Synth Site: Yamaha: SY-85 Workstation: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.6 out of 5
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Prevalence a hobbyist user from UK writes:
Just picked up an SY85.... in great condition and lots disks came with it. WOW... this is an impressive synth! It really can do anything and difficult to beleive you are listening to a 19 year old synth!

Great keyboard action and looks - just makes you want play it... BUY IT!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Oct-01-2011 at 06:46
Barrie a professional user from England writes:
SY85? The BEST! See one? Buy it!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Aug-30-2011 at 18:53
Mike a hobbyist user from Australia writes:
Being a long time Roland fan, I was very interested to see what the SY85 was really like. Boy, was I impressed!

Capable of stunning pads, realistic strings, organs and even very decent pianos. A very powerful sounding machine and certainly better than the Roland and Korg offerings of the time.

I reckon that, even today (mid-2008) the SY85 can still hold its head and give today's workstations a good run for their money. Superb!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jul-31-2008 at 05:35
Rock Mono Enough a professional user from Portland OR, U.S.A. writes:
I paid $140.00 for my SY85 circa' Feb. 2006. The 61st key (high) is broken, and the floppy-drive is pushed inside the shell. The 8-track sequencer is linear, unlike chaining small sequences together; you can't change the time signature or tempo during a song. (unless manual tempo change) A "linear" sequencer requires scrolling up to the measures you're working on. Everytime you edit, quantitize etc.. it puts you back to the beginning of the song. The wheel shaves off a little time if you're driven, but over-all the sequencer can be somewhat slow and tedious. Also, the longer the song gets, the slower the commands are "completed!" If your song gets to be 80,90 or more measures long, it can take 5,10 or even 15 seconds of blinking "executing command!" I clinch my teeth hoping it doesn't crash, it hasn't yet. Patience is required for this board, but it's worth your time. The step mode is Yamaha's Dot-matrix breakdown of a measure. Each beat is divided into 8 spaces (32nd notes) the track buttons then become different note values. Oddly, there is no sixtupplet value in step-time mode. You have to write 32nd tripplets with 32nd trip-rests between them to write sixtupplets, although quanitizing them is allowed in real-time mode. The program change (in step mode) allows changing sounds on a track, eight times per beat! However, very fast or tight program changes reveil a slight audio glitch. The program change is a very handy feature, and once acquainted, it allows assigning literally any of the SY85's sounds anywhere, on any track. There is a similar audio glitch, between songs in the "Song Chain" mode. The 9th rhythm pattern track is only useful if sequencing drums first. Crash cymbals being caught sploil the fun with a bleak 30-notes of polyphony. Strangely, the piano patches are just "o.k.", but everything else sounds very impressive, best known for organic sounds; Big-Fat strings w/sizzling rosin, realistic choirs, Great brass, pipe organ, eclectic drum kits, etherial sounds, noises etc.. Rhodes patch "Roady", authentically duplicates overtones, and even that slight distortion you get in the lower ranges of a Rhodes! And while the Mellotron patch isn't perfect, If you play it imagining the idiosyncratic quirks of a real Mellotron, after getting drunk to old King Crimson records, you can delude yourself for fleeting moments. I've learned to blend tracks of Inca flutes, Co Orch (soft-brass & strings) and the "Tron" patch for a surprisingly good "In The Wake Of Poseidon" Mellotron wall. I've played a $1200.00 Yamaha Mo6, and still think my SY85's a better board. The Mo6,7 and 8 have thin, plasticy, cheap, toy-like keys and hardware, not quite as bad as a Casio. The MM6 is worse. The least of a new Yamaha workstation I would buy would be a Motif Xs6, $2,200.00 new. Ouch! Bottom line: If you see an SY85 for anywhere near what I paid for mine, Buy it, I'm glad I did.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Dec-09-2007 at 05:02
anaROBIK a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I was thinking of selling my SY85 to make room for newer, or even different/older keyboards, but I'm finding that I can't. I used the SY85 extensively on two CDs and other recording projects in the mid 90s and into 2001, and now in 2006, it very nicely fills a gap in my other keyboards (Jupiter 6, Juno 60, Microwave XT, Microware I, Wavestation A/D, Audity 2000, FS1R). A lot of the sounds I would never use, but overall there are still a lot of intriguing sounds coming out of this thing. If you are looking for one sample-based synth to cover that "sampled" territory, this is fantastic. The audio and sample quality is superb. I had a Korg M1 before I bought this, that was frankly crap.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Oct-17-2006 at 10:09
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