Yamaha released the SY85 music workstation in 1992. The SY85 was different from other Yamaha synthesizers at the time - like the SY77 and SY99, in that it did not use FM synthesis and was replaced by Advanced Wave Memory (AWM). Instead the SY85 sounds were based on samples. The SY85's internal voice memory could hold 256 voices. These could be played individually or layered. Up to 128 of these layered combinations could be stored in memory as "performances".
The SY's workstation featured a 61-note velocity-sensitive keyboard with aftertouch, a double density 3.5" floppy drive and MIDI sequencer. It was a multitimbral synthesizer with 30-note polyphony - one of the first to make the jump from 16 voices. In addition to the usual controllers, the SY85 featured eight sliders that could be used to adjust various settings in real time. These sliders also functioned as faders when using the built-in sequencer. The SY85 featured two effect processors which could be run in series or parallel.
Voice and sequencer data could be loaded from or saved to 3.5" double-density floppy discs. Voices and performance combinations could also be loaded from or saved to Yamaha's proprietary MCD64 (64K RAM memory cards (one slot for such cards was provided, alongside one slot for a PCM 'waveform' ROM card).
Yamaha TG500 Sound Module
In 1993 Yamaha followed the SY85 with the The Yamaha TG500 - which is pretty much the rack version of the SY85. It doubled the polyphony but the sequencer was eliminated along with most of the buttons and controls for real-time editing. When this module came out, it was the first to offer a 64-voice polyphony. It also featured Expandable Waveform RAM - up to 1MB of waveform RAM can be installed to allow loading of external samples via waveform cards or the MIDI Sample Dump protocol.
Our SY85 and TG500 patches are available in system exclusive (.syx) or standard midi files (.mid) and can be downloaded from our web site when you order our free e-mail delivery. We provide the software with your order that lets you load in the sounds. If your computer has a midi interface connected to the USB port, you can use your midi interface to load in the sounds. Midi interfaces are an inexpensive alternative to purchasing RAM or PCM cards and we sell them starting at under $100. We can also provide the sounds for the SY85 on floppy disk which can be loaded directly from the SY's floppy drive.
Our sounds will also get you back in business if your SY85 or TG500 battery has died and you lost all the sounds in the memory. Sorry, but the sounds are not available on the old ROM cards. The cards have not been made in many years and we no longer support that format. Looking for a used SY85 or TG500? Check out our hardware section. We also sell used music gear and often have a old SY or TG in stock. Unlike E-bay, Most items come with a three month warranty and if you have any questions or problems we are here to help. Our customer support rules! If you need more info please contact us via phone or e-mail.