Synth Site: Yamaha: S-80: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.7 out of 5
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Tony Hawkins a part-time user from USA writes:
After shopping around, I chose the S-80 simply based on the sounds produced by this baby. I play keyboards for a contemporary Christian band, and it's all right there at your fingertips. I do appreciate much the Quick Access funtion, which can really be an asset when performing live. The piano sounds and strings are super.I am most impressed with my investment,and our music reflects its worth. If there is any drawback, it is due to the fact that you have to have some serious muscle to haul this guy around by hand. (70 lbs). If you don't already have the serious muscle, you soon will.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Jan-11-2002 at 17:35
JCB a hobbyist user from VA - USA writes:
After dropping many hints, my wife just bought me the S-80 for Xmas. I was overjoyed. She got it at Mars for $1400, but also, by opening a new charge card with Mars, got 10% off (and no payments 'til 2003 - yippee!), so it was only $1250 - seems like we got a deal compared to some other reviewers.

I'm a drummer in a very part-time band who started learning music on piano. I was looking for something to compose and jam with. I was fixed on the Korg Triton for a long time but intimidated by the price and complexity (see the recent article in Electronic Musician for a good window into how arcane things can get with the Triton). I wanted to spend more time playing than programming.

The S-80 seems to fit the bill well. I like the sounds (was doing some serious jamming with the VoodooMan Guitar last night), though some of the Performances seem to be thrown together. The drum sounds are good and there's a lot of variety, though there is a lack of consistency in having all groups of toms, timbales, etc., descend in pitch right to left.

I found the S-80 pretty easy to get up and running (though I did have a problem with the arpeggiator - the "common" referred to in the manual seems to have been replaced with only "c"). I noticed many reviewers thought the manual was terrible. I guess it's a relative thing. I found the manual far better than the one for the Roland VM3100-Pro digital mixer I bought (or the 600+ page cd-rom only manual for the Logic software that comes with the Studio Pack).

One design tip - put the pitch and modulation wheels closer to the center where they can be more easily reached.

I selected the S-80 because I primarily wanted good piano feel with a solid synth engine. The S-80 has a very good feel. However, I want to note that after playing it a bit, and putting it alongside my parent's piano, it is a wee bit on the stiff side. I did manage to address the issus a bit by setting the velocity sensitivity to "soft." The stiffness remains, but it doesn't take as much effort to produce sounds.

I find myself going back and comparing it to the Roland XV-88 which has a smoother, less stiff, feel. However, MARS is selling the XV-88 for $2500, the upper price range for this unit (I can think of some new cymbals that probably take higher priority). I think some of my problem has to do with not playing any keyboard for such a long time; drumming is good exercise for the hands and wrist, but not so much for individual fingers). I do wish the S-80 had some way to more drastically change the feel (affecting depth of key descension, for example, or key action speed/ease). However, there's an advantage of being the way it is; I feel I can really lay into it without doing any harm.

At 70 pounds, I don't think I can get away with putting it safely on a $20 stand - looks like I'll have to go with one of the more industrial, and more expensive models.

Besides running it though my Roland VM3100-Pro and on into the computer, I look forward to the day when I can buy a malletkat and run that through it, along with a good sampler and analog board. It's a fun time to be a musician!

I think I would have given the S-80 a score closer to 4.5, but between 4 and 5, 5 comes closest to reflecting my feelings and thought about this fine instrument.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Dec-29-2001 at 02:52
Nick Waring a part-time user from Melbourne, Australia writes:
This is a dam fine keyboard! I brought this keyboard about 3 months ago now, and have no regrets except maybe for having to sell my Corolla and buy a wagon!

When buying this keyboard I looked at the N1, QS8.1, RS9, etc. It was by far the best - even know it is the most expensive - it's value for money was better than any of these other boards.

I play a lot of piano, and also in a cover band which requires a versatile keyboard. I love the sounds on this board, pianos, organs, techno are all great. The brass/strings/analogue sounds sometimes leave a bit to be desired, but for me these are the sounds I use least, and you can also by the various plug-in boards which might help - don't know though, haven't tried.

I previously owned a Korg X5D, Yamaha W7 and Roland D20. All great boards, but this one is something special. The feel is awesome - far better than most of the current competition. If you are interested in this board, please mail me or check it out. Its well worth the money. Speaking of which - I paid $3200 AU.

Anyway, good luck to all you keyboard shoppers... go buy an S80!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Nov-28-2001 at 19:37
Joe Gibson a part-time user from Tennessee writes:
I play for a Gospel Group and travel around alot with my s-80.. I love the Paino Voices and have played alot of keyboards.. None compare as far as realism.. this keyboard is the one... There are several voices to choose from.. but I am a piano buff and still would love to see more. Or have some available for download. Overall.. it's the best keyboard I've played.. great realistic action on the keys.. they feel just like you are playing a real piano.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Oct-05-2001 at 00:41
nathan kaines a professional user from usa writes:
I have never really played this keyboard at wotk, ive always played the keyboards directed more for electronic music. I like the cs6x, yamaha makes some cool stuff, but i always looked at the s80 like a performance stage piano. But after playing with it, it seriously rules. Killer crisp and clean sounds, great drumkits, and the multi's are wonderful. Its no workstation, which would be nice i love the sounds, hopefully the MOtif will be somehwat familiar soundwise to the s80. But if you do need a 88 weighted key keyboard, and have a external sequencer, this is a good choice, i cant really think of bad points.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-May-25-2001 at 20:11
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