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Viewing topic "Moving from DAW to Workstation: Presales Questions (M3 v XF)"

   
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Posted on: August 23, 2010 @ 05:40 PM
Jive Talking Robot
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Apologies on the long post, but, as I am asking for opinions and advice, I figure I should be as complete as possible. No need to respond to the whole thing of course… I am looking for any thoughts on any of these questions/concerns. :-)

I want to take a break from DAWs, softsynths, and the 1000 options they bring; after spending some time with a friend’s Motif XS, I really appreciate what a workstation brings to the table. They are immediate, inspiring and surprisingly fun. I want to invest in my first workstation with the idea that I could compose a whole song on it w/o having to fire up a DAW! I have narrowed it down to an Motif XF or an M3.  Some quick background:

Patch Programming
I don’t mind if I have to menu dive, use a software front end, or use knobs and sliders - it all works well for me as long as the workflow is logical and intelligent in its approach.  I DO need synth knobs/sliders for live performance tweaks however.

Sounds I Need to Sound GOOD!
Pianos, EPs, calvs, ‘Trons, creamy strings (both “real” and “string machine"), “Strumable” acoustic guitars are important to me. I like the odd, funky jazz flute too.

Warm, punchy, “wet” vintage analog synths sounds are very important to me as well… for both comping (think Herbie Hancock) and sequencing (think any 80s John Carpenter score). While I appreciate a dedicated VA may be better at this sort of thing, I do not turn my nose up at a sample based approach to analog emulation. I also employ big, swirling pads and gritty digital soundscapes.

The inherent limitations of a workstation
Yes I get I am limited to 16 tracks, that I have limited audio storage for adding guitars/vocals, that I would be working on a tiny screen, and that sometimes a massive sample library sounds “better”.  I am embracing these limitations in the name of working fast and having fun. I find I often work better with less to be honest.

What I plan to compose
All over the map, but heavy on the electro funk and moody electronic meets organic stuff.

Specific Motif XF Questions
1) Does it have Chord Memory? i.e. Can I record a 3-5 note chord and save it to a note to call up or play later? I really like this about the M3. In fact, the M3 allows for several chords to be saved which is nice.

2) How many of my own patches can I save? I assume that the commercial sound sets I can buy can be loaded in to the flash Ram for instant recall? Do these get loaded in to the “user” banks?

3) Other than the obvious space limitations, am I limited to how many samples I can use in a song?  I know I have a 16 track limit and that MIDI triggers the samples, but can I have multiple tracks triggering multiple sample loops… as in “track one has a dozen different vocal samples and track two has a dozen different guitar riffs:?  I assume yes, but I want to make sure.

4) The M3 has a solid sequencer.  Does the Motif sequencer behave like a traditional piano roll style sequencer?  The manual showed a screen shot that indicates this, but it didn’t look as if that interface is really used for editing notes and/or note data.  The scary looking event page seems to do this job… is that so?

5) The M3 has a dedicated VA option; I would have to rely on analog samples to achieve the same on the Motif.  This is not necessarily a bad thing though, as good programming a good synth engine can easily compensate.  In fact, that “Phat Analog” commercial soundest is pretty darn impressive. As I said, I am not an “analog” or “VA” snob in any way… I just want something that sounds good and convincing enough.

6) Any issues w/ plugging my Les Paul and/or a Mic directly in to the XF for the purposes of sampling?

7) Can the internal XF sequencer control an extneral synth, i.e. a Virus?  Would it capture its controller data ala knob turns, etc?

8) Any other thoughts?  Things you think I should consider?

Whew… again, apologies on the long post, but I value anyone’s advice and thoughts on this.  This is an expensive decision, and whatever workstation I get, I am going to go all in. While the XF may lack a few features, it has a certain “X” factor to it which I can’t put my finger on, but I know I like.

Thanks for your help! - Mike

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Posted on: August 23, 2010 @ 11:54 PM
BubbaMc
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Good thread, we share a lot of the same concerns/ideas.

Jive Talking Robot - 23 August 2010 05:40 PM


6) Any issues w/ plugging my Les Paul and/or a Mic directly in to the XF for the purposes of sampling?

Just a warning that a raw electric guitar signal will sound bad, very bad.  To get great results there are three options:
1. Mic your guitar amp/cab and feed the microphone signal into the workstation. 
2. Use an amp modeller (such as the Line 6 Pod, or Fractal Axefx etc) in the signal chain before the input on the workstation. 
3. You can use the dry recorded signal for re-amping (this method could be very useful, but would require the firewire interface and firing up the DAW). 

From what I can gather, a microphone signal will be fine, and the input gain is adjustable.

I plan on doing the same with my Les Paul.  In my case I’ll be using an AxeFx which should give a very good result.

While we’re on the subject, can someone tell us what the quality of the mic preamp is like on the Motif?

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 01:29 AM
delirium
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so this direction is possible too??? DAW to workstation???
I wonder what turned you off from soft synths…

Jive Talking Robot - 23 August 2010 05:40 PM

Sounds I Need to Sound GOOD!
Pianos, EPs, calvs, ‘Trons, creamy strings (both “real” and “string machine"), “Strumable” acoustic guitars are important to me. I like the odd, funky jazz flute too.

Warm, punchy, “wet” vintage analog synths sounds are very important to me as well… for both comping (think Herbie Hancock) and sequencing (think any 80s John Carpenter score). While I appreciate a dedicated VA may be better at this sort of thing, I do not turn my nose up at a sample based approach to analog emulation. I also employ big, swirling pads and gritty digital soundscapes.

you will have no problems here, motif sounds really great.
Everything else is a compromise though.

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 02:52 AM
macpitty
Total Posts:  21
Joined  07-27-2004
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as a user of both workstations i just can tell you: take a motif xs/xf!
you won’t regret it!
the structure of the m3-karmaGEs is far to complicated (i believe only mr kay really understands it in the end) and if you are looking for inspiration the motif is your choice!

especially the sound quality of the yamaha gear is much better than korg.
pianos, guitars (!), epianos.
the guitars of the korg are horrible to my ears and the strumming sounds still like triton.
in the strings-category i am not quite sure: the korg-strings-samples sound more like real orchestra-strings, you hear the bows, the light scratching of the first note. but there is one thing that korg has not: the expanded articulation. that means, if you play a note legato there is no new attack-phase. very smooth sounds for a background-strings-track or if you play strings piano.
and if you are thinking of buying a XF, the sound quality will increase…

there is no doubt that the korg synth engine in combination with the karma-module can take you to unbelievable dimensions in live playing. but if you want to work with a sequencer the combination of the pattern-mode and the four arpeggiators (you can also record combinations easily and transfer it in the sequencer) is very comfortable.

i don’t believe in the use of a pianoroll editor in a workstation like m3 or motif. the possibility to transfer a file to cubase ai and back to motif gives you enough space to handle complicated sequences.

for my taste as a user of stand-alone-workstation for many years: the motif beats the M3 and other competitors (Roland-Soundengines R.I.P. since JV-Series..., very sad!!!).

m.

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 03:06 AM
delirium
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macpitty - 24 August 2010 02:52 AM

(Roland-Soundengines R.I.P. since JV-Series..., very sad!!!).

R.I.P

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 04:29 AM
Jive Talking Robot
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Thanks for the posts so far!  It’s good to re: the guitar and it’s wonderful to hear from M3 / XS users. Please keep them coming as your responses are quite helpful and very informative.

delirium - 24 August 2010 01:29 AM

so this direction is possible too??? DAW to workstation???
I wonder what turned you off from soft synths…

Not turned off completely never to return.... I just want a brake from the DAW/Softsynth world for a bit so I can pour my energies in to learning one single instrument inside and out. After years of wondering why anyone in the right mind would buy a workstaion, I FINALLY “get” why people use them - they are fun, they are fast, they are stable and there is a lot of hard-wired workflow.  Are they limited and do you compromise on features?  Sure.  But, as I said, I actually enjoy limitiations as they can keep you focused and, in some ways, very creative.

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 04:46 AM
BubbaMc
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Jive Talking Robot - 24 August 2010 04:29 AM

After years of wondering why anyone in the right mind would buy a workstaion, I FINALLY “get” why people use them - they are fun, they are fast, they are stable and there is a lot of hard-wired workflow.

My thoughts exactly.  I find that staring at a screen and fighting with vst’s is a distraction from composition.  Music isn’t a visual art after all.

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 05:07 AM
delirium
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Jive Talking Robot - 24 August 2010 04:29 AM

Are they limited and do you compromise on features?  Sure.  But, as I said, I actually enjoy limitiations as they can keep you focused and, in some ways, very creative.

same as I feel :)

Those so called limitations always make me laugh, some fellows hardly can play 2 voices inventions but they need 128 tracks for recording…

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 06:21 AM
synthlogic
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Jive Talking Robot - 23 August 2010 05:40 PM

I have narrowed it down to an Motif XF or an M3

I bought both. Couldn’t be happier.

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 06:49 AM
Yamaha_US
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Specific Motif XF Questions
1) Does it have Chord Memory? i.e. Can I record a 3-5 note chord and save it to a note to call up or play later? I really like this about the M3. In fact, the M3 allows for several chords to be saved which is nice.

No, the XF does not have chird memory, but you could accomplish the same thing easily with a User Arp that had the chord type you want in it.  Then when you play a note the arp will play the chord for you.

2) How many of my own patches can I save? I assume that the commercial sound sets I can buy can be loaded in to the flash Ram for instant recall? Do these get loaded in to the “user” banks?

The XF has 512 User Voices.  Each Voice ina Performance, Song or Pattern has many parameters which can change the sound in the Performance or song, but not effect the original Voice. For example, you can change the cutoff, resonance,attack, decay, sustain and release ( and more) of a Voice in a Performance without changing the original Voice.  Finally, if you need to edit EVERYTHING in a Voice for a song, you can create edit all the details in Mix Mode and create a Mix Voice.  There are up to 256 Mix Voices .  A Mix Voice gets stored with the Song.  So in a way, the number of Voices you can save is the number of songs you can write.

3) Other than the obvious space limitations, am I limited to how many samples I can use in a song?  I know I have a 16 track limit and that MIDI triggers the samples, but can I have multiple tracks triggering multiple sample loops… as in “track one has a dozen different vocal samples and track two has a dozen different guitar riffs:?  I assume yes, but I want to make sure.

Yes, no problem.

4) The M3 has a solid sequencer.  Does the Motif sequencer behave like a traditional piano roll style sequencer?  The manual showed a screen shot that indicates this, but it didn’t look as if that interface is really used for editing notes and/or note data.  The scary looking event page seems to do this job… is that so?

No piano rool style editor.  There are Jobs which are Macros for performing lots of editing tasks and the “ scary looking “ event page.  By the way, you can filter different events so you are only looking at the tyoe of event you want to editor which makes it much less scary.

5) The M3 has a dedicated VA option; I would have to rely on analog samples to achieve the same on the Motif.  This is not necessarily a bad thing though, as good programming a good synth engine can easily compensate.  In fact, that “Phat Analog” commercial soundest is pretty darn impressive. As I said, I am not an “analog” or “VA” snob in any way… I just want something that sounds good and convincing enough.

We think the filters on yhe XF are exceptional, but sounds are very subjective and you need to listen closely to both synths and make up your own mind.

6) Any issues w/ plugging my Les Paul and/or a Mic directly in to the XF for the purposes of sampling?

No, the poster above had some good tips and you can use the XF Insert effects on the input signal as well.

7) Can the internal XF sequencer control an extneral synth, i.e. a Virus?  Would it capture its controller data ala knob turns, etc?

Yes, if connnected correctly with MIDI, it will control and also recieve all the MIDI messages from an external synth.

We know you are doing your homework ( and even saw your post over on the Korg forum). 

One thing we think you will find is that the Motifator forum is a very active and helpful resource.

If you private message here with your contact info, we would be happy to send you a copy of the “World of Motif XS’ DVD which explains a lot of things in detail so you can study further ad make an informed decision.

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 06:53 AM
Jive Talking Robot
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synthlogic - 24 August 2010 06:21 AM
Jive Talking Robot - 23 August 2010 05:40 PM

I have narrowed it down to an Motif XF or an M3

I bought both. Couldn’t be happier.

Well, you are the perfect person for this thread. :)

There is no way I can afford both, so it has to come down to either the Yammy or the Korg. What are your general thoughts on both workstations?  Where do you feel one shines over the other?  While I am sure they actually compliment one another, if you had to pick one over the other, which would it be?

Many thanks in advance for your time!

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 06:57 AM
Jive Talking Robot
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Yamaha_US - 24 August 2010 06:49 AM


We know you are doing your homework ( and even saw your post over on the Korg forum). 

One thing we think you will find is that the Motifator forum is a very active and helpful resource.

If you private message here with your contact info, we would be happy to send you a copy of the “World of Motif XS’ DVD which explains a lot of things in detail so you can study further ad make an informed decision.

Many thanks!  Actually, one part of the Yammy “X” factor is that you all have a GREAT user community, and a great policy of supporting your products; this is also reflected by the solid 3rd party sound set support.  The Motif series seems very “alive” to me, if that makes sense.  The M3 I think is a great workstation… but why it never had “buzz” is beyound me.  That said, the Korg folks have been good about helpimg me out.

I will PM you w/ my details, so many thanks for the offer!

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 07:25 AM
ZombieRaider
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status: Enthusiast

I have the Korg M-50 for the extra sound ROM and a Yamaha XS...I really like the pattern based sequencing on the XS...It allows quick recording and setup of sounds is just as fast...Setting up sounds isn’t NEARLY as fast on the M-50 because you have to manually set the effects for each voice in your sequence...The M-50 has the same ROM as the M3, 5 inserts FX, and 4 instead of 8 chord buttons....It compliments the XS very nice but I wouldn’t want to rely on it on it’s own...Especially when you start using acoustic type sounds....The Yamaha XS is the only board that I can think of in my history of keyboards (MANY) that I don’t mind using stand alone for everything....It’s the best all around board I’ve ever used....ever...It is definitely my 1 keyboard of choice on a deserted island...ZR

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 07:53 AM
shakil
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“There is no way I can afford both, so it has to come down to either the Yammy or the Korg. “

You could get used Motif XS and M3-module for the same price as a new Motif XF.

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 08:30 AM
synthlogic
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Jive Talking Robot - 24 August 2010 06:53 AM
synthlogic - 24 August 2010 06:21 AM
Jive Talking Robot - 23 August 2010 05:40 PM

I have narrowed it down to an Motif XF or an M3

I bought both. Couldn’t be happier.

Well, you are the perfect person for this thread. :)

There is no way I can afford both, so it has to come down to either the Yammy or the Korg. What are your general thoughts on both workstations?  Where do you feel one shines over the other?  While I am sure they actually compliment one another, if you had to pick one over the other, which would it be?

Many thanks in advance for your time!

Have you spent a good deal of time with both keyboards?

The M3 is my first choice when composing original tunes. I like the complexity of KARMA coupled with the individual drum tracks. KARMA allows me to create unique randomness with rhythms and textures--tasteful soundscapes--which is amazing when playing live. I also like the evolving pads and motion sounds of the M3. Really haven’t found anything quite like that with my XS.

On the other hand, the XS offers a better library of realistic acoustic sounds, especially drums--better than those from the M3. It’s a great tool for both live and studio use. I spent a lot of time last week composing some new tunes and recording them into the XS sequencer, and was quite happy with the results.

I’m still not sure if I want to lug both keyboards around when playing live… we’ll see.

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 @ 10:37 AM
alejandro
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Yamaha_US - 24 August 2010 06:49 AM


If you private message here with your contact info, we would be happy to send you a copy of the “World of Motif XS’ DVD which explains a lot of things in detail so you can study further ad make an informed decision.

Hey, I’m getting a Motif XF in october. Any chance to get that DVD too?

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