sampling unit



This is a killer little sampler!  The SU10 is about the size of a VHS videocassette, and weighs less than a pound, making it ideal for musicians on the go, DJs, cramped studios, and naturally is perfect for live gigs.

This sampler features 12 sample pads, to which you can freely assign samples.  There are actually four internal banks so you can store up to 48 samples on them, but they will be short and in low-quality.  Best to stick with just a few, selected samples but at the highest sampling rate.  This devices works extremely well with short, drum machine style samples, but you can also load up some longer samples and standard full loops.

Hands down, the best feature of the SU10 is the incredibly expressive ribbon controller!  Ribbon controllers were widely used in analog synths from the '60s and '70s, but for some reason disappeared in the 1980s.  In the 1990s, they made a comeback, thanks to instruments like the Kurzweil K2500, Yamaha EX5, and Roland JP-8000.  Of course the '90s - 1995 in particular, with the coming of the original Clavia Nord Lead, the first Virtual Analog synth - also saw a rebirth of the love for analog synthesis, and a myriad of so called "VAs", short for Virtual Analogs, flooded the market.

The ribbon controller on the SU10 is a true chameleon:  you can use it for scratching, for changing parameter values, and most of all to control the excellent filters on board.  Add to this the ability to accept mic/line input, and battery operation (six AA batteries), and you have a powerful ministudio on the go.

I'm impressed with this little blue wonder.  Shortcomings?  I'd say the lack of a backlit display, but the LCD is clear, and it's easy enough to add one of those mini-lamps and velcro to its back.

Check out the video to see a few examples of what can be done with the Yamaha SU10.

Yamaha SU10 demo video

In this video I sampled a few loops and sounds from the Roland Dance, Techno and House SR-JV80-series cards.

This video shows how versatile this mini sampler is:  in the first example the SU10 is used in classic "dj style":  having assigned samples to individual pads, the song is put together simply by triggering the samples "in-time"; the second example shows the ribbon controller being used for scratching; the third examples features sample reverse, and the last example really shows off the ribbon and the excellent filters of this machine:


MPEG format

Yamaha SU10 video demo.mpg

(20MB, broadband, dsl, cable)


Real Audio format

Yamaha SU10 video demo.rm

(3MB, dial-up modem)


Yamaha SU10 features

From the manual:  "The SU10 Stereo Digital Sampler is a compact, easy-to-use stereo phrase sampler offering high sound quality, a unique ribbon controller, excellent loop capability, and a host of other distinctive editing and performance features.  The SU10 is ideal for up-and-coming DJs, "desktop musicians," and all others interested in experiencing the world of electronic digital sampling".

Sampling and playback features

Special "External" functions

MIDI support


Features at a glance
Year of release: 1995
Sound generation method: sampling
Polyphony: 4 samples (monoaural)
Memory capacity: 384KB (Can record up to about 53 seconds of monoaural sound at Extra Long sampling grade.)
Presets: n/a
Keyboard: n/a
Responds to velocity: n/a
Aftertouch no
MIDI: in, out
Sound expansion capabilities: sampling
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: low-pass, high-pass, band-pass filters (all with resonance); crossfade; pitch
Controls: pads, buttons, ribbon controller
Outputs: line out, phones (1/8")
Weight: 0.4kg (0.88lb.)


Yamaha SU10 pictures (click to enlarge)


Yamaha SU10 Manual

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