Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

The MX series combines Motif XS sounds, USB Audio/MIDI connectivity and advanced DAW/VST controller features at a ground breaking level of affordability.

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Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by mischeli » Mon May 29, 2017 11:48 pm


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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by Saul » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:31 am

Thanks for the video mischeli :)

The MX certainly contains some great sounds. Yamaha have always been particularly good at Acoustic sounds and the guitars are quite convincing. Not sure about the electric pianos but I hardly ever play them so others will be able to comment on how good they are?

One thing potential MX owners need to know is although what you can do with it is fairly limited on the surface, if you grab one of the third party editors such as 'Vycro MX' or the one by John Melas then the MX becomes a completely different beast! It turns into a very powerful synth rather than just a great source of presets.
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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by AndyHornBlower » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:28 am

How good is the velocity layering, on the MX pianos and electric pianos?

On the face of it, the MX49 seems better value for money than the Reface CP, but I've read that the CP has 127 steps of velocity. The knobs are appealing too. Are the MX electric piano / piano sounds as good?

I've been considering the Reface CP, but I'm not really a keyboard player - more woodwind and brass, or nearest electronic equivalent (e.g. my Yamaha WX5 as the controller). I've just been trying out pianos and E.P.s on my Roland XV-3080. Some of them are quite good, but it's clear that there are only a few velocity layers. As far as I know, there's no way to get more than four.

The other thing that bothers me is key sizes. I'm used to my Korg MicroKontrol 37, which has mini keys, and I've acquired an old Portasound PS-3, which also has mini keys. I'm impressed with how good that is, though of course it's more like an organ, with no velocity response at all.

I've read that the MX49 has smaller than full sized keys, but by how much? How wide is a white key, or how wide is an octave, from the left side of a C key to the right side of a B key?

It will be a while before I can afford either, but I'm curious.

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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by SeaGtGruff » Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:20 am

I've never owned one of the MX models, but on my PSR-E models the individual keys are only slightly narrower than standard piano keys. I measured them rather carefully once and recorded the following measurements:

- width of 1 white key = 27/32 of an inch
- gap between consecutive white keys = 1/16 of an inch
- length of 1 white key = 5 and 1/2 inches (or 5 and 5/8 inches)

The first length is for the main portion of the key, but there's an additional bit measuring 1/8 of an inch where the key goes into the casing. That extra bit is more obvious on the black keys because of their curved shape; the length of 5 and 1/2 inches is from where the curved portion of the black keys begin (near the casing) to the end of the white keys, and on the black keys the extra 1/8 of an inch is flattened and no higher than the surface of the white keys. I didn't write down the length of a black key, but as I recall it was on a par with a standard piano keyboard.

For 49 keys, that would be 29 white keys plus 28 gaps, or a width of 29 * 27/32 + 28 * 1/16 = 26 and 7/32 inches. So if the MX-49 has keys similar in size to Yamaha's PSR models, I'd expect the keybed to be 26 and 7/32 inches from the left edge of the C1 key to the right edge of the C5 key.

EDIT: So basically, you can't really tell that the keys are slightly narrower than on a standard piano, since the individual keys are so close to standard size, and an octave is only a little narrower than on a piano. But if you stack a Yamaha keyboard with a keyboard that has standard piano-sized keys, you can see the difference more clearly.
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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by Saul » Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:44 am

The velocity layering on the MX is not bad but didn't seem to me to be as good as the MOXF or XS which is perhaps to be expected at this price point. You can notice the layers if you pay close attention but in general it's fine. They didn't design the MX for classical piano players after all ;)

As for the reface CP it could well have 127 steps of velocity. This is in part I think due to the way the sounds are created by a mix of modelling and samples. You will only get such a high level of velocity layers with modelling. You could technically do it with samples but they would be so huge as to make it impractical. Certainly I found playing the reface CP to be a pleasure and as I have often stated it was my favourite out of the bunch.

The sounds in the MX are good but not comparable I think. For one thing they are taken from the Motif Classic so we are going back a bit. Honestly if the reface CP had fallen into my price range I would have not hesitated to buy one :)

As for key sizes you are correct in that the MX keys are slightly narrower than standard. Not sure of the exact size...I think I may have measured them and it's on the forum somewhere but in any case it was not something that caused me any issues. I did think the action was a little on the shallow side. I kept wanting to press the keys down further but maybe it's just me.

The quality of the keys on the reface CP is superb. I don't think there is another mini keyed keyboard out there that compares. The keys on the MX are 'OK". Better than some but it is a budget synth action keybed so don't expect miracles ;)

In terms of value for money It really comes down to what you want to use it for. The MX has over 1000 sounds on board plus the real time controllers and full size keys however if like me you intend to mostly play piano then all those extra sounds won't come into the equation. It's all about the quality of the sounds you do want to use and the playability of the keybed. If it were me, personally I would take the reface CP. It may be expensive for something with so few sounds on board but it is very well made and the sounds themselves...apart from the 'toy piano' are all top notch. Also keep in mind there is the hidden 'acoustic piano' in there that Yamaha seemed unwilling to let people know about.

The reface cp also acts as a very convenient midi controller. Yes it doesn't have all the usual knobs and sliders but as a simple set of good quality keys with which to trigger soft synths etc it does the job nicely. It can also be battery powered and the built in speakers are not just there for show. They are of surprisingly good quality for something so small. Definitely worth getting a hands-on with both before you make a decision.
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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by Saul » Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:47 am

Just saw Michaels post and his measurements would correspond to those of the MX. Yamaha only make their full size keys in two versions. The standard piano key dimensions and those Michael measured on his PSR-E and as he pointed out, you won't really notice the difference unless your a classically trained pianist or you have to two types of keybed side by side.
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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by AndyHornBlower » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:13 am

Thanks, SeaGtGruff and Saul.

I definitely want to stick with mini keys. Of course, I could use my Korg MicroKontrol as the keyboard for almost anything with MIDI, but if I'm buying something with a keyboard on it, I'd want to be using that.

I like the sounds of the CP, and the knobs for effects. I'm more interested in realism of a few good sounds, than lots of sounds that seem kind of fake.

I got a bit frustrated with my Roland XV-3080. I've filled up all the SRX and XV card slots (for samples and example patches), so it can make lots of different instrument sounds, but they never quite feel realistic to play - like the four velocity layer piano sounds, or woodwind and brass that sounds great at a particular dynamic, but tops out in a way that a real flute/saxophone/trumpet just doesn't - you play so loud and beyond that the character of the sound stops changing. It bothers me.

One thing my Roland XV does really quite well is organ sounds - because organs don't use velocity, or anything very subtle. They basically have valves that are fully open or fully closed - so I'm not tempted to buy the Reface organ (YC?). I can do that sort of stuff well enough with what I have.

I got interested in FM because it can makes sounds that vary in some way completely continuously - e.g. with velocity or Breath/aftertouch. Realistic real world sounds are still more interesting to me though. So, yes, I probably will go with the Reface CP, when I can afford one.

I've come across a few people complaining of faults with the inbuilt speakers though. There's complaints that they can't handle nearly as much volume as the slider allows, which seems like a poor design decision, but never mind. More to the point, there are complaints about one speaker developing a buzz or a rattle, which is a bit more disturbing.

I'd almost always use headphones, so I could live with it, but for that sort of money, I might feel compelled to send it back to get it sorted out / replaced - which isn't something I enjoy doing. I don't know Yamaha's policy, but warranty replacements tend to mean getting someone else's returned one, that's been patched up, rather than your own one back or a new one.

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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by Saul » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:34 am

I have heard of problems with speakers buzzing but you have to put it in perspective against how many people have not had any problems? We will always hear about the things that go wrong but I guess that's what forums are here for :)

If you buy one your contract is with the retailer not Yamaha. Yes it's a 'Yamaha Warranty' but you 'contract' is with the retailer and they are the ones that either need to replace it or refund. Most would do that anyway within the first 30 days. Certainly Andertons in Guildford would. So I think you could order with confidence. Actually there is one on Ebay at the moment for £265! which if I had spare cash I would buy without hesitation. That is the price they should be!

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Yamaha-Reface ... SwfRdZN~RJ

I really like the look and feel of the reface CP. It has a certain classic charm about it that the others don't have :)
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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by AndyHornBlower » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:37 pm

Fair point. Thanks, Saul. I hadn't considered the contract was with the retailer...

I've seen it new for £289 from a couple of places - PMT, Juno and GAK come up at that price when I google it. [EDIT: and dv247] I assume that will become the standard price price for a while. They mostly seem to match each other.

Sorry for taking this thread off topic, mischeli.

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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by Saul » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:45 pm

Hadn't realised the prices had dropped. Not so long ago it was above £300 which I think is a little too much..in my opinion but, £289 new is getting there :)
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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by AndyHornBlower » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:52 pm

Yep. I'd like to see it cheaper still, but that's just me - cheap :)

Dawsons were still listing it for £330, the last time I checked, but hopefully they'll come down too. That's one of the shops I could actually try one in. I wouldn't pay them £40 more for the privilege though. PMT is the other one, though they almost never have anything I'm interested in in stock at my local branch when I want to go there.

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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by Saul » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:39 pm

We're pretty spoiled for choice of stores around here. What part of the country are you in?
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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by AndyHornBlower » Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:02 pm

Manchester. There's also Forsyths and Hobgoblin, which is the upstairs part of Johnny Roadhouse - technically a separate shop, but not really. For this sort of thing there's only really Dawsons or PMT that I can think of.

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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by Saul » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:42 pm

Ahh see what you mean. Hobgoblin is a great store but not really the one for keyboards. Last Dawsons I went to was not a great experience. Young staff who seemed not to know much about what they were selling and any store that is playing loud music when your trying to test an acoustic guitar is a big no no for me! Still I'm guessing all their stores are not the same. Great videos on youtube though!

I think I would probably go and try them out and then order online from somewhere like Andertons. The reason I say that is although I do believe in supporting your local stores I find it's a LOT less hassle to get something replaced when buying online. For one thing you have the distance selling regulations so you can send it back within 7 days plus stores like Andertons have a 30 day no quible return/replacement if your not happy.
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Re: Best EL. PIANOS & GUITARS ever with Yamaha MX !

Unread post by AndyHornBlower » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:35 am

Yes, I might do that, Saul. Especially if I can get a better deal. Gear4music are selling it with the official bag, for £291 inc, though they only show them as "Available to order", which would give me pause. I've bought things from there that were allegedly in stock, but still took a week to despatch.

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