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Viewing topic "Fantom, Yamaha’s Workstation Synthesizer Dilemma"

Posted on: September 16, 2019 @ 12:14 PM
Total Posts:  250
Joined  12-17-2013
status: Enthusiast

Back in 2016 , when Yamaha took the Motif XF out of Production and defrocked it as its main synthesizer workstation, they attempted to sell the world on the idea that the performance synthesizer was really all the market place wanted.  According to Yamaha and their market analysis; features such as integrated sampling, pattern sequencing, and sequence editing were no longer desirable as part of the synthesizer and that the rest of the world was doing that stuff on the DAW.  So it was time for Yamaha to catch up with the rest of the world.  So they decommissioned the Motif XF as flagship, and gave the world Montage as the new flagship performance synthesizer.

Perhaps Yamaha was just tired of producing workstation synthesizers.  They’ve been doing so for a long time.  Just Think, Yamaha W5, W7, QS300, the QY Sequencer series(which had AWM synths), etc.  Its been decades!  So maybe it was time to just update SY77, SY99, EX5, S90 concept and go with that for a while.  Also while removing sampling and sequencing from the flagship, that would also give them an opportunity to shovel Cubase, on top of the new Flagship’s price.  That would be a total win/win right????

But if the world no longer wants sampling and sequencing in a synthesizer, then what the hell is Roland doing with this new Fantom????

Why is there still so much demand for Korg Kronos?????

The fact that there is still demonstrative demand for workstation synthesizers, music production workstations is only part of Yamaha’s dilemma.  The real problem is that of putting the jeannie back into the bottle.

Once the Fairlight CMI, and Korg M1 were introduced to the world of Synthesizers, the concept of the Synthesizer Workstation, became the Top Dog of synthesizers.  It became the Apex Predator of Synthesizers.  Now its common knowledge that the most comprehensive Synthesizer that can be had is a Workstation Synthesizer. Granted, not everyone needs a workstation synthesizer, but it is well known at this point that the Workstation Synthesizer is the most feature rich synthesizer that has ever been produced.

Back in 2016 Yamaha tried to convince the world that Synthesizer Workstations had run their course by taking the Motif XF out of production.  Instead, all they gave up was their leading position in that space to the King Kronos.  Now in comes the Fantom, that has seriously upped the ante.  I would imagine the folks over at Korg are heads down working on their response.

But what of Yamaha?  They’ve already told the world that the Synthesizer Workstation, the Music Production Workstation is a thing of the past.  A relic of days gone by.  An idea that’s run its course.  Tisk, Tisk, Tisk, Yamaha, you silly wabbit.

The Workstation Synthesizer is the hallmark of Synthesizers
.  You can’t put that jeannie back into the bottle!!  You can’t just retire the concept and then move on.  Every flagship synthesizer that is made for the next 50 years is going to be compared to some Workstation Synthesizer somewhere.  Because the workstation synthesizer represents the epitome of a synthesizer.  Even if the demand wanes from time to time, as a synth manufacturer you’re not in the game if you don’t have a Synthesizer Workstation flagship offering.

As synth player If you don’t have a workstation synthesizer, you know that your synth (whatever it is) is not at the top of the synth food chain.  Of course you may not need a workstation synthesizer, but you know that if you only have a performance synthesizer that somewhere out there somebody has a lot more synthesizer than you do.

So now Yamaha is in a pickle.  Roland’s Fantom has thrown down the gauntlet.  The Montage did not change the narrative the way Yamaha anticipated it would, and Yamaha is on record saying that the customer no longer wants built in sequencing and sampling.  Yamaha can’t go backward, and the way forward is clearly not Montage. Hence Yamaha’s Dilemma..

I posted this before, but after really getting a closer look at Roland’s Fantom, The most logical card for Yamaha to play, is to put Motif back into production with Cubase built inside.  Motif CI (Cubase Inside). That is merge QY Series, QS300, and Cubase, update Motif’s architecture to host vst’s and rightfully assume their leadership position in the Synthesizer Workstation space.

Because as it stands Yamaha has the Genos which is an electronic keyboard Flagship.  They have the Montage, which is their Performance Synthesizer flagship.  And they have MOXF trying to fill Motif’s shoes, which are a wee too big for MOXF.

Yamaha tried to pronounce the end of the workstation synthesizer by making the claim that integrated sampling and full blown sequencing is not only best done in a DAW, but that customers prefer to do it in a DAW.  And right as they’re making this claim, King Kronos is flexing its muscle, and here comes the new Roland Fantom with its boot on the throat of the computer based DAW.

All I can hear at Yamaha’s corporate offices is What are we gonna do now??”

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