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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAustralian Musician continues to give you a blow by blow account of gear exhibited at AMAC this year. This time we take a more detailed look at the Yamaha exhibit.

Yamaha Music revived their 2013 spot at the back of the AMAC hall, displaying a wide range of gear. The first product range which caught our attention was the new L series guitars, released at NAMM this earlier year. The L6 model has a solid top with laminate back and sides, the L16s are all solid wood. Both are sub $1000 guitars and come in 3 body shapes, a modified dreadnought body, a jumbo and a smaller body (which is the LS model). Designed for the folk market, they feature zero impact pickups, which are passive pickups with no controls and are quite traditional in look.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlso on stand were a selection of current Vox amps including the NT15C1 combo (The Night Train) with 15 watt head and 12 inch speaker. It’s been re-issued with different cosmetics, featuring a classic Vox look, beautifully set off by the¬† ox blood grill cloth.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s Yamaha’s 40th anniversary in their synth world this year and to celebrate they have released the Motif XF8 in white, which matches well with the HS series speakers, also in white. Often white keyboards can look a bit stark but this one featuring subtle panel lines is very attractive.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe new MG mixers were also displayed with metal chassis and feature the pre amps which are used on their higher end recording gear. They include built-in SPX effects and stereo USB send and return of up to 24bit/ 192kHz processing. Visually, the units have gone back to an original colour scheme. This historical theme seems to be running through a lot of Yamaha products at the moment. The MG series goes from 6 channel up to 24 and product manager Steve Vranch tells me that not only are they proving to be popular but the price has also recently come down on them too.

The Steinberg UR Audio Interface series keeps expanding. Yamaha launched the UR 22 last year and the UR44 was released in 2014, which is a 4 in, 6 out interface with built-in DSP. It features a DSP chip running channel strip compression and EQ, and a nice reverb from Yamaha’s REV-X reverb algorithm. It also includes some neat guitar amp simulation. There are 4 pre amps on the front, all on combo jacks which allow you to plug in your keyboards etc and a hiZ input for guitars, with two headphone outputs with separate volume controls.

Also launched this year for Yamaha was the CP4 Stage piano, using some of the same spectral component modeling voices from the last one but this model is much lighter in weight and is easier to navigate. “Everything is one or two button presses away to do a keyboard split or layer or to get to your favourite voice,” says Yamaha’s Steve Vranch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the percussion front, Yamaha¬† released two kits this year, the Absolute Hybrid Maple and the new Stage Custom Birch, which was the one on view at AMAC. They have changed the configuration and sizing of the toms to bring them in line with the rest of the product range. There are also some changes to hardware with new badges. The kits features new PST7 cymbals, which are similar to the 2002 sound but at a more affordable price point. They’re a traditional sounding cymbal and can be used across a wide variety of musical genres.

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