Synth Site: Yamaha: VSS-30: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.8 out of 5
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Nick a hobbyist user from US writes:
The Yamaha VSS-30 PortaSound was the first keyboard I ever had the pleasure of owning. I remember playing around with the sampling on this keyboard when I was 3 years old. As of now, mine is pretty beaten up (one of the black keys is literally sticky taped on and the high C key is missing) but it works just fine otherwise. It even still has the box and Styrofoam in all their tattered and water damaged glory.

Moving along, this tiny little sampler comes with 11 barely distinguishable instruments (excluding the voice), 12 arpeggio melodies, and about 2 seconds worth of sampling. The real beauty of the system is the great amount of effects you are can inflict upon any of the instruments or sample. You can loop, flip, u-turn, add echo, add fuzz, modulate the frequency, modulate amplitude, and add vibrato. It even has ADSR envelope options and an overwrite option for samples! You also get the standard music record/playback option. This may not sound like too much now, but it was very advanced for 1987. On the right hand side of the system, you've got your standard AC adapter, headphone, and external mic sockets. Takes 5 AA batteries, but they will last you a good long time. Major flaws include lack of drums or bass, and no saving feature once power is lost.

If I were to try and compare this to a more well known keyboard of it's time I would have to go with old standby Casio SK-1, but in truth there is really no equivalent to the VSS-30.

From what I understand, this is a pretty rare keyboard. I've seen these things go for well over $100 on auction sites like e-bay, but you can probably find one for much less if you like garage sale and flea market scouting. May be a bit of work to find, but definitely worth it if you are into ancient 80's keyboards.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Apr-03-2007 at 23:55
Brian Ford a professional user from UK writes:
This little sampler is great fun. I remember picking up a few for a £1,or so, at car boot sales. I used to give them to a friend of mine who passed them out amoungst his friend's kids. This all stopped when one of his friends admitted that he'd sold his son's present for £60 on ebay! Lovely person. The average price is around £80-100 from what I can see. It all seems madness. It's all just supply and demand. This is quite a rare unit. The actual use in limited..the fun is huge. A lot are bought for collections and executive toys. The sound potential is very surprising. The vss range are miles beter than the Casio competition. You won't make great recordings with a vss. Use an Akai instead. On the other hand, once you get one of these you just can't put it's infectuous fun! The vss200 is the same unit in a bigger case with dedicated switches, a remote mic, drums and stereo speakers...and is cheaper. It's a bit bigger, though. A better unit to keep in the studio.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Jul-14-2006 at 10:51
Gary a hobbyist user from USA writes:
This is a great little lo-fi sampler, with some cheezy FM sounds on it as well. You can record and alter your sampled sound in many more ways than you could with the rival Casio SK-1. I had one, sold it, and wish I hadn't!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Oct-17-2005 at 04:03
Cain Burrows. a professional user from Niagra falls, USA. writes:
Mykill, it has 100 tones, a drum machine..the 30 should have had one..and a neat way of playing your samples as a walking bassline. There are several ways of linking areas of the synth system together. More so than on the 30. It also has a neat domo...pure porn jazz...which includes your sample..occasionally. That is very coool. The 30 is sure great as well. I don't like the static mike. Means you have to take the whole unit to the sound. The 30 is sure cute and will always be a favorite. It is packed with features to a crazy/cluttered degree. The 200 does more and is easier to use. It is bigger, louder and better set out. The manuals are available on the Yamaha web site free of charge. this should help you out.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Aug-02-2005 at 03:52
mykill a hobbyist user from portland oregon writes:
besides the two speakers and the extend mic what are the diffrences in function from the vss-30? i just got the 200 but i dont want to take it out of the box unless it's got something that seperates it from my beloved 30. i also want to buy a manual (or copy) for both.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Apr-27-2005 at 19:18
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