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Yamaha Corporation of America, Pro Audio & Combo Division, Digital Musical Instruments, introduces the S80 Synthesizer keyboard at this year's Summer NAMM show. Featuring an 88-note, weighted piano keyboard action combined with a high-quality, expandable synthesis engine, the S80 is ideal for live-performance applications and makes a perfect controller/synthesizer to place at the heart of a complex MIDI system. The S80 is scheduled to ship in October, 1999.

"The S80 combines a highly refined, weighted-action keyboard with expandable synthesis capabilities and advanced MIDI-controller functionality," notes Athan Billias, marketing manager, Digital Musical Instruments. "The S80 is the new standard in affordable 88-note piano-action synthesizers. The addition of an external input for connecting a microphone, and processing with the onboard effects, make it a truly unique tool for the singer/songwriter."

The synthesis engine at the heart of the S80 provides 64 notes of polyphony divisible among 16 multi-timbral parts. In a significant advantage over the competition's 88-note synths, the S80 has 64 multi-mode resonant filters, allowing for the creation of analog-style synth sounds. A massive 20MB ROM, including sounds from Yamaha's award-winning EX series synthesizers, provides the raw materials used to create the S80's sizable collection of voices.

Included among the S80's onboard sounds are new stereo-sampled pianos, strings, brass and choir voices. In addition to the 256 preset sounds, users can create their own sounds using the easy-edit macros and then store them in any of the 128 user-voice memory locations. The S80 also features 128 memory locations for the storage of user-performance setups. Performance memories on the S80 can contain detailed settings for 19 parts (16 internal, 2 plug-in and separate part settings for the external inputs) in addition to four-zone master keyboard layouts.

Yamaha has also included a Smart Media-compatible storage slot to provide a convenient and limitless form of storage for the S80. Smart Media (3.3V) Cards in capacities of 2-, 4-, 8-, 16- and 32MB are supported for storage of user voice and performance banks, as well as all other S80 settings. Smart Media compatibility also allows the S80 to load, chain and play song files saved as a Standard MIDI File (SMF).

For the ultimate in expansion capability, the S80 is equipped with two plug-in expansion slots, which allow the unit to hold any two boards from Yamaha's extensive PLG line of Modular Synthesis Plug-in Expansion boards. Numerous boards are currently available, many of which are essentially completely new synthesizers on cards. By installing a PLG series board into the S80, the user retains the 64-note polyphonic synthesizer found in an unexpanded S80 while being able to add not only new sounds but additional notes of polyphony and even new synthesis technologies, such as physical modeling.

Currently available S80-compatible plug-in boards include the PL100-VL Virtual Acoustic board, which provides the sounds and features of Yamaha's VL70m physical-modeling synthesizer; the PLG-100VH, which provides three voices of real-time formant-corrected vocal harmony with Gender Shifting; and the PLG100-DX, which provides a 16-note polyphonic, DX7-compatible synthesizer on a card. New to the PLG lineup at Summer NAMM are the PLG150-AN, featuring the same analog physical modeling found in the AN1x, and the PLG-150XG, featuring a 32-note polyphony AWM2 engine and full XG compatibility. A fully expanded CS6X can provide as many as 128 notes of polyphony

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