The Yamaha Genos Arranger Workstation was created in hopes to become the best arranger workstation on the market. There are many things that Yamaha completely nailed with this keyboard, and to be honest, not that many that they didn’t. With this being said, is the Genos the best arranger available today?
My honest opinion is yes. However, this is tough because these types of questions typically come down to preference. I will say that Yamaha makes an incredible case and is undeniably up there with the best of them with the Genos.
Incredible Arranger – One Man Band
The Yamaha Genos is easily the best arranger available. From the sounds to the incredibly easy to navigate interface, the Genos shines.
When I first sat down to play the Genos, I couldn’t get over the way the drums sounded. I also really love the CFX and C7 piano samples that are on the Genos. We will get into this in further detail later on. I can’t imagine anybody not falling in love with the drums and pianos on this keyboard.
The Genos is about as worthy of a successor to the Tyros 5 that Yamaha could’ve made. I already thought very highly of the Tyros 5 as well.
Let’s get into the review.
- 58 incredible sounding drum kits with wave cycle
- Aftertouch-enabled FSX Key-bed
- Knockout piano sounds with the C7 and CFX Samples
- Onboard 16 track sequencer
- Included Software
- Relatively Lightweight
- 9 inch LCD Touchscreen
- Gigantic memory bank
- Access to expansion packs
- Extremely Expensive
- Could Have Better Sound Editing
Yamaha Genos Arranger Review
The first thing that catches my eye with the Genos is the beautiful interface. It looks crisp and clean and it means business. Everything on this arranger keyboard is laid out in a way that makes sense and is user-friendly.
If you like workstation keyboards in general, check out this guide that I made recently.
It is important to note that the Genos arranger is, after all, an arranger. This means that it is primarily for musicians who want to to play songs and have a band with them at all times. It is perfect for musicians who aren’t looking to dive super deep into editing, rather, write and play songs as if they were a full band.
Note: I mentioned that this keyboard is super expensive, and, it is. However, if you’re into arranger keyboards, you won’t really need to upgrade from this anytime soon. You also eliminate having to pay bandmates as this becomes your band.
- 48.5648.5676 Touch keys with 7 touch-sensitivities and aftertouch
- Controllers: Assingnable joystick, 6 rotary knobs
- Polyphony: 256
- Pre-Sets: 1,652 voices, 58 drum kits
- Includes CFX and C7 pianos
- Memory: 58 GB Internal
- Storage: USB Flashdrive
- Effects: Reverb, Chorus, DSP, Compression, EQ, Synth Vocoder, Vocal Harmony
- Audio Recording & Playback: WAV
- Audio Inputs: 2 AUX, 1 XLR(Mic)
- USB: 3 type A, one type B
- MIDI: 2 In, 2 out
- Headphone Jack: 1
- Pedal Inputs: 3, one sustain, volume, articulation
- Included Software: Yamaha Expansion Manager
- Height: 5.43 Inches
- Weight: 29 Pounds
- Width: 48.56 Inches
- Depth: 17.93 Inches
The Genos is similar to the Tyros 5, only it’s much less crowded. This is a big plus in my eyes because I don’t like keyboards that are super busy.
Everything is laid out where it should be in my opinion. Sometimes when you sit down at a keyboard, you have to figure out how to navigate your way around them. This isn’t one of those as the Genos is pretty simple to navigate.
You will notice that there are 76 keys on the Genos. The keys have aftertouch and have a 7 setting touch-response. This allows you to mess with different velocity curves.
I will say that I was impressed with the key-action. I’ve played many arrangers in which I just couldn’t get into the keys. This was quite the opposite with the Genos.
Note: I believe that Yamaha wins in the key department with this product.
I recently reviewed the Yamaha CP88 stage piano. I believe it is fantastic for those who are looking for a digital piano.
I think the CFX and C7 samples sound beautiful. Up to 4,200 samples per key give way to an incredible organic sound. These play like real pianos and I think that even advanced pianists will love playing these samples.
Check out these great sustain pedals that I recently wrote about in this article here.
If you’re going to be playing a lot of piano, there is a metronome for practicing. If you are in search of a metronome, check out my favorites above.
I mentioned above that the drum sounds are realistic. This would be an understatement. The Genos delivers drum sounds that feel so realistic that if you close your eyes, you won’t be able to tell a difference.
There’s a feature called wave cycle and this is glorious. It makes it sound every time a drum is struck, it is essentially struck at different velocities. This alters the sound and makes it feel extremely organic.
There are 58 different drum kits that are recorded in live environments.
I personally believe that the drums onboard are the best that have ever been put on a workstation. To me, this is the selling point for a fan of arranger keyboards.
You can even change between time signatures on this keyboard. Yamaha has done this on other keyboards, but I think this a great thing to be able to do. Especially for different types of music.
In the past, a quartet would use a samples of four players. The problem here was that if you played two notes, you would get 8 players.
The new upgrade here with the Genos is that Yamaha made the ensemble voices far more realistic. There were some previous quirks that would lead to the sounds not being very realistic. The Genos has mastered this in the fact that it will always give you the same number of voices.
If you play two notes, the Genos knows to send the trumpet notes to the higher voices and the trombone to the lower. This is pure genius and it extremely well thought out.
While the Genos is not technically a workstation, I think you’ll find this article that I wrote about keyboard workstations interesting.
Enhanced DSP Leads To Awesome Studio Level Effects
DSP stands for digital signal processing and Yamaha put forth their best effort in this department. To get a better feel for DSP, click here.
The Genos gives us studio effects that are out of this world. I know this makes me sound like I’m full of myself, but trust me on this. The Genos has vintage rack and stompbox units as well as classic amps.
You can access these all through the 9 inch LCD touch screen.
Note: All of these effects use Yamaha’s classic VCM, which stands for virtual circuit modeling. This is the same technology that is used in their high-end digital consoles.
Power Through Huge Arrangements With Ease
Have a massive song? No problem. The Genos is more than capable of handling the most complex and CPU intensive songs.
Note: If you want to lay down a vocal demo, simply plug in your condenser mic into the rear panel XLR connector and turn on the 48 V phantom power.
With 256 voices of polyphony, there will be no note-stealing. If you have writers block, you can also take solace in having 58 drum sets and 1,652 patches to surf through for inspiration.
Genos Live Performance
Although it kicks serious butt in the studio. This is the solo pianist’s dream for gigging. It is my opinion that the Genos is the best arranger currently available for touring and gigging.
Note: I know this is all about personal preference and some people might not agree with me, so I will also to mention that you should check out the Korg PA4X. The reason I mentioned this is that I know Korg has a cult following behind this keyboard and people will wonder why I didn’t mention it.
Pitch-bend and modulation are available from one joystick, which add another direction for modulation.
Why Choose The Yamaha Genos Arranger?
Easy. It’s the highest quality arranger keyboard that you’re possibly going to find. I will say that if you’re looking for a keyboard to go and play in a band, this shouldn’t be your choice.
Choose the Genos if you’re a musician who wants to do some gigging and songwriting as a one-man-band. This is perfect for jazz musicians who want to gig, but don’t have a band.
Musicians who want to do the bar-scene gigs, can take full advantage of the Genos. You can make the money back that you spend on this keyboard by doing a bunch of different bar shows.
If you’re looking at purchasing an arranger, you may want to read my guide on digital piano headphones here.
Busking is another great thing you can use the Genos for. Show up at your favorite spot and start playing your songs or cover songs for an audience.
Record Your Demos
Easily record your demos with the Genos and capture it as a MIDI song. Once you do this you can start to overdub the sounds to get a feel for the type of sounds you want to use for each song.
You can even do your finished product on the Genos, however, I recommend to use it just lay down your demos and get a feel for what you want to do.
If you can get by the price of the Genos, it becomes worth it. A machine that has 58 GB of memory and packs an amazing sound band behind you is hard to match. Not to mention, it doesn’t take this keyboard a lot of time to sound good behind you.
This is every solo artist’s dream in the sense that they no longer have to worry about finding a band or using a laptop to run a tracking system.
I firmly believe that the Genos is a keyboard that will be used for years to come.
If you’re into music production, check out this article I just wrote on the best free DAW’s.
*Pictures courtesy of Yamaha