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Yamaha Portasound VSS-30 Digital Voice Sampler

   (1 review)

The Yamaha Portasound VSS-30 Digital Voice Sampler is a voice sampling keyboard in the VSS line of samplers. It was released in 1987. Despite being seen as a toy the VSS-30 has achieved some popularity amongst experimental musicians.

The 8-bit sampler can record short samples of about 2 seconds that can be played back and processed instantly. Additionally, an overwrite mode is available for layering more than one sample for some interesting results.

The mini-keyboard features 11 Internal Sounds: Piano, Harpsichord, Banjo, Vibes, Marimba, Crystal, Strings, Jazz Organ, Brass, Clarinet and Galaxy. It also has 7 Effects: Loop, U-Turn, Reverse, Echo, Fuzz, Frequency Modulation and Amplitude Modulation. There are no built in rhythms but the Arpeggio makes up for this short fall. There is also a basic pattern recorder using the arpeggio.

Technical Specifications
Type: Digital
Synthesis: ROM, Sampling
Oscillators: 1
Waveforms: ROM, User Drawn
ROM Resolution: 8 bit
Osc Modulation: Envelope, Keyboard, LFO, Sequencer
Oscillator Notes:
+ 12 preset sounds: Sample, Piano, Harpsicord, Banjo, Vibes, Marimba, Crystal, Strings, Jazz organ, Brass, Clarinet, Galaxy
Sampling: 8 bit, Loop, One Shot (Phrase)
Sampling Notes:
+ Rate: 8.9 - 16.7 kHz
+ Time: 1.8 - 3.5 seconds
Envelopes: 1
Evelope Paramerters: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release, Looping
LFO: 1
LFO Parameters: Sine
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 4
Timbrality: 1
Tuning: Standard
Modes: Polyphonic
Patches RAM: 1
Storage: Internal
+ Key order sequencing
+ 12 patterns: Rock, 16 Beat, Country, Samba, Polka, Waltz, Locomotion, Beguine, Techno 1, Techno 2, Rock-A-Ballad, Boogie
+ Reverse, Echo, Fuzz, Freq Modulation, Amp Modulation, U-Turn, Loop
+ 500 notes max
+ Real time recording and playback
Chips and Operating System
+ Yamaha YM2416 sounds chip.
+ M881256-15 DRAM Sample memory.
Case: Keyboard
Keyboard: 32 keys, Mini-Keys, Plastic
Controls: Buttons, Sliders, Arpeggiator, Sequencer
Display Type: LED
Dimensions (WxDxH): 18 3/8 x 7 1/8 x 2 1/4 inches / 467 x 180.4 x 57.4 mm
Weight: 1 lbs / 2.2 kg
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Mono Out
Audio Output Count: 1
Inputs: 1 x RCA jack
DAC Bits: 8
DAC Frequency Rate: 17 kHz
Power: 9V DC / 6 AA Batteries
Year Released: 1987
Used By
No-Thing, Sigur Rós,
Manuals & Documents
MSRP List Price: $99 - convert
Retail Street Price: $89 - convert
Used Price: $150 - $300 - convert
References & Sources

  Report Synthesizer
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Jack Hertz

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   1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

Easily the best of the early lo-fi samplers. Yamaha did a great job of designing a sampler that had a lot of great features and is easy to use. Always good for hours of fun and sampling discovery. I will never sell this thing.

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