Yamaha MX88 Overview
Yamaha’s Motif series was a favorite to a lot of us. This series came with some awesome keyboards that offered excellent features at very affordable prices. To learners and performers, this series gave birth to some of the most portable keyboards that not only developed their playing skills but went as far as giving them that feeling of performing in an acoustic instrument. As far as we could tell the series already had great keyboards so it’s easy to wonder what else the Yamaha MX 88 could offer. The thing with technology, however, is that you never know you need something until you get it and then you suddenly can’t do without it. This is the kind of impact that the Yamaha MX88 has had on some people’s music career. How is that so?
The Yamaha MX88 is not the cheapest digital piano but it does offer a tremendous quality. This piano is rated at 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon by people who bought this piano.
The Yamaha MX88 is extremely light which is shocking given its big size. When you get the keyboard out of the box, your mind will immediately start questioning how in the world is a weighted keyboard that light. This is all thanks to technological advancement which has enabled Yamaha to compress all of the features offered here in lightweight materials. By lightweight material, we don’t mean cheap and flimsy materials fixed for the sake of it. The keyboard looks elegant which should complement any house or stage décor. The aesthetics are top notch with a beautiful matte finish that conceals any smudges or fingerprints on the keyboard. All this has been achieved without compromising on the quality of keys, covering material or sturdiness. The keys are not just weighted, but they are meticulously graded for easy and high-quality performance.
With its lightweight nature, you can already guess how portable the instrument is. You could move the keyboard from one point to another all day long, and at the end of the day it will still look and feel as fresh as ever.
The Yamaha MX88 shines when you go through the quality and realism of the sound produced. To begin with, the keyboard offers more than 1000 Motif sounds. These are all high-quality, usable sounds that are aimed towards making your productions fun and engaging. Moving from the motif sounds you will come across the 128 voice polyphony and the incredible synth engine. What’s impressive is not the presence of these two features (because there are several other standard keyboards out there with the same) but rather the quality and the sort of impact they have. We all know of devices out there that add a feature with poor performance so that they can use it as a selling point. This is not the case in Yamaha MX88. Their polyphone and synth engine ensure the Yamaha MX88 sounds a lot better and more natural. The synth sounds are categorized into comps, pads, and leads.
Rarely do you come across a keyboard with excellent basses, electric and acoustic guitars at the price range in which Yamaha MX88 is retailing? The expressiveness of the sounds here is on another level, and these are perfectly complemented with the Leslie effects and the tonewheel organs. The keyboard is further equipped with tuned percussion, brass and orchestral strings that can work in both MIDI score mockups and live arrangements. There are 208 rhythm patterns to choose from, and we just can’t miss to point out how brilliant the drum kits sound.
Yamaha MX88 comes with arguably the best DAW control surface possible in a four knob keyboard. There are several launch-and-go templates added including cakewalk sonar, MOTU digital performer, Steinberg Cubase and Apply Logic Pro X. The Cubase AI offers some of the best basic tools for editing, mixing and recording everything right from their initial stage to the final masterpiece. The advantage with this software is that it is powerful and advanced enough for the most experienced musicians to work with and is also easy to use which gives learners an opportunity to gain on hand experience in one of the best music production software tools.
There is a Yamaha VCM FX engine that helps in delivering amazing modeled effects. Accompanying it is an iOS FM synth app that effortlessly integrates with your iPhone allowing the use of mobile recorders and also to add a few other personal effects. The FM essential is a free FM synthesizer app for iPhone. The app has ten voices, but when you connect it to the Yamaha MX88 through the USB camera, it will unlock over 270 different voices. These voices range from the classic ‘80s to some of the latest EDMs, imagine just for a moment the kind of fun you could have sampling all these voices! As if that’s not enough you will also get a chance to edit voices! The app also comes with other inbuilt effects, step sequencer used to automate control changes, drum phrases, and EQ.
Connectivity doesn’t get any more convenient as it is with using the Yamaha MX88. This keyboard will become the hub of your music studio enabling you to connect it to various other instruments for optimal performance. The MIDI class-compliant and USB audio allow you to record stereo audios and exchange files between your computer or iOS device and the keyboard. This feature proves to be very useful when you are recording through the Yamaha MX88 in the DAW as you listen to the mixes via headphones or speakers. The onboard controls can also be used with the DAW to control the plugin parameters using the knobs. The convenient remote control templates also make it easy for you to maneuver through the various features present. This not only makes it quick for you to use the keyboard but also make it easy to master and use the software.
DAW remote controls will give you a chance to utilize the 16-channel MIDI interface to use the keyboard as either a tone generator or a keyboard controller.
Yamaha MX 88 Specifications
- 128 note polyphony that supports 16 track sequence in a dropout-free performance
- 88 GHS keys (Graded Hammer Standard) These are lighter coming to the higher register and heavier around the lower register giving the user the sensation of a real piano
- FM Essential capability that extends your sonic arsenal
- Matte black finishing on the keytops keep them tactile and will prevent slipping regardless of how long you’ve been playing the keyboard
- Virtual Circuit Modeling (VCM) that recreates the behaviors and sounds of FX and vintage signal processors
- A powerful MOTIF sound engine that can randomize, cycle, zone, layer switch and control eight different elements per voice!
- Damper Resonance that models a grand piano sound
- DAW remote controls
- USB port for transferring and storing data from the keyboard to USB flash drives
- 1/8 inches aux input for connecting to mobile devices and tablets
- An auto-shutoff feature that’s automatically activated after an extended period of inactivity
Cubase AI, Yamaha YC-3B, and Steinberg Prologue
Pros of Using the Yamaha MX88
- Incredibly light and highly portable
- Sturdy build that boosts durability
- Pleasing aesthetic
- Excellent sound production
- USB audio and MIDI
- Easy to use
- The LCD seems a bit too small
- There is no integrated music stand
- For you to integrate the keyboard with your iPhone device, you will also have to buy the Lightning USB independently since it doesn’t come with the keyboard.
“Fantastic product! This is used by a touring band and can handle the travel! Durable with many effects.’ By an Amazon Customer
“Hand problems pushed me to this great synth/keyboard. Wow, the emulation of a bass guitar keeps me gigging, and the people I play with couldn’t be happier. This is a competent instrument that is priced right. Paired to a Fender Rumble 100 bass amp, it rocks all of my riffs and favorite techniques.” By Wiley
“Love the piano sounds and pads, but its versatility isn’t what I was expecting.. when it comes to layer and split functions… it’s either one or the other you could use at any given moment but never together!” By Kevin
The verdict on the Yamaha MX88
The Yamaha MX 88 can be your only gigging keyboard as long as you explore it deep enough to utilize its features fully. The keyboard is simplistic enough for a beginner to develop his/her skills. It is also well advanced to ensure that professional’s skills are well challenged and kept at their best. For its value, it’s still hard to believe that you get a full motif synth engine. Think about it, a patch that has eight different elements and each one of them has a full synthesis chain comprising of filters, PGM based oscillators, modulation and envelop options. How many other keyboards within its price range offer that?? It’s for such reasons that it’s inevitable to feel like the MX88 is among the best “basic” keyboards in the market usable to both experienced musicians and learners.