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Ben F
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14th April 2009
Old 14th April 2009
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Yamaha AN1X

I'm looking at getting a proper 5 octave keyboard with some real time controllers, and a friend suggested an AN1X that is for sale locally. Reading through reviews and so forth it actually looks like a very good VA as well, I listened to some demos from Don Solaris and was really surprised at how 'analogue' it sounded.

The synth action is meant to be quite good, and the knobs and ribbon controller can be assigned to CC values.

Does any one here use it here as a VA synth or keyboard controller?
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thx1138
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14th April 2009
Old 14th April 2009
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Go get it now!
I think it's a hugely underrated synth. It sounds massive analog, and cold digital at the same time. I'm planning on getting another one (sold mine when I thought soft synths were sounding really cool only to realize that I miss the hands-on aspect of the instruments and soft synths sound cold and sterile ).
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14th April 2009
Old 14th April 2009
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I bought the last one from Sweetwater (supposedly) for like $800 in 1999 I think it was? I sold it a few years after. The action was pretty decent from what I remember. It was a good feeling keybed at least. The knob config, to me, was crappy, but that's my opinion. I hate the stupid 'grid' system to do patch editing. Give me a SINGLE parameter and a knob, button, or switch. I really don't like the method, but it certainly made the synth a lot cheaper to build. The sound engine, to me, was forgettable. I recently bought the PLG150-AN board for my Motif, and sold it again a year later, which is basically the AN1x. It's got a decent sound, but nothing that blew me away, but not terrible either. I personally wouldn't pay more than $200 for that 10 year old synth, but they seem to be going for $400+ on EBay. Again, personal opinion.

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14th April 2009
Old 14th April 2009
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It was really deserving of a better interface. Another Yamaha interface hosing. Wish they'd do an AN2x and not half-ass it this time, or at least give the unit a data knob for the matrix. I sold mine, but I didn't know about the software editor at the time. Keys were decent synth action, sound was excellent, effects were kinda crappy, sounded like the same effects chip on the CS1x.
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14th April 2009
Old 14th April 2009
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I've currently got one and will probably be unloading it some time soon. It's got a very good sound to it. Very cutting. But programming it is just plain tedious. Makes a good enough controller, though. If it had octave switching, I'd probably use it for that.
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14th April 2009
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Thanks for the replies. I can get it for around $400 US which is pretty good for a 5 octave controller, considering the quality I've seen from most of the other controllers for the same price!

The synth engine looks good, and I like the idea of having a step sequencer that can also send MIDI to control other synths.
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14th April 2009
Old 14th April 2009
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I had an AN1x on 3 different occasions throughout the years. The first couple of times, I gigged with it and it made a great controller, as I could control the filter on the FS1r and Micro Q using the ribbon controller on the AN1x. For some reason, the aftertouch is really sensitive when controlling other synths (meaning it lacks some subtlety), but at least it has it.

The matrix system looks difficult and of course it would have benefitted from more knobs, but it's not hard to work with once you spend a little time with it. It's also nice because you can split and layer sounds. My only real gripe was the system of rubber rocker switches. Didn't care for those. I would recommend that you download the free editor for it, as it's handy and can act as a librarian as well.

In terms of sounds, it covers a pretty wide range. It can be warm-ish and can also do some sounds that have clarity and can be pretty ballsy as leads. It wasn't as popular as other its contemporaries (JP-8000, NordLead 1, or MS2000) because it didn't have as many knobs.

I think it's still a very good value for the money. I bought my 2nd and third AN1xs (and sold them) for around $300 each time.
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14th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARR1 View Post
I would recommend that you download the free editor for it, as it's handy and can act as a librarian as well.
Is there an editor for Mac OSX? Or is the editor for Windows or Mac OS 9 only?
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14th April 2009
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Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
Thanks for the replies. I can get it for around $400 US which is pretty good for a 5 octave controller, considering the quality I've seen from most of the other controllers for the same price!
Check eBay. Unless there's been a drastic change in price lately, they usually go for a lot less.
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14th April 2009
Old 14th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
Reading through reviews and so forth it actually looks like a very good VA as well, I listened to some demos from Don Solaris and was really surprised at how 'analogue' it sounded.
I've made those sounds by using software editor. Without it, that AN1x would be sold long ago. Before you actually purchase the synth, download and test the software on your OS first. I know of a few people who bought the synth the same way by listening to these demos, to sell it even faster. No editor = no fun.
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14th April 2009
Old 14th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thx1138 View Post
Go get it now!
I think it's a hugely underrated synth. It sounds massive analog, and cold digital at the same time.
totally agree!

if you get the free editor and hubi's loopback you can run it as a "hardware VSTi". it s cold sounding synth, but one that is capable of brutal basses thru to sparkly pads.

i recon it is a great investment
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14th April 2009
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nice buy

occasionally an1x comes out on paybays n' lists for cheap prices
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15th April 2009
Old 15th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
Is there an editor for Mac OSX? Or is the editor for Windows or Mac OS 9 only?
I should have mentioned the editor is only for Windows or OS9. The developer for it, Gary Gregson, didn't make an OS X version and I was never able to track him down to ask him about it. But, if you have XP on your Mac, you could probably use it.
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15th April 2009
Old 15th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARR1 View Post
I should have mentioned the editor is only for Windows or OS9. The developer for it, Gary Gregson, didn't make an OS X version and I was never able to track him down to ask him about it. But, if you have XP on your Mac, you could probably use it.
Ok cheers for the info. I have an old OS9 machine which will do the trick...but then again If I'm going to be editing on screen I may as well use soft synths. I think the AN1X will work ok as a MIDI controller.

Edit: found this editor for OSX Sound Quest Inc. Yamaha AN1x Editor/Librarian and Virtualizer
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15th April 2009
Old 15th April 2009
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Don't think the UI is unfathomable. It's not like working with a D-50 or DX7 or anything that's that menu-intensive. It's not that it's difficult to program, you just have to spend a little time learning the interface. The knob matrix is a cinch. The rubber rocker switch system took me a little longer, but for someone who "lucked" into a lot of good sounds by tweaking, I can tell you that it's rewarding to program if you just invest a little time in it.

Another cool feature I forgot to mention--you can use the mod wheel to morph between two different sounds or "scenes" in AN1x terminology. I tweaked a patch that sounded like a choral pad and when the wheel was used, would turn into a sort of odd woodwind or pipe sound. The ribbon controller is a lot of fun, too.

There are loads of patches available on the AN1x users group on Yahoo:
AN1x-list : The Yamaha AN1x Synthesizer mailing list

I uploaded bank of patches around 10 years ago, I guess. They're in the older patch archives on that list. They're called "Philip's Patches". I even tried to replicate the percussive bass sound used on remix version of The Pet Shop Boys "Always on my Mind" and had a decent Wurlitzer patch. I think I suggested to leave the reverb turned off, but I can't remember.
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20th April 2009
Old 20th April 2009
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Well I'm really happy with this synth. The raw oscillators sound quite good, and they have quite a lot of tone shaping flexibility, including an 'edge' control to shape the overtones (so a sawtooth can go from sine to a very biting sawtooth), and pulse width modulation. I actually really like it's tone, quite raw with lots of power. The FM is well featured and a welcome addition. The pulse wave is excellent and sounds quite analogue to my ears.

The filters are also very good for a VA. Sure, there is stepping at high resonance, but they sound very squelchy and I have managed to emulate a TB-303 quite convincingly (always a good test).

The step sequencer is easy to use- my only gripe is I wish they included a LED below the controllers to show which step the sequencer is on. It sends MIDI data or will sync to a MIDI clock making it good for controlling other synth modules. The editing matrix is quite intuitive and I've had no problems programming so far. The scene/layer/split combinations are confusing at first but the manual explains everything. The manual also has good tutorials for programming sounds, and there are 8 empty preset templates to choose from for sound creation, ranging from bass to organ. This is great you can load one up and learn how to create a sound from scratch, which is highly recommended as the presets are fair and squarely targeted at the 'rave' market like the JP-8000 I used to own.

As a midi controller, all of the 8 knobs and ribbon controller can be assigned CC values, and the keyboard has a decent synth action.

So in conclusion, if anyone wants a bargain VA and good MIDI controller to boot, the AN1X is very good value.
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20th April 2009
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Ben, you mentioned you used to have a JP-8000. Someone made a bank of JP8000 presets for the AN1x. You may be amused by the results. You can find it at the Yahoo Group whose link I posted.
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20th April 2009
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FWIW, Now you've already bought one.. I have an AN1x and LOVE it. (I've also got two analog JX's from the 80s, DX7II, D50 etc)... so I've always had 'convoluted' interfaces on my synths... so the AN1x feels VERY nice in comparison to lots of menus... sure the control matrix is a tad fiddly but most of the actual 'sound' editing is done from the knobs/bank buttons and I find them nice to use

In fact I've just come back on here after taking my synth to my bed for 2 hours and just sat with it programming 10 new sounds for future work.. Great (smooth) leads, some atmospheric pads (that give my D-50 a run for it's money, not quite as warm but more spacey/epic/evolving), and some sfx...

As a controller the keyboard has a great feel (for fast synth playing) - it's a 'cheap' one by Yamaha's standards but it's a quiet action which I like and the keys just feel smooth and compliment the sounds I make well..

I dumped all the trance style sounds when I got it as that's not my bag and now it sounds like a virtual prophet 5 meets Minimoog meets CS80 meets Jupiter 8... ok not as hot as any of them, but a nice enough aproximation in a mix and lots of extra toys too

I use the editor, the soundquest one I've tried too and both are good - actually the sound quest one is more ergonomic (bigger windows for sequences etc IIRC).

But nothing beats just sitting with it, hands on , using the 8 (x8) knobs (yes it's very easy to just hit a button for VCO/VCF/VCA etc - not like you need ALL of them to hand at once) and tweaking the sounds to perfection. It's my most 'fun' synth for sure....

Enjoy

BTW the Plug in card doesn't sound quite the same as the Synth itself (nor does the AN200) - the AN1x is the real deal for the AN sound and the rest are variations/compromises (even though some added features/some removed poly/different character).
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21st October 2010
Old 21st October 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
I'm looking at getting a proper 5 octave keyboard with some real time controllers, and a friend suggested an AN1X that is for sale locally. Reading through reviews and so forth it actually looks like a very good VA as well, I listened to some demos from Don Solaris and was really surprised at how 'analogue' it sounded.

The synth action is meant to be quite good, and the knobs and ribbon controller can be assigned to CC values.

Does any one here use it here as a VA synth or keyboard controller?
the AN1X is probably my favorite sounding VA synth out there, plus i use it as my controler. the build quality isnt great and the interfaces is a bit quirky but i fitted mine with some sweet vintage synth style knobs and it sounds so killer. the pads and brass are top notch. i went through a nord lead, jp-8000, and the AN1X sounds so much warmer. im sure your happy =)
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