardware sequencers and should never be priced anything above £99. Good for composing as a scratch pad.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Monday-Aug-13-2001 at 07:14
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