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Got to play a Montage and ......


Bif_

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I was not impressed.

 

It was set up in a GC. Had good amplification, a stool and sustain pedal.

 

Spent about 20 minutes with it. Yes, it sounds better than the Motif series. The new AP's are good. Many of the sounds were somewhat better.

 

I can't stand that pulsing super knob. Yuck. What an irritation. I can't believe they still bake in vibrato into all the orchestral stuff. It's just not good. My Kurz PC3 smokes the orchestral stuff on the Montage.

 

Patch sustain does NOT work if you turn the program dial to move through the programs. It does work if you select sounds from the category search screen.

 

Contrary to comments in another thread (love/hate sequencers?) saying sequencers aren't useful in performance keyboards, I think it's a miss to leave it off.

 

I have a question regarding Yamaha's design choice. Since they intend this to be a performance instrument, not a workstation, why bother putting all the drum kits in this keyboard? Seems to be a waste of wave ROM.

 

I think the Montage is a fine instrument but does not live up to my expectations considering the lengthy development time. It seems to be focused on a tighter niche stylistically. The super knob is too clever for itself, certainly the pulsating light is pure hype and places style over substance.

 

Sorry Yamaha. For me, this is a miss. And certainly so at the price point. I'd pick the Korg Kronos over the Montage any day of the week.

 

My 2 cents.

Kurzweil Forte, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
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WOW, I found the opposite. No way can the PC3 match the changes in ensemble and solo strings sound of the Montage. Dynamically, live it was amazing.

YES it's too expensive but I would put it in it's own league over the PC3 (which I do love very much).

The Korg Kronos is very good but the Montage pianos are better (to me). I would even take the PC3 pianos over the Kronos at times. It depends - but I am talking acoustic pianos.

There were some breathtaking sounds in the Montage and the entire band turned and said "that sounds amazing"!

Korg Kronos, Roland RD-88, Korg Kross, JP8000, MS2000, Sequential Pro One, Micromoog, Yamaha VL1, author of unrealBook for iPad.

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you can turn off the irritating flashing super knob!!!! I think it is a pretty decent upgrade from the motif.
Montage 7, Mojo 61, PC-3, XK-3c Pro, Kronos 88, Hammond SK-1, Motif XF- 7, Hammond SK-2, Roland FR-1, FR-18, Hammond B3 - Blond, Hammond BV -Cherry
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I own two of Yamaha's older workstations, SY99 (FM and AWM) and EX5 (AWM, AN, VL, FDSP) and it's really disappointing how much stuff Yamaha left out of the Montage that they used to have in older synths. I haven't used a Montage yet, but from what I hear, it's not possible to use the AWM samples as modulators to the FM-X operators.

 

It's hard to understand why they would have left it out - other than the fact that the Montage has 8 operators, it seems clear to me that the Kronos has a more powerful FM engine. And Montage also lacks the FS1R's formant engine.

 

I'm happy with my Kurzweil Forte, but if I did want to go for another high-end workstation, I would definitely go for the Kronos over the Montage.

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The FM sounds really great on the Montage and I never really got into the waveform modulation of the SY99. It's funny because, yes, I have an SY99, had a PC361, have a Kronos and the Montage is a different beast. There are absolutely stunning sounds in there and it sounds like a flagship keyboard released now.

I love my Kronos, but it doesn't have sounds like the Montage and I don't believe it can do the dynamic changes that are already built into the Montage without tons of work. The Kronos is an awesome keyboard but the Montage is just different. No other keyboard can touch my VL1 hahahaha.

Korg Kronos, Roland RD-88, Korg Kross, JP8000, MS2000, Sequential Pro One, Micromoog, Yamaha VL1, author of unrealBook for iPad.

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I haven't used a Montage yet, but from what I hear, it's not possible to use the AWM samples as modulators to the FM-X operators.

 

And how often did you use this feature in the SY77/99?

 

One of the advantages the Montage has over the Kronos is the high-quality sound of it's outputs. They spared no expense on the digital to analog conversion and you can hear it. It sounds amazing. And the build quality is better. I always thought the Kronos feels cheap.

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When I demo'd the Montage at my local GC, my take-away impression was that this thing is a monster. I mean, literally a monster size and weight-wise. This board is really deep, width-wise. Fine in a showroom; not cool on a tight stage. At 65 lb plus a hard case, we're talking 80+ lb to load in/out.

 

It's funny how different the term "build-quality" is to us. My Kronos has taken an almost twice weekly round-trip from my upstairs office to some venue for nearly four years. The modern shiny plastic material that reviewers from day-one have labelled as "cheap" still looks new and has never scratched the way that the paint and end-caps on my Motif ES did. The joystick, that was labelled as a "toy", looks new and still functions well. The touch screen is still bright and scratch-free.

 

I looked under the Montage and saw that Yamaha is still using particle board underneath. That's not what I'd call build quality in an instrument released in 2016 that's meant to be portable.

 

The sounds were great. But not so great that it would make a difference in live performance or would compensate for its physical attributes.

 

I'm not trying to disparage anyone's opinions here. Only trying to say that the Montage isn't for everyone and that weight does not equal build quality.

Casio PX-5S, Korg Kronos 61, Omnisphere 2, Ableton Live, LaunchKey 25, 2M cables
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>The sounds were great. But not so great that it would make a difference in live performance or would compensate for its physical attributes.

 

Physical I agree. I don't agree that the dynamic control of sounds (both timbral and solo to ensemble) don't make a large difference live. I found it to be quit liberating and musical.

 

I haven't been keeping up, what do they use underneath the keyboard for weighted keys to keep the weight down now? I do think that particle board is heavy, but that's what I see on keyboards.

 

Didn't you hear those amazing pads and big orchestral sounds and the dynamic FM? When I used the Montage it sounded like it was jumping out of the speakers. Granted I had a fantastic system at Billboard Osaka, but still, this keyboard sounded like a beast! The piano sounds were excellent as well. Much better than my Kronos for live.

Maybe it's just because I have been using Yamaha keyboards for a long time? I recognize how much better the Montage sounds, and the Yamaha sounds are excellent for me live - I am used to them.

Korg Kronos, Roland RD-88, Korg Kross, JP8000, MS2000, Sequential Pro One, Micromoog, Yamaha VL1, author of unrealBook for iPad.

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Bummer because you have good taste in gear.

 

I played the 8. Overall I liked it there are some things I would have implemented differently. If I were to get one it would have been a 6 or 7.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Contrary to comments in another thread (love/hate sequencers?) saying sequencers aren't useful in performance keyboards, I think it's a miss to leave it off.

 

The Montage has a 16-track sequencer, albeit a very simple one. Think of it more as a MIDI "performance recorder".

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>The sounds were great. But not so great that it would make a difference in live performance or would compensate for its physical attributes.

 

Physical I agree. I don't agree that the dynamic control of sounds (both timbral and solo to ensemble) don't make a large difference live. I found it to be quit liberating and musical.

 

I haven't been keeping up, what do they use underneath the keyboard for weighted keys to keep the weight down now? I do think that particle board is heavy, but that's what I see on keyboards.

 

Didn't you hear those amazing pads and big orchestral sounds and the dynamic FM? When I used the Montage it sounded like it was jumping out of the speakers. Granted I had a fantastic system at Billboard Osaka, but still, this keyboard sounded like a beast! The piano sounds were excellent as well. Much better than my Kronos for live.

Maybe it's just because I have been using Yamaha keyboards for a long time? I recognize how much better the Montage sounds, and the Yamaha sounds are excellent for me live - I am used to them.

The comments I made earlier were based on my first impression. There was nothing special about the sound system they had it connected to and the listening environment was a typical noisy GC. This may not have been a fair eval of the Montage, but I didn't have the same experience that you described.

 

We all have different needs in our gear. For me, the size and weight of the Montage is a deal killer.

Casio PX-5S, Korg Kronos 61, Omnisphere 2, Ableton Live, LaunchKey 25, 2M cables
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Yeah CEB I am a huge Yamaha fan and I still lug around my 6 year old S-90 XS. It still has great sounds for being as long as an air-craft carrier. I opened for the Wailers two years ago and they keyboard player loved the brass sounds as they didn't have the two horn players on tour and he had to cover their parts. I just thought the build quality was a little lacking. Guitar Center may have the the 88 version but I am not sure so I may head over the eventually.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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I checked one out briefly a couple weeks ago. My reaction: "This seems like a very fine rompler... *Yawn*..."

 

Fortunately that's exactly what I wanted it for and it doesn't disappoint.

 

My first impression of the Montage was when I played it on a busy NAMM floor. I was underwhelmed. Seemed like a marginal improvement and the touch screen interface seemed small and confusing.

 

When I bought one and had a moment to play with it I was very happy to find all that was wrong. It's a significant sonic upgrade over the Motif (especially my 9 year old XS), the touch screen layout was actually a great size, the build quality is solid, and the programming of everything is actually quite logical and easy to grasp. I love mine.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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Not everyone wants the same things from a ROMpler or has the same priorities, which is why we have such a variety. For years my ROMPler has been the heart of my setup, designed to cover multiple sounds and be driven by multiple external keyboards. Yamaha has gone another direction with this one. Much like a clonewheel or DP, it is a stand alone product. Not designed to play 16 parts at once. Also, like a good dedicated clonewheel or DP, it sounds better than the ROMplers I have that will play 16 parts and accept MIDI input from several other keyboards.

 

For someone that uses only one keyboard and does not use their ROMpler to play sequences this is not an issue.

This post edited for speling.

My Sweetwater Gear Exchange Page

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I was not impressed.
I played one at our local GC and had a similar impression. I'm not saying it was bad, it just didn't overly impress me. I didn't walk away with the "gee, I'd really like to have one of these" moments.

57 Hammond B3; 69 Hammond L100P; 68 Leslie 122; Kurzweil Forte7 & PC3; M-Audio Code 61; Voce V5+; Neo Vent; EV ELX112P; GSI Gemini & Burn

Delaware Dave

Exit93band

 

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Dave I think Tucktronix and I felt the same way when we played it. I think there has been so many workstations since we started playing or romplers that the bar continues to go up, maybe too high for the manufacturers? I kind of feel that way about Hammond clones. 12 years ago if I heard the Mojo I may have been floored but now it's just another clone that sounds a little better than the previous generation. I think it hit me a few months ago in May when Tom Petro and I did a buss bar lube and replaced the downstop felts on a 1958 B3. Once I played it through a 122 and 122 RV it hit me there is no way a clone could reproduce that experience.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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Yamaha in the years leading up to the Montage was constantly asking users to fill out surveys about what we wanted in a next generation Motif. It's obvious that the feedback led them to believe a performance instrument was preferable to a workstation that focused on DAW features so many of us have become used to doing with Cubase, Logic, Pro Tools, Digital Performer.

 

Also, Yamaha has seen Nord successfully selling performance keyboards with very focused and specific features fundamental to live performance at $4500 with lesser specs: less polyphony, less FX, less internal storage, but excellent piano sounds, a proper clonewheel, a VA synth, and simple sample synth for everything else. Can't blame them for thinking they could fetch $4000 for the Montage.

 

So Yamaha removed the DAW, brought back FM synthesis in a very big 8 operator way, focused on live manipulation of sounds with an extension of what they'd been using the Arps for, tweaked the familiar Motif sound bank system we all know, got into set lists and figured out how to not lose patch sustain when switching patches. Also upped the game with quality DA. I think it's a good first show. There's a lot they can do here simply with firmware updates. Kurzweil has been listening and adapting and updating firmware like wild fire since the Forte hit. Yamaha isn't known for listening as well or reacting as quickly, but one can hope.

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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Also, Yamaha has seen Nord successfully selling performance keyboards with very focused and specific features fundamental to live performance at $4500 with lesser specs:

 

I wish they would have taken note of the size of the Nord line. I won't even consider the Montage at that size and weight.

 

1935 Mason & Hamlin Model A

Korg Kronos 2 73

Nord Electro 6D 61

Yam S90ES

Rhodes Stage 73 (1972)

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Ive played the 61 here, and this is the first 61 synth action in a long time that I LIKE.

 

The sounds were great, but like the Korg stuff...its a lot of cool 'stuff' happening, but those sounds start dictating what I do (but that may just be ME) rather than the other way around. But this "criticism" is really more about where my head is at with gear these days than about the Montage.

 

Theres plenty of interface to play with

the Montage, so I'm thinking price aside, there's a lot to enjoy here.

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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As a long-time Yamaha user (SY99, S80 and Motif ES8), I had to take the Montage for a spin. It is a very nice KB in terms of sounds.

 

Yet, I wasn't compelled to drop everything I have right now and pick one up.

 

Same goes for the Kronos. It has everything but the kitchen sink. No inspiration though.

 

I would love to go back to a one or two KB set-up. Maybe a Montage or Kronos would grow on me once I got it back to the lab.

 

When I lay hands on a KB, I'm looking for the FTEC (finger to ear connection). The KB should be fun and inspire me to play. I didn't get that with the Montage or Kronos.

 

Again, they are very nice KBs but not enough to dump and replace my entire rig. Maybe I need another test drive or three. :laugh::cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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I didn't get the FTEC with the Kronos either. Out of the box the stock programs were kind of meh. Once I found my way around the board my personal combis are killer. It is more fun to program than play.

 

My only real beef with the Montage 8 was the Taj Mahal reverb on the pianos but that is an easy fix. Once I figured out sidechain compression on the Kronos I really don't have a need for a $3500 performance synth.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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I took the plunge and have ordered the 8 after spending a bit of time on one at a local GC. I originally was going to return to a Kronos in the 73 key version, as I really missed the 61 note I had that I sold to purchase a Jupiter 50. Big mistake there. I'm not a fan of all in one workstations, so I'm really looking forward to the Montage's performance based layout. I realize that I'm going to have a monster to lug around, but the musical experience it's going to afford me is all worth it.

�Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic beyond all we do here!�

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

 

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Once I figured out sidechain compression on the Kronos I really don't have a need for a $3500 performance synth.

how do you use sidechain compression on the Kronos?

1935 Mason & Hamlin Model A

Korg Kronos 2 73

Nord Electro 6D 61

Yam S90ES

Rhodes Stage 73 (1972)

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My starting point was Qui's tutorial. First half of the vid explains what sidechain is.

 

[video:youtube]

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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> For me, the size and weight of the Montage is a deal killer.

 

I agree. Too bad about that. But that's the way I have felt about the Motif series - I even asked Yamaha - does it have to be that big? I mean deep too.....

That's why I bought a PC361 and then a Kronos 61. I _wanted_ to get a Yamaha keyboard but none of them could compare to the Kurzweil or Kronos.

Korg Kronos, Roland RD-88, Korg Kross, JP8000, MS2000, Sequential Pro One, Micromoog, Yamaha VL1, author of unrealBook for iPad.

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