Range of VL1 Voices

This page addresses only the Version 2 voice set supplied by Yamaha. Version 2 owners who have Version 1 disks can load the original disks and use them. As well, there are voice disks from Patchman and other sources. All voices must use Yamaha-designed elements, and a lot of a voice's characteristics are controlled by its element(s). The full array of voices is surprisingly large. Of course, what really counts is how many good voices there are, so a general indication of quality is given in the tables below. For a more detailed look, see Voice Quality, a work in progress. Generally speaking, with Version 2 it's fair to say that the great majority of the voices are quite good. You will notice that the voice quality varies a lot by family. In most cases if a voice is a little off, you can easily edit it to your liking. If a voice is too breathy, for example, you can go in and just dial down the breath sound. Many instruments are represented in a variety of styles, such as trumpet, tenor sax, and electric guitar.

The Version 2 voices from Yamaha are supplied in lists, each on its own file:

VL1_VER2.ALL - 128 voices for VL1 or VL1-m with or without a breath controller.

VL1V2_WX.ALL - 32 voices for VL1-m optimized for a WX7 or WX11 wind controller.

VL7_VER2.ALL - 64 voices for VL7 with or without a breath controller.

VL7V2_WX.ALL - 32 voices for VL7 optimized for a WX7 or WX11 wind controller.

ADDITION.ALL - 16 voices, mostly single-element, for breath control by BC2 or WX controllers.

If you have a VL1 or VL1-m, you would mainly be interested in the first, second, and last files listed above, as they all have unique voices. If you have a VL7, you could use the two VL7 files and the ADDITION file. Even though I use a BC2 breath controller, I found some good voices on the WX list. Musicians using an Akai EWI wind controller can play any of the voices. Note also that even though most of the voices listed are 'playable' without breath control, you will lose an enormous amount of expressive control by so doing, except with the acoustic guitar voices and some of the bass guitar voices.

Below is a summary view of the voice types. Except where indicated, the counts are drawn from the two VL1 files, plus the ADDITION file, as these contain unique elements. Total unique voice count is 180. I include general comments on voice quality, in my view.


Trumpet 9 fair to good, need editing
Cornet 1 good
Trombone 2 fair, need editing
French Horn 2 fair, no diffuse, soft timbre
Flugel Horn 1 good
Tuba 1 good
Other, sections 3 good

Most of the brass voices could use improvement, mostly in timbre. Playability of all brass voices using the BC2 is superb!


Saxophone (all kinds) 24 mostly superb
Flute, piccolo, shakuhachi, ocarina 14 very good, often too breathy, ocarina from VL7 WX
Clarinet 4 good
Oboe & English Horn 4 good, count includes 2 from VL7 WX list
Bassoon 2 very good, includes 1 from VL7 WX list
Recorder 1 good
Harmonica 5 good
Bagpipe 1 very good timbre, but hard to play
Digeridoo 2 very good
Woodwind Combos 14 good
Other, New concepts 9 good

Woodwinds are the VL1 strong suit. There is room for improvement in some voices, but a great many of the woodwind voices are outstanding in timbre and playability.


Electric Lead 7 very good
Electric Bass 11 very good
Acoustic Spanish 1 very good
Sitar 1 excellent
Ethnic Acoustic 3 very good, wonderful string resonance

Guitars are another strong suit. Very high quality processing and effects are available. The dividing line between Electric Guitar and Synth gets fuzzy here. The 'Sub Bass' (E16) is amazingly deep. Most of the super-freaky stuff is under Synths below.

Synth Sounds

Analog Type 20 very good
Other 16 good to very good
Super Freaky Psycho 5 ?
Organ 2 fair

Some popular analog synths are nicely emulated, such as Mini Moog, etc. You have lots of effects and processing to play with. It would be pointless to include many organ sounds, for example, because these are best played on a conventional synth.

Violin Family

Violin 3 poor in timbre, vibrato, attack, & playability
Viola 1 fair, needs work
Cello 3 so-so in timbre, texture, attack, playability
Bass 2 so-so in texture, vibrato, attack

The violin family voices need a lot of work.


'SaxyTrump' B03 1 fair
'Viowind' F06 1 so so
Flugel & Alto Sax F10 1 good, works well
'Yamasteel' G16 1 fair
Keyboard Splits:
Trumpet & Sax B10 1 sax is fine, trumpet poor
Cello & Recorder H10 1 good

From the above tables you can get an idea of the considerable spread of the VL1 voices. The great most of them are quite usable, albeit with editing to taste in some cases (e.g. tempering the breath noise or reducing the reverb wet/dry balance).