Yamaha FS1R Synthesizer

Yamaha FS1R SynthesizerIn 1983 Yamaha released their DX7 synthesiser, which featured a 100% digital sound engine. Using what Yamaha called Frequency Modulation, or FM Synthesis, The DX7 introduced sounds which had not been heard before. The synth sold so well that other companies had to release new and better synths or face the possibly cease trading. The second hand price of analogue synths plummeted as everyone sold their current keyboards so that they could buy themselves a Yamaha DX7 or one of their other FM synths. Just as people were getting bored of FM they developed AWM (a form of sample based synthesis) and produced synths combining the two methods. In 1998, eleven years after the last DX7 was produced, the Yamaha FS1R was released. A truly massive improvement upon the FM of the DX7 the FS1R could play the sounds on the DX & TX synths but with far greater clarity and definition but could take the method of synthesis way beyond the capabilities of the older synths.


More About The Yamaha FS1R
Yamaha FS1R Specifications
Notes About The Yamaha FS1R
Famous Yamaha FS1R Users
Yamaha FS1R Samples

Yamaha FS1R Demo Tunes


More About The Yamaha FS1R

FM synthesis does not use oscillators to produce sound instead it uses digital algorithms to produces sound waves called operators. The DX7 used 6 operators to produce the sounds and Yamaha produced other synths in the range, such as the FB01 which had 4 operators producing less complex timbres than 6 operators. In 1998 FM seemed to be an old technology, with digital sampling, acoustic modelling and virtual analogue were the favoured forms of synthesis. So the release of a new synthesiser from Yamaha using FM just did not seem exciting. Unfortunately, even though it used 16 operators (8 Voiced, 8 Unvoiced) and 88 algorithms together with formant synthesis to create a huge range of wonderful, and highly useful, sounds with a stunning fidelity, it did not sell well and production ceased, as far as I know, just over a year later.

So why should anybody be interested in what seemed to be nothing but a very old mongrel of a synth given a make-over? With good reason these now sell for as much as £1,000 (Jan 2013), the reasons being the rarety of the synth and the amazing unique sounds that it produces. I can safely say "unique" because it apparently has over 1,000 editable parameters (I've not counted them personally but some have said there are as many as 3,000). Unfortunately accessing all of these parameters through a small window on a single unit rackmount is a major ordeal and understanding how to understand how to program it in the first place is almost impossible.

Thankfully, these days, there are software editors available for the FS1R which go a fair distance in making this synth more accessible but even those who just use the presets will enjoy this synth as it has 1536 Voices and 512 Performances (plus 96 Formant Sequences). Two of the banks of voices are using the 8/16 operators while the other banks are well known patches from the DX7 and other synths which are well worth having due to the stunning digital to analogue convertors which produce no noise (unlike all other FM synths) see notes below.


Yamaha FS1R Specifications

  • Polyphony: 32 (using filters reduces this to 16 notes)
  • Oscillators: 16 operators, 8 pitched plus 8 unpitched and 88 algorithms
  • LFO: 2 available
  • Effects: Various: 40 insertion FX, 15 reverbs, 28 variation FX(modulation etc) plus Eq
  • Control: MIDI
  • Controllers: 4 rotary plus volume and 15 buttons + power switch
  • Outputs: 4 (2 pairs of left & right)
  • Manufactured 1998


Yamaha FS1R Notes

The digital to analogue converters on this machine are far, far superior than on any other FM machine so virtually no noise. The DX7 (and most others) were incredibly noisy so it comes as excellent news that the FS1R can read the system exclusive files of the DX7. The fact that this baby loads all of my favorite DX7 sounds means that I should be able to load the sounds from my amazing Yamaha TX802 and sell it on. Unfortunately opening DX7 files is proving to be problematic so, for the timebeing anyway, I will be holding onto the TX802 until I find the time to become more familiar with thiscomplicated beast..

There are few editors available for the FS1R Sakura is very popular but for PC only. Midiquest is available for the Mac but it is expensive if you only buy it to use with your FS1R but in the longrun it can work out rather cheap if you own a few synths as it can be used for a huge list of synths, see their site for details at http://www.squest.com/index.html


Yamaha FS1R Famous Users

The list of artists who used YamahaFM synths is immense and their distinctive sounds are particularly noticeable in music created during the 1980s. Finding users of the FS1R is virtually impossible mainly because the synth is so incredibly rare. I can see that Tom Jenkinson / Squarepusher has one in his studio and it can clearly be seen below the Roland TB303 at http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may11/articles/sqpshr.htm If you visit the page on sound on sound mag take a look at the Yamaha CS80 which is covered in a thick layer of dust, shocking when you see these on eBay for between £12,000 and £16,000 (Jan 2013).


Yamaha FS1R SAMPLE PACK (more info)

Yamaha FS1R Synthesizer  

Kontakt, EXS24 + WAV

nearly 600 Yamaha FS1R sound patches at 24-Bit resolution

PRICE: £50.99

P&P: £9.99 (UK ONLY)

TOTAL: £60.98

Please Note:

This collection is only available in Kontakt, EXS24 & Wav.

Our sample DVD collection includes 568 multisampled patches for maximum authenticity. To create the 13 DVD collection we took 51,895 individual samples.



Demo Tunes Using Our Yamaha FS1R Sample Collection:

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