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Yamaha NAMM 2019 Highlights | Alamo Music

Every January, the entire musical instruments industry — manufacturers, dealers, artists, fans and the merely curious — convenes in Anaheim, California for the annual NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show. It’s quite an event. A wide assortment of music-related products and technologies are put on display, orders are placed for the coming year, autographs are gathered, and concerts and parties run long into the night.

If you can’t make it to this year’s extravaganza, here are some of the hottest new offerings from Yamaha.

Sonogenic SHS500 keytar

The Sonogenic SHS-500 is a “keytar”— a musical keyboard that can be held like a guitar — that enables anyone to play their favorite songs, regardless of musical ability. It can be used in conjunction with the free Yamaha Chord Tracker app, which analyzes the music library residing in your smartphone or tablet and then sends data directly to the instrument via wireless MIDI over Bluetooth® so that keys on the SHS-500 trigger only the correct chords — and any soloing notes that go with them.

The SHS-500 can also be used to wirelessly control software-based synths and virtual instruments on a laptop computer or mobile smart device, plus it comes with 30 high-quality Voices (including piano, synths, and two drum kits) for stand-alone playing. Wheels and buttons along the neck provide pitch-bend, modulation, octave shifting, key transposition, playback control and more.

Small keyboard with handle on left.

CP73 and CP88 stage pianos

The new 73-key CP73 and 88-key CP88 represent a radical reinvention of the digital stage piano, with three main sections that can quickly be split or combined as desired: Piano, Electric Piano, and Sub. Both models include voices sampled from the Yamaha CFX and Bösendorfer Imperial grand pianos, Yamaha U1 upright, CP80 electric grand and other instruments, including strings, pads, organs and chromatic percussion. Also provided is a rotary speaker simulation, as well as synth-like attack and release controls, plus tempo-syncable delay, lush reverb and a three-band global master EQ. The CP73offers a Balanced Hammer action, while the CP88 features a Natural Wood triple sensor action as well as Synthetic Ebony and Ivory key tops to increase finger grip. Balanced XLR outs allow connection to a mixer or stage snake without direct boxes, and there are left and right 1/4″ inputs with their own gain control, allowing a second keyboard to be heard through the CP’s main outputs without the need for a mixer.

Two keyboards - one smaller and one larger.

MODX synthesizer

For over 40 years, from the DX7 to the MOTIF and MONTAGE, Yamaha synthesizers have inspired sound designers the world over. Now there’s MODX, a new synth with the DNA of MONTAGE plus upgraded sound engines and expression control, all in a compact, mobile and lightweight package. There are three models to choose from: The 61-note MODX6, perfect for synthesists seeking the dynamic sound of modern Frequency Modulation (FM-X) synthesis; keyboardists looking for realistic piano, electric piano, strings, brass and other imitative sounds will appreciate the versatility and expanded range of the 76-key MODX7; and pianists needing a realistic piano touch and sound will be inspired by the MODX8, with its 88 graded and weighted keys.

Electronic synthesizer keyboard.

AvantGrand N1X piano

In 2009, Yamaha debuted AvantGrand, the world’s first digital acoustic “hybrid” instruments that successfully captured the sound, touch, action and physical resonance of a concert-quality grand piano … but without the tuning, cost or footprint of a comparable stringed instrument. The newest model to join the lineup is the N1X, an affordable second-generation instrument housed in a space-saving, vertical-style modern cabinet. It features samples of the Yamaha CFX and Bösendorfer Imperial grand pianos — even a binaural CFX optimized for listening through headphones — recorded at multiple velocity layers for seamless transitions, with extended dynamic and harmonic range suitable for all genres of music. In addition, Virtual Resonance Modeling (VRM) captures every detail of how the internal components of an acoustic piano vibrate in response to struck notes, including sympathetic string resonance, damper pedal resonance and the natural resonance of the soundboard.

Employing real wooden keys and hammers, the action of the N1X is the same as that of a grand piano, but with non-contact optical key sensors that detect every nuance of the player’s timing, velocity, legato and other musical techniques. The end result is a playing experience virtually indistinguishable from that of sitting at a top-notch concert grand. The N1X also provides an advanced four-channel speaker system that sends subtly different frequency information to each channel’s speaker so that the sound “blooms” from the instrument in the same manner as from a concert grand piano. Via Bluetooth, songs from a computer or mobile device can be wirelessly streamed through the speaker system, and the N1X’s onboard audio recording system even enables playback of downloaded song files.

Electronic keyboard that looks almost like an upright piano in an apartment setting.

See you at next year’s NAMM — and remember, if you can’t make the show in person, you can always catch the highlights here!

Originaly published at

NAMM 2019 Highlights

By Yamaha 01-24-2019 

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