Synth Site: Yamaha: SY-85 Workstation: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.6 out of 5
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Jorge a hobbyist user from Portugal / Porto writes:
This Workstation/Synth is amazing!!! A great set o Sampled WaveROM with lots of effects to shape superb patches. Also a lot of public domain sounds make this synth very appealing!! A must buy!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Mar-12-2003 at 10:21
chuckiev a hobbyist user from usa writes:
The best sounding and easiest to use yamaha PCM'er next to the EX5. The resonant lowpass is about as close to a real analog filter yer gonna get in a rompler, pushing up the res cuts out bass but at about 80% it begins to self oscillate in mixture with the sound for weird whisley tones =D The internal pcm samples are a bit crummy and grungy in a low fi way but you can fix most of that with your own samples and the killer multi-fx section. Construction is solid though it's solid black plastic, it takes a beating. Just too bad there arent sample inputs or that the patch save doesn't remember the 8 slider macros when you save =/ Other than that if you can find one cheap go for it =]

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jan-07-2003 at 23:55
Saul Hudson a hobbyist user from UK writes:
Well haven't had my SY long. Always wanted one but somehow it didn't happen. Picked mine up recently for £290 incl cards + patches.

I have had a whole range of keyboards over the last 20 years and have to say the SY85 is the only one i would never part with! The keyboard action is just feels..right! Aftertouch is controllable.

Sounds are rich and lush and although some are obviously is a ten year old synth! most are still very usable straight off.

The sequencer...although some have said it's a bit fiddly, i have found fairly straightforward and certainly a quantum leap over my previous Ensoniq SQ1+. The addition of the 100 preset drum patterns is a nice touch to get you up and running fast.

Only two things i would like to change. The floppy drive from a DD to a 1.44mb HD...if that can be done please let me know! :-) And the memory..the non-volatile strips seem hard to come by and are still relativly expensive. Although of course you can use standard sims...dirt cheap these days and probably free if you can find an old PC laying around.

So all in all...definitly the best synth i have owned and i shant be parting with it.

If anyone want's to know more....if your looking for a permanent source of resources, manuals, patches etc just drop by the "Yamaha SY Forums" at We cover the whole SY/TG range. Cya there.

atb Saul

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Nov-04-2002 at 07:18
Rob Wix a part-time user from Brecon, Wales writes:
The SY85 is a brill and versatile bit of kit. My own SY85 has been gigged, dropped, soaked with orange juice, champagne, cider and now forms the heart and soul of my studio set-up. Theres just one thing - how on earth do you stop Cubase telling it to read the PCM card during MIDI playback???

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Oct-24-2002 at 18:41
KEK a professional user from Canada writes:
I've been the owner of a pair of 85s since '93. I'm also the owner of a pair of SY99s and a pair of EX7s. All the synths are gigging all the time, live and studio applications. I can honestly state that the ONLY worthy successor to the 85 is the EX7, (excepting the sequencer portion!) That being said, if I could only choose a single synth, with which to spend the rest of my days, and which would continue to feed and clothe me, the choice would be the Yamaha SY85.

I expected to have unloaded my 85s long before today, but the user-friendliness of these synths have ensured their rightful place amongst my most valued gear. While many manufacturer's claim their products are continually updateable, few in actual fact are ever supported beyond their retail shelf life. The onus is on the owner to explore the potential of their instruments and then to exploit that potential to the max. I'd recommend the sample memory upgrades for any 85 user. It'll prolong the synth's life for an indefinite period by allowing you to keep the most current wave forms available to you.

As a work station, it has few peers; as a live performance instrument, it has no equal. I perform, as a "side man" in all musical styles, classical excepted, and this synth produces the right sounds EVERY time. For amusement, I often apply a strip of duct tape over the Yamaha logos and I'm constantly amused at the public's comments......"is that the new (insert flvour of the month) synth?"

The sequencer is good enough to provide an entire sets worth of music, at one go, if the programming is done expeditiously. In 9 years of use, I have NEVER experienced any kind of crash, freeze, brown out or display difficulties. in fact, I only recently changed the back-up batteries!!! The 85s have worked in Arctic cold and Mojave heat, without a single glich.....ever. The instrument is engineered and built with regards to the highest quality, commercially acceptable standards.

The only improvement, which could be made to this instrument, in my opinion, is the addition of a hard shell case!!! If you have the opportunity to acquire one of these excellent synths, DO IT!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Sep-04-2002 at 14:37
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