Yamaha Tenori-on Orange Gets More Affordable

A couple years ago, Yamaha turned heads with its Tenori-on, a new type of electronic musical device intending to provide a new type of interface to interacting with electronic instruments…and anything else those instruments can control, including things like computers and lights. The Tenori-on has proven a hit with musicians and performance artists who favor the device’s unique interface…however, it’s high price tag hasn’t made it many friends in the consumer marketplace. To that end, Yamaha has just announced the Tenori-on Orange (or TNR-O), eliminating back panel LEDs and replacing the expensive magnesium case with more-affordable plastic.

Yamaha Tenori-on Orange

Unlike may electronic instruments, which usually attempt to emulate a traditional instrument like a keyboard or, say, a wind instrument, the Tenori-on features a matrix of 256 LED buttons that light up when a user presses them, enabling users to literally “draw” sounds they want the device to make in an interactive manner. The device features its own voice manager, and can also be used as a gateway device to other electronic instruments like sample libraries, synthesizers, and computers. The Tenori-on has caught on with many live performers and DJs, and it’s not unusual to see Tenori-ons at high-profile shows.

The Tenori-on Orange doesn’t detract from the device’s capabilities, but aims to make the device more affordable in three primary ways: it eliminates a back panel set of 256 LEDs that were there mostly for show (so people watching a Tenori-on performer could have something to see), changes the chassis from magnesium to plastic, and removes the capability for the Tenori-on to run on batteries: Tenori-on Orange users will be sipping power over a cable. And the Tenori-on Orange features orange LEDs…so hip observers will immediately know whether someone opted for the cheap version.

The original Tenori-on retails for about $1,000. How much cheaper with the Tenori-on Orange be? Yamaha isn’t saying yet, allowing only that the device will be on sale in Europe in December and final pricing will be announced later this month. Yamaha is also promising a completely revamped operating system for the Tenori-on devices in early 2010.