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AN-200 At a Glance
User rating: 4.5/5 | Read reviews (60)
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This groove box does a good job of analogue sound modeling. Real analogue synths have a different quality to them, but the AN200 can make beefy tones in its own unique way.
Plenty of drum sounds. I figure the drums are the part that uses the AWM synthesis.
Yamaha should have marketed the bundled software editor more. Although the editor runs as a plug-in inside the XG MIDI editor (also provided on the CD-ROM I got), the power of the editor is not to be underestimated. The number of knobs available increases by 3x or so (depending on whether you count the volume and data knobs. Counting the matrix sequencer knobs would double that number.) I've only had a few hours to play with the editor software, but there is enough firepower to keep any sound designer busy. There is also a waveform drawing editor that I've only tried out a bit, but the possibilities seem abundant. The only area for improvement with the virtual editor software is the patch management. I found the patch manager (not to be confused with the editor) GUI not as intuitive as it could be.
Without the syth editing software, there are still enough knobs for real-time patch manipulation. It took me an hour or so to figure out most of the buttons and knobs, but I found myself relatively comfortable with the AN200 in an hour or so time.
5 voice analogue-esque polyphony seems to be enough. The keyboard-buttons seem to be heavy duty, so you're obviously not going to be playing any concerto on them. (If you're trying to play a concerto on a groove box anyway, you've got problems and ought to consider upgrading to something with more keys, like a piano.)
Here are the cool things: ------------------------- Tap Control Button--good response Tap-controlled fx delay time Patches/Sounds--worth while Patch Editing (Software)--powerful! This is the way I would like to see the virtual synth world move...have the processing in the hardware but give the user countless knobs, buttons and massive matrix editing via a computer screen. (Yamaha, you should have more screenshots of this stuff on your Web site.) Ample fx--(if you need more get an fx box). As written above, the tap button works nicely with calibrating the delay time. Keyboard--easy to slide/swipe fingers across in order to mute out a chunk of 16th notes Re-trigger Button--Good for repeating a beat
Things I'd like to see differently. (My disclaimer: These are nit-picky things. Definitely not intended to overshadow the great features of the AN200. The overall machine architecture is great and serves its purpose.) ----------------------------------- Price: For the features already built into the machine, it would be nice to see the initial list price about $100 USD less than it is. I paid the price I did because I like quality, however I would have made a quicker decision to purchase if the price was a little lower. Sync Pitch Knob--make jumping between intervals a bit more smooth Drum Sounds--could be a little more wild Controls: Would be nice to have a ribbon or joystick FX: Looking at the machine's layout it appears there are only 4 fx...make the number of fx more obvious. Data Knob: Make it bigger (I keep jumping values too far. I also tend to bump other knobs.) Data Knob: Make the jumps in values less sensitive Data Knob: Put it on the right LED: Put it on the right with the data knob 1-8 and 9-16 keys: Shift upper row (1-8) a little more to the left (so the F# is in a more natural position.) Sure, I'll use a real keyboard if I want to play complicated grooves...but it would be nice not to get confused about the sharp keys. 4 Bar Editing: Have 4 bar editing (instead of 1 bar) like other certain groove machines in a similar price range have. Reverse Loop: Instead of reverse the loop when the reverse button is pressed, have a way to start the reverse at the end of a bar.
Even with all those desired areas for improvement, the machine does what it says it will do. That is important. I've made a purchase of a certain groove machine before where the machine specs were somewhat misrepresented, so I appreciate a machine that meets the specs it represents.
Like the writing on the side of the AN200 packaging says: "Packed with fat and dirty sounds essential for dance music." (It could be because I bought this box in Tokyo so the English is a bit different, but all in all the box does what it says its going to do and more.)
Comments About the Sounds:
There is a variety of analogue-esque sounds. There is also a fair share of digital rave pads. For musicians that like to design their own sounds, the editing software bundled with the AN200 is great...lots of virtual knobs to tweek!
Links for the yamaha AN-200
Try the yamaha links page for more..