Well, well. Interesting times, again. Yamaha have now released the Montage Reference Manual and the Data List Manual. Download them from your local support site.
At the same time, the Motif XF is being blown out. Not only have retailers dropped prices, Yamaha itself is saying “Sayonara” with a promotional rebate of its own. If you want a Motif XF, now is a terrific time to buy!
I started the decision making process last weekend by comparing the MOX waveforms against the Motif XF waveforms. To me, new waveforms represent true value — true sonic potential — over a keyboard’s predecessor. Unless MOXF owners want all of the bells and whistles of the Motif XF (e.g., big color display, on-borad sampling, sliders, version 1.5 Real Distortion effects, etc.), they already have the XF waveforms. MOX owners have the older Motif XS factory set, so they might be interested in upgrading to Motif XF. Here is a list of Motif XF waveforms that are not in the MOX:
CF3 4 layer (vs. MOX 3 layer) S6 Clav4 Harpsichord2 Farfisa (Fr) Vox (Vx) Accordion2 Accordion3 Tango Accordian2 Mussete Accordion Steirisch Accordion 1Coil Jazz Guitar Pick Rndwound2 Pick FlatWound Finger Rndwound Sect Strngs Tremolo Strings Live Pizzct Soft Trumpet Trumpet Vib Trumpet Shake Flugelhorn2 French Horn Sft French Horn Med Soprano Sax3 Alto Sax3 Tenor Sax2 Soft Tenor Sax2 Falls Sax Breath Piccolo2
After looking over the list, frankly, I’m not motivated (bad pun) to buy an XF. My PSR-S950 does a great job covering these sounds. Plus, at 33.3 pounds (XF) vs. 15.4 pounds (MOX), a Motif XF is likely to remain in the studio, not at the gig.
The Yamaha Montage offers a bigger upgrade thanks to the large built-in waveform memory. Here is my first pass list of new Montage waveforms. I’ll leave it to you to comb through synth and percussion waveforms.
CFX 9 layer S700 3 layer EP4 5 layer Rd Soft 5 layer Rd Hard 4 layer Rd73 5 layer Rd78 5 layer Rd KeyNoise Wr1 3 layer Wr2 4 layer Wr3 5 layer Wr KeyNoise Clav5 3 layer Clav KeyNoise CP80 5 layer CP80 KeyOff Vibraphone3 Motor Vibes Tonewheel1 Fast/Slow Tonewheel2 Fast/Slow Tonewheel3 Fast/Slow St Tonewheel4 Fast Tonewheel5 Fast Tonewheel6 Fast SctAcc Mussete SctAcc Acc Key On/Off Nylon2 Flamenco Steel2 Steel3 TC Cln Pick TC Cln Fing Acoustic2 (bass) Violin2 1st St Violin2 2nd St Viola2 St Cello2 St Celtic Violin US Strings Violins 1st Violins 2nd Violas Cellos ContBasses CelticHarp Trumpet 3 Piccolo Tp Trombone 3 Bass Trombone French Horn2 Euphonium BrassSect3 BrassSect3 Acc/Doits/Shake/Falls Trumpets1 Trumpets2 Trombones1 Trombones2 FrHorns2 FrHorns3 Clarinet2 Clarinet3 Oboe3 Oboe4 NV/Stac Bassoon2 Bassoon3 Flute3 Flute4 NV/Stac/Flutter Piccolo3 Piccolo4 NV/Stac Low Whistle High Whistle Boys Choir Gospel Choir Syllables ScatCycle LatinCycle
Yamaha really upped the ante with new acoustic and electric piano samples. Yamaha have been promoting these improvements and rightfully so. I can’t wait to try these out. Jazzers will be glad to see the new vibraphone samples, too.
Tonewheel organ got a modest upgrade. I’ll reserve judgement until I can hear and play the Montage. The tonewheel samples have fast and slow variants, so the Leslie is probably sampled in. Not always a good sign, but, hey, I’m listening. A couple of more accordions round out the keyboard additions.
Guitars also got a modest upgrade. There are a few more acoustic guitars and two Telecaster variants (pick and finger). At this point, I must mention that all of the new waveforms have 3, 4, 5 or more layers and many articulations. So, even if the list looks short, the new voices should be quite rich and appealing.
Orchestral instruments got a major, major upgrade. As a liturgical musician who relies on these voices heavily, I’m excited. I called out only a few of the available articulations. Musicians who mock up orchestral scores or cover orchestral parts live should definitely take note of the Montage! Surprisingly, there aren’t new pipe organ waveforms. (Is an expansion pack in the works?)
Finally, there are a slew of choir and vocal samples from the Tyros 5. “Syllables” in the list above are all of the zillion duhs, doos, etc. ScatCycle includes the (infamous) scat syllables, but cycles through the syllables for variety. This is already a feature of the Tyros 5.
Given the boost in the orchestra department, I’m interested. I just wish that the Montage weighed about 20 pounds or less. Perhaps I need to wait for the MOXF follow-on in the light weight, mid-price category.
That’s it for now. I might have missed something during the first pass and will correct the list as I learn more about the Montage. At some point, I’ll take a look at Montage effects, too.
Read my initial review of the Montage8. Update: May 10, 2016.
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