Yamaha SY99

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Technical specifications
Oscillator6-Operator FM, PCM (AWM2)
Synthesis typeFM, subtractive
FilterHPF, LPF[2]
Aftertouch expressionYes
Velocity expressionYes
Storage memory128 preset patches, 128 user patches, 16 user multi-patches
Effects2 × 63 types
Keyboard76 key
Left-hand controlPitch wheel, 2 × modulation wheel
External controlMIDI (In, Out, Thru)

The Yamaha SY99 is a synthesiser combining frequency modulation synthesis (branded as Advanced FM) and sample-based synthesis (branded as Advanced Wave Memory 2) and the direct successor to Yamaha's SY77/TG77. Compared to the SY77, it has a larger keyboard at 76 keys instead of 61, a larger ROM with more in-built AWM samples, the ability to load user-specified AWM samples into on-board RAM, an upgraded effects processor (based upon the Yamaha SPX900 rather than the SPX90), and several other enhanced features.


  • Date produced: 1991
  • Polyphony: 16 notes of AFM + 16 notes of sample-playback (AWM2)
  • Oscillators: Each voice can have up to 2 AFM elements, each comprising up to 6 operators; plus up to 2 AWM elements
  • Filter: Multi-stage, time-variant, with resonance and self-oscillation
  • Sequencer: 16 tracks, ~27,000 note capacity, 99 patterns, up to 10 songs (cf. the SY77's single song only and ~16,000 notes)
  • Effects: 2 internal digital effects processors with 63 types of effects, derived from Yamaha's popular rack-mounted processor, SPX900
  • Keyboard: 76 notes with velocity and channel aftertouch, which can be zoned along with pitch-bend to affect only specific keys (unlike on the SY77)
  • Memory: 128 preset patches and 128 user patches, 16 preset multi-patch setups (up to 16 voices each) and 16 user multi-patches, 512 kB of RAM as standard for user-loaded AWM samples or MIDI data recording from/to connected devices
  • Expandability: 5 rear-mounted slots for SYEMB05 memory modules of 512 kB each, up to a total of 3 MB RAM with standard hardware. The final firmware revision, v1.57, supports up to 8 MB of total RAM, a capacity that so far has only been reached by Musitronics' now-defunct 5 MB upgrade board coupled with the full complement of 5 SYEMB05 modules (2.5 MB) and standard RAM (0.5 MB).
  • Control: MIDI in, out, and thru; pitch wheel; 2 modulation wheels; enhanced functions as a master keyboard when compared to the SY77, etc.

Demo song[edit]

"99 flavors", an instrumental song by Chick Corea from his Beneath the Mask album, is named after the SY99;[3] the sequenced version was included on an accompanying floppy disk as a factory demo song.

Notable users[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Yamaha SY99". Vintage Synth. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Yamaha SY-99". Polynomial. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  3. ^ Beneath the Mask -album's booklet

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]