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  MU-90r At a Glance
Click for larger view arrowReleased: 1997  Specifications
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Nathan writes:
When I bought my MU90R, its main purpose was to become the backbone of my home studio. I needed a synthesizer capable of recreating sounds in an as widest as posible range, acoustic instruments as well as classic and modern synthetic sounds. Being a student at the time, it had also to be not too expensive.

The MU90R lodges an impressive ammount of 779 sounds in 8 Megabytes of ROM, which can be edited using a Low Pass Filter with resonance, a High Pass Filter, an ADR amplitude envelope, a pitch envelope, vibrato, EQ, and portamento. There are also no less than five individual effects processors as well as a global EQ under the hood. A welcome little extra are two inputs to which all five FX and EQ can be assigned. This can be very useful when monitoring or even recording for example old synthesizers with no onboard effects processors. In Multi mode the MU90R is capable of receiving data from 32 MIDI channels and playing back up to 64 voices at a time. The module responds to velocity, aftertouch and controlers can be assigned to the filters and effects.

Right after I had unwrapped this little machine, I already found it easy to operate. All functions are well-organized placed in not too confusingly large menu's. At first it didn't produce any sound, but that was because I hadn't set the 'to host' connector right (the MU90R can be directly connected to a computer, with no need for an additional MIDI interface). As I scrolled through the sounds in ROM, I found most sounds somewhat lifeless and thin, in contrast with the sometimes big and inspirational presets in Performance mode. That's when I discovered the numerous effects that can really bring the samples to life. Nowadays I'm no more speaking of 'an incredible amount of five FX processors', but now I'd rather speak of 'only five'. This machine really encourages you to play with the effects units, especially when you're also using the A/D inputs. I found the inputs very usufull to give a new dimension to my almost declared dead Kawai K1. That's only for playing live though, as I found the inputs a bit too noisy to my preference for recording purposes. Overall I think the MU90R sounds not bad at all. The piano sounds very acoustic and there are some very useful organs as well. What I especially like about this machine is that it's hard to indentify as a 'Yamaha MU90R' when creatively used in an arrangement. What i don't like is the disability to edit sounds 'from scratch'. Filters and effects can do a lot, but there's a lack of real synthesis abilities like cross modulation or sync, found on other digital synthesizers. With the MU90R, Yamaha created a very useful and versatile sample playback module. The samples in ROM are not that special, but when properly used in an arrangement or live in Performance mode, this synthesizer can sound very well. Having a unique, characteristic sound, it can be a good alternative or suplement (it's cheap, so why not?) to similar products by other brands.

Comments About the Sounds:
Played dry the sounds are nothing special, but with FX (and the MU90R has relativily a lot of them) sounds can come to life (maybe that's why Yamaha put so many FX in this machine)

(Thanks to Nathan for this info.)
and Marco for the pic

Links for the Yamaha MU-90r
 More Synth Gear  Best US prices on many current models
Best XG-Midi Site on the net Tons of XG-Midis´to download for your MU90r
The Cakewalk Pro Audio Instrument File for the Yamaha MU90R
8 pin MIDI serial cable

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