Why did Yamaha drop their groovebox products?

The RM1x was great, and I thought it was successful. The RS7000 was a competent follow up. The DX200 and AN200 were innovative. I owned both and they introduced me to the ability to twist knobs and record the movement into my patterns. I was also able to pull out the sound cards and put them in a Yamaha keyboard. These were great and still bring big prices on Reverb. But then, nothing. Now DAWless is big. Roland, Elektron and Akai have multiple offerings that have a lot of buzz online. So where is Yamaha?


Selling massive workstations by the bucketload.

Why neglect a market you pretty much own to dabble in one that’s already been saturated by all your competitors?


Butter fingers?

Duh dum, Ching!

RM1x was definitely feature filled :slight_smile:


A successor to the RS7000 would be very popular, at the right pricepoint and preferably in a smaller footprint. Yamaha ran a survey a while back and that was the clear winner that people voted to see updated in a new release.



the AN200 and DX200 were amazing. They had some serious flaws…like skipping the first note when a sequence looped or when you changed patterns? something like that. These faults were never addressed. the engines were great though. That whole scene morphing thing was like the slider on the octa. I dig out my DX200 now and then to get some wild sounds out of it, but as a groovebox they were lacking.

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Yup, the RM1X was a stellar instrument. I still used mine for some stuff.

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R&D payoff probably isn’t worth it relative to arranger keyboards and motorbikes. Synth-nerd stuff seems expensive, but there are thousands of churches that will drop big money on keyboards without blinking. They’re not buying grooveboxes.


If they put FM-X from the Montage into a groovebox tho… :drooling_face:


I worked in music stores from the late 90s to the early mid 00’s or so. The groovebox market didn’t last all that long after those were released because everyone doing “electronic” music was moving towards software. The only company that kept it going was Roland but they also quit building them up until their recent releases. The market really shifted and while they made some cool stuff it really didn’t make sense for them to put the R&D into something that wasn’t selling anymore. That said, the time is right for them to consider dipping their toe in I suppose, but it seems they have really moved away from that side of things, and as said above selling bucketloads of workstations instead.

Looks like all the grooveboxes mentioned in the OP were released around 2001.

Competition around that time included Korg’s Electribes, Roland’s MC boxes, and Akai MPC.

I guess Yamaha did not feel their grooveboxes sold well enough against that competition.

OTOH, their arranger keyboards seem to be profitable enough as they keep making those to this day.


The Yamaha grooveboxes, in particular the RM, were effectively spun off from their QY range of hardware sequencers. I think when that market died off it was the beginning of the end. It’s a shame because imo those Yamaha boxes offered the best midi sequencing options compared With the competition.

I’ll caveat that by saying I wouldn’t compare the MPC’s with the RM or early MC’s as the MPC’s were always far more expensive

I always fancied having a go of the Emu Command Station (think that was the name?) but I never came across one

Even since the QX range Yamaha’s sequencer game was pretty advanced, the RS7000 still has features not available elsewhere. Overall an extremely competent machine, the only few issues were the slow audio processing time for things like normalise, and very few sequence bugs, other than that not a lot to complain about.

I predict that they will continue to appreciate in price because they are pretty unique, Ceephax uses one and others too, still even today AFAIK.

There are a lot of classic sounds in the rompler too, some of which are excellent IMHO.

I made this using just the RS7000, it ended up on vinyl.


I loved my SU700.


I’d guess that the Reface line didn’t meet Yamaha’s expectations. They are good synths, loved by those who buy them, but their prices dropped substantially and the line hasn’t been expanded.

Meanwhile Volcas and Boutiques seemingly fly off the shelves. Sales of big workstations to institutions like churches and schools makes sense.

The reason I sold my RS7000 was because of its sheer size and antiquated storage of smartmedia. The last straw was the inability to control the volume of the metronome. A small but glaring issue given the sound of the onboard metronome(and the volume of said metronome. My God, the volume of it!).

Otherwise it was an amazing bit of kit. I believe a new unit based around the RS sequencer combined with the something close to the MODX or Reface sound engines in a smaller package with a bit more refined GUI could be an absolute smash!


And they are also building real Pianos and flutes etc.
Maybe arranger Keyboard is just yamahas word for groovebox. The biggest difference is the keyboard…

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I used to have the Rhodes one, and it was phenomenal. I think Yamaha really missed the boat by not making desktop module versions. Space wise you can only have so many small keyboards.


It would be something unbelievable but cool to see Yamaha get up and do something in this arena again, hopefully with improved build quality and interfacing. The time has been ripe for a while now though, and crickets…

Once owned a DX200, AN200, RS7000 and A4000. Dodgy encoders, slow SCSI, restricted parameter access, and bad buttons plagued each of them in some way. My better half came with an RM1X, which again, has switches which need replacing as they simply don’t trigger. Got on the Silver Elektron bandwagon back when and all the Yamaha stuff got sold. I think nostalgia sometimes overrides reality.

I fondly remember the non-destructive midi fx, and the mastering compressor on the RS7000 being great, along with the core sequencer being able to switch out clips per channel Ableton live style. I also vaguely remember seeing pics of someones hacked RS7000 having a Nord Micro Modular installed inside it, knobs, LCD and all. Always thought an RS8000 with slots for the DX/AN/VLcards inside the Yamaha would have been the logical next step.

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This remind me of one of my favorite Onion articles. Grooveboxes are perhaps the only thing they don’t make. :laughing:

“At the Yamaha Corporation we’re focused on one thing and one thing alone—quality sound chips, ceiling brackets, editing software, race-kart engines, sport boats, flugelhorns, ATVs, sequencers, outboard motors, conference systems, golf clubs, projectors, MIDI controllers, lamp cartridges, portable recorders, subwoofers, component systems, and motorcycles.”


…the only brand that was not into music tools only and exclusively, i spended money on was casio…
and that is sooo long ago, i must admit it was my parents money back then…not mine.

i simply don’t trust brands that built music gear AND also other stuff like motorbikes…or fridges…and there u go…even jet skis…my goodness…

even aware of their long history and how first up they were in so many tech inventions in the music field, my deep rooted hate of the dx7, that killed so many other real synthengines and was cheap as fuk all over the place in all kinds of music production along and troughout the 80ies will never ever let me feel anything but disgust for this company…
in fact, i still have nightmares sometimes, completed with a soundtrack of horror full of shiny plastic bell fake pianos… :wink: