Yamaha is aiming to “reinvent” the stage keyboard with the YC61 designed for gigging musicians who want realtime control of pianos and a whole lot of organ.
It has a busy and hybrid look about it like they smashed together their own CP73 Stage Piano and a Nord Electro 6. It has controls all over the place and gives off an exciting and slightly chaotic vibe.
For feel, they’ve gone for a redesigned Waterfall keyboard aimed at replicating the weight of organ and electric piano keyboards rather than grand pianos. They’ve used their Virtual Circuitry Modeling (VCM) technology to recreate the circuits of tonewheel organs and a rotary speaker along with vintage EQ, compressors and phasers. And then there are those nine physical drawbars that are transparent and filled with light to indicate upper and lower configurations, doubling up on their usefulness.
The YC61 is all about hands-on, realtime control. On the left is the organ section but on the right you have control over the piano sounds, the effects, amplification simulations and reverb controls. Nicely intuitive and very engaging.
It’s not all about organs although along with the tonewheel emulation you also get three FM Organs where the drawbars are transformed to control 8 FM operators using genuine FM synthesis. You also get some premium Yamaha pianos, some FM pianos generated with the same 8-operator FM engine and a handful of electric pianos based on the usual suspects.
The Yamaha YC61 is a bold, likeable and playable stage keyboard in a very handy and compact form factor that will please anyone who needs to lug a decent keyboard to a gig. They hope to ship in June for around £2,000.