Yamaha

Yamaha entered the PC audio MIDI scene with their TG100 sound module in 1991. At the time, they were competing directly with Roland's SC-55 Sound Canvas. The TG100 was followed with the TG300 in 1993. The TG-series was followed by the very popular MU-series which introduced Yamaha's superset of General MIDI, called XG.

 

TG100 (1991)

The TG100 (Tone Generator 100) was based around 12-bit PCM samples, whilst its competitor, the Roland SC-55 was using 16-bit samples. This meant many people overlooked the TG100 and went straight for the Roland.

Having said that, the TG100 was priced as the economy offering, so those on a budget could still get decent enough MIDI sound for their games. One benefit of the TG-series was its ease of connectivity. Using the supplied 8-pin mini-DIN cable you could connect the TG100 directly to a PC or Mac without the need to purchase a separate MIDI interface. It also got an audio in socket, allowing you to connect the audio output of your sound card directly to the TG100, where you could then have both the GM sound and the sound card's output (such as digitised speech or sound effects) all go through the TG100 and out to speakers directly from there.

It used AWM (Advanced Wave Memory) synthesis, and comprised 140 samples onboard its 2 MB ROM chip. It was able to output 28-voice polyphony and 16 parts multitimbre. It also featured six different kinds of reverb and two kinds of delay.

TG300 (1993)

The TG300 provided up to 64 parts multitimbre and featured 48 preset effects of which 16 are editable. It came with 294 AWM2 (Advanced Wave Memory) synthesized samples - double that of the TG100 - but really stepped up its game in the area of filters. It got a digital resonant low pass filter, dedicated 5-stage amplitude, pitch and filter envelopes,

 

MU5 (1994)

The TG-series was superceded by the MU-series in 1994 with the introduction of the MU5. Based on the TG100, it is a 28-voice, 16-voice multitimbral, sample based (GM compatible) synthesizer, featuring dedicated (AR) amp envelope, an LFO, computer and MIDI interfaces, and 256 presets (64 editable).

 

 

MU80 (1994)

Price when new: £699 inc. VAT.

Possibly the best-known of the MU-series for PC gamers, the MU80 introduced Yamaha's new extension to the General MIDI standard, Yamaha XG. It offered 64-voice polyphony and 32-part multitimbrality. Its built-in ROM contained 660 patches (samples), and 18 drum kits. As with the earlier TG-series, the MU80 allowed for audio input from the PC or Mac, so you could feed it through the MU80's internal effects.

The MU80's direct competitor was the Roland SC-88. It used the same 8-pin mini-DIN as the TG-series for direct connection to your PC or Macintosh. For the PC it uses Yamaha's CBXT3 serial driver. There is a 'mode' switch on the back where you can tell the MU80 to operate in one of four modes: XG, TG300, C/M, and Performance. Both TG300 and C/M modes are provided for backwards compatibility with the Yamaha TG300 and Roland CM devices. XG is the Yamaha GM extension, equivalent to Roland's GS.

 

MU50 (1995)

A cut-down version of the MU80.

 

 

 

MU10 (1996)

The MU10 was the same as the QS300 minus the front panel editing features, sequencer, and half the elements. It was a GM-compatible sample based synthesizer able to output up to 32-voice multitimbre, featuring up to 2 elements, 65 effects (reverb, chorus, variation), MIDI, 21 drum kits, and 676 presets.

 

 

 

MU90 (1996)

An enhanced version of the MU80.

 

 

MU100 (1997)