6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Love it! See it live in action on 5th June 2010 with ElectroCelt!,
This review is from: Yamaha Tenori-on
I got mine for Christmas 2009, and I love it. It's exactly the type of intuitive, ergonomic and user-friendly synth/sequencer that I was looking for. You don't need any formal Musical knowledge to learn to use it, though you could of course take this much further with prior knowledge of chords, modulations, phrasing, time signatures etc etc. Mine was Version 1.0, however in January I downloaded the software upgrade to Version 2.0. I haven't really plumbed the Tenori-On's capabilities to do it real justice, even though I have programmed several pieces on it using different musical techniques and forms. I also cracked the Tenori-On's "secret settings" (you can get details on how to do this online, it's no secret really, just not advertised openly, that's all) and now I can set it to play in whatever mode/setting I want, irrespective of what line or track I'm on. I can also set my Tenori-On to a scale of my own making, or make the rhythm "swing". My LCD display now says "Tenori-On <Advanced>".
The sounds in the 256 banks can tend towards tinniness, though you can counter this by changing the octave downwards, or layering two or more sounds together at the same time. There are 3 buttons on the bottom right where you can input your own sampled sounds. What I love about my Tenori-On is that I can programme individual voices to go at different rates but still at the same tempo. You can also set the length of individual voices, for example if you want Strings to play sustained notes, but a Flute to play staccato. At present, however, you can't change the octave on one instrument at a time - if you move the octave up or down, the entire piece/block changes up or down as well. Also, it is tricky getting the Tenori-On to sync with a pre-recorded piece or sequence, as your fingers have to be very accurate with hitting the Start button! I find it much easier to start with the Tenori-On and sync the pre-recorded sequence to it.
One word of warning about the Tenori-On, though, is this: it is a lot of fun and VERY addictive once you get into it, and you want to make sure to take a break from it every now and then, because hunching over a small 8-inch-square gadget for hours on end will give you "shoulder and chest RSI"!
I'd say learning to play the Tenori-On is like learning to play chess. It's easy enough to learn, but will take you a long time to master. I've been playing with my Tenori-On since Christmas, and it seems every time I pick it up and explore its capabilities, it throws something new at me.
I'm one-half of an electronic music band called ElectroCelt, and we're playing at the Sugar Club in Dublin, Ireland on 5th June 2010. I shall be performing on the Tenori-On for the 1st time in public, and this will be most probably be captured on YouTube. So, if you can't make it to our gig in Ireland, watch out for it on YouTube!