Yamaha SY55 (keyboard workstation)

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The Yamaha SY55 is a keyboard workstation created around 1990. These days it's probably mostly used as a controller, since its sounds and polyphony were pretty limited.

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Tripecac (Travis Emmitt)

I bought my SY55 in May 1990 for about $1600. It was my first big purchase. I loved it, and used it as my main controller, sound module, and sequencer until 1999.

I was pretty happy with the quality of the instruments and effects, but I wished the keyboard had more memory so I could create longer songs. Also, the tiny LCD screen made it hard to clean up improvisations, which discouraged "jamming". Back then I didn't use any MIDI, and did all the editing on the keyboard itself.

In 2000 I switched to the Korg Triton and Sonar. I still have the SY55, however; I've been using it mostly for practice and as a chain in my wah-wah pedal setup. So it's not dead yet!