music sequencer


The QY70 is a small but sophisticated "all in one" musical unit, providing all the necessary parts needed to record complete songs: a sound engine, sequencer, effects, even pre-made patterns and fills that you can also modify or create from scratch.  This device has been the weapon of choice for many bands, including the great synth-pop act Freezepop, that features the little grey wonder as the base of most of their electronic songs.

This little music sequencer is very light and compact, but sports a 16-track sequencer, a high-quality tone generator with 519 voices and 20 drum kits, advanced auto-accompaniment capabilities, and even a small keyboard that you can use to program patterns and songs without having to hook up an external keyboard via MIDI.  Add the fact that this unit can be also battery-operated, and you'll agree that the QY70 is a perfect tool for the performing artist.


The QY70 is GM and XG compatible, and the quality of its on-board sounds is evident from the start.  The Yamaha XG sound base is arguably the same from machine to machine, so I'm not going to provide a lot of examples for the single normal and drum voices, but here are a few standouts - you can definitely hear how - with some tweaking during post-production, you can attain professional results even from a low-cost, low-profile synthesizer such as this one.  I hook up a MIDI keyboard to the MIDI in of the QY70, and I'm ready to go.  The first patch on a synthesizer is typically the grand piano sound, and 001 GrandPno is certainly a well-recorded, sparkly grand that's adept for many genres.    There are many times when I could use a cool-sounding, retro electric piano, and 005+ 60sEl.P1 fits the bill nicely.  The Clavinet through wah is also a highly requested patch, and 008+ ClaviWah should get up and running smoothly.  What about organs?  There are many to choose, and this exquisite, jazzy Hammond - 017+ 16+2''2-3 should prove itself very valuable in your recordings.  Special organ combinations include this spectacular mix of pipe organ and classical choir - 020+ NotreDam, perfect for those mystic production moments.  Now for the bass:  everybody enjoys the classic sound of a Roland TB-303, and 039+ AcidBass doesn't disappoint.  The QY70 is truly versatile (as you will hear further below when you listen to the preset patterns), and with so many sounds, a majestic orchestra - 049+ Orchstr2 - is sometimes what you need the most.  And to continue exploring the wonders of the orchestra, here is a phenomenal string ensemble - 050+ LegatoSt that you can use for many genres.  There are also some excellent choir samples: 053+ Ch.Aahs2 is one of the best-sounding ones.  More into modern, synth pop music?  How about a classic analog polysynth?  082+ DoublSaw will get you there.  But it's the synthesizer section of the unit that really surprised me (and maybe that's why the QY70 is perfect for synth pop - those tweakable filters...): gems such as 089 NewAgePd, 091+ Ana. Pad, 103+ Creation, 103+ EchoBell, 103+ Echoes 2 and 103+ StarDust are surely to win some hearts among those whose heart beats analog.  There's even a great collection of ethnic sounds, and this Oud patch - 106+ Oud certainly shines in the bunch.

And now, before we start exploring many of the incredible patterns and sounds available on this little gem, have a listen to the three factory demo songs - they do a great job of demonstrating what you can achieve with it:

Yamaha QY70 factory demo songs

Demo No.1  - a journey through several of the on-board patterns.

Demo No.2  - a funky, soul number showcasing the realism of the natural instruments

Demo No.3  - an electronic composition reminiscing of Euro styles and Jean Michel Jarre

And now, let's take an in depth look at many of the 128 patterns contained in this machine:  of course you can edit the factory ones, or you can even create patterns from scratch.

What I find incredible is the huge variety of styles and genres that the sound designers were able to cram into the QY70:  from ultra-modern styles such as drum 'n' bass, house and trance, to rock ballads and Latin arrangements, from bluegrass to techno, even hard to find styles such as Ska, Klezmer, Soca, Lovers Rock and Cool Jazz are featured.

Here below is a table with many examples from the factory styles.  I am playing the different sections that compose the arrangement on the QY70, including the Intro, Main A, Main B, Fill AB, Fill BA, and Ending settings.  So without further ado, let's explore deeper into the magical world of the Yamaha Q70!

Yamaha QY70 preset styles audio demo


Stream all audio demos

Preset Style with audio demo My comments
001 Goa Trance 1 A dreamy Goa Trance style with excellent synthesizer lines
002 Goa Trance 2 Psy-Trance in full effect... gorgeous pattern
006 Drum & Bass 2 Typical 1990s Drum 'n' Bass, with booming TR-808 bass drum
010 Minimal Trance Superb techno pattern, very early '90s
012 Euro Techno Classic Euro Dance style, with the gated synth triplets
013 Eurobeat 1 Another classic Euro style - spot on for Culture Beat's "Mr. Vain"
015 House Nice laid back, classic House style
017 Hip Hop Smooth hip hop pattern
019 Smooth 1 Cool smooth jazz rhythm reminiscent of TLC's "Waterfalls"
022 Jazz Hip Hop Perfect for smooth jazz
024 Disco Classic late '70s
026 Disco Funk 2 Obviously inspired by the Commodores' "Brick House"
031 8-beat Rock 2 Solid rock rhythm
032 College Rock Typical American college rock - this one in particular is obviously inspired by Hootie & the Blowfish's "Only wanna be with you"
033 Mid-tempo 8-beat Rock 1 This is a also taken from a very popular song that I can't remember the name of right now. [...] Got it!  It's "Missing You" by John Waite
037 New Wave Rock Classic early 80s new wave, such as the Police's "Message in a bottle"
038 16-beat Rock U2 naturally.
039 Britpop Perfect for the "new" British invasion bands - reminds of Oasis' "Don't look back in anger"
041 Pub Rock Outstanding rock blues rhythm - this would be perfect for the Doors' "Roadhouse Blues"
044 American Hard Rock 1 Note how realistic the drum sounds are.
046 Grunge Rock Obviously Nirvana
047 Speed Metal Incredible programming here - sounds absolutely realistic, guitars and all
050 Thrash Metal Again, incredible programming job
052 Hard Rock Ballad Clean, solid rock ballad
057 Pop Ballad Romantic and contemporary smooth ballad
062 A.O.R. Pop "Adult Oriented Rock" - this is taken from the Doobie Brothers' "What a fool believes"
064 Game Pop I never heard of a game pop style, but this is so cool, with the Nintendo and special FX samples, that I had to include it ;-)
069 Light Fusion This is also taken from a popular song that I can't think of right now.
072 Acid Jazz Nice!  I've always been fond of this British style, since it came out in the early 90s
073 JB Funk James Brown, yeah!
074 Soul A beautiful pattern, inspired by an incredibly beautiful song, Marvin Gaye's "What's going on"
077 6-8 R&B Cute retro number from the 60s - perfect for many hits of the era
078 Blues Shuffle Happy, bluesy Chicago-style pattern
079 Slow Blues Excellent brass programming
080 Gospel I can see the Blues Brothers dancing here..
081 Rock'n'Roll Classic '50s rock and roll
082 Rockabilly Another great '50s style
083 Oldies For the great Paul Anka and similar
084 Liverpool Pop The Beatles, naturally
085 Surf Rock Cool!
086 Folk Rock John Denver
087 Country Folk Rock Nice violin line
092 Bluegrass Outstanding pattern - very realistic
093 Combo Jazz 1 Relaxed, swingy arrangement
095 Big Band Jazz Reminds of "Killer Joe" and other jazz classics, Miles Davis...
096 Jazz Ballad Beautiful
098 Cool Jazz Very nice!!!  Taken from Herbie Hancock's famous "Cantaloupe Island", reprised by Us3 in the early 90s with "Cantaloop - Flip Fantasia"
100 Salsa The classic Latin rhythm
101 Samba Modern samba pattern
102 Bossa Nova Excellent
103 Merengue This sounds very realistic - great job, programmers!
106 Son Relaxed, classy
107 Reggae 1 Late 70s reggae
109 Dance Hall Reggae Ok
110 Lovers Rock Very nice!  And hard to find as accompaniments go
111 Ska Great representation of the style
112 Soca Love those steel drums
113 Hi-Life Outstanding
114 Sowetto Classic Afro beat
115 Cajun Nicely done
116 Klezmer Another very hard to come by pattern
117 Enka The mellow Japanese style
118 Polka The beer flows
119 Dixieland Excellent Dixie pattern!
120 Cha Cha Another classic, standard Latin style
121 Beguin Very nice, modern version of Beguine
122 Tango Dreamy
123 Foxtrot The classic dance hall style
125 Vienna Waltz More dance hall goodies
126 March Again, great programming job
127 6-8 March Variation of the above
128 Space Opera Typical American sci-fi movie soundtrack


Features at a glance
Year of release: 1997
Polyphony: 32-voice
Presets: 519 normal voices, 20 drum voices
Rhythms: 128 preset, 64 user with many variations
Keyboard: mini-pads
Responds to velocity: no
Sound generation method: AWM2
MIDI: in and out
Sound expansion capabilities: no
Effects: yes
Controls: buttons
Outputs: 1/8" line out/phones
Display: yes, non-backlit


Yamaha QY70 pictures (click on thumbnails to enlarge)


Yamaha QY70 factory reset

To initialize the QY70 to factory specs, turn the unit on while pressing the "OCT DOWN", "OCT UP" and "1 F# Gb" buttons at the same time.

Yamaha QY70 manual

available at www.yamaha.com



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