The Yamaha MX61 is not the best synthesizer keyboard, but it is quite a good instrument. Depending on what your prior experience with synthesizers is, you may or may not consider it to be one of the best workstations. The truth is however, that if you were to compare it to a Krome or even another Yamaha (like the Montage 8), this synth would sadly be blown out of the water. In this price range, it’s just not very easy to find high performance synthesizers, but this MX61 is one of the best value synths you can get. It might not have the luxury features that some of the other synthesizers I’ve reviewed will have, but there’s no question of whether or not the instrument gets the job done, and if you’re a beginner then this might be one of the best starting options there are on the market.Check Price On Amazon
As far as how the synthesizer UI actually looks and feels, it’s nothing too exciting. You have total control of the different functions and sounds of the board, and one would not be overwhelmed in having to play this synthesizer as it is not difficult to get the hang of this instrument. It’s no Teenage Engineering OP-1, but it is closer to simple than it is to complex. This Yamaha MX61 keyboard is relatively lightweight, and the same can be said about its 88-key variant. It is also a flattop which I tend to prefer on my synthesizers, so they did that right. Generally speaking, the board is rather bland, in regards to its physical aspects. If you were to take a look at the Montage 8 for instance, that board can be seen as quite complex and for the advanced. It’s much more intricate in its design, yet its made by the same manufacturer. The MX61’s simplicity is both a good thing and a bad thing; and it is an especially good thing if you aren’t too familiar with synthesizer keyboards. The board comes in three different color variations – black, blue, and white. This is a nice touch as many synthesizers only come in black.
The sound quality on the MX61 is fair. The organ, rhodes, and piano sounds are mostly realistic sounding and again, the quality is sufficient. They won’t shatter the room and certainly aren’t to be compared to some of the better sounding synthesizers, like a Roland DS88 for example, but in the price range they’re actually quite good. Many of Yamaha’s competitors are unable to replicate this sound quality in their own instruments, at least at such a low price. While the sound quality is not bad, the variety of voices and sounds is not the most impressive. Unfortunately, versatility is not exactly the strong-suit of the Yamaha MX61 synthesizer keyboard. Even for the price, you could definitely make the argument that Yamaha did a poor job by not adding enough variety to this particular board, but at least it makes up in other ways.
As I previously noted, the features aren’t too exciting on the MX61 by Yamaha. It has many notable ones, but they are not uncommon to most synths today. Some of the things this instrument brings to the table are:
- Class Compliant USB Audio/MIDI for true “plug and play” connectivity without installing any drivers
- Motif Sound Engine: layer, zone, switch, cycle, randomize and control up to 8 elements within a single voice
- Virtual Circuit Modeling re-creates the sound and behavior of vintage effects and signal processors
- 128 notes of polyphony ensures dropout-free performance playing live or with full 16-track sequences
Deciding whether or not this is the synthesizer for you comes down to a couple factors. Are you a mad scientist musician who needs to play around with hundreds, if not thousands of sounds and have the highest performance synth engine? Then while it could work, you won’t necessarily choose the Yamaha MX61 as your first option. However, if you’re not too far into your musical journey and/or you are okay with a more simple product, then this MX61 could be an excellent choice for you. Typically, I wouldn’t recommend an instrument in this price range to those who are past the intermediate stage in music production, but you could really squeeze out a lot of value from this synthesizer. Check it out now.