Yamaha showcased the YC73 and YC88 Stage Keyboards during NAMM’s virtual Believe in Music week last week. The YC73 and YC88 combine great-feeling new keyboard actions with the soulful sounds, drawbar control, and gig-ready ease of use of the YC61 (introduced in January 2020). The YC73 features 73 weighted, balanced keys and is ideal for keyboardists who divide their playing between organ, piano, electric piano, clavi, synth, and other staple keyboard sounds. The YC88 is meant for musicians who prioritize the touch and response of an acoustic piano, offering 88 weighted Natural Wood keys with triple-sensor action, synthetic ebony and ivory key tops. Both add options alongside the semi-weighted “waterfall” action of the YC61 — the key shape preferred by organ players.
The YC73 and YC88 employ exclusive Yamaha Virtual Circuit Modeling (VCM) to capture not only the sound of classic “drawbar” organs, but their behavior down to the component level. VCM also reproduces the distinctive rotary speaker effect, which most keyboardists consider inseparable from the organ itself. In other words, the YC series does not merely take a digital snapshot of the world’s most imitated organ sound — it builds that sound from the ground up. This results in unprecedented authenticity.
In true vintage fashion, nine drawbars shape the sound by controlling individual footages, and essentials like percussion and vibrato/chorus enhance the tone. The player can also customize key click, “leakage,” rotary speaker speed changes, and more. The keyboard may be split between upper and lower organ registrations. In addition to VCM modeling organ, the organ section also features FM synthesis, the now-famous synthesis method pioneered by Yamaha.
Complementing the organ, two “Keys” sections utilize proprietary Yamaha “Advanced Wave Memory” which provides authentic acoustic and electric pianos, strings and brass, analog-style synth sounds, and much more. The Keys section features two dedicated effects processors along with configurable envelope and filter controls for real time manipulation and interaction. Like the Organ section, the Keys section also features FM synthesis for many classic sounds like DX7 electric pianos, leads, basses and more. The Keys section may also be split with the organ section across the keyboard or played from an external MIDI controller keyboard to either the Organ or Keys section.
“A staple of keyboard playing is access to classic keyboard sounds,” says Nate Tschetter, manager, Synthesizer Marketing, Yamaha Corporation of America. “Now more than ever, players want more control of those sounds to express themselves. The YC series gives them that control to easily make adjustments on the fly. And now with the introduction of YC73 and YC88, there are options to suit every player in every situation from the perfect ‘top keyboard’ in YC61 to the great ‘all around’ YC73 and finally our best stage piano action in YC88.”