Yamaha EX5



EX5 is a digital synthesizer which Yamaha released in February, 1998. The MSRP was 298000 yen(not including sales tax). The weight is 20kg. It has 76 keys with velocity and aftertouch sensitivity, PCM(AWM2 = Advanced Wave Memory 2) engine to handle 128 voices polyphony, Duophonic analog modeling "AN" engine and monophonic physical modeling "VL" engine inside. I bought EX5 in 1998. I misunderstood the AN engine can be used for code play. It was sad.

However, I loved EX5 as a synthesizer for live(and reharsal) use. AWM2 has 128 voice polyphony. Even when using all four elements for a voice, enough voices for sustain pedal play. Controller values can be hold during voice change. It is mandatory for use a pedal for master volume. 2 footswitches and 2 expression pedals can be connected to EX5. 8MB Flash memory option "EXFLM1" allows put own wave file. 16 buttons for voice selection. Really nice.

I bought some options for my EX5.

The photo below shows EXDG01 and ASIB1.

EX5 also uses 72pins SIMM modules for wave memory. Maximum capacity is 32MB x 2 = 64MB. The photo below shows EXFLM1 and two SIMMs.

Sector101.co.uk released "EXFLM2". It is 16MB memory boards doubled from EXFLM1. In the photo below, upper 2 boards are EXFLM1, lower 2 boards are EXFLM2.

I replaced EXFLM1 with EXFLM2.

EXFLM2 memory is 8388608 words. Almost 16MB I guess.

With ASIB1's internal SCSI connector, we can replace a FDD to a 3.5 inch MO(Magneto-Optical) disk drive.I put a 640MB MO disk drive. Much trusty than floppy disks.

EX5 wave ROM is 16MB. Now we feel 16MB is very small. However, we can add 8MB with flash memory option, 64MB with DRAM(it needs long loading time...). With memory expansion, EX5 is comtetitive with current sampling synthesizers. With EX5, we can edit AN and VL voices. The features do not exist in later Yamaha synths. I will not sell my EX5.


Sound: Index

Sound: Internal

Pf:Natural Grnd
EX5's #1 piano. From SY77 to W series, Yamaha synthesizers did not includes good piano sounds. EX5 was a leap. MOTIF was a giant leap.
Pf:Stereo Piano
In 1998, I wanted a stereo piano. This program made me to buy EX5. Expanded image, too bright, no body. You should lower cutoff a little.
Rotating with effects. I add vibrato with aftertouch.
P1-013(A13) Pf:Jazz Chorus
Preset 1, #13 electric piano. It is "FDSP(Formulated Digital Sound Processing)" sound. I recorded this sound and found Roland D/A converter "DA-400" was in bad condition.
10 mp3s since this uses Lexicon PCM90 reverbrator. My PCM90's A/D and D/A were almost broken. I have to use digital connection.
Pf:05 DemoRhode
Nice stereo auto panning. Japanese digital synths have nice effects even in 1980s.
I made this sound from scratch. An AN oscillator produces a saw. AN oscilattor has "Edge" parameter. Here I set the Edge with value 59.
Rd:*Clarinet 2h
VL clarinet. Smooth vibrato.
Gt:Moore LeadH
Yamaha's amp simulators are surprising.
EX5 is a good pad machine. This "PWM" is not analog modeling. FDSP program "PWM" was used. Waves are two "Wv:P50-1"s. Not same as analog PWM sounds.
Someone made this sound for Jean-Michel André Jarre.
FDSP "Tornado" is used. Wave is one "Wv:Padd".
Pd:12 StringsH
Synth strings with two "Wv:ObStr"s. "Ob" means "Oberheim", I guess. I added aftertouch vibrato with element 1. It makes chorus-like vibrato.
One "Wv:Padd" only. EX5 voice can use 2 insertion effects and 2 send/return effects. Here, send/return chors is "Ensemble", insertion is "Chorus 4". Much effects are Japanese synth characteristic.
16 programs from here are my favorite programs mainly for session. In 1998, I decided to purchase EX5 after playing preset #2 "Pf:Stereo Piano". The stereo image was what I wanted. This "Pf:StereoPianoH" is from it. In 2019, I tried to decrease the shake, I cut detune and chorus effect.
I made piano sound with 1 element. I made strings with another element. Foot controller changes the volume of strings. Very useful at jam session.
Pf:CP80 2H
In 1998, this sound was realistic for me. In 2019, you can get more real CP sound from some synthesizers.
Pf:House PianoH
Metallic piano. Is it like "KORG M1 piano"?
Here, two electric pianos. This "Pf:GrusinSpliH" came from Dave Grusin's play. I added aftertouch vibrato. These days one of my monitor speakers B3031A is noisy with FM piano sounds like this. Sigh.
Pf:Jazz Chorus
This program is in preset 1-13. FDSP sound. I never edit this sound. Long sustain, like pad. Perfect.
St:Swell StrH
THIS is EX5 strings. Velocity shortens attack. Not real, but beautiful.
En:Aah ChoirH
Yamaha's bright human voice. 2 elements are noises.
Br: Hi SectH
My dear brass sound. Aftertouch vibrato is mandatory.
Surprising VL trumpet. I had no chance to use this sound at recording session. However, I used sometimes at jam sessions.
Or:Early BirdH
Foot controller changes leslie speed. At this recording, I moved the foot controller too fast. If I moved more slowly, it is more realistic. With Yamaha MONTAGE, I could not do the same thing because the leslie effect has slow/fast two status.
Or:Tube CrunchH
Foot controller adds distortion. I used much.
Guitar sound needs aftertouch vibrato. My opinion.
Who is "Kunimoto"? It reminds me of Mr. Yoshihiro Kunimoto, who was an announcer of SBS(Shizuoka Broadcasting System Co., Ltd.).
I made this sound from scratch. A Wv:P5Saw element only. Footswitch adds portamento. From DX1/7/9, Yamaha synth's polyphonic portamento has been wonderful. I assign cutoff, resonance, attack, release, chorus send and reverb send to 6 knobs. At this recording, I changed lead sound to strings. If I have enough time to edit, I make better saw strings with 6 knobs.
Here I used Wv:P50-1 only. Chorus changed to delay. Though this sound is poly now, mono is better for lead.

Sound: With External Samples

En:Hah Choir
Yamaha released "EX Bonus Voice & Sample Pack" floppy disks. The second one "EX-SVD02 Choir & Voices" has "En: Hah Choir" at voice slot #1. I think EX5 has flat, monotonous, dull characters. It makes EX5 to match pad, human voice and woodwind sounds.
I bought a second-hand Yamaha's sampler "A4000". It came with CD-ROMs. The CD-ROM includes "Close 4.2M" acoustic piano samples. I tried to convert the sound to EX5. At the recording point, I could not convert stereo sample. So, this is mono piano.
One more mono piano. More power than "CloseMono".
One more mono piano. Yamah's concert grand "CF3". No long decay.
Close at left, miced at right.

EX5 with ASIB1 can load samples from Akai CD-ROMs. I tried. This sound is from "AKAI CD-ROM SOUND LIBRARY Volume 2". No sustain, no body. My old dear PCM piano.
"Close 4.2M" stereo version. Awave Professional can import waves from Yamaha A-series CD-ROM and export to WAV file. After resampling them to 44.1kHz, I put them to EX5.
I put the sound above to flash memory, edited it, and saved as #1 piano. It uses about 5MB of flash memory.
EX5's PCM strings waves are "StrL", "StrLA", "StrR", "StrRA", "StrST", "EnsMx" and "EnsMx-". Those have unique characters. I wanted one more. I put this strings to flash memory from EAST COLLECTION's "STRINGS" CD-ROM. Though I decreased overtones here, the waves has much overtones.
The flash memory is almost full with above piano and strings. I put "CHOIR" wave file from SampleCell II CD-ROM. I guess this is recorded from Roland D-50. EX5 can expand one sample to wide key range.
One more one wave sound. "GHOST" from SampleCell II CD-ROM.
A variation with "GHOST". Slower attack.
A4000 has some short waves inside. I put the "PULSE1" to EX5's flash memory. Not good for lead, so I made a piano-like sound before FM and PCM.
A4000's "TRIANGLE" lead. The wave can be used at higher keys, Good vibrato.
After installing 16MB EXFLM2, I searched piano samples around 16MB. This is Fazioli F228 pedal tone included East West"The Ultimate Piano Collection". There are loud and soft, too. All of them are good.
This is Bosendorfer 225 loud 16MB in East West"The Ultimate Piano Collection" CD-ROM. No soft, no pedal, only marcato and loud. When loading from Akai CD-ROM to EX5, wave course tune should be +12. However, I prefer no justification with this Bosendorfer. Though it may not be the sound which CD-ROM producer wants, the sound is accidentaly fit my image with Bosendorfer pianos. With some experience to play Bosendorfer pianos, I felt decay is shorter compared with other pianos. This sound has short decay. I added "02:Rev Hall 2" with modulation wheel. The reverb fits the piano. The size is reduced to 14MB by deleting samples out of EX5 76 keys. The song is "My Wonderful Life" composed by Masahiko Togashi.
One more recording with same sound above. I played introduction of "Sotsugyo Shasin".
"Pf:Bosen14MB" uses only 1 element of piano. I added 2 elements from "Warmer" program. Foot controller adds the pad on piano. Short decay can be covered with pad sustain.
The 4 sounds from here uses "S1100 CD-ROM" samples.

With "MksBrightStr", 3 samples are used on 3 different key ranges. I added chorus effect with EX5 knob. It sounds very good. Mono sample may be good for some effects. The recording level is low because I quit compression. "Mks" may be Roland's MKS-80, analog polyphonic synthesizer.
This is "mellow" samples. 4 samples are mapped to 4 key ranges.
Bright 3 samples and mellow 4 samples are mapped in one EX5 wave. The CD-ROM contains Akai programs doing same way.
At EX5 wave, I mapped bright samples left, mellow samples right. Not good for chorus effect.
EX5 has 16MB wave ROM. Not much. So, the wave selection is unusual. Not much wind instruments. So, we should use VL waves. OK, I added a sample flute here from SampleCell II CD-ROM. The sample has noise at loop. I added organ sustain to hide it.

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©Hideo Harada 2010-2019 updated on 2019/03/06 18:04:56