Synth Site: Yamaha: FS-1R: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.8 out of 5
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SRS a professional user from USA writes:
An interesting, and so far so good- though I doubt it`s worth the effort to other than tweak the sounds synthesizer. The digital e.p`s are as good as they get-just top notch, as are the basses, and several of the soft pads are quite warm and welcoming as well. Well worth purchasing now that the price- I paid $325.00- has come down out of the stratosphere. Just this A.M. I sketched out a soft Brazilianish jazz piece- me playing nylon string acoustic with my mate backing with e.p. chords (the e.p. wide with the attack softened a bit, and a little formant for spice)-then a soft pad- don`t recall which- overed. A whole lot of synths sound oddly off key when layered under acoustics, but not this one. This one fit right in!(P.S.When it comes to sound, I usually don`t even consider what others have to say about instruments- personal tastes being... and etc.-so this is my first- and maybe only- posting to this site. But since this FS1R is apparently going to go away soon, it only seems right that I add my praise to this very nice little unit. If only the Yamaha designers had thought to make this thing more easily-consuming less time-programmable...

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jan-25-2000 at 21:57
Albert a professional user from Los Angeles writes:
I bought the FS1R on a lark, as Yamaha recently dropped the price substantially. I mean, who can resist a pro synth for under $400? Whether it has been discontinued or not is apparently debatable, but usually this kind of price drop is made to clear out the warehouse of inventory.

On to the synth: I am certainly glad I bought the FS1R, as it sounds absolutely gorgeous. This is FM at its best, the FS1R is a first-class synth. It does all the old FM sounds better than ever, as well as plenty of new sounds. What I mean by better than ever is that the output of the FS1R is clean and quiet, with non of the hiss that you find in most earlier FM synths. Also better are the onboard effects, which sound quite excellent, although Yamaha has gone a bit heavy with the reverb on a lot of the patches, in my opinion. That is easily fixed by a little editing of the effects.

As far as editing, most tweaks are done rather easily from the front panel. There are dedicated buttons for getting into the edit mode for Performances, Effects, and Voices. The menus are logically laid out, and I've found it fairly simple to make adjustments, particularily to the performances and effects. The four front panel rotary encoder knobs are also very handy for getting around and making quick edits. I'm talking about tweaks here, not deep editing.

For deep editing of voices and editing of Fseq's, a computer editor is preferred (required for editing Fseqs). The FS1R is one of the few synths that I believe is truly easier to edit from a computer than from the front panel, at least for the serious programming of the voices and Fseqs. I'm currently using SoundDiver with my FS1R, and have found it to work perfectly. The FS1R interacts very well with this editor.

I'm not sure that this synth suits all styles of music, but there is a wide variety of patches inside. Since it is not a sample playback machine, I think that some of the emulative patches like pianos and drums are rather weak. Strings I also found to be rather poor in terms of realism. However, there are beautiful voices, EP's to die for, great weird sounds, spectacular organs of many types, and lots of varied DX-TX type basses. All these patches sound way better than you've ever heard them if you've got a DX or TX synth or tone module. As the owner of numerous Yamaha synths and tone modules, I can say that the FS1R is the best sounding FM synth I've ever heard. I immediately pulled one of my TX802's out of the rack and replaced it with the FS1R, which incidentally will read DX/TX patches (one at a time, not in banks unfortunately). It was wonderful to be able to use those patches without fighting the usual hiss.

Another thing I notice about the FS1R: it is IN TUNE. So many sample playback machines are not really in tune, so it is very nice indeed to have a pure synthesis machine like the FS1R that is properly tuned. Makes a big difference.

Another thing I notice about playing the FS1R is how responsive and expressive it feels. I feel like I'm playing a musical instrument, like it almost plays itself.

To sum up: in my opinion the FS1R is the best FM synth Yamaha has put out to date, and is a steal at these current prices.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jan-25-2000 at 14:16
Philip aka Jupitert a hobbyist user from Dallas, TX USA aka Hell writes:
Initial impressions: incredibly spacy sounds. Crystal clear and cuts through my analogs nicely. I gave up trying to find a K5000 locally and bought this instead. The interface leaves a lot to be desired, but I'm not bitching too much for something that sounds this good at this price ($539@ I used to hate Yamaha stuff, but my this and my AN1X are changing my mind :-) Btw, comparing this and the CS6X is not even relevant. Different synths, different functions and purposes.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Jan-24-2000 at 22:29
Zyria a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I hate doing this on the SynthSite, but considering I haven't done a review yet:

MidiVantranz...of all the gear you mentioned, the only I'd take over the FS1r is the AN1x...

Anyway, this one's a truly exceptional unit. Every other sound inspires me to WRITE. Along with my K5000S, this is a true noise-makin beast! This is as good as it gets, boys...

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Jan-24-2000 at 21:13
x_bruce a professional user from USA writes:
Snagged one at Guitar Center for $365.

To thte guy who said it's not a CS6x, right, it's not. It isn't a rompler and it isn't expandable and it doesn't have a arppegiator or keyboard or samples. It is a unique and sonically complex instrument.

Too bad the FS1R didn't do better sales wise, it's just like the AN1X or Kawai K5000S, those who got one at a good price know how lucky they are. This synth is deep, it's retro, it's futuristic, it's not great at knob twiddling out of the box.

The depth of sounds here are amazing. I'm using it with a K5000S and Electribes. Right out of the box there were plenty of interesting and unique sounds. The manual sucks, I'm having midi problems right now. I can't get the synth to work without a sequencer unless I use the midi out on my K5k. I can't get it to work with using midi thru except when hooked up to a computer.

I'm sure I'll find a solution. BTW, the EA-1 can do some awesome sequening of this machine, very cool.

If you like DX7's you'll be really happy. If you like DX7's on steroids with Formant filters that are truly exceptional and give this synth a sonic character all it's own, you'll be thrilled.

If you're not ready to work don't buy this synth. It's not simple to use and it's not simple to program. The manual isn't very instructive but so far from a programming standpoint it's not as difficult as I expected. I've heard some incredible work by others done with the FS1R and I look forward to digging in.

If you liked the K5000 series, you'll like this synth. If you're looking for techno-in-a-box you probably won't like it. The sound is not dark enough for analog freaks and there's a lot of pads and odd sounds that film and soundscape artists will appreciate. If you're doing techno there's plenty here to work with but you are going to have to work getting your sound. It's there if you want to program it.

After a couple of hours programming the FS1R has convinced me there is a lot of life in this highly misunderstood synth.

This is not a good all in one synth. This IS a perfomance monster. Take it for what it is. Kind of sad that anything remotely difficult to learn and lacking in immediate gratification doesn't do well. Oh well, the better for those of us that have this synth.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Jan-24-2000 at 00:03
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