Reface YC and DX teardowns

Markus Fuller posted two Yamaha Reface teardowns (YC and DX) to Youtube:

In case you’re not familiar with the term “teardown,” think of a teardown as a casual tour through the insides of a keyboard.

Both Reface keyboards have an ARM FM3 handing the user interface panel. The switch to ARM is major news. In the past, Yamaha used Renesas H8 or SH4 microcontrollers for interface applications. They apparently have decided to ride the embedded cost curve and that curve leads to ARM, the current leader in low-power, high function embedded microcontrollers.

I wonder if Yamaha will adopt ARM in their entry-level keyboards? This would be a smart move. Yamaha currently use their own SWL01 processor in battery-powered entry-level products. Now that Yamaha have sold off their integrated circuit fabrication plant, they are free to move to off-the-shelf parts when it makes sense. ARM is the choice for battery-powered embedded devices. Further, the ARM-resident, XG-capable sound engine in Yamaha Mobile Music Sequencer has a better spec than the entry-level ‘boards. (MMS reference)

Both Reface keyboards have a large metal plate over one or more integrated circuits. This is the honey pot. 🙂 I understand Markus’s reluctance to remove the heat sink. This is, however, where the digital signal processing (DSP) is being performed. Apparently, Yamaha had a minor power dissipation problem and resolved it using a simple heat sink (no fan). Heat is an important product design problem; x86 fans take note. (More on x86 and instrument design.)

Here are some notes about the integrated circuits in the Reface YC:

Winbond W9864G6KH-6 SDRAM  (64Mbits)
    4Mx16 bits = 1M words x 4 banks x 16 bits (8MBytes equivalent)
    Parallel interface
    Burst-oriented accesses

Winbond W9812G6JH-6 SDRAM (128Mbits)
    8Mx16 bits = 2M words x 4 banks x 16 bits (16MBytes equivalent)
    Parallel interface
    Burst-oriented accesses

AKM AK4396VF (Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation)
    Digital-to-analog converter (DAC)
    24-bit 192KHz 128x oversampling
    I2S data interface
    Integrated digital filter

Texas Instruments / Burr Brown PCM1803A
    Stereo analog-to-digital converter
    24-bit, 64x or 128x oversampling
    I2S data interface

The circuits are all pretty typical for a Yamaha design. Not enough information here to indicate whether the SWP70 tone generator is in use or not. Yamaha have used W9864G6KH as DSP SDRAM in past designs.

I’m glad that Markus posts his teardowns. I like it when he zooms in and identifies the integrated circuits. One very small quibble with the YC teardown — I believe the “A” stands for “Acetone.”

While you’re here, catch my Reface CP snap review.