Yamaha QX5

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Yamaha QX5

The QX5 is an LCD backlit 8 track sequencer,sporting MIDI IN,OUT and THRU and tape/SYSx backup.

The rear panel hosts the 3 midi sockets,power switch and four jacks - two for tape syncing and one each for footswitch and 'click out'.

I picked up the QX5 curious as to how it improved over the QX21.Yamaha seem to operate by decreasing the model number of a unit until it reaches "1" which we assume is the apex of that series. Indeed the DX1 is a massive whale of a thing each subsequent QX seems to get more sophisticated as it heads toward model number "1".

The QX21 is only 2 track,the QX5 is 8 track,but also allows "macros" that can be instigated within a sequence. Both have an audible metronome which is both irritating and useful. The click track exits from the "click out" socket which mutes the metronome.

The QX5 also uses the SYNC jack sockets for tape backup - this is irritating as all other Yamaha equipment of this type uses a DIN socket. The manual shows the QX5 in use with Yamaha's MIDI compatible tape machines which are adapted with an add on dongle- and seeing as tape is a tad out of date - the FSK signal dates the QX5 - the simpler 21 by comparison is not so suited for tape use.

The QX5 also has SYSx backup - along with most yamaha equipment - which is always a boon to store sequence data.

The green backlit display is legible but confusing in some modes - there are too few characters to definitively indicate what is being displayed and reference to the manual is necessary. There is however a deluge of information to display,which is probably why Yamaha moved away from the two digit LED on the 21. The QX5 can display all the data that has been recorded and allows powerful editing of all the MIDI data down to single event level - that is - if you can be bothered or are able to figure out what the heck you are looking at. Although I found the QX5 powerful,in practice - the 21 is much simpler and easier to use - if you make a mistake - you merely record what you just did all over again,rather than try and find the erroneous event on an LCD display.

These days using a PC makes thing eminently more legible,but as one QX user said on Youtube "I am hardly going to lug my entire PC to stage for live performance" - and that is where hardware sequencers come into their own.

As with the other models - editing is done via "jobs" via the front facia keys and the LCD readout is a tad better than the QX21 LED for figuring out which job you are doing. The job list is printed on the top of the unit,only to be obscured if an RX is seated upon it.

Real and Step time is supported, and the looping on Yamaha equipment is far superior than the SZ1 of Casio - The QX types provide proper rotation of the notes with no breaks in the sequence.

The syncing can be switched to internal and external clock as it is with most sequencers.

The manual for this unit can be found online at Yamaha's site.

Niggles: The tempo is adjusted via two buttons unlike the QX21 which has a rotary control which is much better. Two jacks instead of a DIN for tape backup makes it incompatible with other devices.

Good Points: The QX5 has 8 tracks of recording and also 32 MACROS that can be called anywhere in a sequence. Nice backlit display. Built like a tank - don't drop it on your foot!
The ECHO BACK feature on Yamaha is a useful addition,as your sounding device is likely to be on the MIDI OUT socket - when recording you may want the OUT to act as a THRU - which is exactly what happens.

Expect to Pay: £40-60 or more.

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