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Yamaha S70 XS Keyboard Workstation

  • Retail Price $3,699.00
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Product Description

The S Series shares pretty well everything of note with Yamaha's Motif Series: same sounds, same technology, same FX, same type of functionality. What’s different is how all this is presented: S Series instruments stick to the basics of fantastic sounds (still fully programmable of course) along with features that encourage you to perform and play to which the Motif platform adds sequencing and sampling. If you don’t need those... read on.


Top of the range Motif XS sounds in a stage performance setting. The S70XS comes packed with more than 1000 Voices including a brand new piano sample from a Yamaha S6 Concert Grand Piano.

That’s cool, but what makes the S70XS even cooler are unique features such as panel buttons for transpose, tap tempo (for the built-in arpeggio loops), and FX level. Cooler still, you can plug a mic straight into the back and record up to18 minutes of internal recording in Flash memory for a complete arrangement with a vocal or a guitar.


Front and center stage are the piano sounds, one taken from Yamaha's world-renowned S6 Concert Grand piano and the second pearl based on a Yamaha CFIIIS. Key-off samples simulate the sound that a damper pedal makes after a note is played. Also featured are resonance effects that simulate the ringing sound of the undamped strings at the top of the piano, along with half-damper capabilities that emulate the way a real damper pedal works on an acoustic grand piano.

In terms of acoustic pianos, the S70XS offers absolutely top-notch sounds and features. But of course that’s not all. Electronic keyboards, plus drums, guitars, strings, even brass and woodwind are all offered in multiple guises. A new features called Performance Creator also lets you create custom layers and splits in a matter of seconds, plus real time controls let you tweak and re-balance on the fly.


There are separate blocks for reverb, chorus, 'insertion' (a grab bag of mainly time-based Virtual Circuit Modeling effects from delays to flangers to overdrives), master FX, and master EQ. Plus the S70XS has a vocoder, which, even if doesn’t replace a full 'vocoder' sufficiently for the purist, will certainly satisfy your need to crank out the effect on the occasional song on a live gig.


Although the S70XS doesn’t have any sequencing capability as such, you can record (up to approximately 18 minutes of) audio, i.e. some vocal harmonies, a guitar solo, a backing track etc., into 192 MB of internal memory.

MIDI Files can also be played directly from USB and you can even create a Song Chain for running through a complete set list.

If you’re thinking of using the S70XS primarily for live playing you will still, most likely, want to integrate it into your studio rig as well, and there’s no less than 50 templates for linking it into a DAW environment. The S70XS is 16-part multi-timbral, and it comes with both a Voice Editor and Remote Editor.


In a word, nice! You’ve got 'Yamaha build quality' of course, but Yamaha has not just re-hashed the last S Series keyboard. On the S70XS they’ve taken a completely fresh look at the front panel you need on a live performance instrument. This ranges from large glow-in-the-dark buttons, to the number of dedicated knobs and sliders you need at your fingertips (Input Gain for a connected microphone is a life-saver), to the number and type of pedal connections and audio outputs. The keyboard is of paramount importance, and the Balanced Hammer Effect action has been tried and tested on all the top-of-the-line Yamaha digital pianos. Interestingly, this is the first time such a keyboard action has been used on one of Yamaha’s shorter-scale 76-key instruments.

In Use

In two words: great fun. The S70XS has a level of playability and immediacy that’s not always in evidence on Yamaha professional synthesizers, where features can sometimes 'overwhelm.' Though aimed at the live player, the S70XS is by no means lacking as a controller and powerful multi-timbral sound source to use in your studio. All in all, a really great combo of features.


Balanced Hammer Effect keyboard (Initial Touch/Aftertouch)



Tone Generator: AWM2 with Expanded Articulation
Polyphony; 128 notes
Multi-timbral capacity: 16 Parts (internal)
Wave ROM: 456MB (when converted to 16-bit linear format)
Waveforms: 2772
Voices: 1,024 Preset (64 drumkits) 128 General MIDI (1 drumkit), 128 x 4 User + 32 kits
Performances: 128 x 4
Master Memories: 128 User (4 Zones available)
Effects: Reverb (9 types), Chorus (22 types), Insertion (A, B) x 53 types x 8 blocks,, Vocoder x 1
Master Effect x 9 types, Master EQ (5 bands), Part EQ (3 band stereo)


Sampling / Audio

Recording & Playback of WAVE (WAV/AIFF)



Sequence Play (SMF Playback only)
Chain Steps: 100



Preset Arpeggios: 6779
User Arpeggios: 256 (when loading Arpeggio data from Motif XS)



Pitch Bend wheel
Mod wheel
Ribbon Controller
Assignable Control Sliders x 4
Assignable Knobs x 4
Assignable Function buttons x 2



Display: 160 x 64 dot graphic backlit LCD
Outputs: L/MONO, R (standard phone jack), Assignable L, R (jack), phones
Inputs: Mic input (combo), foot controller 1, 2, foot switch x 2, Sustain, Assignable
USB: To Host, To Device
Dimensions: 1320 (W) x 385 (D) x 173 (H) mm
Weight: 20.4 kg

Jazz Combo





Founded by Keyfax NewMedia in 2003 for the original S90 and still in full swing. Join thousands of others in this friendly, free-access community with forums, videos, tutorials, sound libraries, demos, and more.

Though built for the Motif community, this website is extremely relevant to the S70XS user, especially in terms of news and views on sound libraries, programming, and the instrument’s relationship with DAWs.

Yamaha’s own ‘synth-based’ site embracing keyboards, digital pianos, and electronic drums. Here you’ll find all the necessary drivers, software updates, manuals, brochures, and even some spectacular videos from around the world. Spectacular in the ‘What were they thinking?’ sense, that is.


Becoming a Synthesizer Wizard

Practical MIDI Handbook

Advanced MIDI Users Guide

Power Tools for Synthesizer Programming

Sound Syntheses and Sampling

How to Write Songs on Keyboard

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