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Welcome to the support section.

Introducing the Motif (classic) Effects

Understanding Motif Effects
Effect structure
The MOTIF’s effect processing features the following effect units.

System Effects (Reverb, Chorus, Variation)
System Effects are applied to the overall sound, whether it be a voice, an entire performance setup, a song, etc. With System effects, the sound of each part is sent to the effect according to the effect Send Level for each part. The processed sound (referred to as “wet”) is sent back to the mixer, according to the Return Level, and output — after being mixed with the unprocessed “dry” sound. This arrangement lets you prepare an optimum balance of the effect sound and the original sound of the parts.
The Reverb effects add a warm ambience to the sound, simulating the complex reflections of actual performance spaces, such as a concert hall or a small club. A total of 12 different Reverb types are available.
The Chorus effects use modulation to create a rich ensemble sound — as if one part were being played by several instruments simultaneously. A total of 25 different Chorus types are available.
The Variation effects provide a wide variety of sound transformations and enhancements. A total of 25 different Variation types are available. Variation is not available in the Voice mode.

Insertion Effects (1, 2)
Insertion effects can be applied individually to each part. Insertion effects are mainly used to directly process a single part. The depth of the effect is adjusted by setting the dry/wet balance. Since an Insertion effect can only be applied to one particular part, it should be used for sounds you want to drastically change. You can also set the balance so that only the effect sound is heard, by setting Wet to 100%.The MOTIF features two Insertion effect systems — one with a total of 104 internal effect types and the other with 25.

Plug-in Insertion Effects
This is a special effect system, only available when an effect-type Plug-in Board is installed. Plug-in Board effects are not available in the Voice mode.

Master Equalizer
Usually an equalizer is used to correct the sound output from amps or speakers to match the special character of the room. The sound is divided into several frequency bands, then by raising or lowering the level for each band, the correction is made.
Adjusting the sound you play according to the genre—classical music being more refined, pops music more crisp, and rock music more dynamic—can also serve to draw out the special characteristics of the music and make your performance more enjoyable. The MOTIF possesses a high grade five-band digital equalizer function. The four knobs can be used to adjust the gain of the four bands (among five).

The focus of this article will be to introduce you to the Motif effects. “A picture is worth a thousand words”, some great mind said. Please refer to the Motif Owner’s Manual pages 40-41 for the full story on the Effects routing in the Motif for VOICE mode, PERFORMANCE mode and for SONG/PATTERN modes. This makes it very clear where the Effects blocks are and when they are available.

In the VOICE mode:


There are up to 4 Elements (multi-sampled instruments) in a Voice. They can be individually assigned to the INSERTION EFFECT block, which is a dual block (1 and 2) that can be routed in series or in parallel (see the routing as 1 to 2, 2 to 1 or parallel). Each Element has a signal path to the Insertion block. The two System Effects (reverb and chorus) each have their own send levels for the entire Voice (not per element like the Insertion effects). Then the entire signal goes through the Master EQ (a 5-band EQ) then on to the stereo output. An important thing to understand about the VOICE mode effects is that the Insertion Effect assignment can be recalled for a particular Part when that Part is used in a multitimbral setup in SONG/PATTERN mode.

In the PERFORMANCE mode:


There are up to 4 Voices in a Performance. These Voices can be a combination of internal and PLG150 series board Parts (one per board slot). Additionally, a Performance can have the A/D input active. The DUAL INSERTION EFFECTS are available for any single Part or the A/D input. What actually happens is you activate the effects that are programmed in at Voice level. For example, if you activate two Voices in a Performance, one is a string sound and the other is wah-clav. If you activate the Insertion Effect on the wah-clav Voice it will recall the wah-wah effect of the original Voice. There is an additional (a third) System Effect added in the System block called the Variation. It will have sends from each of the Voices in the Performance. The INSERTION EFFECT PLUG-IN block is available if, and only if, you install a PLG board that is an effect processor (like the PLG100-VH Vocal Harmony board). Typically, the VH board is applied to a microphone coming in the A/D input. On the diagram you can see how the A/D input can be sent to the System Effects. The total signal is delivered to the Master EQ and then on to the stereo outputs.

In the SONG/PATTERN mode:


The effects blocks can be seen. The Tone Generator block can have up to 34 parts delivered to the Effects. Parts 1-16 are the basic AWM2 Motif engine. Parts 17-32 are if, and only if, you have a multi-timbral PLG board installed (like the PLG100-XG), the last two parts will be in the third tone generator block that could be two PLG150 series boards. The DUAL INSERTION EFFECT can be activated on any single part from the internal Motif (1-16) or a Plug in Part if it is a PLG150 Series board (not the 100-XG which has its own effects) or the A/D input. Each part will have individual sends to each of the 3 System effects. And finally, all signal goes through the Master EQ and then on to the stereo outputs.

The algorithms (a fancy word for recipe or specific arrangement) in the Motif Effects are deep. Please refer to the DATA LIST booklet to see the individual parameters and effect types. On page 23-24 of the
DATA LIST you will see a list of the different Effect Categories and Effect Names. Page 25-34 will list the parameters available in a convenient form to see them all and the ranges of control. This is worth
a look. For the real MIDIots: the MIDI Parameter Number is displayed so that you can assign it for remote control. The TABLE heading is for those that need to know the exact value of each setting – refer to the charts on pages 35-38 for exact values for each parameter setting. Basically setting are made to taste…but knowing what is subjective and what is objective is what separates a bogus mix from a brilliant mix.

So much of working with sound is subjective (meaning it is up to you) but some of it is very objective (meaning there is a right and wrong). Sorry, it’s true. Knowing the difference between these two
concepts is the key to greatness in the audio business. For example, when routing signal to an effect do you return more than you send or send more than you return? Gain staging is the objective part of audio. Making sure that you work on the side of SIGNAL when dealing with the SIGNAL-to-NOISE ratio. Send up to the limit of clean audio and return just enough to taste. If you are sending signal to an effect processor that you have configured as an EQ, how much signal do you send? Again this is not subjective, there is a right and wrong. Send all the signal through the EQ. If you were to return dry signal from certain routing scenarios you can cause phase cancellation – a situation where you will be adversely effecting the signals integrity. Knowing what you are doing with effects can mean confident utilization with stunning results. Just experimenting willynilly can lead to bogus results. Of course, you could eventually wind up with something useable but knowledge is power.

The Processors

The REVERB processor and the 12 algorithms available from it are repeated in other processors. This is done so that the same algorithm can be used differently within the same piece of music. When working with a reverb algorithm you can select it by size environment: HALL, ROOM, STAGE, PLATE, WHITE ROOM, TUNNEL, BASEMENT and CANYON. Yamaha was the first company to introduce digital DSP based effects that were based on the actual dimensions of the great concert halls of the world. Rooms have a definite size factor to the space. A Stage is usually a loud reverberant environment. A PLATE is a brilliant emulation of the old 10-foot boxes that used to contain these reverb chambers that used a transducer (driver) at one end and second transducer (microphone) at the other…in between was a large aluminum plate 1/64th of an inch thick. You sent signal from the mixing board’s aux sends and returned up to a maximum of 5 seconds of cool reverb. This was the standard for drums and percussion “back in the day”. The WHITE ROOM will help you design your own environment and can teach you about how the other presets where made. The WHITE ROOM lets you set width-height-depth of the walls and the ‘wall vary’ lets you set the reflective texture of the surface from rug to steel.

Also important in working with reverb is an understanding of how it works in the real world. In most listening situations you are hearing a certain amount of signal directly while the rest of the signal bounces off the environment you are standing in. If for example you are 30 feet from the stage you will hear a portion of the sound direct from the stage but most of it will bounce off of the walls, floor and ceiling to arrive at your position. Because we often record and/or amplify musical signal with a technique called “close-miking”, reverb became a necessary evil (if you will). Close-miking allows us to isolate a particular sound from others in the environment but there is a trade off. To regain some of the distancing we use artificial reverb to do the trick. Recognize that when you put a different amount of reverb on the snare than you do on the flute this does not occur in nature. All the musicians in the same room would naturally have the same reverberant environment with very subtle differences due to positioning in the room. This gets back to the subjective part of the audio business. SO WHAT? You can use effects to taste. There is no rule that says everyone has to use good taste.

An important parameter in all the reverbs is the INITIAL DELAY this is the time before the reverb receives the signal and can help position the listener near-far from the instrument. The HPF and LPF are there to help you shape the reverb signal itself. There is a rule of thumb here: low frequencies reverberate less than high frequencies. Low frequencies tend to hit a surface like a wall and spread out while high frequencies hit a wall and bounce back into the room. This is why when you are sitting next door to the party you only hear the bass through the wall – all the high frequency content reverberates and stays in the source room. So use the HPF (high pass filter) to allow the highs to pass through to the reverb and block the lows from reverberating. Reverb on bass just adds MUD. MUD is not a subjective term but if it is what you want go for it (but yuck, it is mud). Low frequencies don’t bounce back they tend to hug the walls and spread out. If you want cutting bass leave the bass “dry” (without reverb).

The CHORUS processor and the 25 algorithms available are repeated in other processors, as well. These are short time period delays from flanging, to chorusing/phasing and on out to multiple repeats and echos. There are also tempo control delays that can be synchronized to the BPM of the music. Flanging is a very short time delay. If two identical signals are perceived at your ear-brain, you will not be able to perceive them as two separate signals until one is delayed slightly. Imagine 2 turntables in perfect synchronization playing the same record. You would perceive the second one as just making the first signal louder until you delayed one of them a bit. If one slips 1ms behind the other you will perceive what we call flanging. The actual name comes from two reel-to-reel tape decks playing the same 2-track material. The engineer would slow one down by placing his thumb momentarily on the flange (reel). The resulting swirling sound is called flanging. Any delay between exact sync and 4ms is considered flanging. Delays of 4ms-20ms is considered chorusing and somewhere beyond 20ms the ear-brain starts to perceive two separate events, called doubling or echo. Among the algorithms
you will find: Chorus, Celeste, Symphonic, Ensemble Detune, Flanger, Tempo Flanger, Phaser, Tempo Phaser, Delay L/R, Echo, Cross Delay, Cross Delay Mono, Cross Delay Stereo, Tempo Delay ono, Tempo Delay Stereo, and Tempo Cross Delay.

The VARIATION EFFECT is available for use in Performance mode and in SONG/PATTERN mode only (not in Voice mode). It is a processor that has 25 algorithms culled from the Reverb and Chorus processor and some new ones. Chorus, Celeste, Flanger, Phaser, Tremolo, Auto Pan, Distortion, Overdrive, Amp Simulator, Compressor, Noise Gate, Auto Wah, Touch Wah, 3-Band EQ, 2-Band EQ and Harmonic Enhancer. The Variation Effect can be used as an additional Insertion effect (read on).

The DUAL INSERTION EFFECT is made up of a small unit (INS 1), which is the same 25 algorithms found in the Variation Effect, and a large unit (INS 2), which has some 104 innovative effects. The large effect, so called because of the 104 effect types can be the subject of intense study. We will try and introduce you to some of the more unusual and unique ones in this article. In addition to all the reverbs, delays, echos, cross delays, tempo delays, etc., you get some that are available no where else. The V-Flanger for example, is a simulation of a classic vintage flanger device. Faithfully reproducing the response of the old guitar stomp box of the ’70’s. The Early Reflections and Gate Reverb/Reverse Gate are great to recreate classic drum sounds. The Karaoke delays (basically cheesy repeats for that singalong sound). The Auto Pan has settings for front-rear as well as left-right to give a circular feel to a stereo panorama. There are many combination and dual effects in the large insert.

Distortion + Rotary Speaker
Overdrive + Rotary Speaker
Amp Simulator + Rotary Speaker
Distortion + 2-way Rotary Speaker
Overdrive + 2-way Rotary Speaker
Amp Simulator + 2-way Rotary Speaker
Distortion + Delay
Overdrive + Delay
Compressor + Distortion + Delay
Compressor +Overdrive + Delay
Auto wah + Distortion
Auto wah + Overdrive
Touch wah + Distortion
Touch wah + Overdrive
Wah + Distortion + Delay
Wah + Overdrive + Delay
2-way Rotary Speaker
Dual Rotary Speaker

Among the new effects from the Yamaha Samplers A4000/5000 are the Lo-Fi, Low Resolution, Noisy Delay, Attack Lo-Fi, Digital Turntable, Digital Scratch, Auto Synth, Tech Modulation, Jump, Isolator, Slice, Voice Cancel, Ambience, Talking Modulator, Beat Change, Ring Modulator, Dynamic Ring Modulator and Dynamic Filter.

There are 2 different Multi-band Compressor algorithms that are great for fixing and punching up specific frequency ranges. Multi-band compressors are used to finalize mixes and bring out (punching up) specific frequency bands without raising overall gain. The Digital Turntable adds “record surface noise” to your mix. Digital Scratch creates ripping scribbles and wild panning effects. Jump takes wild panning effects to the nth degree. Voice Cancel is a vocal eliminator that can remove center information from a stereo input – you set the frequency range. Does it really work? Well, yes, but it must be
applied to a stereo signal. It works by canceling data between 300-3,000Hz in the center of the signal. So the lead vocal is greatly reduced but so is the snare drum. Your mileage will vary. Slice is also the name of one of the effect algorithms. This one can divide the audio into musical packets that it can pan left and right in tempo. You can select a quarter note, eighth note or sixteenth note slice and there are 5 different pan envelopes and some 10 different pan types.

Why is it called Insertion effect and what is the difference between it and a System effect?

On an audio console you have a series of channels. Channels carry input or returns from a multi-track. Each channel has an on/off button, a fader, and a set of auxiliary sends. These ‘aux’ sends allow each channel to send a portion of the signal to what is called a bus (a group of wires carrying like signal). That bus can then be connected to an offsite effect processor in a rack. The return comes back to the board and is mixed to the stereo signal. That scenario is an example of what happens in Motif with the SYSTEM EFFECTS. That is, when you are in a Song or Pattern and on the MIXING screens, the REVERB, the CHORUS, and the VARIATION Effects are arranged so that access is just like the auxiliary sends of a console.

An Insertion Effect on an audio console is usually accessed via ‘patch points’ (interruption points in the channel’s signal flow) that allow you to reroute all the signal via a patch bay through the desired effect or device. You are inserting a processor on that specific channel alone. This is how the INSERTION EFFECT block works on the Motif. Typically, a reverb effect is setup and a portion of each sound
is sent to it. This is the perfect example of what a System effect is about. However, things like rotary speaker or amp simulator are effects that you might want to isolate on a specific channel. Therefore these type effects are usually accessed as an Insertion Effect. One key advantage of the Insertion Effect is that it can be controlled in real time, during the playing performance. This control is beyond just the send level. In the real world, the size of the room does not change (hopefully) so System effects like reverb are pretty much “set it/forget it”. However, changing the speed of the rotary speaker effect is something that you may want to perform during the song.

Just how are you able to control certain parameters in an Insertion Effect? …via MIDI commands, of course. In the hierarchy of modes in the Motif VOICE mode is the most important when it comes to programming. This is where Yamaha spent hours and hours developing the sounds you play. The programmer’s with great care assembled the multi-samples into waveforms, and combined the waveforms into the Voice and worked with the envelopes, the response to velocity, the pitch, the tuning, the filters and so on. Each sample in the Motif has its own EQ, the meticulous programming goes on for months at a time. Of course part of the arsenal available to the programmers are the Effects. Take a close look at a Voice and its effect structure (again the graphic on the top of page 40 makes the outing clear). Notice the gray boxes or blocks:  the Insertion Effect block, the System Effect block and the Master EQ block. Contrast this to the graphic on page 41, which shows the blocks during a MIX in Song/Pattern mode. The Dual Insertion Effect is available for any single Motif PART 1-16 or P1, P2 P3 part, if they contain a PLG150 series board. In the System Block an additional effect, the Variation, has been added. The Variation Effect is an identical unit to Insertion Effect 1. It is called a Variation because you can use it as a System or an Insert type effect. As a System Effect (because every channel has a send to it and can send a portion of its signal) and as an Insertion when you send maximum level 127 via Variation send and turn that channel’s Dry signal to 0. With the DRY signal removed you are sending all of the signal through the effect. You will find these send levels on the MIXING/ F4 Ef Send screen.

How does the diagram on page 41 of the Owner’s Manual relate to the EFFECT/CONNECT screen?

Navigate to the Motif connection screen. [MIXING] / [EDIT] / [COMMON] / [F6] EFFECT / [SF1] CONNECT.

In the upper left corner you can select the EFF PART. The Tone Generator block Part that will recall its VOICE mode INSERTION EFFECTS. Your choices are PART01 through PART16 or PARTP1 through PARTP3 or OFF. The default is PART01. Directly below the EFF PART box is the word “off” this is where you would make the selection for the external audio source for the PLG100-VH board (were you to have one inserted in the plug-in slot). The source here can be any Part01-16, the plug-in boards P2 or P3 or the A/D input.  (Never P1 because the PLG100-VH must be in the P1 slot).

As you move your cursor to the right in the CONNECT screen you can highlight the VAR, CHO or REV effect and select from among the different algorithms. You can drop into edit any of these via the associated SF (Sub Function) button. So where do you edit the Insertion Effects? They are simply activated from Voice mode. When you go to this same CONNECT screen in VOICE mode you will see SF buttons available to access the INSERTION EFFECT parameters. They do not appear in the MIXING CONNECT screen because the Insertion Effects are part of the VOICE mode. If you need to radically change an effect from the original programming then create a USER Voice with your new Insertion Effect edits and STORE it. Make sure your MIX points to your newly edited Voice location and STORE your MIX. In Voice edit you have 6 Control Sets that allow you to customize how available effect parameters (and others) are controlled. When you are editing a PLG150 Series board you will have 2 Control Sets with in the Motif Voice and as many as the particular PLG board has on its own (this varies per PLG150). Choose your assigned MIDI controls wisely, they will be available when you go to Song or Pattern. The Control Sets will let you control EF1: INS 1 P1 (Insert effect 1 - Parameter 1). Use the DATA LIST booklet to view the MIDI PARAMTER NUMBER and its range.