Synth Site: Yamaha: S-80: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.7 out of 5
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Reinard van Loo a hobbyist user from Austria writes:
Overall, I'm very impressed by the S80; considered for what I've bought it.

Plus points: - Live usage: Somehow transportable (24 Kg); all in one package; Masterkeyboard functionality. Appergiator is (almost) useless live... (try syncing the band to the appergiator or vice versa...) Audio input is great! Build in MIDI file player also handy (buy the SmartMedia card!)

- Sound: I use it in combination with a JV1080. I planned to buy the 'Keyboards of the 60s and 70s' PCM expansion board; because I'm into Funk/Soul and stuff. The Hammond and Rhodes sounds of the S80, however, are superb; don't need that board anymore! The Piano sound is good for comping, not for soloing or ballads. Pianosound has the same problem as the P50m (not the same samples though!): The attack sounds really great, but the sustain is just plain DEAD, short looped. Only exception is the Dark Grand sound, but this one is rather dull sounding. My Kurzweil Micro Piano has a better Piano sound... Instead of the JV-PCM card, I'm looking for a good piano sound... Session card perhaps? GEM Realpiano module?

Other sounds are -for me- a great bonus; all good enough quality (good: Pipeorgan, synth, pads, strings, bass. Not that good: Ac. Guitars. Here my JV1080 wins) All sounds respond very well to dynamics, real fun to play! (Which is making music all about, I think...) I must say, that the S80 responds even better to a dynamic playing style than the JV1080; which I've always ranked as the most responsive to dynamics in playing... musically speaking that is.

- Keyboard: one word: SUPER. I started at the Piano, and now, finally after years of wasting my fingers on an Akai MX76 Masterkeyboard, piano feel again... Not as heavy as the real thing; but--- home again! and 88 keys...

- Price/performance: Extremely good! That's why I've bought it, and more: other synths in same price range are dull sounding to me, do not offer 88 Piano Keys and masterkeyboard functionality, no MIDI file player... Can't be beaten...

Minus points: - Manual... - Minor User Interface complaints: I'm a UI designer, and recognized that they've cut corners... Too much functionality, too little UI to master it. With the limited resources (keys, display etc.) they've done a fine thing, but not quite realy thought trough... For instance: 1) After switching the unit on, the MIDI file player does not recognise MIDI files on the SmartMedia card; unless you have once looked at the contents of the card in 'Card' mode... Update please? (By the way, I use the player for practising purposes) 2) Why is the first screen in Sequencer mode alwas the DEMO sequense page, not the MIDI file play page? 3) In perfomance mode you can quickle change some parameters (panning, midichannel etc.) BUT NOT THE VOICES... For that you have to go into Edit mode... Cumbersome. Roland has done a far better jon on these points... 4) The Search mode is not quite intuitive in use... Switching between searching inside a bank and between banks is not transparent. 5) editing with the help of the knobs could be great IF those knobs were endless knobs. The knobs are, however, non-endless Potentiometers; value changes are abrupt.... could be better. 6) related problem: to select a parameter to edit you OR move the corresponding controlknob OR use a combination of [shift]+Page knob. Both are cumbersome... the [shift] method is cumbesome, the knob method also changes the parameter, and all too often you do not remember from which value you came from... 7) in Voice mode, there is a 'quick access' to the Midi channel transmitted on. The same screen shows the octave transposition which CANNOT be changed there...

- Piano sound... Attack is really, really great Cuts through in a band, but the sustain phase makes is useless for soloplaying or ballads... just not convincing enough to me.

But in all, BUY IT! (If you've got the money)

---Reinard

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jun-21-2000 at 08:38
Dennis a professional user from Kingston, Jamaica writes:
As far as I am concerned this is the best keyboard around all things concerned. Price, Weight and FEEL! I actually prefer the feel of the Roland A90 but I cannot lift it up for gigs. I sold my Kurzweil PC 88 (which I now know was overpriced) to buy this board. I have no regrets. As a matter of fact I am thinking of getting myself a Yamaha P80 now for the small gigs. (Incidentally I am told it has the same paino sounds built into it.)

To be true I love the pianos, rhodes, guitars and some of the strings and brass - I think everything else is a little crappy but I stack it with with a Korg Trinity and I can perform anything.

At $1600 this is the way to go right now. WARNING: THE MANUAL IS NO GOOD. I would've been willing to pay a little more if it had an onboard sequencer.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jun-01-2000 at 14:12
Jorge a professional user from Portugal writes:
I would like to first comment on those who compare the Korg N1 with the S-80. My oppinion is there is no comparation possible betwen them, people have the lousy habit of comparing price tags, let me tell you i don't give a damn (not to say another word, but i don't want to be rude) about price tags, thats not by far a way to compare synths. I don't know wich is the most expensive but the s80 beats most 88 key synths on the market today by faaaaaar. I cant comment on the roland xv-88 becouse i haven't tried it yet but for me who the main interest is the 'playing sounds' (live musician), a. pianos, e. pianos, pads, strings etc, and not techno and dance crap like wierd stuff basses etc. And in that area the s80 IS the best synth out there, never heard better rhodes, wurlies and dx ep's, the main piano is fantastic for live playing, cuts throw perfectly. For me and my taste the n1 is a piece of crap, and i meen sounds AND keyboard, I HATE korg's 88 keys no matter wich one, of course korg's top of the line synths keys are the best i've played (m1,t3,o1wfd). The n1 has tons of sounds but lacks sound quality, and for me that's what's important on a synth, i prefer to have 100 or 200 good samples and good and usable 100 or 200 presets, than having 2000 crapy, over compresed, poorly sampled samples. The s80 has excelent samples, and exelent prestes out of the box, and if you go deep into programing, man what a machine!!!!! One more thing and very important (at lest for synth sounds) the s80 has exelent multi ressonant filters, the n1 has none.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-May-19-2000 at 08:39
Todd Phipps a part-time user from USA writes:
This is an amazing box for the money. The Rhodes sounds rank as the best I've ever heard from a synthesizer. The acoustic piano is good, although the middle register has some obvious loopiness to it. Still, it's very usable. There are good strings and pads, and very nice synth sounds as well. Unlike the Korg N1 and Alesis QS8.1, the S80 has resonant filters - something I had to have. The Alesis is more flexible in the controller department, but lacks an arpeggiator. The Korg uses the dated AI2 synth engine, which lacks treble bite compared to the Yamaha and Alesis. The Korg has some very nice Rhodes in it, but isn't as solid as the S80 and uses a line-lump power supply. The S80 has a standard IEC 3-prong power cord - something that even the new Roland XV-88 doesn't have. (Why Roland insists on hardwiring AC cables to their supposedly pro synths is way beyond me, although my VK-7 organ has an IEC cord. Go figure.)

I got my S80 at Guitar Center for $1599, which seems to be the going rate. It's a killer board for the money. For price/performance, Yamaha has come up with the 'board to beat, IMHO. I highly recommend you give this puppy a listen. However, if you need more than 4 transmission zones, the QS8.1 is your machine if you want to stay under $1600.

Happy music-making,

TP

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-May-13-2000 at 10:09
A a hobbyist user from USA writes:
Excellent for the money, especially if you're partial to pianos (88 keys). I've recently looked a lot at the Korg N1, the Alesis Q8, so I'll throw in some comparisons. You'll pay about 200~300 more for the S80 vs the N1. (Played a Roland 600 a while back, and it seemed nice. Cant rember all the details on it. Dont think it has the number of sounds the S80 has.)

Sounds: S80 a lot of sounds, but not as many as Korg N1. I think the S80 piano sound is a little bit better than N1. Drum sounds are good, but again not nearly the amount of sounds the N1 has. All the main sounds like strings, horns, etc., are really good to decent, with maybe a few exceptions. Does have a lot of additional unconventional sounds too.

Keys: Really nice keys and feel. Don't think you can get much better. Korg has nice keys too, I think yamaha makes N1's keys. For a pianist, I think the Alesis keys have poor feel--this is main reason I won't be buying an Alesis.

S80 also 1) has smart media slot (you have to buy the card) so you can download midi files and playback sequences (it doesn't have a sequencer so you have to load via computer or something; you cannot input sequences straight from the keyboard), 2) expansion slots for future synth modules/sounds, 3) auxilary input for mic or guitar (1/4") and you can manipulate effects (reverb, chorus, etc.), 4) has drum arpeggio which lets you do some basic drum beats.

If the extra features sound useful to you, get the Yamaha. If you want a mass of sounds and features aren't as important, get the Korg N1.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-May-13-2000 at 00:44
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