Yamaha Portasound

Yamaha Portasound


This little synth was bought by my grandma sometime in the late 90s. It has one speaker on the left side of the synth, which is slowly becoming less reliable. Similar to my family piano, it’s seen its fair share of abuse from me and my sisters as we “learn” the piano. She’s more than a little rough around the edges, sometime a earsore. Because of the… Less appealing sound of it, it’s spent a large part of the last 6 years in closets and on shelf’s. I decided to give sampling it a go with my first set of actual mics. I sampled two of my favorite patches and made a distortion pad with the brass patch and a digital Fuckbox type thing. Because there is one speaker, I added a stereo modeler on the non-distorted patches.


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Contains the necessary mystery quotient

4.0 rating
March 6, 2021

For my demo ‘Organ Grinders’ Enclave’ I was looking for a range of organ and organ-like sounds suitable for layering and complementing with a variety of filter effects and delays in order to build an almost ghostly contingent of organs, each playing different but hopefully cohesive stacked chords and melody. I already had a pipe organ (Spitfire Audio LABS), shruti box (Ableton Live instrument) mouth organ (Kontakt instrument) and another pianobook organ sound (the excellent ‘Odin’s Box’ organ by Mark Allnutt). This morning’s pianodrop came with the surprise gift of this Yamaha Portasound to round out the track and I used it to double both the Odin’s box melody over the intro and the shruti box ‘solo’ following the middle eight. I also tried the ‘fuckbox’ patch which worked well on the intro but was a little too aggressive for doubling the shruti box. Rather than over-complicate the piece I decided to investigate that sound on a separate project. Thank you, Maxwell, for a sound that’s just organ-like enough to blend with other instrumental layers and yet has a distinct personality all of its own. If I review it that means I’ve used it on a project, and that means I like it.

Chris Bell (wordsSHIFTminds)


A synth from the 90s that is little rough around the edges

4.0 rating
4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)
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