Yamaha SY-85 Music Synthesizer Found

Yamaha SY85 Synthesizer
Yamaha SY85 Synthesizer

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.


7 thoughts on “Yamaha SY-85 Music Synthesizer Found

  1. Swen

    Now is the time I have to ask, do you really keep all the devices you buy? I always thought living-space would be more limited in Japan, or so they say. In the German music magazin “Beat” there was a section called “Gearporn”, where some studios and artists made “sexy” (means stylish in this case) pictures of their gear, wouldn’t you give us a view like that as well. I guess most of your readers would be curious about it.

    1. Hi Swen,

      I’ll be posting a photograph shortly of the room where I keep all my synths for sure. Yes, I actually have kept all of the synths I’ve discovered so far and you are correct, space is very limited in Japan. I am fortunate to be living in a commercial building here in Nagano with a rather large room to house the keyboards. I don’t have them all out of their cases, but they are lined up against a wall and are relatively easy to take out if I wish to tinker with them. I think I have 12 out right now along with our Yamaha upright piano in the same room. Of course I’ll likely have to sell some of them in the future and I’ll probably open a used synth shop to do that. So you might say I’ve been collecting future inventory…laugh. I’ll definitely be posting photos and videos shortly. My room might look more like a synth warehouse rather than a fancy studio though…laugh.

      What’s amazing is that pretty much all of this gear was labeled “junk” when I first bought it. The Japanese really like to throw away great stuff! I can’t believe it sometimes.

      Thanks for the comment Swen!


  2. Just bought 2 x 4MB 30-PIN 70NS Non-Parity Memory sticks off Ebay today. This will give the Yamaha SY-85 8.5 MB of internal volatile sample memory in addition to the 1MB non-volatile memory from the SYEMB06. Combined that would be 9.5 MB of memory for samples.

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