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Yamaha RM50 Rhythm Sound Module

more drum and percussion sounds in a 1U rack module than you will likely ever need

Yamaha RM50 front

Yamaha RM50 Features and specifications:
  • Yamaha AWM2 Synthesis System:
    16bit 48KHz waveforms, same AWM2 chip and 22-bit D/A converters as the SY99
  • 16-part multitimbral, polyphony: 16 notes
  • 3 MByte PCM ROM containing 133 waveforms
  • 1128 programs: 500 preset, 500 partially-editable variations, 128 user (13 banks in total)
  • rythm kits: 64 preset + 64 user (2 banks)
  • 3 waveform card slots (takes RY30, SY55 and SY77 cards)
  • 1 data card slot for Yamaha MCD32 or MCD64 memory cards, with 1 or 2 sets of 500 partially-editable variations, 128 user programs (7 banks in total) and 64 user rythm kits
  • optional internal 512KB RAM memory expansion board (for up to 64 user waveforms)
  • resonance capable 12/24db HP/LP filters
  • 1U rack size, 480x347x44mm (WxDxH), 5 kg weight
  • LCD display: 2 lines x 24 characters with backlight
  • power: AC 220-240V (120V US), 14W, internal 3V lithium backup battery (CR2450)
  • 1/4" jack L/MONO+R outputs + 6 individual audio outputs, 1/4" stereo headphone jack
  • MIDI In+Out+Thru, 6 analog trigger inputs (with A/D to MIDI converters)
  • release year: 1992 (manufactured from 1992 to 1995)

Yamaha RM50 Firmware revisions:
There are two known firmware revisions: 1.05 ('92-06-06) and 1.06 ('92-07-08).
To check your firmware revision proceed as follows:
- Power off RM50
- Press and hold PLAY + MACRO + SOUND while pressing the Power On button
- You will see the firmware revision details displayed for about one second
See also this forum thread:

Downloads for the Yamaha RM50:

Yamaha RM50 Voice Editor/Manager:
I have written a voice editor and manager for the RM50, it's written in Perl and runs on Linux and Windows.

There is a dedicated website for the RM50 Manager at:

Rosegarden Sequencer device definition file
Rosegarden device definition file for the Yamaha RM50: Yamaha-RM50.rgd
(file size: 11555 bytes, file md5sum: b812def813b72e3b32f1eecb7eea4aed)

Once you have installed Rosegarden, place the downloaded 'rgd' file into the following directory:
To use it, open the 'Studio|Manage Midi Devices' window and import the file for the appropiate Midi play device. If necessary, read the Rosegarden manual for more information about how to do this.

More RM50 related downloads available here:
Yamaha Forums UK -> Downloads -> RM50

Related links:
- Yamaha America - RM50 Product Page
- RM50 Owner Manual: Pt.1 | Pt.2 | Pt.3 (pdf)
- Comprehensive user review of the RM50
- 'Sonic State' Yamaha RM50 Page
- Sector101: SYEMB06 512KB internal memory expansion board for the RM50
- Index of 'Sound On Sound' magazine Feb. 1993 issue with RM50 review
- Yamaha RM50 review in 'Keyboards' magazine Sep. 1992 (German)
- Yamaha RM50 demo songs on YouTube

[first published: 16-Apr-2009 - last update: 07-Mar-2019 - art-synth_yamaha_rm50]