Synth Site: Yamaha: QY-70: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5
page 2 of 5:   <<<  1  2  3  4  5  >>>
the Whiz a part-time user writes:
The QY70 is an ideal portable sketchpad (similar to the Roland PMA5), and is also a great way to record sequences without having to fire up a computer and set things up. The interface is fairly easy to use, and the manual (available from for those who get theirs secondhand) is also well laid out.

I used this instead of a computer editor for years, combined with a Yamaha MJC8 to split the MIDI for different chains (to avoid delays from having long chains). I used it much with a Yamaha GC10 MIDI guitar and with a Yamaha WX7 wind controller. With the constant streams of CC's from both controllers, I usually only got three songs total into memory, but loaded more once I stripped down the total CC's in a song with the QY70's onboard functions to something more manageable, fitting 5 songs total.

The total number of onboard tracks is where the QY70 gave it a clear advantage over the PMA5, at least in my case, as the PMA5 didn't have enough tracks to record the guitar parts as 6 individual tracks, let alone adding even 1 wind controller track.

This unit was released a bit after the Roland PMA5, the other great handheld sequencer/sketchpad, and both have their strengths and weaknesses. Both have intelligent arrangers. The Roland has better patterns, IMO, and the instruments sound better (I believe they are the same as the SC55). I found that both the QY70 and the PMA5 had similar battery life. From here, though, a straight comparison of the specs will show the advantages of the QY70.

Total sequencer tracks: <br> PMA5, 8 (4 melody, 4 backing); QY70, 24 (16 melody, 8 backing)<br> Sequencer note/event memory:<br> PMA5 - 22,000; QY70 - 32,000<br> Preset patterns:<br> PMA5 - 600; QY-70 - 768<br> Onboard tone polyphony:<br> PMA5 - 28; QY70 - 32<br>

This is not necessarily a great live sequencer, not because of any problems in the unit itself, but because of the desire of some to be able to chain things live, or to loop certain parts on demand. However, it is great for basic sequencing, not merely for use as a notepad.


Although the onboard sounds can all be tweaked through menus, they can also be changed easily in real time by devices such as the Keyfax Phat-Boy, which really changed my view of the onboard sounds' usability. It provides an analog paradigm with knobs for ADSR, filter cutoff and resonance, and LFO control. Devices such as these make it extremely usable as a better sound module, IMO.


As I don't use the onboard sounds as much when using it as a sequencer, I haven't run often run into the problem about which others complain, that of a slight hesitation when changing patterns. However, having experimented with it, I know that it arises from the changing of voices when going from one pattern to another, as the sequencer sends a change message and the tone generator then resets the voices to the new pattern. (Most synthesizers experience a delay when changing from one patch to another, and the delay is typically lengthier when things like effects and such also change.) This can happen even if one is in the same pattern but resends the pattern name. **If staying in one pattern, one can remove the "change pattern" message from the sequencer, and avoid the change and subsequent delay.** If using outboard sound modules (as I typically do) the issue never arises.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Oct-30-2003 at 14:44
DJ Robotomizer a part-time user from USA writes:
I bought one of these used and I've been chained to it ever since! Seriously, you can do a lot of killer stuff with the QY70. I'm using it to produce electronic music, as a stand-alone instrument/studio. The list of voices and patterns is immense... you'll lose sleep listening to them all! Some are fantastic, others suck ass... but it's worth it when you find just the right sound, or find a backing track that's perfect for a song you've been working on that needed an extra touch.

My only complaint, other than the tiny unlit LCD display, is the small number of available song parts in the Pattern mode. You only get six sections! Personally, I like a little more variety than that. I compensate by using two user patterns for one song, using the + and - buttons to change from one to the other. It's as easy as playing video games. One final nit-pick: it would have been nice if there were extra memory banks for samples, but then again, that's like asking for the moon!

If you're trying to get into electronic music, but you're intimidated by all the equipment you need, just buy one of these. It's a drum machine, keyboard, sequencer, mixer, and effects module all in one. And you can carry it anywhere! It's really all you need to get started.

Do yourself a favor, though, and buy an AC adaptor for it. I spent twenty bucks on batteries in one weekend! If you have access to a Yamaha dealer, go in and ask for the PA-3B AC adaptor. It's a standard part. Otherwise, just go to Radio Shack and they'll hook you up. Ask for a 12-volt, 700-plus milli-Amp AC adaptor with a positive tip. You may need to bring the QY70 with you to get the right connector. While you're there, pick up a couple of Y adaptors. I have a 1/8" to RCA stereo jacks, and a 1/8" to double 1/4" plugs. That ought to connect you with just about any piece of recording equipment or stereo component.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-Mar-02-2002 at 17:02
Adam a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I've owned the QY70 for about eight months now, what an AWESOME tool it is. I'm a music major in college, and I bring this little box to school with me almost everyday and noodle around with it. At home, it serves as a sound module with my DJX and FB01 and my Soundblaster Live! card. Some of the sounds are very nice, even with only 4 megs of ROM. As with most Yamaha low end tone generators, the 32 note polyphony is low, but then Yammies are generally less expensive. The serial port interface is definitely one of the best features; it means I don't have to share the sound card's joystick port with the DJX/FB01 and QY. (I use a Nexus 2x8 MIDI merger box BTW) The Data Filer software is very usefull seeing as how the QY has no long term storage, and using the QY in conjuction with Yamaha XG Gold editing software turns it into a pretty nice 'tweakbox'. I'm thinking about creating a Cakewalk Studioware panel for this thing, although I need to research that more. Download Hubi's MIDI Loopback driver and you can use XG Gold along with a sequencer for realtime editing. The only things I really don't like are the lil' squishy keys and the non-backlit display, but both would increase the size, weight and PRICE of the unit so I'll continue using the DJX or my SHS10 as a controller. Batteries: Try those new Energizer E2 alkaline, or better E2 Lithium. Those lithiums lasted me all damn summer; they're pricey but worth it. Believe me I've tried everything, and those kick ass. This thing is like a PSR 730/740 in a little box, for about half the price, maybe less; I only paid 300 clams (new-clearance) for mine. QY100 had just come out. Great effort by Yamaha!!! (again) DJX makes great controller for this thing because of XG compatible features like the voice editing parameters on the DJX, read my reviews of the DJX for more info.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Nov-15-2001 at 09:18
Danila Schwartz a hobbyist user from US writes:
This machine has high-quality sounds and effects. I had a chance to hear it by ordering the album, "City Lights" by Gerry Aire. He created this set of songs using only the QY70 for all of the music. The album is available at his web site: Traffic Lite Records

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-May-20-2001 at 15:28
Rene Sell a part-time user from Amsterdam, the Netherlands writes:
Great little machine! So many possibilities to construct music; it takes some study to understand what you can do with it. Inspiring!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Feb-25-2001 at 20:29
page 2 of 5:   <<<  1  2  3  4  5  >>>