World Exlcusive: Tenori-On Video Review at Sonic Labs

We take a look at Yamahas new baby      10/09/07
After only a few short days with Tenori-On, we waved it a tearful farewell as it went on to the next lucky reviewer. We hope you enjoy the review as much as we enjoyed having it to stay...
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7 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
dok whammo    Said...

hmmm - great review

made me reconsider my lust for this instrument in its current manifestation.. especially at that price

perhaps Tenori-On 2 will be a better bet

10-Sep-07 10:12 PM


Nick    Said...

Dok, I think it depends on what you are expecting from the instrument. I think given some more time with it, one could create some pretty good stuff.

I suspect that peoples expectations are high because its Yamaha and tbecause of the hype.

There is clearly a great demand for something that will give the user a new and exceptional way of creating music and Tenori-On 1 does fulfill that need - to a certain extent

11-Sep-07 01:10 AM


Peter Peck    Said...

Hi Sonicstate and thanks for your great coverage of our UK Tenori-on activities. We especially liked the "Sonic State" written in the Tenori-on LED's!

As Tenori-on is such a new and exciting product concept I think its only right just to put up some responses to the comments in the review....

Tenori-on is like nothing else seen before. It can't really be viewed with the same parameters as other instruments as its for a new way of performance and creation. We could not agree more with your comment about it not replacing your favourite workstation. You are absolutely right. If you are looking at Tenori-on to replace a new synth, tone module, DAW or even a laptop then its really not the answer. Tenori-on is very different. The world is already full of traditional hardware and Tenori-on brings us all a fresh new way of thinking. Yes, this new way is not going to be for everyone, but, from the reaction we are getting from around the world, its certainly generating unprecidented excitement from people that already have everything they need for music and are looking for a new and inspirational way forward.

A few points that may need clarification.. Construction and feel. In our opinion its not metalicised plastic. Tenori-on is made of Magnesium. A careful search around on flickr will reveal some inside factory shots showing the energy and systems used to create the special product chassis. The product is polished by robot for a painfully long time, then hand finished. The end result is a really robust metal frame designed to be truely unique.

Tenori-on is a handheld product Tenori-on means 'sound on your palm' in Japanese. When used on stage its held out vertically infront of the performer and so its logical that the cables come from the base. It was also important to keep the rear side clear of cables so that the audience can appreciate the performance too through the rear panel LEDs. In the designers opinion, cables from the top of the product would upset the visual appeal and the product balance.

Tenori-on is not a synthesizer. The world already has billions of sound generating sources. We all have incredible plugins and other synthesizer hardware for that task. The factory sounds therefore in Tenori-on are made to be different - to stand out from the crowd. Tenori-on has an interface that is extremely easy and inspirational to use and opening up more synth editing parameters would have compromised this critical and advantageous feature. Tenori-on is not a sampler. As you showed so clearly, the ability to load your own sounds via SD card does bring a new and exciting dimension to the product and we expect people to be extremely creative with this feature. (Maybe you could upload your 808 library Nick?!) Over the years we have all become used to full envelope editing on samplers etc but this is the job of the computer nowadays. Because everyone uses a computer to load their samples into Tenori-on its easy to control the individual sample volumes and timbres within your favourite audio editing application before creating a Tenori-on user voice bank. As with the point above, the priority is on ease of use and maintaining the creative flow so sample editing is deliberately not included.

The issue about moving between blocks is interesting though. The advantage of the system currently used is that its possible to instantaneously move between blocks - ie no delay, no quantize just the performer is in total control. There, I used an important word - 'performer'. This is where Tenori-on really moves things forward - as a performance instrument the visual impact on stage is simply stunning and this is an area not really covered in the review.

Its an extremely exciting time for this new instrument. How many people can say that they have become 'addicted' to a musical product before. Your comments about a time 'black hole' are completely right - its simply creatively addictive. I hope this helps clarify the concept and some of the thinking behind this new instrument. We are delighted that the world is as excited about it as we are and thanks, Sonicstate, for your comprehensive review.

All the best,

Peter Peck Marketing Manager Music Production Yamaha UK

11-Sep-07 06:55 AM


Ben    Said...

I agree with Mr Peck here. This is not a sampler or a full featured motif, and it seems a great improvisation tool. Some things that might be better: a way to load looped samples (for the "ambient" (push) layer, it would be great). By the way it's not clear if you can have more than 3 "sample banks" on the card. Ok you can load 3 only but can you have more to choose from on the card? why not use the jog to issue some CC or modulations? A "note mixer" can be cool too so as you can edit the note volume at each step. Finally a true random mode can be cool to listen to some music without touching the beast (interior mode). I mean switching voices, switching blocks, switchings voice randomly, ... a zen machine ;-)

I hope this will sell well and that we'll see it in Belgium soon.

Nice concept. Perhaps a soft version will appear on a nintendo DS. Or a light version without all the leds. I know the performance appeal is destroy but it will reduce the cost for home geeks.

Ben.

11-Sep-07 08:04 AM


Marc JX8P    Said...

I love the review... Especially the loop creation for drums seems very intuitive and fun to do. Defenitely a product that I'll be watching.

14-Sep-07 03:53 AM


Ian Copeland    Said...

Very balanced review - unlike many that read like a press release. While it's an intriguing approach all the music I have heard from Tenori-On sound like Nobukazu Takemura SCOPE and HOSHI NO KOE. While the blinking lights are pretty the style of music Tenori-On generates is so easily created with other more modestly priced instruments and software.

07-Oct-07 10:04 AM


tm    Said...

As an owner of the Tenoti-on heres my take on it. The`audio output is in the wong place - sorry I've read the review from Yamaha, but it is. Not having velocity control on the note inputs is unforgiveable aswell. The lights are very dynamic, but the notes are not. Why? I thought this was visuals to enchance music, but sometimes I think it's the other way round. That aside I do love this machine. Simple to write music and music that you wouldn't normally produce. Sounds can be a bit plinky plonky, but once you load in your sounds(usually drum) the Tenori-on really comes alive. Still not sure if I've wasted £599 or bought a fantastic piece of kit - only time will tell. Lets hope Roland and Korg are listening and produce something fantasic and portable like this.

11-Nov-07 11:03 AM


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