yamaha sy22


general info

view sysex

fix sysex











"...one of these digital synthesizers with a thin metallic sound" - that's how SY22 is usually referred to, and that's exactly why I wanted it. And that's exactly how it sounds, and the sound was found to be AWESOME! Due to it's 12-bit samples some might call it 'gritty' (and it is!), but every sound having some bells in it - and most of them do - really shines (well, rings). 

Mine came off eBay with one key out of order, so I had to fix it. Getting inside the keyboard forced me to literally take the whole synth apart - most cumbersome assembly I've ever seen, and I've seen some. Inside the cheap plastic case is a single PCB with external connectors mounted directly on it, and a cheap keyboard. A drop of glue and a piece of  Hilton HHonors™ card (expired!) helped to replace a broken hook that a flat spring is attached to on a key, and the keyboard works as new again. 

The sounds (voices, as Yamaha calls them) are normally combined of 4 different waveforms (2 samples, two FM) and this process is controllable with a cute joystick (this is the 'dynamic vector synthesis' part). The manual has a table exposing the ingredients of the factory sounds. I was curious about how the rest of the sounds (eg. found on the net and loaded via sysex dumps) are made up, so I examined the sysex spec and created a web service to display what's inside a sysex dump that can be accessed here.

NEW! TG33 (a close relative to SY22) is able to load and play SY22 sysex dumps. Unfortunately, while storing a sysex file that was loaded from SY22 it converts it into its own format that SY22 cannot understand. That's how a lot of SY22 banks found on the net get ruined (well, at least for us '22 owners!). Another common problem with sysex files is after they've been loaded from ROM cards and stored as sysex dumps, the multis point to voices on a card (C), not to internal voices (I), and the multis won't play. Both of those problems can be fixed here. However, native SY35 voices using waveforms that differ between '35 and '22 might sound differently as those waveforms are not available on a '22. Also, if the source '33 file does not contain multis, 'Initial' multi is written to the '22 sysex file 16 times for compatibility during conversion.

Finally, some useful links:

Operating manual for SY22 can be downloaded directly from Yamaha website.
Introduction to Vector Synthesis by Stanley Jungleib, download
SY22 factory demo song ("Vectory")
SY35 factory demo song
TG33 factory demo song ("Why Wait")



Julian Colbeck: N/A (*) [KEYFAX2]

Peter Forrest: N/A (**) [A-Z of Analogue Synthesizers]

Harmony Central: 8.2/10

sonicstate.com: 4.3/5

Vintage Synth 3.4/5

(*) Too early

(**) Too digital

definitive website:

also worth checking:

Deep Synthesis: TG33

UCSD Patch Library

Voice Editor (Windows)


SynthMania (TG33)

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