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Yes, I should qualify that I've tweaked the eq-ing, controls and leslie speeds to my taste. And I am mostly mixing in with the band with occasional organ solos. The Kronos does have better controls. The Montage drawbars work backwards and they are 8. It's kind of a mind-** at first but I got used to it.

I do occasionally bring my leslie/kronos combo to bigger gigs, and neither keyboard alone even comes close to that.

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zephonic #2949347 09/20/18 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted By: zephonic
Originally Posted By: Aidan
My MODX8 should arrive tomorrow. Will update you all then.


Wow, so soon? Out here you can preorder them, but Sweetwater says deliveries start on the 27th.


Yup, had the UPS track come through this afternoon.


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Originally Posted By: Dreamchilde

That sounded much better than I expected. The overdrive was a bit cottony, but that might be quibbling. And Kamil has some skills, I liked those opening changes.


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The YC and Montage are a step up for Yamaha with regard to the organ patches. With the Motif and derived models like the S90xx they really needed the attention of someone sensitive to the instrument and what players expect to step in, like Ksounds for example. BTW they have done programming for the Montage as well: https://ksounds.com/product/organimation-tonewheel-organ-sounds-yamaha-montage/



But generally speaking the Montage’s samples and fx (the Leslie simulation in particular) are more capable. The best Yamaha has to offer in this regard is on the Genos.






But for a “performance synth”/workstation do it all type board this is an improvement. No, it’s still not a dedicated clone wheel replacement. And the MODX is lacking the faders organ players would want. But for presets. Not too shabby.

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Aidan #2949369 09/20/18 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted By: Aidan
My MODX8 should arrive tomorrow. Will update you all then.


Ordered mine today!!!! MODX-8. Not sure on the delivery date yet....


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KeyMoe #2949372 09/20/18 10:10 PM
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Just ordered my MODX7 today.


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I concur, the organs sound good - although they are solo organ jamming all by them self.

For me there's also organ tones that sound good in a mix. Like a few examples Bob Seger-ish, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd..etc. Sweeten/complimenting the sound in a non offensive way. Swirling the room. No-one really knows why it sounds so good - can't put you finger on it.

I would also like demos in a band context - not jamming one person - that will always sound good.

BTW the CFX sounds really good in a mix. Cheers.

echo66 #2949419 09/21/18 11:39 AM
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Am looking for a lightweight 88 key instrument - the inevitable question:for organs, MODX or SP6?

ap297 #2949420 09/21/18 11:48 AM
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Or for the 76k synth actions fellows - is Artis7 still the better do it all for the money? But it’s not as FM synthy if that’s what you’re hot for.


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ElmerJFudd #2949462 09/21/18 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted By: GovernorSilver
Originally Posted By: echo66
For organs I use modified ksounds organimation samples in my Montage which I find nicer than the stock organs. It's no clonewheel but sounds as good or better than my Kronos for organs.

Interesting that Organimation might actually sound better than the CX3 modeling engine.

Well, at least one person thinks so, but you can probably find one person who thinks a lot of things. ;-) Though even the MODX sounds in that Kamil Baranski video sound better to me than the stock MOXF, so if echo's tweaked organimation is even better, that sounds like it's got potential. Though there are still some inherent limitations to any rompler implementation, in terms of things like phase cancellations and polyphony.

One limitation in the past, even from a rompler perspective, is that a Yamaha sound could have a max of 8 elements, and you need more than that for independent control of 9 drawbars, key click, leakage (though leakage can also be built into drawbar samples). But someone mentioned how single sounds (i.e. CFX piano) can go beyond 8 elements by employing multiple Performance slots for a single sound. I don't know if that could provide a way around the 8 element limitation for organ, in the context of also having to feed all the elements through the same rotary effect, and most (but not percussion) through the same CV.

Originally Posted By: echo66
Yes, I should qualify that I've tweaked the eq-ing, controls and leslie speeds to my taste.

Have you tried comparable tweaking with your Kronos?

Originally Posted By: echo66
I do occasionally bring my leslie/kronos combo to bigger gigs, and neither keyboard alone even comes close to that.

Maybe you should try Kronos (or Montage) with organ-->assignable out-->Vent...?

Originally Posted By: ap297
Am looking for a lightweight 88 key instrument - the inevitable question:for organs, MODX or SP6?

My inclination for that would be SP6, based on the tech alone. The MODX doesn't have anything really like the SP6 organ emulation engine, but rather some clever workarounds and compromises. But obviously some are getting good results regardless. And as I mentioned, I loved the organ sound in my old S30. And sometimes "one sound" is all you need. I'm really curious to try the Montage organs for myself. I don't have the SP6, but I think the organ in the Artis7 is pretty nice, even if not top tier clonewheel quality.

Originally Posted By: ElmerJFudd
Or for the 76k synth actions fellows - is Artis7 still the better do it all for the money?

I think this does put the squeeze on the Artis7. The Kurz still has the advantages of a true clonewheel engine with 9-drawbar control (including going the right direction), and a real VA engine, and I'll be curious to see how the actions compare, particularly if you must also play piano from the board. I also want to compare the general operational ergonomics for on-the-fly control of splits/layers, MIDI functionality, controller definitions, etc. But the MODX has an awful lot over the Kurz... wave size, display, FM synth, custom sample loading, etc.


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I was just watching the Ksounds Oganismo patches for Montage. They’ve made use of the infamous “knob” as an organ registration switcher/morpher. Interesting idea for working out settings you use in the same patch and song and morphing quickly or slowly between them. Particularly on the MODX where you’re relegated to 4 faders. Should be possible for Ksounds to bring it over fairly easily.

I hope Kurzweil considers updating the Artis7 with some Forte flavor.


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ap297 #2949485 09/21/18 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted By: ap297
Am looking for a lightweight 88 key instrument - the inevitable question:for organs, MODX or SP6?


It's an apples to oranges comparison. The SP6 is mainly a digital piano with some additional sounds, and limited editing (at least on board the instrument). The Yamaha is a full blown rompler + synth with very deep editing available on board. Personally, I don't think either of them are that good, organ-wise. The MODX appears to be a slight improvement on its predecessors but Yamaha organ emulations have always been a bit meh. However, I've never been that convinced by the Kurzweil's much-vaunted KB3 engine.

For my own part, I have a cunning plan to use Mainstage with the MODX so I can use Acoustic Samples B5 for my organ needs.


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Cool thanks. Some great ideas to try out and will check it out. Some potential here, thanks. Cheers.

Aidan #2949558 09/22/18 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted By: Aidan
Originally Posted By: ap297
Am looking for a lightweight 88 key instrument - the inevitable question:for organs, MODX or SP6?


It's an apples to oranges comparison. The SP6 is mainly a digital piano with some additional sounds, and limited editing (at least on board the instrument). The Yamaha is a full blown rompler + synth with very deep editing available on board. Personally, I don't think either of them are that good, organ-wise. The MODX appears to be a slight improvement on its predecessors but Yamaha organ emulations have always been a bit meh. However, I've never been that convinced by the Kurzweil's much-vaunted KB3 engine.

For my own part, I have a cunning plan to use Mainstage with the MODX so I can use Acoustic Samples B5 for my organ needs.


Do your gigs work better with B5 presets or do you like having all drawbars live? The 4 on the MODX is a little yesteryear. I mean you can get 8 faders and much more on a controller if you’re bringing a MacBook and MainStage anyway.


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ElmerJFudd #2949560 09/22/18 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted By: ElmerJFudd
Originally Posted By: Aidan
For my own part, I have a cunning plan to use Mainstage with the MODX so I can use Acoustic Samples B5 for my organ needs.


Do your gigs work better with B5 presets or do you like having all drawbars live? The 4 on the MODX is a little yesteryear. I mean you can get 8 faders and much more on a controller if you’re bringing a MacBook and MainStage anyway.

The 4 MODX faders are switchable (1-4, 5-8)... if they can send different MIDI values accordingly, that could help. But sure, if you're using Mainstage, might as well use a 9-slider USB control surface. It's nice that the MODX has some panel space to use for things like that.


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Originally Posted By: ElmerJFudd
I was just watching the Ksounds Oganismo patches for Montage. They’ve made use of the infamous “knob” as an organ registration switcher/morpher. Interesting idea for working out settings you use in the same patch and song and morphing quickly or slowly between them. Particularly on the MODX where you’re relegated to 4 faders. Should be possible for Ksounds to bring it over fairly easily.

I hope Kurzweil considers updating the Artis7 with some Forte flavor.


You have also 8 scenes for setting up different drawbar settings..
Sadly 4 drawbars doesnt get you far.. even the 8 on the montage is one short..

The big disadvantage of Kurzweil has allways been their interface...
Espescially when you compare it to montage/modx, which excells in this area opening it up for your creativity..

but when you finally get into it, VAST is a beast.. a timeconsuming beast tough..

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If the need is a pure clone - MODX is obviously not the optimal selection. a clone won’t / can’t do the other 1000 things MODX can do. Have to either connect to a limitless bank aka MS or pick your poison. I don’t do a lot of B3, just a little. 95% of time i can go with a single setting for the draw bars. I’ve managed with XF and MOXF, all reports are Montage/MODX are a bit better so for my need it will be a useful slight upgrade.

Can also assign superknob to the element volumes (sliders) but a single twist moves each of them according to pre-programmed amount - that again doesn’t work for limitless bar by bar on the fly adjusting, but makes a simple approach if a song really just needs to transition from one type of setting to another. Each bar doesn’t have to move the same amount, each will move (or not move) according to programmed change range. The advantage if that does work in a situation, is yo can move multiple bars with one control.


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Originally Posted By: KorgyPorky
The big disadvantage of Kurzweil has allways been their interface...
Espescially when you compare it to montage/modx, which excells in this area opening it up for your creativity..

but when you finally get into it, VAST is a beast.. a timeconsuming beast tough..

OTOH, basics like patch selection, combining sounds for splits/layers, etc., really isn't bad on any of it. It's the advanced functions where things can get rough, but most people don't do those things anyway. Though I guess you could say, if those things were simpler, maybe more people would do them. ;-) The SP6 being talked about looks pretty straight-forward... but in that case, they took a lot of the advanced functions out anyway.


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Been doing a little bit of Googling for integrating a Seaboard to get around lack of aftertouch. I presume if this guy got his Seaboard working with his Montage, it should be possible on the MODX.

https://www.yamahasynth.com/ask-a-question/mpe-specification-release-and-montage

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I have a about 5 presets perf's on the Montage but mostly I use the 5th slider to control the 5/6 drawbars, or the 8th slider controlling 8/9 drawbars. Assignable switch 1 for vib/chorus. All default to 808000000 when 1st selected. Scenes for percussion.

For the MODX I will likely use the same setup, substituting 1st first 4 sliders to the assignable dials. No lights on the dials and sliders will be big adjustment.

Not ideal but a workable compromise for me.

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A few initial thoughts:

* It's really light – although the added depth means it's in some ways maybe a little more awkward to handle than my CP4. But absolutely no complaints about the weight. The construction is plastic, of course, but it doesn't feel or look overly cheap. With a bit of care, I wouldn't have any worries about the unit's long-term durability.

* The keybed is pretty good. Don't get all excited on me, it's a long stretch from a CP4. But it's a lot better than the MOXF8, my last encounter with a comparable instrument in the Yamaha range. The MOXF's keybed felt light and had an odd half-escapement feel to it. The MODX is smooth and more pianistic, maybe a bit sluggish if we're being picky. But remember the price and weight for this amount of synthesiser, and it's perfectly acceptable. Expressive piano playing is no problem.

* I was pleasantly surprised by the touchscreen. For a capacitive specimen, it's very responsive and so far I've not had to have a 'second stab' at anything on the screen.

* The rest of the hardware on the board is perfectly OK for the budget. Knobs are tight, scroll wheel solid etc.

* I wish Yamaha would have screen printed the connection points on the top panel, particularly as all the rear sockets are underneath a kind of 'lip' in the case. Makes wiring it up a bit of a pain. But can't complain about the connectivity – lots of options.

* Yes, the PSU is external and it's not the best quality by any stretch. It's a wall wart rather than a mid-cable lump. I seem to remember that when I had the CP33, I was able to buy a rather better quality spare Yamaha PSU which was a power brick type. I'm going to investigate whether something similar is available for the MODX and use that as my main PSU, if so.

* Boot-up time is less than 20 secs. No need to consider a UPS, a la Kronos.

* The user interface is typical Yamaha. At some point, you will need to read the manual, and probably sooner than later. As an example, I was constantly hitting the 'edit' button while browsing the sounds in 'category search' (a feature which, to be fair, is much improved by the touch interface) but nothing happened. I subsequently found out that you need to 'enter' a sound (which brings up a display of its parts) and only THEN can you hit edit. Similarly, it took me quite some time to figure out how you edit the reverb type. It's actually on a tab once you're IN that edit mode. Once you know where it is, no problem – but it's far from intuitive.

* The CFX piano is fine but needs playing quite firmly to bring out that characteristic Yamaha brightness in its character. I found that changing the velocity curve (another big interface search!) to 'wide' was best for me. I haven't downloaded the free Bosendorfer yet but plan to do so.

* EPs are great, and the Scenes feature and AF buttons are used to logical and good effect, as is the mod wheel for tremelo etc. Very good variety of Rhodes (although the Dyno models need pulling right back, for my tastes) and the Wurlis are much better than the CP4, I'd say. As you'd expect, Yamaha push the FM pianos big time in the category search but at least you've got plenty of options.

* Hammonds are serviceable for comping and the odd emergency solo – a definite improvement on the Motif/MOXF sounds for sure. If you're going to concentrate a lot on these sounds, though, you're still gonna want a clonewheel on top. The user interface means you're realistically going to be sticking to the presets, though I did like the way the Super Knob is used in many patches to gradually 'open up' the top drawbars. That at least is a common way many of us work settings in the heat of battle and it's helpful to have it available using a single control.

* FM sounds are everywhere you look. I was never a big fan but there is lots of useable stuff, and much of it belies the reputation FM had for being brittle and thin. For example, there's a monster thick bass sound in there which would sit perfectly in Stevie Wonder's Boogie On Reggae Woman.

* Acoustic/orchestral sounds are very good, as always. The newer samples raise an already high bar. And it was great to have all my favourite sounds from the Motif days right there as well. Basically, whatever your sonic needs, you're going to find a solution here. It may not always be 'best in class' but this is a true Swiss army knife instrument. Also, the built-in audio interface (and independent volume control for it) makes this an ideal foundation for a laptop rig, so anything you want to get picky about, sonically speaking, can always be 'upgraded' with software instruments. On the 8, there's even a handy place to put your laptop!

* Having the 'add rhythm' button is handy but the drum track itself is far too loud on every occasion. This was the case on Kronos as well – why do manufacturers do this? Of course, they can be adjusted (although again, it took me a few minutes to work out exactly how!) but why not balance them properly before you send the box out of the factory, guys? Not sure I will use them anyway, having said that.

* Lots of whizz-bang style patches using the Super Knob. Fun but of limited use, at least for those of us of a certain age. But the Super Knob itself does open up lots of more subtle and practical possibilities.

That's it for now. I hope some of this is helpful to people considering the MODX. If anyone has specific questions not covered here, I'll do my best to respond.


Yamaha CP4 | Yamaha MODX 8 | Moog Sub 37 | Plug-ins agogo
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Aidan thanks for the great info. Does it have the full Motif XF sound set?

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Aidan thanks for the great review thu thu - am even more excited now.

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Originally Posted By: KeyMoe
Aidan thanks for the great info. Does it have the full Motif XF sound set?


As far as I can tell, yes. I looked for a few old favourites from when I had a MOXF6 and they were all present and correct.


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great review Aidan and congrats on your new synth!


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Yes, nice review Aidan.

FWIW, this month's Sound On Sound mentions that the MODX8 has a "THS" action. Typo for GHS? Who can tell...

Another recent Yamaha hammer board, the P125, had a superior-to-MOXF8 action in my opinion when I tested it recently. I wonder if they've simply improved the GHS and kept the name?

Cheers, Mike.


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The specs on the Yamaha website say GHS - so it's probably an improved version under the same name.

Aidan #2949635 09/23/18 10:55 AM
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First rate report, Aidan, thanks!

Originally Posted By: Aidan
* It's really light – although the added depth means it's in some ways maybe a little more awkward to handle than my CP4

Compared to a MOXF8, though, besides shedding some pounds, it looks like the less curved top edge may make it easier to get a grip on when carrying the short way.

Originally Posted By: Aidan
* The keybed is pretty good. Don't get all excited on me, it's a long stretch from a CP4. But it's a lot better than the MOXF8, my last encounter with a comparable instrument in the Yamaha range. The MOXF's keybed felt light and had an odd half-escapement feel to it. The MODX is smooth and more pianistic, maybe a bit sluggish if we're being picky. But remember the price and weight for this amount of synthesiser, and it's perfectly acceptable. Expressive piano playing is no problem.

This isn't the first time we've heard someone find that a given GHS board can feel better than some other GHS board. It would be interesting to know if there are actually physical differences in the design that have been made over the years, or if the difference in feel is due to other things (i.e. the chassis it is mounted to, or the way it is mounted, or the way the velocity response is programmed, whatever). I guess it's academic... if it feels better, it feels better, regardless of the reason. Since you find this to feel better than the MOXF, though, I'm curious as how you'd compare it to your PX5S.

Originally Posted By: Aidan
* I wish Yamaha would have screen printed the connection points on the top panel

Sounds like time to pull out the label maker.

Originally Posted By: Aidan
* Yes, the PSU is external and it's not the best quality by any stretch. It's a wall wart rather than a mid-cable lump.

Probably the same PSU they've been using for a while on the MOXF/MX and other boards? That's someplace they still lag Roland, Korg, and Casio. Lump in the middle is much better. Also the connection wire from the adapter to the computer seems particularly prone to getting kinked. The good news is I've never actually have one fail, but looking at that thin twisty wire wrapped around the plug, I keep expecting it to.

Originally Posted By: Aidan
* Boot-up time is less than 20 secs. No need to consider a UPS, a la Kronos.

And so much lighter! I think the Kronos bits I'd miss most are the aftertouch and clonewheel engine, maybe some of the VA. Making me think again that the Nord Stage 3 Compact and MODX8 might be about the perfect lightweight pair. The two combined still actually weigh a bit less than a Kronos 88!

Originally Posted By: Aidan
* The CFX piano is fine but needs playing quite firmly to bring out that characteristic Yamaha brightness in its character. I found that changing the velocity curve (another big interface search!) to 'wide' was best for me. I haven't downloaded the free Bosendorfer yet but plan to do so.

Yamaha had some nice freely downloadable pianos for the MOXF (to be loaded into the optional flash card)... do you happen to know, are those already in the MODX? (If not you should be able to load those in as well.) They included the S700 (S90ES) and CP1 pianos. I'd always meant to try those, but never got around to it.

Originally Posted By: Aidan
Wurlis are much better than the CP4, I'd say.

I never played the Wurli on a CP4, but it's interesting that these could be better, as this is still a strictly sampled EP, whereas they do some modeling (SCM) on the EPs on the CP4.

Originally Posted By: Aidan
* Hammonds are serviceable for comping and the odd emergency solo – a definite improvement on the Motif/MOXF sounds for sure.

Nice to hear some more confirmation of that as well. I've used even the MOX organs pretty often (lots of gigs where my rig was a MOX6/MOXF6 over a Casio 88), and would definitely welcome an improvement there! (Still hoping for an organ patch I like as much as the Tube Organ on the old S30/S80.) As for the MODX8 in particular, I guess you could make the case that, if you're playing a weighted 88, the utmost in organ sound may not be your priority anyway. ;-)

Originally Posted By: Aidan
* FM sounds are everywhere you look. I was never a big fan but there is lots of useable stuff, and much of it belies the reputation FM had for being brittle and thin.

I always liked the DX7, and loading in those sounds is some of what I've used the Kronos for. Hated that ever-present EP, but there were so many sounds I liked, and used extensively on original stuff at the time, there was a natural "playability" to them. I've never played a Montage and am curious to play with FMX.

Originally Posted By: Aidan
it was great to have all my favourite sounds from the Motif days right there as well.

With 5+ GB, I wonder if they may have restored the entire Motif legacy. One of the minor frustrations of the transitions from Motif to Motif ES and Motif ES-to-XS is that you'd always lose some sounds in the process. Much of the earlier stuff would be there, and what was removed was presumably replaced with something "better," but sometimes you just wanted that old sound you used to have, and while many were there, some were not. With wave space no longer at a premium, there's plenty of room to have the full sample set from all of those instruments. It would be nice if Yamaha offered a pack that restored all the "missing" Motif and Motif ES (and even earlier S30/S80) voices that never made it to the XS. (From XS on, each model has included all the Voices from the previous.)

Originally Posted By: Aidan
the built-in audio interface (and independent volume control for it) makes this an ideal foundation for a laptop rig, so anything you want to get picky about, sonically speaking, can always be 'upgraded' with software instruments. On the 8, there's even a handy place to put your laptop!

My earlier thought was that, since the wheels on the left preclude using that side of the board for other devices, I had wished they had pushed the center set of controls to the left in order to maximize the contiguous space on the right, though what was there already looked nicely very usable. But what I noticed in your pic is that there may still be sufficient free space on the left to be useful as well, and if that's the case, then the layout nicely allows you to add some peripheral gear on either side. As you say, your laptop could go on the right, but it looks like the left still might have room for something like a nanokontrol to pair with that laptop, or a Roland Boutique module. Or maybe a small tablet (iPad Mini?) for reading charts. If you have a chance to measure, I'd be curious to know, what is the height of the free space above the keys but below the transpose buttons? And what is the height and width of the free panel space in that section under the volume controls?


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Originally Posted By: stoken6
Another recent Yamaha hammer board, the P125, had a superior-to-MOXF8 action in my opinion when I tested it recently. I wonder if they've simply improved the GHS and kept the name?

Yeah, I wonder about that too, as I mentioned. Another variable is that the keys can feel different when you add the vibrations from the built-in speakers, that's something else that can make them feel more realistic. The only manufacturing difference between GHS that I'm aware of is the glossy black keys of the old ones (i.e. P85) and the matte black finish of later ones, but yeah, I'm curious as to whether they have made other changes over the years.


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Scott, trying to answer some of the points you raised…

I’m pretty sure the GHS action is at least a modified and improved version of the one in the MOXF8 (which had a bizarre ‘clickiness’ to it, almost like a badly-simulated escapement) but could equally be brand new and just branded the same as its predecessor. On balance, I would still take the PX-5S keybed – the keys feel slightly more natural on the downstroke, as if they have some inertia of their own, if that makes sense. But the MODX isn’t an awful keybed. It’s perfectly useable.

Regarding the other pianos, there is a performance called ‘S700 for Montage’ and it sounds to me exactly like the one in the ‘Inspiration in a Flash’ download for MOXFs. However, I don’t think much more of that set is in the MODX, sadly. I seem to recall some additional Mellotron sounds, for example, which I haven’t found.

As regards the Wurli, maybe it’s because the modelling is a bit out. But for me, the ‘burr’ element in the Wurli timbre is over-exaggerated on the CP4 and sounds slightly artificial, no matter the adjustments.

As far as the left hand space is concerned, I’ll run the tape measure over it when I get chance and let you know. Off the top of my head, I would certainly think there would be room to accommodate, say, a Korg Nanokontrol. A boutique synth? Not so sure.


Yamaha CP4 | Yamaha MODX 8 | Moog Sub 37 | Plug-ins agogo
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