Yamaha Design “Synapses” DD-45


Circular, compact digital percussion with playability and a realistic sound.


An important aspect of the design of the instrument is that the player can really get involved in playing. The design means that the instrument can be fixed to a snare stand, where players can treat it like a musical instrument—as opposed to a toy that is placed on a table or on the floor.


Sound holes in the panel in an elegant, flowing sound wave pattern, and variations in head heights, which ensure superb playability. A concise design made up of mostly circular elements.


High-end digital drum image and quality feel, realized in a compact, circular shape. The layout of the panels is akin to that of drums; it feels like you are playing the real thing.


The arrangement of the circles—a shape symbolizing percussion instruments—is simplicity itself, and makes you want to hold the instrument and play it with your bare hands. The location of the control panel makes it easy to use.

Thomas Coulbeaut
Thomas Coulbeaut
Yamaha Design Laboratory

Yamaha products should be elegant.

The DD is the digital percussion instrument of choice for many. When asked to design a new DD, my first thought was to create a design that of a musical instrument, not a toy. I wanted the new DD to be more like an authentic drum – something that could bridge the gap for game players and younger users, and those who aspired to play the drums. For the layout, I decided on a circular motif, the iconic shape of a percussion instrument and one that could be fixed to a snare drum stand. This innovative design follows the same layout as a drum pad, with such features as an adjustable pad height for easier playing, so that they can be played in the same way as a normal drum. The speakers are housed in the front panel and feature extremely fine sound holes for the projection of sound.
Normally, sound holes are only necessary in the areas of the speaker from which sound emerges, but in this design the front panel itself is a metaphor for the drum head, so we arrayed sound holes across the entire surface to give an integrated appearance. Moreover, rather than a basic grid design, we arranged the holes attractively in a pattern akin to ripples spreading across a surface. In the initial design stages, the holes were bigger and the pattern itself simpler, but after trying a number of different arrangements we decided on a more refined, elegant pattern. From a manufacturing point of view, it would have been easier to adapt a simple grid of sound holes, but I was looking for something more complex, more beautiful. The DD is neither a toy nor a piece of audio equipment - it is a musical; instrument. Moreover, as a Yamaha product, I felt it had to be elegant.

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