Heidrun Dolde is a musician, performer, composer and music educator in Stuttgart, Germany. Heidrun has a wonderful Web site dedicated to technique and workshops with an arranger keyboard focus.
The epicenter for the Genos™ roll-out is Rellingen, Germany, So, it makes sense that Heidrun would be right in the middle of the action. She collected questions concerning Genos from members of the European Yamaha forum and sent the questions to the Yamaha team in Rellingen. She has summarized the answers in a PDF available here: http://heidruns-musikerseiten.de/keyboard/vergleiche.
I am in Heidrun’s debt for all of the information in this post. I cranked her PDF through Google Translate and used a little bit of my “viewgraph German” to learn more about Genos. Here are a few items that I have not seen prominently in English language sources. I wrote a few editorial comments, which appear between square brackets “”. I’ll take the heat for any errors.
New voices and drum kits
There are 14 “Revo” drum kits including: Rock Drums, Pop Drums, Vintage Open, Vintage Muted, Jazz Sticks, Jazz Brushes, Vocal Beatbox. The drums are recorded with room ambience. [I’ve been freezing MIDI songs to WAV audio on PSR-S950. I desperately need the wave-cycling in Revo drums.]
New voices include:
- Revo! Drums
- Resonator guitars (Dobro)
- Flugelhorn and other brass sounds
- Pedal Steel (authentically playable because only the lower part of a chord responds to pitch bend)
- CP-80 (e.g., for classic Freddy Mercury and Foreigner songs)
- Many strings of a large orchestra to cello, viola, violin in a small ensemble
- New piano sounds (from Montage)
- Many synth sounds (from Montage)
[Country and folk players appear to be big winners with Genos. Dobro, pedal steel, new acoustic steel guitars. Wow!]
There are new OTS for all 550 styles. [Yamaha usually updates styles to use the latest voices. They outdid themselves this time.]
Layers, splits and editing
Up to three voices can be layered. You can not control voices [in a layer] by velocity level as with a synth.
You can create up to 3 voice areas next to each other on the keyboard by splitting split points (Left Voice, Right Voice 1 + 2, Right 3).
Onboard sound editing is through “Voice Set”, which influences the overall sound of a voice (filter, envelope, effects, etc.) In addition, there is sound modification in live mode (“Live Control”) which are made by knobs and sliders. The OLED sub-display shows the parameter value changes in real time.
If you want to get into detailed voice editing, the new Yamaha Expansion Manager (YEM) will provide advanced ways to change the individual components of Voices. YEM 2.5 will be released in November 2017. Information about voice editing will be available then.
There are three system-level effects automatically called by MIDI files or styles: Reverb, Chorus, and DSP 1.
Of the 28 insertion effects, eight DSPs are reserved for styles. Each part has its own separate DSP.
The remainder of the insertion effects have a fixed assignment. Voice parts LEFT, RIGHT1, RIGHT2, RIGHT3 can each have an insert DSP (+ Part EQ) and are routed to the system reverb and chorus effects. Song parts 1 to 16 each have a separate insertion effect. Song parts 1 to 16 and Style parts 1 to 8 can be routed to a single variation effect (effectively forming a 2 DSP insert chain).
Multipads do not have their own DSP effect.
Operating system and user interface
A maximum of 2500 files can be in a folder. MIDI files can be a maximum of 300 KB. [Several people on the European forum made note of the 300KB limitation. EDM, in particular, makes heavy use of MIDI continuous control (CC) and the 300KB limit may be a deal breaker. Yamaha, please take note.]
Playlists work best with Songbook+. An entry can be linked directly without having to know the MSB / LSB of the Voice. [Sounds like there will be tight(er) integration between Songbook+ and Genos. Songbook+ is free through the US Apple app store, but there is a 15 song limit. Unlimited Songbook+ is an in-app purchase. I’ve already downloaded Songbook+, but haven’t had the time to try it.]
Genos takes about 20 seconds to power up the operating system (as of October 2017).
[I anticipate faster expansion pack loading time. Blake Angelos (Yamaha) reported that Montage load times were measured at 6 to 7 times faster than Motif XF. For example, a 500MB load took 5 minutes on a prototype model. Like Montage, Genos incorporates the new tone generator hardware and flash interface.]
The Yamaha MFC10 foot pedal is supported by Genos. The settings are made via Menu> MIDI> External Controller.
The front panel gateway buttons are:
- Home: Main Display
- Menu: Basic
- Style: Styles
- Voice: Instruments
- Songs: MIDI and audio files
- Playlist: Repertoire list
[I love that name, “Gateway.”]
Genos supports MP3 audio playback with lyrics. Given an MP3 file with the appropriate embedded information, the Genos provides a karaoke function with song text and chord display. The MP3 formats are Midiland Lyrioke (DKE format, fits all Midiland players) and MP3 + G. Heidrun and folks tested CDG format.
Both Genos song players can display MP3 with song lyrics.
Internal file storage
Geno has no internal hard drive and no SSD drive. Hard drives are vulnerable to fairure due to their mechanics. The moving parts in a hard drive also affect the lifetime of a hard drive. There is a solid-state user memory (= Flash ROM) with 58 GB of memory.
[People are having a hard time getting their minds around this one. Wot? No hard drive, no SSD? What is it? Yamaha have cleverly used the flash memory attached to one of the tone generators as explained in my post. Yes, it’s flash, but it will be a heck of lot faster than USB flash. Trust me.]
I just want to thank Heidrun, again, for collecting questions and answers, and summarizing the responses. She did a superb job!