Beginner's Choice: Synthesizer


reface CS Synthesizer

Ideal for Beginners

Creating sound has been achieved by every (successful) musical instrument ever made - but usually, aside from the musician using some form of articulation to modify that sound, there's a fixed range of timbres an instrument can make. A guitarist can make a mellower sound by using their fingertips rather than a guitar pick; a violinist can play pizzicato or vibrato; all these techniques take skill and all are relevant, but none offer complete control over the sound, or create a brand new sound.

Yamaha reface CS Synthesizer

A synthesizer lets you do just that. There are many types, based on a range of different audio principles but fundamentally, they give you the ability to modify in detail the characteristic of a sound to create new sounds - and in many cases, let you recreate sounds from acoustic instruments or music you've heard. From Pink Floyd, to Michael Jackson, to Mark Ronson and Calvin Harris - synthesizers are essential to modern mainstream music producers - and there's a whole underground of artists creating purely synthesizer-based music.

If you're new to synthesis, we recommend our reface CS Synthesizer. Don't be put off by its diminutive size - it's built like a small tank and the keys are very playable - but crucially, our renowned 'AN' virtual analogue synthesis engine lies inside. This offers enormous breadth of tone and gives you easy-to-understand hands-on control over the sound; very quickly, you'll learn not only what each control does, but how to build a specific type of sound using all the controls together.

Why it's great for beginners:

  • It offers true professional sound quality
  • The synthesis controls are easy to understand and use
  • It's small enough to fit into a bag, or comfortably play on a sofa with headphones
  • We've deliberately left out pre-programmed memory settings - as a result, you have to use the synthesis controls to change the sound and therefore quickly learn what those controls do - to the point where, if, for instance, someone asks for the theme sound from Faithless' Insomnia, you'll instinctively know how to re-create it
  • For additional inspiration, you can hook the reface up to our Soundmondo iOS or web app and share your sounds with other reface players
  • The reface CS works with Cubase, Cubasis and other iOS, Mac and Windows based DAWs for recording and production duties

Good to know...

  • The reface CS features our 'AN' virtual analogue synthesis engine. This was originally featured in our famous AN1X and EX5 synthesizers of the late 1990s and recreates - using digital modelling - the way the analogue synthesizers of the 1960s and 1970s produced sound.
  • Analogue synthesizers are usually also 'subtractive' synthesizers, where new sounds are created by filtering out parts of a basic wave.
  • In the early 1980s, we revealed a different type of synthesis in our (then-new) DX Series - 'Frequency Modulation' synthesis was digitally controlled and allowed the producer to create new previously-unheard sounds - the DX7 model went on to be one of the world's best-selling synths (and hugely influenced the music of the 1980s). The reface CS' sister model, the reface DX, uses the same principles as the DX7.

Best ways to learn...

  • Watch online tutorials on synthesis types
  • Try recreating classic sounds - eventually without following any instructions
  • Build up tracks using Cubase or Cubasis on iOS, Mac or Windows
  • Use the Soundmondo app to explore sounds other producers have made