- YC61 Stage Keyboard Reborn
- Realistic Organ Sound Thanks to VCM Technology
- Fully Equipped With All The Sounds You Need On Stage
Yamaha has released a enw stage keyboard, the YC61. The name YC might ring a bell, as a few years back they released the Reface YC organ. But, with this release, we get a full-size 61-key stage keyboard.
Realistic Organ Sound
Speaking of the YC series, Yamaha gave us the YC-45D combo-organ back in the 1960s. This became a famous representative of this kind of organ. Many years later, that YC series was given a re-do in the reface model, though with mini-keys, and with an organ flute sound generator.
YC61 Use Interface
The user interface of the YC61 is similar to that of the predecessor CP88/CP77 series, in that on the front panel you have access to the sound engine, effects, and control sections. It’s VERY easy to understand, and gives the player the freedom to focus on performing. Also, the different button and slider positions are indicated by LEDs, and there is a high-resolution LCD display as well, which displays a ton of information, so if you’ve ever touched a keyboard you don’t really need to open the manual to get right in there and start playing.
The sound engine of the YC61 is based on the VCM（Virtual Circuitry Modeling ）Organ engine. VCM technology re-creates the circuitry used in vintage Yamaha instruments and effects, and the result of that tech applied to organs is none other than the VCM ORGAN.
But even saying “organ,” the sound differs depending on the manufacturer, the style of organ, the model, the method of sound generation, and so on.
The YC61 utilizes VCM to provide three different types of Hammond-style, tonewheel ograns. Furthermore, according to Yamaha documentation, the VCM Organ re-creates the special characteristics of vintage organs.
• Keyboard, tonewheel, and drawbar are connected by a matrix circuit, so this makes for unique harmonies when playing chords.
• Based on vacuum-tube circuitsry, you get a lively, present percussion sound.
• Key-click, and leakage are faithfully re-created through analysis and the re-creation of the original analog circuitry.
• Tube distortion thanks to tube preamps.
• Vibrato/chorus effects based on scanner & vibrato circuits.
• Drive level and harmonic peculiarities re-created and controllable via an expression pedal.
• Detailed parameter editing possible, so re-creation of aged machines is a possibility.
You can check out all of the above in our Demo & Review video. It’s easier to show and see (hear) than to talk about, so be sure to check it out.
Not a PCM sample based generator, but a bona-fide 8-operator FM sound engine can be used for three more types of organ (sine-wave, vox, Farfisa).
A necessary ingredient for building organ sounds, there are 8 LED-equipped drawbars, which give visual feedback of their location, making it easy to blend them together to create the sound you’re after.
For enriching your organ sounds, you can start with a rotary speaker effect, but there is also chorus and vibrato to liven things up. For VCM organ sounds, you can use the effects on all three types of sound.
Also, you can use the percussion function to emphasize the attack portion of the sound, when using the VCM engine. Parameters include volume, damping, 2nd and 3rd harmonics.
VCM ROTARY SPEAKER
When you think of an organ sound, an indispensible element is, of course, the rotary speaker effect. If you don’t have a proper rotary speaker effect, the organ sound itself is not convincing, and lacks a realistic quality.
The YC61 includes not just a simple simulation of a rotary speaker, but aVCM re-creation of the construction of the speaker system itself. Two types are provided, one with a clear sound, the other with a distorted transistor preamp type of sound.
You can control the rotary speaker horn and rotor rotation speed, decelleration and accelleration speeds and times, speaker noise, and other parameters. What’s more, there’s a separate section which allows control over the pre-amp gain, which models the rotary control on an actual organ, and you can crank it up and get a realistic distortion too.
Because the YC61 is a stage keyboard, it comes loaded with sounds other than just organs, including acoustic and electric pianos, synthesizer sounds, and so on, so basically all your bases are covered, and all of the sounds are of the highest quality.
Yamaha’s flagship premium piano sounds, from the CFX and S700 are included. Additionally, sounds from the C7, U1 and upright pianos are there, so you can find lots of piano sounds with a striking variety of character.
You’ll find a variety of electric pianos from each different generation, with Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and the Yamaha CP80 electric grand too.
True FM Electric Piano
The YC61 has an Fm engine, so the FM electric pianos are not PCM samples, they’re the real deal.
Synth leads, strings, basses, brass, analog synth type sounds and more are all here. Everything you need from a stage keyboard is included.
The keyboard sounds are distributed across four zones on the panel, and they can also be split and layered with organ sounds.
The Effects Section has also been organized so that it is easy to use. It has switches, knobs, and is laid out in a very easy to understand manner. Thanks to LEDs, you can see the current position of the knobs, which is a well thought out feature. There are two insertion effects. You can select the speaker/amp settings in the speaker/amp section. And, at the end of the chain you find reverb and master equalizer, which can be switched on and off. All this means that you have a huge amount of control over your sound while playing.
Demo & Review video
We go through the sounds and features of the YC61 in our video, and also check out some preset sounds you might recognize from famous songs. Be sure to check out the high-quality sound and ease of use the YC61 offers!
The preset sounds we use in the video are all downloadable at no cost from Yamaha’s Soundmondo site, which we’ve linked below.