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Yamaha an1x

Yamaha AN1X

4.15 4.15 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

analogue modelling

17th March 2012

Yamaha AN1X by foge

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 2 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.5
Yamaha an1x

The Yamaha AN1X is a great analogue modelling synth.

It is easy to program when using the AN1X edit software (pc only) but works find from parallels and vmware on a mac.
It is fundamentally a two oscillator synth with a multi mode filter but with a series of nice functions which make it seem more than that.
Oscillators one and two can be all the usual saw, square etc. and they have a useful edge parameter which sounds like a gentle lowpass filter to gain variations on those waveforms.
The AN1x is capable of oscillator sync, it does pulse width modulation well and the 10 notes of polyphony covers you nicely for chords. It also has a reasonable stab at FM synthesis allowing the usual EP sounds and slightly aggressive analogue fun too. The noise source is useful and is on top of the existing oscillators. To get a better idea of the AN1x architecture simple have a look at its PC editor 'AN1x edit' screenshot.

The effects are pretty good and have the VARIABLE EFFECT > 3band EQ >DELAY > REVERB structure where by the variable effect gives you a reasonable choice of modulation effects such as chorus , or distortions such as amp modelling, and overdrive effects to choose from.

The thing which really sets the AN1x apart from alot of its competitors of the time is the depth you can get into when programming it. THis means it really can sound pretty incredible.
THe best demos of the AN1x are JayBs on youtube.
JayB's Yamaha AN1x patches (Old Video) - YouTube

It is capable of great dance sounds, good simple FM sounds, good organs and some really responsive rhodes emulations.

Mine was 200 pounds second hand in mint condition for such a great sounding synth it is a bargin, I bought mine because I didn't want to buy another poorly made USB controller keyboard, I didn't expect to love the synth this much.

Positive : Good quality synth action keyboard, great sound easily one of the best analogue modelling examples,Unison mode, FM and OSC sync, 4 effects in a chain, Great library of existing sound at the AN1x user group.

Downside : programming from the controls is not as easy as one control per function and requires you to stop playing and really think about where you need to navigate to. The lack of a data wheel is also irritating. Onec you start programming 128 slots starts to feel small!

  • 2
18th August 2014

Yamaha AN1X by Pro5

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Yamaha an1x

This little blue box of magic punches far above it's weight (literally; it weighs hardly anything).

I've managed to get sounds on this machine that mimic actual analogues sat next to it, sometimes 99% there sometimes a bit less but still good. And while it is undoubtedly less raw, and a bit softer than a real analogue, I find the way it's sound flows through it's architecture to be very close to analogue. It has beautiful PWM, a nice smooth filter than can get a bit aggressive if you want it to, it has nice sounding (virtual) oscillators and pretty much every feature and more you'd ever have wished for on an old 80s poly analogue monster.

There are 2 special parts to the AN1x's sound that aren't always present on other VAs including the better built and higher priced ones. Firstly is the 'Edge' feature on both oscillators that allows you to shape the waveform. This means you can more closely sculpt the basic sound to mimic a certain analogue sound of old. I have gotten extremely close to Juno and JX-3P osc sounds by using this, and it can even get fairly close to Polysix (another synth I have here to compare it with).

To fully realise the vintage synth sound you also need to use it's second key feature, the feedback parameter in the VCA settings. This rarely should be left on zero or it'll sound like a thin generic VA or a soft synth and possibly be dismissed as nothing special. As a starting point set it around 30% and that should be fine for most sounds, it adds a lot of weight and depth.

I sometimes go up to around 80% on the feedback to more closely copy the weight and tone of the old analogue synths so I'd advise before dismissing the AN1x as another plastic sounding 'trance' synth that you dig into those two features, starting with an initialised sound and treat it like you would a real analog. It's amazing the sounds you can get out of it when you do. I could barely believe my ears that some of these sounds I've made are coming from not just a digital synth but a digital synth with hardly anything inside (a hand full of chips on two tiny boards).

Anyway, the sound regardless of how analogue you can make it is just nice anyway. It's one of those synths that just can't sound bad, but in this case it can be pushed into weird areas so it's not just a super safe synth like a Juno. It records very well, sounds pretty one minute or scary/weird/scifi the next. It excels in pads, leads and PWM tones - all beautiful stuff, and can do fair basses too though lacks a little bite in the filter and osc to be really great (vs a meaty old analogue). That's nit picking though, it's an amazing all rounder and can replace at least 3 other synths of mine if I wanted it to.

Downsides are few but the matrix/rocker switch system for extended parameters on the right side can be a tad annoying but you get used to it. No memory expansion, very touchy aftertouch and ribbon prone to acting strangely. None of which should put you off as the rest is frankly stunning for the price these go for. Even at £200-£300 higher than current prices they would still be of tremendous value to someone who wants a analogue style workhorse.

I prefer it's basic sound over the Korg stuff (MS2k etc) and the Roland JP-8000, also it's a lot warmer and more authentic than those or the novation stuff like the KS-rack. Even runs rings around the nord leads and keeps up with the virus in some areas! Furthermore it has some very cool features not found on other VAs even to this day.

A very underrated synth, mostly based on it's looks or plastic casing and relative lack of knobs (btw it's very easy to program don't let anyone say only 8 multi function knobs are not enough). It has 128 onboard patch memories and I fill these up with new sounds and tweaked sounds with regularity. It's very inviting to just program and it plays like a dream thanks to a very nice feeling, fast playing synth type keybed.

I really have nothing bad to say about the AN1x, it's proved it's worth to me in the many songs I've used it in and it sounds interesting, pretty, aggressive and weird in equal measure. It lacks the final raw bite of a true analogue for sure and the filters are not strictly true to their ratings, but in the context of the overall synth it all just works great and sounds great and that's what matters.

I would recommend this synth to anyone looking for a flexible, good sounding board without fuss and room to grow as you do.

  • 5
30th December 2017

Yamaha AN1X by Snuppeluppen

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Yamaha an1x

Truly a masterpiece of analogue modeling, its overall a highly flexible synth that can sound like a cross between the Yamaha CS-80, Mini Moog D-type and Yamaha DX7. Its sound caracter is like real Analog, as there is analogue synths out there that gets obliterated by the huge, warm sound and overall punchiness of the AN1x. It is also quite flexible, with its respectable polyphony count of 10 voices, Fm synthesis with a few algorithms available and also layering possibilities (2). Its not flawless, its construction is mediocre and can be considered bad compared to yamaha's standards, and its not as programmable as its contemporaries, with 6 knobs available and assignable buttons, its programmability is O.k. However none of these cons outclasses the pros of this synth, and not to mention the SOUND!!

  • 3
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