Synth Site: Yamaha: RS-7000: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.6 out of 5
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synthe.labo a part-time user from IT writes:
incredible machine i sold most of my last gear and now use this with a Nord Modular, ES-1 and other synth. you can really do what you want with this unit, every type of sampling, separate EQ over each track,... don't really understand the ones who says it's overpriced or crap...have you tried it or you'r just drunk?

ciao

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Jan-11-2002 at 16:51
Peter de Man a professional user writes:
I also start with the track-eq. I use the master-EQ when the style is finished. Just to give it a little extra. And that little extra can mean the difference between just looking crowd or a going mad crowd.

But the problem was that i couldn't give each style the little extra i wanted, because what is good for my style-1 was bad for style-2. So thats why i was so determined to save these settings INSIDE the style.

But the solution i came up with provides even more power, I realized!!! Now we can laydown a complete master EQ+FX score for a style. like... in the bridge i want the compressor to take it eaeaeasy, so it doesn't flatten the subtile music,...and then when the beat kicks in the compressor automaticly kicks back in again with preprogrammed settings, and makes the music go BOOM in the face of the crowd...

(this is just an example what it could do)

So it can do very much for your music when used in a profesional way. But if my solution is used the wrong way...the final result gets only worse. So the solution gives you the POWER to make the song/style better, but also the POWER to messup bigtime. It's up to us the RS7000 users what we do with it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jan-10-2002 at 12:29
faithmass7 a professional user from UK writes:
My goodness. This shouldn't be legal... the Yamaha RS7000!!!

Lets say you have 5 drum loops that comprise your song. If you wanted to change the speed of the loops you can pitch them, recycle them, acidize them, whatever.

Normally the best way to do it is recycle/wavesurgeon/hand cutting your breaks up.

Well I do this with Wavesurgeon and it works very well.

In using my RS7000 I finally got around to using its built in 'Recycle' feature and HOLY CRAP its stinkin fast and amazing.

You simply select the loop you want to chop, dial in a few settings to see how you like it and it chops it for you, generates midi, *and* assigns it to a track for you so you can instantly start using the loop in your tune.

Fast fast fast!

Apparently the Yamaha not only breaks it up into the individual hits, but records up to 50% of the wave after or reverses it or something so was able to take a 130 loop from 90 to 190 or more without any gapping or weirdness.

I knew it had this feature but when you can do it that quickly and in such a usable fashion... wow!

Ok next up the midi capabilities of the RS7000...

After using Cakewalk from version 3.0 up to Sonar, I am very familiar with midi applications and using them.

I *never* thought I would be saying this but the hardware sequencer on the RS7000 is more capable and faster to use (in most respects) to sonar or Cubase or any midi sequencer. What's more each midi part gets stored off into little 'phrases' that you can use with any sound set.

Amazing.

The groove feature is also nice. You can just (for instance) record in your 16th note high hats straight quantized at a velocity of 100.

Then by pushing a few keys (ala Roland 909 programming) you tell each time part (beat 1, beat 2, 16ths etc) if you want it to happen early or late or if you want different velocities on different parts or to pitch down on the second beat for some snare variation etc.

It really shines in how quickly you can get it done with the 909 style sequencing.

You can also use midi delay, time compress/expand (of midi), velocity, swing, time offset and more non destructively and with real knobs to twist to get it done!

Whew...

So what about the user interface?

This is one of those things you don't think about until you want to try live stuff out. I sure didn't but the Yamaha folks did.

First off, the only real stuff out there that you can play live with is hardware sequencers. I suppose you could do it soft but either way most folks end up using a Roland groove product or an Akai mpc triggering their synths.

Well Yamaha took the best from both of those units.

The unit is divided up into 16 tracks and each track can trigger the internal sampler, an external midi kit, or the internal tone generator. Lets just ignore the internal tone generator because it's pretty much a 'groove toy'. I would say if you are happy with the sound of the cs1x, then go ahead and use it. The major, major exception is the drums (more on that later).

So if look at the layout, you can mute and unmute each of the 16 tracks by a simple button press. If you need to mute or unmute more than you have fingers or care to try live, there are 5 mute memories so you can push one button to the same effect.

The sequencer works on the idea of songs being made up of sections... intro, chorus, verse, chorus so you get 16 sections, 9 of which are right on the panel with dedicated buttons.

So at this point, while live you have the opportunity to mute/unmute tracks and jump to various sections.

Each section can hold different things... for instance track 9 might be one sample-based track in one section but a variation in another. There are no rules, you get to load the 16 tracks with whatever samples and midi you like.

So lets look at a track... what can you do with a track? Unlike the Roland, which has tons of knobs but only for the internal engine, the Yamaha has tons of knobs which work on the sampler as well (which in my mind puts it light-years above the Akai mpc line)

So lets get some drums filtering, ala disco house or something. You could sit there an run the filter up and down, but if you are busy playing instruments, you might want to just set the filter to LFO.... :-) each track gets an LFO for volume, pitch and filter. You get all the usual LFO shapes as well as a user LFO that you can draw in anyway you like.

Sometimes one track at a time isn't enough. What if you want to filter all your drums out but leave the synths playing for some kind of live breakdown?

Yamaha recommends (at least in their demo songs) putting only rhythm on tracks 1-8 and music/basses etc on tracks 9-16. The more I use the instrument this way, the more I like it.

If you do this you can select the first half, second half or even all the tracks and do filter sweeps!!!! It sounds very cool.

Ok what happens if you get to fiddling and twisting those knobs so much that you have an unrecognizable boring song? Well you also have 'scene' memories that function like the mute memories except you recall every single knob position. So if you twist yourself into a corner, jump back up with these scenes and get the floor hopping.

Dedicated knobs for the effects means you could do something like break a track down to acapella and then run the delay up to feedback and then back off quickly and jump back into the track or something.

Knobs are wonderful! :-)

The RS7000 also has a large display... its the same one found in the Yamaha O1V if you are familiar with that.

All the menus you would use while making a song (versus playing it live) are simple and become second nature after playing with the unit a very small time. You won't even think about what you are doing, it will just happen. Its laid out that well!

So what about the effects and stuff?

Well each of the 16 tracks has its own EQ. this can be configured as 2 band parametric or simpler high/low types etc. The sound quality is great and probably stolen again from the Yamaha O1V mixer.

The effects are absolutely brilliant and come with the unit (unlike the mpc line, which has a $500 upgrade for effects, or the Rolands which have poor effects onboard IMHO)

The effects are the same ones that come in the a4000/5000 samplers and you get 3 units to play with. One is always for reverb; another is always for delays (midi synced of course if you like) and chorus/flanger effects. The third effects unit is freely assignable and has everything from insane to the already mentioned reverbs/delays.

There is a master effects unit as well. This one is strapped on the master stereo outs right before a very tasty 4 band parametric EQ (again snagged from the Yamaha O1V)

These master effects are eight different effects (also available in the other unit) that you can tweak on the fly and punch in and out with a button. Also you can assign any of the parameters of the effect to 4 knobs, which makes for great DJ happy fun time.

As an example: let your break play and then the last beat punch in the lo-fi effect, then come back out of it on the next beat.

Or with an acapella, you could use the BPM synced 'slicer' function to trance up the whole mix on the fly.

The multiband compressor is also available, and I suspect many people will leave this in the entire time, as it is pretty much like running your stuff thru a volume maximizer found in software. No need for outboard finalizers and such if you don't want them. I found the quality of this compressor to behave very well when you leave the various bands at a setting of zero. It favorably compares to the waves c4 preset called 'opto mastering' if you leave it flat. When you start boosting the low mid and high parameters you end up getting a more nasty 'sounds like its on radio' sound (which can be good or bad but can certainly be overdone)

Filters are also important. As a former Akai owner, I have to say that as much as I love Akai filters, I love the filters on the Yamaha samplers more. You get the usual compliment low pass (24/18/12), band pass, high pass, notch and of course you can switch it right form a button on the front panel, no menus :-) cutoff, envelope, and resonance knobs are dedicated as well. With the EQ, effects, filters, and multi compressor, there is no reason someone cannot get an insanely pro level mix off this unit. All of the effects are equal to or better than the waves range of plug-ins, with the exception of the reverbs (which are still nice). So tweak away!

What about sampling?

Well of course I already touched on the beat-chopping facilities available on the RS7000...

With the Yamaha O1V sized display, all the usual features needed in sampling are readily available. You can normalize, change bit-rates, convert stereo to mono, set loop points etc in a very quick fashion.

You can assign samples to individual keys in a drum kit mode, or you can use a single sample and have it play pitched. The RS7000 will generate the midi for you if you just want a loop to loop or if you slice out a loop in the 'recycle' feature.

When the manual said 256 samples total in memory at one time, I became concerned. Well after reading some of the newsgroups (the best one is http://www.rs7k.org ) I found out you get 256 sample *voices*... so a drum kit with 32 stereo voices (the max number, or 64 mono if you like) counts as one voice.

You can of course digitally resample anything you do in the box to free up effects units or bounce tracks.

The inputs are 20-bit a/d and the outputs are 24-bit d/a so it sounds very clean and accurate when you grab external sources.

One weird quirk is that while you have 256 sample voice slots, it is divided into 'common' slots (128) and song slots (128 as well)

If you put sample kits and sounds in the common area, you can use them in any song. If you put them in the song slots, they are only available for that song.

Overall, the RS7000 is a quick and effective sampler with great editing functions and a full size display. Not as fast as Soundforge or Wavelab, but not bad at all for a hardware unit, one of the nicest I have seen in fact.

Odds and ends...

As I mentioned previously, the onboard synth engine is mediocre and compares well to the cs1x synths. Don't use it if you have other gear that sounds better. In addition, if you use the internal synth a lot, you may have awkward pauses in-between songs instead of a rock solid beat. This is not the case of course with the internal sampler and any external gear you use (apparently someone Yamaha did some magic so the sampler wouldn't burp)

The drums are another story! Wow. As an owner of Dance Mega Drums 2 (the best drum hit cd I have heard) I think that all of the drum samples in this thing are very good. Just about all the staple drum boxes are well represented as well as tons of off the record breaks chopped up and sound effects. This is not the same sample set as on the rm1x.... nice, nice drums.

The unit has built in SCSI but as a matter of preference I like using the built in smartmedia reader... basically buy some smartmedia disks and a usb smart media reader for your pc and you are set to go. Transfer samples, back up your sets/songs, have a blast. You can even export internal format samples back to wave for use in the computer again. It's a very nice replacement for the floppies and zip drives.

When you use only the smart media instead of the SCSI, you actually have a sampler with NO MOVING PARTS.... no floppies, no hard drives, nothing to wear out and break down except of course for the knobs, which are exceptionally sturdy and should stand the test of time. The build of the box in general feels very solid.

You can run external gear thru the inputs of the RS7000 as well... so if you only had one synth and the RS7000 you wouldn't necessarily need a mixer... just run it thru the delays and multiband compressor on the RS7000 and feed the stereo outs to the house PA.

Speaking of the stereo outs, I think that this unit has a nice fat low end and very warm highs. I like the sound of the outputs so much that I won't even bother buying the optional output expander (6 outs, spdif, optical) because I want to record the sound of the outs when I make my final mix downs in Soundforge... they really do sound great, better even than the a4000/5000 series and it has better converters (to my ears) than the Yamaha O1V desks have.

You also get a headphone jack and foot pedal switch which can jump thru parts, tracks etc.

I never really mentioned how you play in your beats/tunes to the sequencer. Basically you have the Roland style option of playing the mute/section buttons like a piano, or the grid mode (like a 909 or Fruityloops where you click on LED's to make the note sound), or you can use the two velocity sensitive pads ala Akai mpc samplers... the best of both worlds really.

All of this is coming from a guy who loves his Sonar, Reaktor, Battery, Waves plug-ins and, well you get the idea :-)

I never thought I would find a single hardware unit that would meet my needs for studio composing and live work, but I have! At the end of my usual day sitting in front of a computer, it's nice to not look at a screen any longer. I obviously will still use the snot out of Reaktor, my plug-ins and Battery but when it comes time to arrange I think I will turn the computer off from now on.

These random RS7000 thoughts brought to you by Jamey Wright who produces progressive house and breaks under several different names.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Jan-07-2002 at 03:59
faithmass7 a professional user from United Kingdom writes:
well i did some a/b tests against my waves c4 (arguably the top plug > in available for multi comp) > > if you run the preset called 'opto mastering' it sounds very close to > the multi comp set to 'full bit' will all the bands at 0 and the > threshold at 0. i would say the yamaha is a *tiny* bit harsher but it > sounds for the most part, the same. > > when you start pushing the numbers up on the bands +1 +2 +3 etc is > when it starts sounding a bit worse. normally when you turn the bands > up you would throw down the threshold (-1, -4 whatever) this starts > to sound not as good as the pro multicomps... it actually sounds more > like multi-comp plus limiting at that point, like you had driven the > L1 maximizer too hard or something. > > overall, if you want a decent sound, get your mix right in the first > place... never turn on the multi comp EVER while doing your mixdown... > > go in and do your volumes and eq and get everything as loud as > possible, THEN throw in the multicomp and if you use it, only use > the 'full bit' and only push up any band by the smallest amounts if > it needs gain. you are probably better off leaving the gains and > thresholds at zero and using the 4 band para eq for shaping the > overall bass/treble/mid mix. don't overdo it either :-) > > so anyway, overall judgement i like the multi comp when used straight > but if you push it above 1-2 on any band it starts > sounding 'overcompressed' in a radio kind of way. > > to each their own of course, but this is how i will use it when > live... > > oh yah, when recording, TURN THAT THING OFF!!!! don't use it at all- > the mastering house needs to have it uncompressed or if you master it > yourself, the software (soundforge, waves, etc) will do a smoother > less distorted job and get you more volume.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Jan-05-2002 at 08:51
megons a professional user from USA writes:
the rs7000 has a nice personality - although the digital outputs downsample to 16/44KHz, everything is processed internally at 24 bits. consequently, this is the nicest sounding machine that yamaha has ever made in terms of sound quality and dynamics.

each "song" (or "pattern" as yamaha calls it) has 16 tracks which all have their own 2-band/parametric eq. nice! the filters are the best i've heard out of any yamaha product, even better than the fs1r's. it has 3 fx blocks plus one global fx processor. the fx are very competent, but more importantly, yamaha have finally included multi-band compressors. for the first time (in my opinion), you can make an entire track from start to finish with one box.

the sequencer is just like the one on the rm1x - 16 sections per song, and 16 tracks per section. you can mute/unmute each track and switch sections on the fly, making this an amazingly intuitive compositional tool, especially well-suited to live use. one big complaint that others have is that you can't switch between record and play modes on the fly. this may or may not be a problem depending on how you make music. each song also has 5 mute memories and 5 scene memories. the mute memories recall different track-mutes while the scene memories can recall various settings for all 16 tracks at once, such as midi-delay, lfo's, adsr's, fx, transposition, etc. so you can go crazy tweaking all of the knobs, then hit scene recall and be instantly back to where you started. nice! also, you can record your mutes in the pattern-chain mode.

sample management is a bit quirky. this is not a full-blown sampler so you can't have multi-sample layering or velocity crossfades. furthermore, individual samples within a kit cannot have their own eq/filter settings - only the entire kit. but seeing as yamaha encourages you to put only one element per track, eg. kicks on track 1, hi-hats on track 2, bass sounds on track 3, this isn't necessarily a problem since each track has filters, eq's, lfo's, fx, etc.

each sample kit can be a single sample pitched over 127 notes, or up to 127 separate non-pitched samples. the samples are divided into 127 local kits and 127 common kits. each song can access a total of 256 different sample kits, half of which are song specific (local kits) and the other half which are available to all songs (common kits). so you can have a total of 65536 (256 x 256) samples per song. you probably run into the 64mb memory limit long before using up all the sample slots ;)

what this means is that you put your often-used sample kits, ie 808, 909, strings, basses, etc. in the common sample kit bank, while the song-specific vocals and sound effects go in the local kit bank of each song. the rs7000 treats samples as part of a song - so when you save a song, it automatically saves the local kits and the common kits with it (if used in that song).

the most interesting feature of the rs7000 is the ability to take a sample loop and automatically cut it up and create a corresponding midi sequence that plays back the cut-up samples so it sounds like the original loop, much like Recycle. you can then change the tempo and have the loop stay in time without using a time-stretching effect. you can also remix the sample loops on the fly!!! when you go into the remix menu (while the rs7000 is playing), you can choose how it will cut up and rearrange a sequence, hit create, then you get an instant variation. this feature also works with regular midi sequences.

based on my experience, i would argue that there are no serious bugs in the OS and that the rs7000 is a stable and powerul product.

the bottom line is whether or not the rs7000 interface speaks to you.

michel

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jan-03-2002 at 13:55
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