Just so my T2 buddies don't feel left out after the E80 review posting, here is my review that I did for my own website and Jazzhooves.
It no longer shows on Jazzhooves as I asked Leigh to take it off there quite a few months ago.
YAMAHA TYROS 2 REVIEW
Following on from the success of the original Tyros, the Tyros 2 was released just over one year ago and has recently won the coveted title of ‘Best Electronic Keyboard’ at the prestigious 2006 Music Industry Awards. The Tyros 2 is simply the best arranger keyboard I have ever played.
The first thing you will notice when you unpack the Tyros 2 is the weight (14.5kg) and just how light it is. It is very easy to lift, has a large 640x480 VGA colour tilting screen and is very modern looking in a silver finish.
The keyboard has 61 notes Initial touch/After touch, 128 notes of polyphony which gives a great response.
There are loads of buttons all laid out intelligently and these are ideal for live use, offering fast access to whatever you want to do.
Explaining all of these buttons would take ages, but they are all your typical features that you would expect to find in a top end arranger.
The Tyros 2 also has 2 USB1 connectors which allow you to add storage devices such as a USB stick. There is also a USB host connection at the rear which allows you to link the arranger to your PC. This allows you to transfer data both to and from a computer and also acts as a midi device, so you can edit the internal sounds inside the keyboard via the included editing software.
There is also a microphone input and a built in vocal processing unit that offers 60 presets and 10 user spaces, with 17 automatic harmony/echo settings. Also at the rear there is an audio input where you could plug in something like a guitar.
Before you start to play the T2, in order to get the most out of it, I recommend that you press the mixing console button and change the EQ setting. You can simply press the edit button on the EQ page and change this to any one of the preset settings shown or better still, set up your own individual setting to suit you.
Playing the T2 you will immediately notice that Yamaha have clearly devoted a lot of time in the sound and style departments. My own personal favourite sounds are the saxophones, trumpets, guitars, synth, strings and organs. The organ section is excellent offering 10 organ flutes which allow you to create anything from the typical Hammond sounds through to the famous Blackpool tower ballroom sounds, there is something here for everyone.
The sounds that will impress you the most are the Super Articulation ones (SA for short). You will need to have some patience at first whilst using the SA sounds, but once you have learnt and mastered how to use these they are simply astonishing. SA creates a whole new era of realism in arranger sounds and there are 42 of these new sounds to play. This new technology adjusts to your playing and also allows you to use a foot pedal to add effects such as the breath noise to a saxophone or fret slides on the guitar.
There are many normal voices included as well as the 58 live voices, 39 cool voices, 23 sweet voices, 18 mega voices, 6 SFX kits and 23 drum kits, 9 of these are brand new live drum kits.
These drum kits form part of the 400 styles available.
The styles fall into 11 categories and are made up of 357 pro styles and 43 session styles. Many of these styles are brand new ones and are in a totally different league from those found in the original Tyros.
Playing the Tyros 2 you can have up to 3 parts in the right hand and there is also the left hand button where you can assign a sound. All of these sounds can use any of the internal ones, any sound edits that you have created, or even imported samples sounds. These can all be accessed and stored to or from an inserted USB stick or onto a hard drive which you can install separately.
You are able to split the keyboard anywhere and store this setting and you can easily layer the right hand sounds to give more depth.
Effects can easily be added and changing from polyphonic to monophonic (which is great for synth lead sounds) is very easy to do. There is a dedicated front panel sustain button, so if you feel the sound you are using requires that extra bit more then simply press the button in.
The mixer console button is very useful for adjusting all of the volume levels for the style in use and the sounds which make up the styles various parts. Each of the 400 styles has four one touch settings (OTS) and these are all generally very useful.
For example if you pick a Waltz style you would not expect to use a heavy distorted guitar sound, so with the OTS you don’t get anything as drastic as this. The sounds the T2 picks for you are ideal and these allow you to play a song instantly without having to set it all up beforehand. The styles will blow you away, they are simply that good and there is just about something for everyone from Ballads, Big Band, Pop and Rock, then going back to Classical styles and back up to your modern day Trance and Hip Hop sounds you here in the charts.
The styles can also vary according to the chord type you play and the Tyros 2 also offers many various fingering modes in order to get the most out of the song you want to perform.
Each style has 3 into and endings, 4 fills, 4 main variations and there is also the break button, so there is plenty of variation on offer in the style department.
There is also a multipad section on the Tyros 2. These are great to include with the styles and you are even able to create your own.
The 120 multipads range from things like harp glissandos, guitar strumming, piano arpeggios, to effects and cymbal crashes, there are loads to choose from.
Also because this is a Yamaha keyboard, there is a huge back catalogue of styles available either to purchase or to download free off the internet, where people have posted their own styles they have created.
The Tyros 2 also features digital audio recording. You will have to insert a hard drive which is an added extra, but very inexpensive. This will allow you to record your own performances and also your voice if you sing as a CD quality WAV file. You can export your performances to a PC via a USB cable and you can then burn your own work onto a CD if you wish.
You are also able to load samples into the Tyros 2. The internal memory is only 4mb, so adding extra memory is required for this option and you can go all the way up to 1 gig by installing 2 matching pairs of 512mb memory sticks, although 2 x 256 would be more sensible due to how long samples take to load.
You can either use the custom voice creator to import your own samples (WAV or AIFF format) for editing and key mapping yourself, or there are a few companies offering samples you can purchase, which are ready to use immediately after loading so no hard work is involved.
The best thing that I personally like about the Tyros 2 is the sound editing facilities. You can edit certain parameters from inside the keyboard, but to get the most out of the machine you are far better off installing the editing software into your computer and learning how to use it.
This is relatively quite simple and the amount of editing that is offered is easily equivalent to what you would expect from a modern day synthesiser, so it is nice to see an arranger keyboard giving you this huge amount of options to help you create your own fantastic sounds, although with the amount of quality internal sounds on offer, it will be ages before you ever grow tired of hearing these.
For those into midi and karaoke files, the Tyros 2 allows you to play them all back. It will display the score and chords on the display and even lyrics, so it is ideal if midi is your thing and great for vocalists who have trouble remembering the words. There are 480 XG and 256 GM2 voices and songs are compatible with GM, XG and XF formats. You can also output the display and lyrics to a monitor/TV from the RGB output on the rear of the Tyros 2, so you can use the Tyros 2 as a karaoke machine, although you are far better playing the keyboard in order to get the most out of it.
Finally there is also a built in internet connection which allows you to connect to Yamaha’s site through a router or something like a wireless USB adaptor and modem. You can download styles, midi songs and sheet music directly into your arranger and Yamaha update this IDC site every now and then.
Well I could go on for ages about the Tyros 2 as it is simply that vast.
To summarise the T2 has amazing features, it is extremely easy to operate, offers the buyer some of the greatest sounds and styles available on any arranger keyboard so I recommend that anyone in the market for a new keyboard in this price range must go and try one right now and see what you are missing out on, you will not be disappointed.
Marks out of 10, the Tyros 2 receives 8.5
Tyros 2 good and bad points
For: Lightweight easy to carry with good 61 note keyboard, amazing styles and sounds, very easy to operate, Super Articulation sounds are simply the best out there on any arranger, large colour screen, hard drive recording option and ability to load in your own samples, multipads are a great feature, score/lyrics/chord display
Against: Shape of the keyboard (some have said they find the edges a little sharp), paintwork can come off after taking the arranger out on lots of gigs so maybe a new colour and paint type would be better, the loading time of your own samples is slow, so the possibility of hard drive streaming would be useful, or another way of getting samples into memory far quicker would be more beneficial, USB1 is far too slow in todays modern age of technology.
The contents of this review may not be reproduced, republished or mirrored on another web page or website without the authors permission.
[This message has been edited by Craig_UK (edited 05-13-2007).]