It’s been an active month so far in finding old keyboards at rock bottom prices. This week I found a mint condition Yamaha SY-85 for a price I couldn’t refuse. The only problem was that the floppy disk drive needed a new floppy drive belt which I had an extra already. I replaced the drive belt and now the floppy disk drive works perfectly. Hopefully it will last for quite a while. I checked everything around the synth and so far I have yet to encounter any additional problems.
The SY-85 is different than my Yamaha SY-77 but that difference makes the Yamaha SY-85 a good synth in it’s own right. I really like for the most part the sounds on the SY-85 and I love the ram memory expansion to load and store your own samples with. In fact, I just bought two Sector101 SYEMB06 modules that will allow me to have 1.5 MB of total non-volatile RAM for storing samples. I will likely be able to convert and load up all kinds of Roland, Akai, and E-MU samples that I’ve collected. This should greatly enhance the sound palette and will allow me to create some new and unique sounds. The SY-85 is also built like a tank similar to the SY-77 which is always nice as well.
I find the Yamaha SY-85 to be a pretty cool “all around” or “bread and butter” type of synthesizer. It has sounds that are pretty much applicable to all sorts of music and from what I hear, it’s a pretty reliable synth. I was really surprised to find one in such great condition along with a case and manual. The key action is all typical Yamaha high quality greatness. It’s a real joy to play and I look forward to working more with the sample side of the SY-85 when the Sector101 SYEMB06 modules arrive shortly. That should be fun.
Here is a pretty decent demo video of the Yamaha SY-85 in action including the use of it’s Ram sample memory.