Yamaha SY77

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Manufactured byYamaha
Dates1990 - ?
Technical specifications
Polyphony32 (16 FM, 16 sampled)
Synthesis typeDigital Frequency modulation, Digital Sample-based
Keyboard61 keys with velocity and aftertouch
Left-hand controlPitch-bend, 2 modulation wheel
External controlMIDI

Yamaha SY77 is a 16 voice multitimbral music workstation first produced by Yamaha Corporation in 1990. The SY77 is a (synthesizer) capable of AFM (advanced frequency modulation) synthesis, AWM (advanced wave memory) ROM based sample synthesis, and Realtime Convolution and Modulation Synthesis (RC&M).

The AFM synthesis of the SY77 is effectively a superset of the 6 operator FM synthesis available on the Yamaha DX7 and DX7II series of synthesizers. With a few minor exceptions, it is capable of all of the sounds that can be produced by those earlier keyboards and more. Among the advantages of AFM synthesis over FM synthesis are a larger choice of algorithms and the flexible routing of feedback paths. Additionally, the RC&M synthesis it offers is a form of FM synthesis where samples in ROM are used as modulators for FM operators instead of elementary signals like sine and sawtooth waves.

The SY77 is equipped with a 61 key keyboard with velocity and aftertouch, has a large backlit LCD display, expansion slots, floppy-drive, on-board effects, and a 16,000 note sequencer. Programming is performed through a keypad on the front panel. It can generate rich, layered, multi-timbral sounds and there are large libraries of patches available for it.

When it was released in 1990, initial prices were close to $3000-$4000 USD. It was followed soon after by the SY99 and then discontinued sometime between 1995 and 1997. The SY77 and SY99 were replaced as the flagship Yamaha synthesizer workstations by the EX7 and EX5, respectively. However the SY77 and SY99 were the last Yamaha "flagship" workstations to be natively capable of full-fledged FM synthesis that had been introduced with the DX line. The EX series limited capabilities for FM and the Motif and Motif ES lines have an FM option available though expansion cards. The SY77 continues to be seen on the used instrument market in prices ranging from $450-$700 USD. Sound sets on floppy disks are available online with patches and presets ranging from classic synthesizers and ambient pads to percussion and organ sounds. Each floppy disk can hold over 400 patches.