Yamaha is a company that is so diverse in product it can make your head spin. The fact that they are so capable in each of their product categories is amazing. Everything from motorcycles to pianos, home stereo and home theatre products, through to professional audio products including digital mixers, amplifiers and speakers. Yamaha has a long and very successful history with digital audio processors. Their first was in 1983 with the release of the Yamaha REV1 Digital Reverb. The REV1 was a high end professional reverb targeted at the big studios to take on the likes of Lexicon and AMS, the big names of the day. They made little impact at the time, regardless of the quality of the unit.
The following year Yamaha released a more affordable digital reverb for the smaller and home studio market, the Yamaha R1000. Again, huge success did not come, but the R1000 those with lesser means, to get into the world of digital reverb. It wasn’t until the Yamaha’s next release that things really took off. The Yamaha REV7 hit the market in 1985 and was a big hit. Falling somewhere between the R1000 and REV1 in terms of sonic capability, the REV7 was a huge hit because it’s reverbs were great, and it offered many other effects on top of reverb, such as delay and modulation effects.
Many studios around the world added a Yamaha REV7 to their effects racks, some still have them too. Not content with that, Yamaha then made their next major move with the release of the Yamaha SPX90, also in 1985. The Yamaha SPX90 was a game changer, as it provided smaller studios and home studios a full effects rack in one single rack space and it was affordable. Everything from reverb to delay, modulation and everything in between was offered. The SPX90 was a monster success for Yamaha, and today it is the most viewed product on Vintage Digital by a long long way.
On the back of the success with the REV7 and SPX90, Yamaha continued to offer newer upgraded models of each and their success continued. Today they still offer the SPX2000 which has everything Yamaha learned about digital effects, in a single rack space, and has been in production now since 2003. Their long history in digital effects has provided us with some great products which are still sought after today, with the standouts being the REV5, ProR3, SPX2000 and the SPX90.