Yamaha Montage Review – In this review, we take a look at Yamaha’s new flagship synthesizer, the Montage. It’s a replacement to the Motif XF.
First of all, to give you an idea of the class of keyboard we’re dealing with, let’s take a look at price. There are three keyboards in the series. There’s the 61-key Montage 6 which sells for about US$3000, the 76-key Montage 7 for about US$3500 and the 88-key Montage 8 for about US$4000, online. As you can clearly see, this keyboard has a high price tag. The difference in price between the 61-key and 88-key model is an entire one thousand dollars.
According to the manufacturer, the ushers in another era of synthesizers. This synthesizer “sets the next milestone with sophisticated dynamic control, massive sound creation and streamlined workflow”. The Yamaha Montage builds on the legacy of the iconic DX and Motif keyboards.
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Yamaha Montage Review
Review: What I Like (Pros)
1. Sound quality is absolutely impressive. Big sound. Love the articulations, samples and general quality of DSP/Effects engines.
2. The AWM2 and FM-X sound engines are great. Love how you can zone or layer the two engines across eight parts in a single Performance.
3. Love the new Yamaha CFX Premium Grand Piano and Bösendorfer Imperial Premium Grand Piano. Piano is important to me. If I’m buying any keyboard, it has to have great pianos.
4. It comes with a color touchscreen. This is awesome. It was about time. You can select and change parameters directly. The touchscreen is very responsive and interactive.
5. Ability to switch between voices (patches) without the sound cutting off. This is great for live performance.
6. Thankfully, the blinking light on the Super Knob can be turned off.
7. The Super Knob can be assigned to an FC7 foot controller. This makes it easy to manipulate the sound when playing with both hands.
8. Love how you can change the sound with Motion Control. You can control up to 16 different parameters in real time.
9. The motion sequencing feature is good. Great for EDM. You can use it to control the expressiveness of other genres of music.
10. It’s very inspiring. This is very important for any musician/music creator.
11. It has 128-note stereo polyphony. This is great because it means that you can experience stereo sound without halving the available number of notes.
Review: What I Dislike (Cons)
1. The blinking Super Knob is irritating/distracting. One would go crazy after a while. The Super Knob comes across as a marketing ploy. It seems gimmicky and a bit overrated. This doesn’t mean that it is not useful.
2. I’m disappointed in the fact that there’s no sequencer on the Yamaha Montage. You can’t lay tracks. It is not a workstation.
3. The Motif has a sampler; the Montage doesn’t.
4. In my opinion, this keyboard costs too much. As much as US$4000 for the 88-key Montage is really a lot.
5. If Yamaha’s attempt was to outrank the Korg Kronos with the Montage, they failed. Yamaha seems to have thrown in the towel and allowed the Kronos to dominate.
As said earlier, the Yamaha Montage is not a workstation – there is no sequencer. According to Yamaha, they’ve observed trends which indicate that people are increasingly using DAW software and computers to sequence their music. In other words, the workstation market is diminishing while the synth marketing is growing. Hence the absence of a sequencer. Instead, there’s a built-in usb/audio/midi interface. You can send 16 and receive 3 channels of STEREO 24 bit/44.1 kHz digital audio to and from your computer or iOS device. The USB connection also features full MIDI support of 16 channels. MONTAGE supports the sampling rate up to 192 kHz.
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According to Yamaha, this keyboard is a significant upgrade in sound quality and expressiveness. Have you checked it out? What do you think of the Montage? I’d love to read your review. Share your views in the comments section below.
Here’s a list of features of the Yamaha Montage.
Motion Control Synthesis Engine
1. Sophisticated Dynamic Control
– Super Knob
– Motion Sequences
– Envelope Follower
2. Massive Sound Creation
– 128-Note, Stereo polyphony
– Waveform Capacity
– Integrated Flash Memory
– Bösendorfer Piano
– Pure Analog Circuit
3. Streamlined Workflow
– USB Audio/MIDI Connection
– SSS (Seamless Sound Switching)
– A/D Input
– Physical Control
– Touch Screen
– Eight Rotary Encoders and Faders with Stepladder LED
– Montage 6 and 7 feature the premium FSX semi-weighted synthesizer action with aftertouch.
– Montage 8 features an 88 key, fully-weighted Balanced Hammer action with aftertouch.
– Live Set
– Direct Control Assignment
– Cubase AI Bundle
What are your views on the Yamaha Montage? Would love to read your comments. Share them below.