Yamaha FS1R

Formant shaping FM tone generator

Yamaha FS1R FM formant synthesizer rack
Buy one (26 on sale)

1998 (Oct.)
Initially sold for ¥110,000

The Yamaha FS1R is a Formant Shaping and FM Synthesis tone generator in a singe unit rack case. In addition to the latest FM synthesis technology – based on the type introduced in the legendary Yamaha DX-series synthesizers and TX-series tone generators – Formant Shaping synthesis gives musicians unprecedented capability to produce and control sounds with characteristics and flexibility similar to that of the human voice. It can also produce instrument voices that have the response and rich pitch-dependent timbral variations – in short, the "musicality" – of natural acoustic instruments. And, of course, the ability to combine FM with Forman Shaping opens up a whole new universe of musical possibilities. The FS1R can create anything from classic DX electric piano voices to totally new simulations of human vocal sounds... and anything in between. On top of that, it has filters that employ the same physical modeling technology of the Yamaha AN1x, "Formant Sequences" or a way to sequence the formants to produce voice-like phrases and rhythm loops, a full controller matrix with 2 LFOs, an effects section and a 3-band equalizer.

On paper, this should be the ultimate FM synthesizers: 4 independent voices, each one of them has 8 operators with 88 algorithms available, each operator can be assigned to one of 8 different waveforms, and optional filters and effects. Thousands of presets, with the ability to import voices from the DX7 or other 6-op FM synthesizers. In practice, it's far less exciting.

People complaining about the inaccessibility of the original DX7 interface haven't tried the FS1R: an extremely tiny screen with very bad viewing angles, wobbly knobs with no tactile feedback, mini buttons with generic labels (in comparison, every menu content on the DX7 is clearly labeled next to the corresponding button) and menus with dozens of pages to go through in order to reach the desired setting. Imported 6-op voices sound much thinner and harsher on the FS1R even compared to the DX7II DAC. The user manual is just as bad.

The complexity of the synthesis is beyond any other FM synths made by Yamaha. Given the obscurity of this synthesizer, there's no doubt a lot of potential still hasn't been fully unleashed. Despite all of this, used FS1R prices have been skyrocketing in the last 10 years.


  • New synthesis technology – FS Synthesis (Forman shaping / FM synthesis) – creates sound with characteristics and flexibility similar to the human voice for extraordinary sonic depth and expressive control.
  • Upward compatible with voices from the "classic" FM synthesizers and tone generators, such as the Yamaha DX and TX series.
  • Formant Sequences – "Fsqes" – produce other-wordly vocal phrases, rhythm loops, and more.
  • Assignable control knobs for extended realtime sonic control as well as easy programming.
  • A huge selection of 1408 preset voices, including the best from the original DX and TX series.
Yamaha FS1R front panel
Yamaha FS1R front panel

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Yamaha FS1R

Yamaha FS1R FM Tone Generator 1998 - Silver

Buy used Yamaha FS1R FM Tone Generator 1998 - Silver
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Yamaha FS1R FM rack synth module in excellent condition.

Buy used Yamaha FS1R FM rack synth module in excellent condition.
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Yamaha FS1R FM Synthesizer Rack Tone Generator

Buy used Yamaha FS1R FM Synthesizer Rack Tone Generator
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