Last week I found a mint condition Yamaha SPX900 Digital Multi Effects Processor. These effect processors are extremely difficult to find in Japan. The Japanese love guitar effects and so when you see one of these you really need to make a quick decision because it likely will be gone shortly thereafter.
Recently I also picked up a vintage Yamaha FX-900 and really fell in love with it. I’ve heard the Yamaha SPX-900 is similar but also different. I use these Multi Effect Processors mainly for keyboards and vocals, but of course they work well with guitar too. It is quite true that the effects in the Yamaha SPX900 are all outstanding with the exception of the distortion effect. Everyone I heard claims it really sucks and I must agree, however, for synths it’s useable. With that said, I also must admit I am new to the SPX900 and to get a decent distortion it’s likely with tweaking you can achieve this.
The Reverbs, Delays, Chorus, and Symphonic sounds are all fantastic. I also like the Freeze effect and all the different types of detailed reverbs you can get. There are many patches with multi effects and they are all very useable and quite good. The multi effects with distortion may require you to “turn off” the distortion part, but all in my opinion or very good especially with synths. As I mentioned the stock distortion may require lots of tweaking or replacement with an external effect. The distortion in the Yamaha FX-900 is much better to me in comparison.
A lot of old vintage synthesizers and keyboards do not have built in effects. I like picking up these old vintage processors because they really add a lot of spice and help to rejuvenate the sounds of these old synths. I remember pulling my Yamaha DX-7 into the Yamaha FX-900 and WOW! What a difference effects make on the DX-7. Effect processors are also very useful when using with the old Roland S-Series Samplers because I usually sample dry to conserve memory. You can then use the SPX900 to add effects and take the sound to another level. It’s great.
Here is a video found on Youtube showing different shots of the Yamaha SPX-900. Unfortunately there is no sound demo here but it’s a nice basic description nonetheless.