Yamaha Tyros3 Mililani HI

Maybe you’ve heard of Yamaha’s flagship Tyros arranger keyboards which was first reviewed in the Aug. But here the new evolutionalized keyboard, the T3 which surprises you more than anything you've played before.

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Yamaha Tyros3

0.0000Tyros3_MAIN You’ve probably heard of Yamaha’s flagship Tyros arranger keyboards, first reviewed in the Aug. ’03 issue by Ed Alstrom and called “the gold standard” by Stephen Fortner in his Jan. ’06 review of the Tyros2. Meant for solo entertainers and advanced hobbyists, they now take an evolutionary step forward with the Tyros3. Arguably still the most advanced keyboard of its kind, the Tyros3 (T3) keeps its popular FSX action, smooths out the stealthfighter panel angles of the Tyros 2 (T2), and adds welcome new styles and features. Though the new features are not quite as dramatic a step above the T2 as the T2 was above the original, and (for those who have invested hours loading their T2 with treasured settings) moving to a new keyboard can be scary, rest assured that the T3 is unlike anything you’ve played before. If you’re a first-time Tyros explorer, or a skeptical pro wondering what all the fuss is about, read on.

CONTROLS

I unboxed the Tyros3 amidst a whirlwind of Christmas gigs, with only a week to prep. Fortunately, I own two PSR-9000 Pros, Yamaha’s flagship arranger prior to the Tyros. The layout of the T3 is not much different from the PSR series both old and new, so I was up and running quickly — and considering that playing a T3 is a little like playing a Motif XS and the button-based Tenori-On (reviewed Nov. ’08) at the same time, that’s saying a lot.

The T3’s large, tilting color screen and plethora of backlit buttons make you wonder why Yamaha’s Motif workstations aren’t this easy to use in the dark. Only the Littlelite sockets of the PSR-9000 Pro offer more illumination. New sliders below the display default to volume faders for sounds and accompaniment, and become drawbars in the “Organ Flutes” mode (see Figure 1 on page 52), which we’ll discuss below.

The layout of the T3 follows previous models: Style (accompaniment) buttons turn your left hand into a bandleader. In a style, you trigger various arrangement sections: three intros, four main sections, a fill, and three outros — all ranging from simple to complex. Also, the four Multi Pads now trigger a range of sounds, from one-note strikes and simple riffs (e.g., sleigh bells for the “Christmas Swing” Style) to rhythmic patterns that tempo-sync and follow your chording. When the One-Touch Settings link button is lit, switching sections within a Style also switches Voices (sounds) selected to work best with that section. You can override the factory choices here by holding the Memory button while pressing any of the four One-Touch buttons.

Above the Styles are the full-featured Mic settings with effects ranging from EQ, reverb, and chorus to a very effective vocal harmonizer that knows what chords you play. There’s even a thoughtful Talk button, which removes vocal effects so you can speak to the audience.

Next is the Song area, which goes beyond simple MIDI sequencer functions to include markers, looping, and cueing. You can record Styles and Multi Pads int...

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