Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

Yamaha CX5M Music Computer MSX

Yamaha CX5M Music Computer MSX

Speed3.5795 MHz
Memory32 KB

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Yamaha

MSX

Release Date: 1/1/1984
Manufacturer: Yamaha
 
Donated By: Jim Hassett
 
Microsoft rarely fails (after 6 or 7 retries anyway) but it lost big when betting on the MSX standard. The ‘Japanese Are Coming’ machines failed to make a big impact in North America but they did provide some useful software. This Yamaha model was specifically designed for musicians and included a built in MIDI port (MIDI is Musical Instrument Digital Interface) . Running a Zilog Z80 processor at 3.58 MHz, the 32 KB of RAM was not enough to run some of the more demanding applications, but you could connect a floppy drive and some very interesting effects could be achieved with the optional magnetic card reader.

User Comments
George Guerrette on Monday, November 11, 2013
My first computer! As a traditional instrumentalist, this was purchased for me by my mother around 1985…it sat in its box under my bed for almost two years. I was intimidated by this alien technology AND held back by the stigma of "computers replacing people" -- which, in fact, has come to be in certain areas of the music industry. Always intrigued by the potential, however, I finally cracked it open and DOWN the rabbit hole I went! I loved it and studied all I could about MIDI, synth editing and sequencing (not to mention studio recording techniques). About four years later I replaced the CX5M with an Atari Mega 2. In 1995 I bought my first Mac (a Powerbook 520) and have purchased four more Macs since. One of the Macs I owned was a "Sawtooth" G4 Powermac -- which I called "Frankenmac". I upgraded every possible component on that thing! single 450MHz --> dual 1.3GHz CPU ATI Rage 128 --> ATI Radion 9000 GPU 128MB --> 2GB RAM 20GB drive --> 360GB striped RAID internal storage CD-ROM --> DVDRW I was very proud of that machine and it holds a special place in my heart :)
Charles on Monday, December 20, 2010
Ah yes, the Yamaha. I composed very actively on this machine from 1988 to 1994 (three tapes of original compositions recorded - through MIDI interface - onto cassette tapes). Some enterprising third-party people produced various musical effect sounds, and you could compose up to 8 tracks at a time. I dismantled the machine in 1994 and have not tried to run it since, but I have all the parts in their original boxes. It was a real boon for people who wanted to compose but could not really play an instrument very well - you could enter note-by-note and easily delete when things went wrong. It's real failing was the printer interface - it could not print a usable score most of the time. You can hear some of the Yamaha's work on the UTS Twig Tape website utunes.utschools.ca - UTS had a music studio with a Yamaha from 1986 until the early 1990s at least.
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