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My effective solution to the YC61 Rotary Sim problem

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Like many of you, I’ve given up on Yamaha fixing this issue. A few months ago, I began searching for an external effect unit.

My parameters included good Midi support. That knocked out the Ventilator and virtually all the other currently shipping options, and left only the Strymon Mobius or Wampler Terraform. Sweetwater likes the Terraform, but recommended the Mobius for several reasons:

1) The quality of the Mobius rotary (same engine as the favored Lex pedal)
2) Depth of Midi support (Terraform has basic Midi, while the Mobius has an extremely robust Midi implementation)
3) Number of presets (Mobius=200 vs Terraform=8)
4) Depth of control over the rotary

I’m sure some would enjoy the Terraform, but for an engineering-oriented keyboardist like me who customizes everything, the Mobius was the obvious choice.

Now that I’ve got it in my rig and configured. I am thrilled.

The sound is spectacular. I don’t know how well it compares to a “real” Leslie, but to my ears it’s amazing. When I A/B the Mobius to the YC61 native rotary SIM, the Mobius sounds immersive, warm and clean. By comparison, the YC61 SIM sounds like I’m playing through a 60’s transistor radio.

I’ve completely worked the Mobius into my Midi setup, driven by a Keith McMillen Softstep 2 pedal and the ever amazing BomeBox midi translator. The SS2 pedal controls the Mobius rotary speed and bypass. Further, in parallel I’ve got the rotary speed controlled by the slow/fast switch on the YC61, horn level by the YC61 “Tone” encoder and drive level by the YC61 “Drive” encoder. I used the YC61 Midi Control “invert” setting to enable the controls of any deactivated effect to send Midi and operate LED’s in response to encoder and switch settings as expected.

This is not to mention the 11 other “mod machines” in the Mobius, besides the rotary. I connected the Mobius to Aux 5/6 on my Behringer XR18 mixer, using busses 5 and 6 as an effects send. Now I can run any instrument through the Mobius, including my Yamaha CP4 and Waldorf Blofeld. I feel I’ve gotten good value for my purchase of the expensive Strymon Mobius.

I know that this rig is likely quite a bit more complex than most keyboardists would be comfortable with. It works for me, and it sounds truly magnificent.

I’m annoyed with Yamaha for not solving this problem. When I compare my CP4 and the YC61, I admire the front panel controls and waterfall keybed of the YC61, as compared to the massive customizability of the CP4, albeit buried in menus. That said, it feels like the Yamaha engineers poured massive love (and $$$) into building the CP4, which is such an amazing “feeling” instrument to a pianist, especially one who is classically trained. As others have said in various forums, of all the piano-focused keyboards, to me the CP4 feels the least like a keyboard attached to a computer, and the most like a real “instrument.” The keybed and the human-piano connection in the CP4 is second to none.

When you’re given lemons, make lemonade. I’d rather not complain. Now, I love my YC61!

Posted : 05/09/2021 1:37 pm
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Dov, sounds like a great (hopefully temporary) solution. I had a band event in late July and in preparation went through a couple different options as a workaround. I have the Leslie "Cream" Pedal and tried using that. The sound was great...much better than the internal YC effect, but I was not happy with the mechanics and the button push with going from slow to fast and turning it off and and back on between organ and non-organ songs. It does not have the MIDI capabilities of the Mobius so I can see why you made the decision you did.

The other option I tried was using the YC to control IK's B3X...this is what I ended up going with. While it might seem crazy to some to buy the organ-centric YC at a premium price...and then not use the organ, the YC is almost a perfect controller for a virtual organ. I have Cantabile and have created a set-up to have every control on the YC control the corresponding part of the B3X. This required creating some sys ex translator messages. In the end though, I ended up using the master control features on the YC driving B3X directly. I didn't have control of the chorus/vibrato or percussion elements, but I never change these mid song anyway...I had complete control of the drawbars, drive, expression and rotary speed which was enough. I could hit a Live Set on the YC, tie it to a preset in the B3X and it was there like I was playing it on the YC itself. I do hope Yamaha changes things so the chorus/vibrato and percussion button send out CC's as opposed to sys ex in an OS update. I also hope they give us the ability kill the source signal and just send the USB audio signal through the YC main outs which would add the option of using the YC organ tones running through a virtual rotary sim like the IK TR-5. You can do this now, but you need to use a mixer with it own USB audio capabilities which creates other inconveniences. I've posted these ideas many moons ago on IdeaScale. Anyway, agree the YC is otherwise a great keyboard...and hoping it gets even better! Jim

Posted : 06/09/2021 3:32 pm
Posts: 1717
Member Admin

Does Strymon make anything bad?

Their reverbs... oooohhhhhhhhh aaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhhhh

Posted : 07/09/2021 5:44 am
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New Member

I think IK's B3X is the only serious competitor to the Vent, when it comes to really high quality rotary sim.
The Lex is no where near as good (IMHO of course!) and I've only (so far) heard the Mobius on guitar......
I wasn't concerned about MIDI for my rotary sim, so choosing a Vent was no brainer for me.
I should like to try what Jim describes, but in my case that would mean not only buying the B3X software, but some sort of hardware device to load it into
(My desk top computer is almost steam driven it's so old -- and I don't have a laptop or ipad! )

But I had to do something...... The fast speed on the YC sim is so bad it's laughable -- even my 10 year old Yamaha MOX6 has a better rotary sim!

I wonder if Yamaha really has given up on a YC update, or are they simply having problems solving it? ...
They're not going to let us know in advance of course, so we'll see if there is another firmware update this autumn?....

Posted : 07/09/2021 10:15 am
Posts: 811
Prominent Member

But I had to do something...... The fast speed on the YC sim is so bad it's laughable -- even my 10 year old Yamaha MOX6 has a better rotary sim!

I think the MOX6 rotary might be on the YC as well, as the "Simple Rotary" option in the Effects section. Unfortunately, I think the only way to toggle the speed on it is to turn the knob, which is not so convenient.

I wonder if Yamaha really has given up on a YC update, or are they simply having problems solving it? ...
They're not going to let us know in advance of course, so we'll see if there is another firmware update this autumn?....

Looks like an update may be imminent based on the post at

Back to the main topic of this thread, there are two problems with putting an external rotary sim on the YC...

As Jim alluded to, one is that you have to switch it in or out every time you switch between organ and some other sound. Having done this kind of thing in the past on other boards, I can tell you that--especially in a rig where it is not your only board so you may go back to it after having played some other board in the interim--it can be very easy to find the rotary still on from your previous organ playing, and suddenly be hearing your strings, brass, whatever through a Leslie effect. Dov's solution of looking for a sim with MIDI control can address that pretty well, as each Live Set can be stored with a command to enable or disable the external rotary effect when you select your new sound. But it's not a 100% solution. It's fine when you're strictly calling up your saved patches, but if you ever like to operate the board "on the fly" from its front panel controls, switching among sounds directly from the front panel knobs and switches (instead of calling up Live Sets), you'd still be in a position of having to enable/disable the pedal manually as needed.

Second is that it is impossible to put that Leslie effect on your organ sound without also putting it on any other split/layered sound you may be playing simultaneously with your organ sound (there are no assignable outs, nor even any way to split the eterso out to dual mono to send organ out one side and your other sounds out the other). So you can only take advantage of the better rotary sound when organ is the only sound you're playing. But if you typically only play organ by itself, or are willing to live with a "lesser" rotary effect on those occasions where you must play organ comvined with someone else, then it can be an acceptable solution.

With luck, an update from Yamaha will spare us from having to make these choices!

Posted : 07/09/2021 5:41 pm
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Eminent Member

I think there will be an update sometime in the next few weeks...the CP series had an update issued at the end of September last year. Guessing (using common sense as opposed to any real knowledge of how these things are decided/timed) that it can tie with marketing efforts leading into the holiday season and NAMM.

Will be curious to see if they really try to revamp the rotary in a major way. My prediction is that they have worked around the edges to get rid of some of the annoying artifacts...but it will still be similar to what it currently is and not be close to a Vent or even a Nord sim. Yamaha seems comfortable with outsourcing/outboarding certain things. Wouldn't be surprised if they come out with a Vent quality Line 6/Helix branded version of a rotary pedal that has some ability to easily coordinate with the YC controls like the Mobius does via MIDI....of course for separate sale. I see they used to have one but no longer make it.

Posted : 07/09/2021 8:44 pm
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New Member

The attached screen grab from the YC61 development video suggests that they had tried something different for this 'new' rotary effect.
Interesting to be able put a face to one of the dev. team who thought this new rotary sim sounded any good! 🙂

Simply because of the already discussed limitations of using an external sim - like a Vent - I would have thought Yamaha might put in some effort to improve this 'new' idea.
There have been quite a lot of complaints at various locations on the interweb about the current YC rotary, and it must now be pretty difficult to avoid finding at least one of them by anyone looking for comments before deciding on a purchase.
That must have affected sales by now (although the pandemic will have distorted sales expectations anyway!) .
I simply can;t see how it would be in Yamaha's best interests to simply tinker 'round the edges' of this problem -- although, as Jim says, it seem possible that's what will happen!

Posted : 08/09/2021 10:41 am
Posts: 1717
Member Admin

Yamaha missed all the standard Japanese release points for updates this year. Don't expect anything.

Between the pandemic, Olympics and their many other problems as a corporation, I don't think there's anything in the pipeline other than new products.

They'll probably be products aimed at generating revenue over being Yamaha products, and the first time it's more generally obvious the degree to which Yamaha has lost their way.

Posted : 08/09/2021 12:36 pm
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Active Member

It is unacceptable to buy a 2000USD keyboard and still have to buy a 500USD Leslie pedal, apart from the hassle of using the pedal. Yamaha has to fix this!

Posted : 09/09/2021 2:43 pm
Posts: 0
New Member

It is unacceptable to buy a 2000USD keyboard and still have to buy a 500USD Leslie pedal, apart from the hassle of using the pedal. Yamaha has to fix this!

If you watch the development video from which I took the screen grab in my post above, Yamaha seem to think it's already OK ! 🙂
Yamaha (along with some other keyboard manufacturers) do not have a great history with rotary sims.
I think we probably hoped that as they had gone the extra mile and included a whole lot of 'adjustable ' parameters with this 'new' YC sim, it might be better than their previous iterations.
Instead, I think most folk think it's worse - especially on fast.
However if the Yamaha dev team don't agree, they may not feel the need to do anything? ....

Posted : 10/09/2021 12:15 pm

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