Yamaha Tenori-On review

Donald Bell offers his review of the Yamaha Tenori-On electronic music instrument.

Photo of Roland TB-303 bassline synthesizer next to Yamaha Tenori-On music sequencer.
Old school vs. new school. I just couldn't help wondering what the Tenori-On would sound like with my old TB-303 bass-line synth. Yes, this is my idea of a fun weekend. Donald Bell/CNET Networks

For all you electronic music fans and lovers of all things blinky, my review of the Yamaha Tenori-On music sequencer is ready for your consideration. The final ruling in a nutshell: the Tenori-On is an awesome tool for performing electronic musicians, but too pricey for nonmusicians and too limited for studio music production.

What a long, strange tease its been since we first caught wind of the mythical Tenori-On music sequencer back in 2005. Now, here we are at the end: you've seen the photo gallery, the unboxing video, my interview with Yu Nishibori, the requisite comparison to the Monome, and finally, the full review.

As a farewell gift to the Tenori-On, I paired it up with the only other device in my life that equals it in blinky, metallic awesomeness: my vintage (slightly modified) Roland TB-303 Bass Line synth. Syncing the two gadgets wasn't easy, considering the TB-303 predates MIDI, and the Tenori-On does a horrible job driving MIDI clock. Still, I was able to capture a decent 30-second video of the two devices working in unison. For those of you who have no idea what you're looking at, the Tenori-On (right) is handling all the percussion sounds while the TB-303 (left) is spitting out a bass line like it's a 1994 warehouse rave.


About the author

Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.


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