Yamaha FS1R Unleashed

US Massive hardware controller for legendary FM synthesizer      12/06/24

The Yamaha FS1R is, to some, the holy grail of FM Synthesizers. featuring an eight-Operator engine as well as Formant Shaping Synthesis which allows for synthetic replication of human speech! As with many of the FM Synthesizers, it is a rack mounted box with a few front panel controls and a fair bit of menu diving required. Well, one maker Robert Skerjanc has taken his love of the synth to a new level, and made an astonishing FS1R controller. 

The FS1R was released in 1998 and uses 8 operators with 88 algorithms which offer additional waveforms and wave shaping features plus an added multimode filter, effects and EQ. In addition, the FS1R exclusively offers eight unvoiced operators per voice which result in a unique sonic engine called Formant Shaping Synthesis.

You'll find a full interview with the maker at https://www.amazona.de/mega-hardware-controller-fuer-yamaha-fs1r/

An extract of the interview is here:

How did this extraordinary project come about?

There is now good controller software, such as the FS1REditor for Windows or PatchBase for iOS. But clicking on the screen was never really fun.

I also had some MIDI faders from Peavey and Behringer. But that wasn't the right thing either, because with a bunch of tightly packed controls, it's easy to lose track of everything, even with labeled stickers. Only when the controls are correctly arranged in functional groups and with space between them, do the "sound design flow" really get going for me.

How complex was the whole thing and how much time did it take you?

The planning alone was time-consuming, as was the design and arrangement of the controls on the front panels. Over time, it became clear that some parameters worked differently than expected, others were relatively unimportant, and others I had completely overlooked.

Should this remain a purely private project or could you imagine launching a series if there is enough demand?

I would be tempted to launch a small series of them, even if the market for them is certainly not large. Of course, there is still a long way to go from the effort required to produce a professional front panel to a small series. But other individual controllers for certain hardware or software synthesizers would also be conceivable. At the moment I am thinking about a controller for other devices...

Here's another overview, from Dom Sigalas at Yamaha:

More from Robert Skerjanc on his youtube channel. 


About the author [midierror]: midierror makes nifty Max For Live devices, innovative music hardware, award winning sample packs and hosts a podcast speaking to people in the music world.

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