Released in 1997, Yamaha’s AN1x was an excellent retro-inspired virtual analogue synth that gained itself a loyal following. Now, 25 years on, there’s just the sniff of a chance that it might be coming back.
An application made by Yamaha indicates that it wants to trademark the AN-X name, suggesting that it might have plans to use it in a future product. Of course, this could be anything, but there’s inevitably going to be speculation that a new AN1x-inspired hardware synth could be in the offing.
When you consider Yamaha’s recent history, this seems unlikely. Dreams that the launch of 2015’s compact Reface range would herald a new era of synth design from the company that brought us the classic CS-80 have so far not been realised, with Yamaha preferring to focus its energies on beginner keyboards, stage pianos and workstations.
In 2019, it was rumoured that Yamaha could be planning a new version of the CS-80 but we’ve heard nothing since.
The trademark application does indicate that Yamaha wants to take ownership of the AN-X brand in relation to “electronic musical keyboards, electronic pianos and music synthesizers,” though, so there is hope.
The AN-1X offered two oscillators, a filter, effects and a fancy arpeggiator, and gave you 10 notes of polyphony to play with. It was only manufactured for a couple of years, so there aren’t too many about - expect to pay in excess of $500 on the secondhand market.