Scored a mint Yamaha QY700

almost ridiculously overexcited to have scored a very nice condition Yamaha QY700 … replete with the original printed manual (I do appreciate a nice printed manual) - and a universal power adapter.

going to sequence an OB6 with this beauty.

if only “going dawless” wasn’t such a trendy thing to do these days…

wanted a QY700 for a while now.
even though ableton (or any daw) is so great for the visual comprehension of say a 32 bar midi recording, and then the mouse is super easy for selecting blocks and moving them about.

and when in grid edit mode, playback must be stopped on the QY700.

but for all that i still believe this midi sequencer is a totally valuable songwriting instrument/tool. if only for the tightness of timing. and the old typewriter style keys are priceless :joy:

having two midi inputs and two midi outputs makes things very easy as regards integrating with elektron gear whilst also playing and sequencing a poly synth keyboard.


Wow that’s a score man. :grinning:

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nearly went for the cheaper option of the QY300 - more space economical with the same functionality although without the backlit screen … and then suddenly remembered the fact that it’s only the QY700 with the two midi inputs and outputs - a somewhat vital feature if one does not have a midi patch bay … actually a Kenton Thru 5 would have done the job come to think of it.

anyway, QY700 it is.


They look so cool… unfortunately I do not get along well with the QY workflow at all, which is weird because coming from a tracker background you’d think I’d pick it up super quickly… but alas, my brief experience with QY sequencers was very frustrating. I guess with hardware I’d rather be able to make gradual live tweaks than actually write out a full song.

Anyway, nice find!


ah yes, thankfully i know and love the QY70 device and the functionality is merely an evolved version of this.

as regards songs and gradual workflow techniques, yes there is Song Mode, but there is also Pattern Mode, and that is essentially like the Elektron workflow approach. it does take a while to grok the Yamaha QY series approach to things, and they have an eccentric facet called “Styles” …

one thing i am looking forwards to is experimenting with the chord buttons, they might be like Poly Chord mode on the Deepmind (hoping). the OB6 has the chord memorise function per patch, although it does not memorise poly-amounts of chords per patch.

one of the most uncool facets of my musical experience is that i couldn’t actually understand how Trackers worked … even though i owned an Amiga :sweat_smile: … i found Deluxe Music to be my preference on the good old Amiga 1000. Or that is to say, the only thing i could understand. And Deluxe Video! Now that was super fun.

yay for QY700.
initially i purchased the QY70 in 1998 after reading how Bjork purchased half a dozen for her band members to be productive whilst on the tour bus. :joy:


omg it’s a musical typewriter!

okay i will stop now :joy:


All you need to do now is to add a

  • USB Floppy Drive Emulator (Nalbantov)
  • USB midi host socket (Hobbytronics)

fascinating concept! retrofitting is fun …

although if the QY stores the patterns and songs on floppy disks, that’s what i will be doing. needs to be usable without a computer for performance activities - so the files also need to be accessible without a computer.

If you replace the floppy with the usb drive then you’ve far more storage and can use a usb stick.
Still no computer needed just a better bigger storage format


very cool!

i understand the Nalbantov emulator part although am still trying to figure out how the Hobbytronics midi host socket is part of the equation if there already are regular midi connections on the device.

fantastic niche product information though, glad to know about this.

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use the midi host to create a midi usb socket on the QY700 so you can plug USB midi devices/controllers directly into it.


ah yes … so very cool! cheers again.

okay well the Nalbantov deal is the first investment choice for some stage in the future.

paid a pretty penny for this characterful device, so for now the biggest improvement i will be doing is buying another midi lead or two :joy:

thankfully i have a strange fascination with using floppy disks again after so many years. maybe these days the construction and packaging looks even better than it did in the 1980’s.

actually i just had a look online. they don’t look any different whatsoever.

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Don’t worry, do as you please…
If you use a DAW when you’d rather not because there’s a DAWless trend, your still basing decisions on the trend… Inversely affected by the trend…

Do as you please…


I was watching this same QY-700 on eBay and then I saw it appear here and updated my eBay to show that it had been sold. Good for you. I’ve wanted one of these since I saw one on the cover of a Squarepusher album. I’ve had QY-70, QY-100, RM1X and RS7000 and really love the Yamaha sequencer. It’s like a musical typewriter for me. I have an idea for a song and I write it down.

Next time I get a larger bunch of money I’ll order one from Japan too. Even with all the postage and customs it’s still cheaper than a DN which is also on my “buy-list”.

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lol it’s like we were two fellow hunters on the fields of vintage joy.

well, this time around i scored the prize, but tomorrow could be your victory.

if you do go for the QY700, don’t let people say that there is a noticeable gap if looping a song sub-section. well, maybe it is true but maybe it isn’t. when the unit arrives i will do a thorough exploration.

i found information online to indicate there does not need to be a pause when looping a Song sub-section.

anyway there is such a thing as a “Style” definition, and for each Song i think there needs to be at least one. but there may be more. and if a Style definition is encountered by a looping Song sub-section, then it sends a bunch of information and creates a gap in the loop, slight pause or something.

the fix is to just put one single Style definition at the start of the Song and then don’t put any more, and do not loop around the place where the Style definition resides. thus avoiding the slight pause when a sub-section is looped.

otherwise Pattern mode loops seamlessly.

but the thing is that Phrases are the only type of loop that allow realtime overdubbing of midi recording. and it would seem they are part of Song Mode.

anyway hopefully will know more once this mighty vintage device arrives.

another midi sequencing option is the Squarp Pyramid … or the cream of the crop, the Cirklon.


a question for when you have the QY in front of you: does playback scroll in the midi note grid? I’ve been unable to figure this out from forums or youtube.

re. storage - part of the reason that I hang onto some older equip. is so I can still use floppy disks :slight_smile: nostalgia

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i will check it out … one thing i am pretty sure is, when entering Grid Edit mode, playback must be stopped.
not a showstopper, although it would be nice to hear the changes realtime.
well if playing live and wanting to Grid Edit then yes i guess it would be a showstopper :sweat_smile:

not a dealbreaker though as the machine is quality in many other regards.
although one day would like to also work with a Cirklon.

Phrase recording does offer realtime overdubbing. Also i hear it is cool fun to record different parts on the 16 Patterns and realtime mute/unmute for cool variations.

i just realised, the QY700 comes with the original floppy disk holding the OS for reinstalling if required…

but i have no floppy disks whatsoever.
therefore should really buy some in readiness for the arrival of the QY700, otherwise there would be no saving of projects.
although i guess the cool thing is, the QY700 has flash memory that retains information after powering off.

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thankfully the onboard flash memory actually does retain the information without needing to save it onto disk.

the most invigorating feature i’ve discovered so far is the fascinating range of groove designing options, tweakable parameters with then another parameter to tweak how the previous parameter tweaking is tweaked.

the Style, Section, Phrase, Pattern, Song delineations and workflow is somewhere between eccentric and genius. let’s just call it idiosyncratic and comprehensive for now.