Back in the late 90’s I used to work with a Yamaha QY300 quite bit and really grew to like that sequencer. However I sold it a few years ago for a couple of reasons. One was the floppy disk drive had finally given out and didn’t have the means at the time to replace it. I also didn’t particularly like how the LCD screen was not backlit which made it very difficult to work with. It was a pretty solid sequencer I remember and I also knew that it had a bigger brother called the Yamaha QY700 that I had hope to find one day.
Well, shortly after I purchased the Yamaha QX3 I wrote about earlier, I received a call from the Hard Off sales clerk saying he had just gotten in a Yamaha QY700. I had spoken briefly about the QY700 with him that if he had ever got one in to give me call. I was shocked to first get a call, and second to get one so soon. He kind of chuckled and said it was lucky that someone had dropped one off just the very next day after I had bought the Yamaha QX3. He offered me a good price and so last night I jumped back into the car and ran over to pick up the QY700.
Now I totally have enough sequencers already, but I there were a few reasons why I really wanted to nab the Yamaha QY700. First, I love the midi connections it has. There are two MIDI in ports and two MIDI out ports which is fantastic. Plus the LCD screen is really nice with full back lighting and a contrast adjustment knob. What a difference a BIG backlit LCD screen makes compared to the QY300. The Floppy disk drive also accepts both DD and HD disks while the QY300 only could use DD floppy disk. Plus the QY700 can save or load ESEQ formatted songs which means I can now easily create tracks and load them into the Yamaha QX3. Or I can create tracks on the QX3 and then load them up on the QY700. Pretty cool!
The built in XG sounds in the QY700 are not all that bad for creating your songs and you can always control an external sampler or sound module to improve the sound quality. I also found the effects inside the QY700 to be really nice. There are some effects such as “early reflections” and “symphonic” that are popular in the Yamaha SPX and FX series effect modules. It’s too bad there’s no effects loop to apply the effects to other sound modules, but it’s still nice to have them for the XG sounds.
The real beauty of the Yamaha QY700 is in the sequencing. I primarily hang out in pattern/phrase mode where I like to create sketches of grooves to be used in songs later on. It’s incredibly easy and quick to lay down multiple tracks. In the past I’ve used a Yamaha RM1x and RS7000 which are both just as fantastic, but having that big LCD screen is a big bonus when trying to get an overview of your entire composition. Another feature I really like about the QY700 is that when you power off the sequencer, it retains all of the songs, patterns, and phrases in memory. You don’t lose a thing! The Rm1x also does this which is why I like that sequencer as well, however, the RS7000 does not do this. Personally it drives me nuts having to load up my sequences every time I power up the RS7000, so it’s nice with the QY700 not to worry about that.
The timing on the Yamaha RY800 is also rock solid. The Quantize and Groove template editing is outstanding. Yamaha really makes excellent vintage sequencers. The Yamaha QY700, RM1x, RS7000, and others are simply wonderful to work with. Although I really like my Rm1x, I probably would have to recommend the Yamaha QY800 over the Rm1x simply because of that LCD screen. It’s great just to be able to view everything all on one screen. If you see a Yamaha QY700, definitely check it out.