Scored a mint Yamaha QY700


Congratz on nice score!

Cool trick with QY700 is to lay down a beat (own or phrase) and then transpose the track live with numpad (insert positive or negative number and hit enter) in rhytmical manner. Some transposition sound weird but some can be pretty cool.

I just dug out some childhood ‘treasures’ from my parents house and found a few boxes of floppies. Thanks to your thread I have a purpose for them - QY700 computer-less backup storage in addition to MIDI Dump to PC.


very cool … floppy disks are just so cool.
i want to buy the coolest looking floppy disks around.
not sure if bright neon is the most desirable option.

as regards storing midi files from the 700, maybe think about realtime capture the midi output to tracks on a daw (or on the Octatrack, DT or Monomachine), to actualise those cool Groove designer sections into repeatable midi data by another machine.

as the Groove designer is working with meta-data, and so the midi lines on the QY700 would not reflect this in their current state if transferred via floppy disk to computer.

ah yes the transposing options are as detailed in their meta-data-ness as the Groove designer is lol.

Seems everything hinges around putting in the correct chord harmony letter names, chord types, and also the two types of Bass Note connected to the chord track meta data.


Please keep this thread updated!
There’s a QY700 for sale near me pretty cheap, and I’m pondering…

What do you think of the onboard sounds?


not much lol. i don’t much like them, nor did i appreciate the sounds on the QY70 twenty years ago. they were naff and cheap then… the passing of time has not mellowed the naffness.

90 percent of the xg general midi sounds? cheap and nasty. “ew!” to coin a fairly awkward yet relevant response.

anyway all that said must be counterbalanced by stating my belief that this is truly the midi sequencer. it’s the real deal and then some.

i honestly don’t know why this unit is out of production.
i guess companies like individuals are capable of occasional self-sabotage.

there might be one or two cool analog sequencers like the Oberkorn or the Octopus that rival the awesomeness of the QY700.

Oh, and there i go forgetting about the Sequentix Cirklon.
Very awesome sequencer.
But although the Cirklon does have a range of realtime midi data modifiers, i doubt it would have the comprehensive multi-level Groove designer template system.

and the Pyramid Squarp has some cool reviews.
but again, nothing like the QY700’s world of multiplexed midi groove customisation.

i should mention here that the QY700 needs to stop play before entering Grid Edit mode. If Yamaha reissue the QY700 one day, then perhaps that inconvenience could be addressed.

the QY700 offers about 7 different base templates and they are complex, they are nuanced and they are multi-screen. From there it is possible to explore each template, start to comprehend what is going on, how different parameters change everything, and then make User Templates. Very cool.

some hihats are enjoyably non-intrusive. i would actually like to explore using them.

there are some factory memory “Phrases” like a Track on the Machinedrum that might have some pre-sequenced ‘funk’ or ‘rock’ style, with an associated sound, that i’m actually quite interested in repurposing by sending it not to the internal “tone generator” [xg general midi soundbanks] … but rather to the Machinedrum, or to the se02, or the OB6.

it’s the rock solid timing, the Groove designer, and possibly the interactive transposing that are very cool.

also the way of song structuring and pattern structuring, the patterns have the option to auto-link to another pattern, and then when putting together a song structure, there is a fairly intuitive organic arrangement going on that is encouraging progression, structural robustness perhaps, in the architecture of how patterns are related.

also the dual midi input outputs are great.
very useful when the qy700 is synced to the midi clock transport of the Octatrack. it just makes things very much more achievable when also wanting to have a hardware synthesizer playing into and receiving info from the QY700.

very comprehensive Utility Midi screen …

the Midi Timecode is useful for controlling vintage recording gear like a reel-to-reel 8 track or a 2 inch multitrack recording desk.

something like an Alesis mmt8 would be required to actually lay down the timecode to tape, but the QY700 still does provide some useful functionality within this scenario.

Maybe after the timecode track is captured to the 8 track or the 2 inch multitrack (thereby removing one of the tracks from any instrument recording use), the QY700 may then gain direct control of the tape recorder.


Nice setup. We used a qy700 back in the mid-late 90’s for a band that just kept loosing drummers… was used for nice rock drums through to glitchy square pusher stuff, though I struggle to remember much about it now. I always wondered if the RS7000 was a more advanced version of the QY series.


to talk more about the song arrangement on the QY700…

firstly, a “Style” initially has a number, and the option is there to name it.
From what i am able to discern, a “Style” is a project purpose designed for containing any Patterns and Phrases made while it is active.

A Style Project does not include a Song though, as a Song is its own type of Project, and references one or more Styles within itself, and may also have Song-length individual midi tracks that are realtime or grid step piano roll notated that are separate from the Pattern list of transitions with a Song.

this is the screen where the Style may be given a name, fairly essential to have some kind of clarity about what is going on, instead of it being called Style 1 (although it does retain the numerical reference even when the Style name is entered).


The “Section” is a fascinating device. It references a Pattern, and that Pattern may be given a name whilst again the Pattern also retains the letter reference. then in the Pattern screen, a second letter is displayed on the right of the Pattern letter with an arrow going from the left to the right.

This does not affect play in Pattern mode.
But then when that Pattern is placed in context of a Song arrangement list of Patterns, it very much affects the song structure.


the above illustration shows that there is no Pattern link, as the letter does not change.

but the first Pattern in the next diagram does actually display a “change reference”. the other two are not displaying a change reference, as the letter on the right is the same as on the left.

and what does it mean… A-C? it does not mean that Intro jumps to Normal 2.

essentially it tells the Song Arrangement list that when this Pattern A (named Intro for logical comprehension of the composer) is encountered, then all Patterns between Pattern A and C should be played in sequence.

And therefore in the Song Arrangement list of sequential Patterns, Pattern B and Pattern C, “Normal 1” and “Normal 2” should not be notated. So part of the Song Structure is built into the Pattern referencing, if the user so chooses.

It’s a compositional arrangement logic that really does make a lot of sense to me. Although it did take a while to figure out what it all means, as the manual is occasionally minimal on detailed explanations.


this is the abstract data diagram for the Song List pattern flow.
did not explain why Normal 1 and Normal 2 were not listed.
they might not get listed, but when Song mode is played, they do in fact get played and it’s the Pattern change reference that ensures they get played.

but in Pattern Mode, the change reference will not auto change the Pattern, it just loops in the one Pattern.

anyway i was then presented with an actual image of the Song List arrangement window, and instructed to put the appropriate Style and Sections in (Section is another word for Pattern).


essential to put the Style in first, as that is the Project and Bank of Patterns, without which the QY700 >does not know what Section (Pattern) to list on a row.

the Song goes for 31 bars in this scenario and this is the seemingly sparse Song Arrangement List. and yet all the Sections (Patterns) play due to the change reference interlinking architecture from Pattern Mode.

a Pattern holds a bunch of Phrases. The Phrases are pretty much individual tracks, with their own Measure length and the option to put a rest at any bar so the Phrase (Track) does not play in that bar of the Pattern.

Phrases (Tracks) are stored in their own library and the Pattern remembers where they are. Like an audio clip on the Octatrack’s compact flash card library, and the OT’s Pattern and Track remembering that the clip is set to be on a particular Track.


the QY700 is iconoclastic in various ways.

the Swing setting for a track (either a Phrase Track in Pattern Mode or a longer midi track recording in Song Mode) actually will micro-move the placement of the midi notes.

although the Groove designer pages certainly do effect a wide variety of shuffle and swing accentuations, emphasises, note-length adjustments, volume/velocity tweaks, etc… these changes are heard by the QY700 implementing them in real time on individual tracks during playback.

so the Groove designer is meta-data, many fine or bold adjustment settings that are made note of and remembered.

but the Swing setting in Quantize moves the midi data in its actual placement.

i’m not sure how these two different approaches are going to interact although i think it is going to be cool.


also to mention: it is possible to make User templates or load and adjust the Factory groove templates. And for each Track, a different template may be used.

and then to adjust the strength of influence of a Groove template for an individual track, one option is to change the “Strength” parameter.

to adjust the Strength parameter for more than one track at a time, simply hold Shift and scroll the Data Wheel while the Strength parameter is highlighted for any one of the Tracks.

even though each Track might have its own Template or a differing current Strength of influence setting, they all will move up or down in relation to the amount of rotation of the Data Wheel.

it is also possible to Shift-select just a few Tracks and then group-adjust some Track parameter for just those Tracks.

I guess it is more accurate to say that a Phrase is the notes and events that are then imported to and inhabit a Track.


Song Mode has the Pattern Arrangement List as the main basis of its structure.

there is also a Tempo Track, fairly self-explanatory.

and a fascinating thing called a Chord Track.

currently it would seem this Chord Track does not directly send out any midi notes - not to the internal xg tone generator and nor to any external hardware instrument.

this Chord Track actually provides the basis and reasonings for how the QY700 performs very intelligent transposing of the midi data in the Phrases that inhabit the Pattern Tracks.

without a Chord Track being inputted, attempts to transpose in Song Mode might be unexpected, inaccurate, useless, or just not work at all. Not exactly sure.

also to mention, there are three different modes of transposing.
i don’t really understand it.

in the Pattern Mode, three Patterns indicate G7. pretty simple.
this is not related to the Chord Track in Song Mode.

the chords that the QY700 manual gave me to input to the Song Mode Chord Track are much more detailed than a simple G7 here and there.

the Chord Track arrangement list in Song Mode looks partly similar to the Pattern List Arrangement and is the same bar length, logically.

but without the Style column for obvious reasons, as the “Style” is the “Project” that holds the Patterns and Phrases by reference, and the Song Mode is the arrangement of the Patterns with their accompanying Phrases.


So naturally the Chord Track is related to the Song Mode as it will change in relation to what the Song Mode chooses as regards Pattern playback.

to input the Chords, it is a bit of a task and doesn’t even make any sound nor trigger any sound of its own accord…

but the benefits are that now the Qy700 may do some very intelligent transposition juggling tricks, and inputting the chords only takes about five minutes.

a huge amount of chord types may be inputted with the Chord Name and Type buttons… using the arrow keys to navigate down and up through the rows of the Chord Track.


This is the most interesting topic I’ve read on elektronauts in some time, so please continue all the sharing and caring.


This just serves to confirm that I was right to lust after this beastly sequencer all those years ago.


My knowledge of MIDI sequencers is mostly limited to Elektron products, so the world of older, yet advanced sequencers for composition and performance is still pretty new to me. I’m only now just getting into the MPC approach, and find myself wondering what in earth took me so long to get there? Parameter locks are cool and all, but now I’m playing with power.


although the xg sounds are naff, the midi sequence Phrases on the QY700 of which there are many, sometimes do offer some very cool inspiration …

they are midi, and have a reference link to the xg tone generator section, but there is a very simple option to switch that off, and then set the Phrase’s Track’s outputting midi channel to any the user desires, therefore it is easy to escape the xg sounds.

although i haven’t actually sequenced any external gear just yet.

just keeping within the confines of the tutorial, doing what the book says.

any track may be assigned to any of the 16 midi channels on the two dual midi outputs i think.

the powerful funky tech abstract Groove template experiments i’ve tried, just using the xg sounds, makes me very much want to sequence the Machinedrum, se02, and OB6 all with the QY700, so as to gain the full benefits of the Groove template nuanced tripped-outedness.


The Yamaha QY/RS, Akai MPC and Roland MV platforms are all very sophisticated, flexible and powerful, well deserving of their reputation. Agreed on the parameter locks, I can do much of the same by recording fader movements on the MV and those tweaks can be recorded over the course of 100s of measures if need be, not limited to pattern length or LFO work arounds, etc. These 3 platforms are approaching that of DAWs despite the fact they are 10-20 years old.


Parameter Locks are way cool, but i simply must explore the option of sequencing the Machinedrum with QY700 and the accompanying Groove designer realtime multi-shuffle potentials.

the Machinedrum works on four Midi channels; say it was selected to 1-4 …

Midi Channel 1 receives midi data for tracks 1-4
Midi Channel 2 receives midi data for tracks 5-8
Midi Channel 3 receives midi data for tracks 9-12
Midi Channel 4 receives midi data for tracks 13-16

thankfully the qy700 does multitrack recording … there is an option to check called “Multi” logically enough.

from the manual:

“If you are using realtime recording, you can use the
MULTITRACK feature to simultaneously record all incom- ing MIDI channels (1 to 16) onto the corresponding sequence tracks. This is useful when you want to record a multipart recording from a computer or another sequencer in real time.”

i don’t have a keyboard that has midi keyboard zones, but the OB6 does provide the Midi Omni/All option.

The QY700 does not offer multitrack recording in Grid Step record mode, so the Multi option does not show up.

By enabling the Record arm button, the various recording options appear. I select “Overdub”, and the Multi button appears.

I go to the Machinedrum and set the Base Channel to be “1-4”
Then go to the Global Mapping option, and set the Tracks to be trigged by four black keys per octave.

Track 1 is C#2 as that is the lowest possible when the OB6’s Transpose option is neutral zero.

Track 2 is D#2

i then skip F#2

Track 3 is G#2

Track 4 is A#2

those first four tracks respond to notes on Midi Channel 1

Track 5 is C#3

Track 6 is D#3

Track 7 is G#3

Track 8 is A#3
this second group of four tracks respond to notes on Midi Channel 2

Track 9 is C#4

Track 10 is D#4

Track 11 is G#4

Track 12 is A#4
this third group of four tracks respond to notes on Midi Channel 3

Track 13 is C#5

Track 14 is D#5

Track 15 is G#5

Track 16 is A#5
the last group of four tracks respond to notes on Midi Channel 4

the Signal Flow is with the Octatrack as master tempo/transport.
as the OT records audio tighter this way.

Octatrack-> QY Midi In A
OB6-> QY Midi In B

QY Midi Out A -> Machinedrum Midi In
QY Midi Out B -> OB6

QY700 Midi Out B is set in the QY Utility-Midi screen using the Echo Back option, choosing for the QY Midi Input B (from the OB6) to echo Thru to the QY Midi Output A (going to the Machinedrum Midi Input).

the Midi Control option on the Utility Page Midi Screen is set to Out A, B
so that means anything midi recordings on the QY700 Pattern Phrases or Song Tracks have the potential to play on their assigned Midi Channels and their assigned QY700 Midi Out Port A, Port B, or both Ports.

By setting the OB6 to transmit on all Midi channels, I now have the ability to play the Machinedrum from the OB6, either directly, or via the QY700 routing.

I may also record this by arming the Multi track record option.

But there is no individual midi track record arm button for the individual tracks on the QY700.

Thankfully, the QY700 is a 32 track midi sequencer.

arming the Multi record button will multi-track record to the first 16 tracks.

but not to the midi tracks 17-32.

so it’s a scenario of actually forgetting about using the first 16 tracks for anything but the Machinedrum.

as anything i play on the OB6 on Midi All channels is going to be captured by all 16 channels. I think.
But they are able to be assigned to any channel or no channel at all.
So i just use the first 4 tracks and assign them to Midi Channels 1,2,3 and 4.

Each of them has captured all the notes played by the OB6, but the Machinedrum will only respond to the notes it is interested in for each Midi channel.

so it works. without much fuss. although a lot of thinking required initially.

Midi Tracks 17-32 are then available for sequencing the OB6 and the se02. As with Midi Tracks 1-16, the outputs and ports are freely assignable.

This is all possible in Song Mode with Multi record option.

Pattern Mode does not offer the Multi record option although content sequenced in Song Mode might be saveable as a Phrase and brought into Pattern Mode … not sure.

The complex and nuanced Groove designer is available in both Song Mode and Pattern Mode.

Also, it is possible to loop sections of a Song in Song Mode, so that is pretty cool.


It’s (finally) my turn.

Yesterday I scored a mint QY-700 from the first owner who lives in Tampere which is a 150 kilometers away. All this time I’ve been looking towards Japan for a QY-700 and then I find one so near. Haven’t received it yet, but it’s in the post already. Can’t wait to get it home. It’s going to become the main brain for my whole setup. It’s small enough to take with me on the couch and program songs while watching telly, and then I can hook it up to all my Elektrons and use their sounds instead of Yamaha’s own.


It crazy how times change. I remember struggling to get more than £80 for mine 15 years ago. Took me months to sell it


Would’ve bought it off you in a heartbeat even back then. 15 years ago I probably had RM1X and QY-70. That would’ve been a huge improvement.


Funnily I think I was selling it to buy a rm1x


Someone who controls the qy with cc data?


Hey previewlounge,

Thanks so much for the write-up / tutorials, great stuff. :slight_smile:

Just wondering if you could point me to where in the manual User Templates are explained?
I have a QY700 in the post from geecen. Can’t wait to get under the skin of this monster.

Thanks so much!