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Yamaha workstation evolution and considering a new one


eric
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Hi forum,

 

I've been all over the place due to the pandemic and lack of live gigs. Hopefully that will change in the coming months as some gigs start opening up for my band(s). In the meantime, I keep thinking about different rigs and things I *think* I need...

 

Which leads me to my latest inquiry. I don't currently have a "workstation" keyboard other than some of the things I can do with my Yamaha S90 (some basic drum beats). In the past, I've owned a Yamaha Motif XS7, which I loved for the fun patches that would inspire hours of jamming along, with the "motifs" that would change keys and do all sorts of cool stuff, plus the buttons below the display that would trigger fills and other changes.

 

I've been starting to think of getting another Yamaha workstation, based on this past experience of loving the Yamaha sounds and the way the instruments work. I'm wondering if I'd be happy with grabbing a used Motif XS or should I be looking at the Motif XF? Perhaps the newest Montage or would the MODX do a lot of this for me? I have sort of lost touch with what happened in the past 5+ years. I knew all the things about the Motif -> Motif ES -> Motif XS and then I lost track of Motif XF and Montage/MODX options. This instrument would be for mostly home music room use, and it could work fine as a 61 or 76 note form factor, since I already have enough 88 note weighted actions between the S90, the NS2 88 and my CP80.

 

I'm also very seduced with the Matt Johnson videos where he has a white Montage 8, though he seems to rely upon an Elektron Octratrack for his loops and beats etc. What suggestions might my forum friends have for me?

 

Thanks,

Eric

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Hello Eric,

 

I have a MODX 6 for exactly the same use case. Because the sound engine and capabilities are almost identical to the Montage, the MODX was the better (= cheaper) choice for me. The build quality ist more plasticy but fine enough. The keybed is worse than the FSX action of the "bigger brothers", but it's definitively playable.

 

I wouldn't bother buying a Motif XS oder XF - the Montage/MODX has way more waveform ROM (and preset patches) and arpeggiagor phrases and the user interface is much better due to the touchscreen.

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I've had my MODX7 for about 6-8 months now and it checks a lot of boxes for me. It's very light. Some complain about the action but I've grown to like it. I have a Kronos 88 that sits at home now and does not leave the house.

Previously I have had a Motif ES6, then a MOXF6, and now the MODX7. I like the extended range of 76 keys. A good compromise between 61 & 88. I got used to the Yamaha sound set (not the user interface so much - what a bear).

The MODX is a little friendlier than the past models I had. Contains all the sounds and then some. I also purchased Busch's sample banks from Purgatory Creek. They are wonderful. So far most everything I've thrown at it has worked well.

The one exception being organs. As far as rehearsals go it's fine by itself. Ran through my SpaceStation it sounds great, and the same with a stereo feed to the PA. I am using it to control MainStage and as an audio interface.

It's there for me as a backup just in case. I got the Hammond B3-X from IK Multimedia and lack nothing in the organ department now. Nice easy rig that sets up and tears down quickly whether rehearsing, or in the studio.

Have not taken it out live yet as gigs around here are just now starting to pick back up. Hope that helps and good luck on your search. You may also want to check out the YC61 or 73. I prefer the MODX for the DX portion. Really nice!

 

Kronos 88 | MODX7 | Wavestate | Crave | KeyLab 61 | CPS SSv3 | MacBook Pro | MainStage | More VSTs than I'll ever figure out

 

www.thehenrysmusic.com

 

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Brotha E, just like the gig rig change, the workstation connundrum is the perfect storm of middle-age, nostalgia and GAS flaring up.

 

The pandemic has provided musos with way too much time to *think* of their existing rigs and how to make them better or worse. :laugh:

 

The Yamaha MODX would tick the immediate box of a KB workstation and a familiar sound set.

 

OTOH, if you have a laptop, Ableton Live is a relatively inexpensive way to satisfy your "workstation Jones". :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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The Montage is a nice board, unless you need Motif-style sequencing or freely assignable midi channels for parts (i.e. set two sounds to play on channel two to be controlled by an external board). Those are the two things that they got rid of that the Motif could do, which made me go for a Motif XF instead in 2016 when the Montage was launched.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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Brotha E, just like the gig rig change, the workstation connundrum is the perfect storm of middle-age, nostalgia and GAS flaring up.

 

The pandemic has provided musos with way too much time to *think* of their existing rigs and how to make them better or worse. :laugh:

 

The Yamaha MODX would tick the immediate box of a KB workstation and a familiar sound set.

 

OTOH, if you have a laptop, Ableton Live is a relatively inexpensive way to satisfy your "workstation Jones". :cool:

 

You got that right, my friend! Add in the pandemic and sense of boredom and lack of purpose and it is a perfect storm! I've tinkered with the idea of a new stage piano + clonewheel rig, how to get more FM back in my life, and now it's about Yamaha workstations. I'll figure out something one of these days.

 

The Montage is a nice board, unless you need Motif-style sequencing or freely assignable midi channels for parts (i.e. set two sounds to play on channel two to be controlled by an external board). Those are the two things that they got rid of that the Motif could do, which made me go for a Motif XF instead in 2016 when the Montage was launched.

 

I think the newest Montage added the sequencing back into the mix? Not sure if this was merely an OS thing or if you need to buy the latest hardware to get it. I'll have to research, though it does seem like the MODX would tick a lot of boxes for me, particularly since I'm not planning to use this hypothetical gear for much live performance, if any.

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I think the newest Montage added the sequencing back into the mix? Not sure if this was merely an OS thing or if you need to buy the latest hardware to get it.

Sequencing capability was added to the Montage and MODX both by OS update. :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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Correct, with Montage especially, Yamaha toyed with the idea that a lot of users were focused on using Montage for live performance and had shifted to production on computer DAW. However, it became apparent quickly that there were enough users still wanting to have workstation features that they updated firmware.

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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I'm also very seduced with the Matt Johnson videos where he has a white Montage 8, though he seems to rely upon an Elektron Octratrack for his loops and beats etc. What suggestions might my forum friends have for me?

 

Thanks,

Eric

 

I'd keep the existing keyboards and get the Octatrack. Later sell it if the seduction wears off.

 

;)

 

If you do take this seriously then I can get into the dirty details of the pros and cons. If not, it's all good. :laugh:

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I think the newest Montage added the sequencing back into the mix? Not sure if this was merely an OS thing or if you need to buy the latest hardware to get it.

Sequencing capability was added to the Montage and MODX both by OS update. :cool:

 

I thought that was pattern-based sequencing, not linear sequencing. I'd be happy to be wrong (but the midi channel thing still really sucks).

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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Waiting for a Montage 2 or a MODXF myself.

And I will immediately add Purgatory Creek.

Ditching the PC4?

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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Waiting for a Montage 2 or a MODXF myself.

And I will immediately add Purgatory Creek.

Ditching the PC4?

A PC4 + a MODXF with assignable midi channels would be a perfect match for a lot of things IMO.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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I thought that was pattern-based sequencing, not linear sequencing. I'd be happy to be wrong

 

Yeah the added sequencer on the Montage was essentially the return of Pattern Mode. For me it was almost a "godsend", because I used to consider it the best and quickest composing tool around.

 

The great thing about the Montage version is that it is also a performance tool. You can program your Patterns to be stored and triggered under the Scene buttons (don't remember if this was possible on the XF as well). I had a group where we improvised over loop-based music and I used the Montage and it's Pattern/Scene thing for the bulk of our stuff. All of the Montage's controls, filters etc. are usable during playback - and the settings can be stored in a Pattern too.

 

I have to say, though, I rarely use it anymore since Ableton Live's workflow is so similar, especially when used alongside a Push 2.

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Waiting for a Montage 2 or a MODXF myself.

And I will immediately add Purgatory Creek.

Ditching the PC4?

Nevvah!

haha! Cool

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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Waiting for a Montage 2 or a MODXF myself.

And I will immediately add Purgatory Creek.

Ditching the PC4?

Nevvah!

 

I'm adding an MX61. To me Yamaha and Kurzweil fix each other's weak spots pretty well.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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Waiting for a Montage 2 or a MODXF myself.

And I will immediately add Purgatory Creek.

 

This is me - a Montage 2 and MODX on top as second board would just be about my perfect rig. And if Purgatory Creek did some organ patches for it was well then it'd be perfect.

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On one hand I'm a good source of info. I owned an original Motif and now own a MODX.

 

On the other, I've never used them as workstations, not once.

 

That said, the build quality was better on the Motif, the sound quality is better on the MODX (IMO). The OS is very different, I got used to the Motif's and could get around on it fairly well, but I find the MODX's more intuitive. I don't really like touch screens but in some ways they really speed things up (like naming patches!)

 

A big deal for me, maybe not for someone seeking a workstation, is being able to incorporate Ipad sounds into the zones on the keyboard with one usb cable. That's slick. I use the B-3X organ app and was easily able to map the important controls to various MODX knobs and sliders. Same would apply to synth apps, I own a few but haven't used them at gigs.

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And if Purgatory Creek did some organ patches for it was well then it'd be perfect.

...except PC is in the Samples business, and the fundamental organ limitations of the Montage/MODX can't really be addressed with alternate samples.

 

But if you want some sample sets and alternate programming that you may prefer to Yamaha's own, you could check these two:

 

https://easysoundsshop.de/en/yamaha-synthesizer/yamaha-modx-premium-series/29/modx-organ-session-download

 

https://ksounds.com/product/organimation-tonewheel-organ-sounds-yamaha-montage/

 

Smartphone performance permitting, you'd probably be better off taking advatage of Yamaha's Zone Master function and built in USB audio+MIDI interface and just play VB3m instead.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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This thread has been immensely helpful. Thanks to everyone who posted, and also for the info on the various sounds/samples available. I'd missed that in my various rounds of research. I'm thinking of starting with the MODX6 as a good way to get some of that missing workstation and FM goodness back in my life. I am debating the sale of my S90 (with the 3x PLG boards, or perhaps sell those separately). It was an awesome board in its time and gave me many years of service, though I don't really have a place for it at this time. The biggest holdup for me on that is I had my woodworker friend make some custom Bolivian rosewood end caps for it and they are beautiful.
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Selling each of three PLG boards separately and an S90ES separately was clearly the best decision for me. There are lots of buyers for PLG boards that are looking for specific boards (analog, FM, modeled brass/strings). I cannot visit the path not taken (selling together), but I"m convinced that I netted far more $ by separating.

Barry

 

Home: Steinway L, Montage 8

 

Gigs: Yamaha CP88, Crumar Mojo 61, A&H SQ5 mixer, ME1 IEM, MiPro 909 IEMs

 

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The most used of all of them right now for gigging might be the MOXF, which is cheap, light, no AT (like MODX), and has most of the Motif inside.

 

It has no FM, but it has the most sophisticated sequencer. It does not sample, but it can play samples. The 61 key version is about 18 pounds.

 

The bottom line is if you think "workstation" means an all in one box, where you could record multiple tracks, and adjust them, without a computer, Yamaha does not seem to make one....Genos does record audio I think, but in general Yamaha has decided to save coding and hardware costs by relying on Cubase which you have buy (for full function) to have the function of a workstation.

 

The Motif XF remains the benchmark in many ways for quite a few musicians, super build, and the MOXF 88 also employs most of it's internal layout. Around here there is much love for the MODX, which is good but worth learning what it does not do. It's not called a workstation by Yamaha, nor is the Montage.

 

The MX has many presets but is even less a workstation.

 

I guess they are jealous of what Nord has done with a limited product. Montage is certainly a very nice keyboard.

RT-3/U-121/Leslie 21H and 760

SL-880/Nektar T4/Numa Cx2/Deepmind12/Virus TI 61

Stylophone R8, Behringer RD-8, Proteus 1

MPC1000, JV1010, Unitor 8, DMP-18 Pedals

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I believe Yamaha is simply following the trend of the way people are making music. Just as they discontinued machines like the AW line due to user preference to use software DAW on Mac/PC. Younger music producers aren"t familiar with the workflow of a Workstation like the Kronos or Motif and are not interested to learn it. Ableton Live is very hot, as is Logic Pro. Cubase and MOTU"s Digital Performer have to duke out their share of new people - with apps like Reaper and Studio Live stealing their %. Avid ProTools cruises on their 'pro' status in the way that sooner or later producers believe their work is bound for Pro Tools in post production, mastering, etc.

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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I'm thinking of starting with the MODX6 as a good way to get some of that missing workstation and FM goodness back in my life.

The MODX6 should tick those boxes. It could also serve well in a 2-KB configuration above the Nord Stage.

 

I also agree with selling the PLG cards separately from the S90ES.

 

The total sale should free up space in your man cave and discount the purchase of the MODX6. :thu::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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And if Purgatory Creek did some organ patches for it was well then it'd be perfect.

...except PC is in the Samples business, and the fundamental organ limitations of the Montage/MODX can't really be addressed with alternate samples.

 

But if you want some sample sets and alternate programming that you may prefer to Yamaha's own, you could check these two:

 

https://easysoundsshop.de/en/yamaha-synthesizer/yamaha-modx-premium-series/29/modx-organ-session-download

 

https://ksounds.com/product/organimation-tonewheel-organ-sounds-yamaha-montage/

 

Smartphone performance permitting, you'd probably be better off taking advatage of Yamaha's Zone Master function and built in USB audio+MIDI interface and just play VB3m instead.

 

Thanks as always sir :thu:

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