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Viewing topic "Motif vs Montage (5 Years Later)"

     
Posted on: March 08, 2021 @ 11:07 AM
lastmonk
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Total Posts:  298
Joined  12-17-2013
status: Enthusiast

The Montage sparked a raging debate when it was released in 2016.  It Featured more sounds, some argue, it featured better sounds, it added the FM-X engine to the AWM2 engine for a killer duo. And it offered the super know and motion control.  But it didn’t have the ISS (Integrated Sampler Sequencer) feature of the Motif.  It didn’t have the full blown Pattern and Song sequencers of the Motif(Montage players were forced to the DAW to do serious seqencing) And it didn’t offer any more than Motif’s 2GB potential user sample storage.  And for me personally, I hated back then, and I still hate the ugly user interface and name :-O

But a lot has changed.  Through updates Montage has received new methods of creating FM-X sounds, FM Morph, It has received a pattern sequencer.  There is a sampling function - sortof.  Montage 3.X is a lot nicer than the original.  IMO its evolved to be a legitimate successor to the Motif. 

But the question is how do Montage and Motif compare in 2021?  The Montage has morphed into the music production synthesizer that it was trying to escape from with 8 scenes of pattern sequencing. 

But imo those 8 scenes are not equivalent or better than the 16 sections of pattern sequencing on the Motif. The Montage did add back in the PlayFX and the Pattern Sequencing Jobs (for the most part), but imo the user interface of the Montage (although bigger and a touch screen) actually is not easy to use as Motif’s and the missing built in ISS in th Montage is big for us that integrate sound design, sequencing.  Although Montage has a sampling solution, it requires that a computer be involved.  Any many of us Motif players are Dawless and prefer no-computer-required solutions.  But what about the awesome FM-X engine and FM-X morph feature on the Montage and the Motion control.  They are very nice features that are simply not present or available on the Motif. That’s true.  But its one thing having a capability its another using it in practice, or in practical ways.  The Motif does not have a motion control sequencer.  But the ctlset of the Motif does allow one controller to control multiple parameters, and a single parameter to be controlled by multiple controllers. Not as many as on the Montage, but for practical uses of controllers and parameters Motif hits the spot.  Also Controller Arpeggios on the Motif go a long long way.  Of Course Montage allows for much more exotic control of more parameters.  But against the super knob, Motif holds its own.

The Motif has samples of virtually all of the famous DX7 or FM sounds that can be shaped, smashed, stretched, squeezed, sliced and sculpted anyway we choose using the 18 filters, the user definable LFOs, and Envelopes of the Motif.  In addition to that the Tech Effects on the Motif contain Ring Modulators, AM Modulators, and FM Modulators, that support basic FM sound design.  If we combine that with the many FM samples that are already in the Motif we can get a lot of the FM nostalgia we’re looking for, and do some pretty cool future looking things also.  Keep in mind that running those Ring Modulated, FM sounds into the ISS and slicing and dicing and then re-combining those timbres to make new ones that can then be filtered, shaped, and LFO-ed, and enveloped gives us a rich FM base of sound sources to work from.

But lets give Montage its due.  The Montage has evolved to be an Awesome Music Production Synthesizer and it can now be seen as a legitimate successor to the Motif.  But here in lies the rub.  It may succeed the Motif but it doesn’t actually replace the Motif.  If you have a Montage there are features that the Motif has that even Montage 3.x does not have.  e.g Motif’s 16 sections and opposed to Montage’s 8 scenes, or Motif’s Integrated Sampling Sequencer, as opposed to Montage DAW + 3rd party Sample solution.  And Motif has the same 2GB potential of User sample space that can be directly integrated into Motif’s Sequencing/Sampling Scenario.  On the other hand Montage does have the Motion Sequencer (which is awesome) and FM Morphing, and the FM-X engine.  Motif has some things that Montage doesn’t have and vice versa. The two musical instruments complement each other.

So 5 years later, the Motif still holds up as the masterpiece that it is.  And the Montage has evolved to be a legitimate Music Production Synthesizer.  And if you have either you are very fortunate.  And if you have them both you literally have the state of the art in music synthesis.  Motif + MoDX or Montage + MOXF or MOXF + MODX are good combinations!

If the Montage could just some how get rid of that ugly user interface, maybe its just the color.  Maybe a light blue/dark blue, or light red/burgundy scheme might work.  Or maybe change it to something closer to the Genos interface (which looks pretty good).  Hell just give it the Motif interface and be done with it! :-)

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Posted on: March 08, 2021 @ 12:43 PM
5pinDIN
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Total Posts:  11863
Joined  09-16-2010
status: Legend

There will likely be many who will agree with your assessment (and a few who might disagree), but I’ll limit my comments to one area…

lastmonk - 08 March 2021 11:07 AM

[...]And Motif has the same 2GB potential of User sample space that can be directly integrated into Motif’s Sequencing/Sampling Scenario.[...]

If both of an XF’s flash module slots are filled with a MUTEC 2GB module, then 4GB of User sample memory will be available.  :-)

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Posted on: March 08, 2021 @ 01:04 PM
lastmonk
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Total Posts:  298
Joined  12-17-2013
status: Enthusiast
5pinDIN - 08 March 2021 12:43 PM

There will likely be many who will agree with your assessment (and a few who might disagree), but I’ll limit my comments to one area…

lastmonk - 08 March 2021 11:07 AM
[...]And Motif has the same 2GB potential of User sample space that can be directly integrated into Motif’s Sequencing/Sampling Scenario.[...]

If both of an XF’s flash module slots are filled with a MUTEC 2GB module, then 4GB of User sample memory will be available.  :-)

Damn!  I did not know that!  Thanx 5pinDIN.  Another reason to prize my Motif even more.  4GB Whoaa!

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Posted on: March 20, 2021 @ 02:47 PM
Xeraser
Total Posts:  18
Joined  01-28-2021
status: Regular

I had the chance to sit down and try a Montage at a store and a MODX at a friend’s house and I genuinely couldn’t get into it.

My XF isn’t here yet but I’ve been watching an unhealthy amount of videos on it and it seems so much more hassle-free and immediate.

The UI on the Montage/MODX is so.. janky. I personally think it’s clunky and unresponsive (I can’t tell whether the thing just lags or if the touchscreen is just bad and has a lot of input delay) and just horribly laid out, at least for first time users. (could be worse, Korg’s UIs and UI responsiveness are abysmal and it pains me to say it as a Korg fan) I honestly don’t know how to describe it, it feels like there’s both not enough information on the screen (category search) AND too much information on the screen all at once (sequencer, general editing). The pattern sequencer is probably the most confusing thing on it. It just doesn’t *look* (since I haven’t actually tried one yet) as immediate as the XS/XF. I’ve only spent about six-ish hours total with the Montage/MODX so I could be talking out of my behind.

I think the knob (as a physical control) is pretty cool but also kind of.. eh? I just feel like everyone makes it sound like a huge deal but I honestly can’t see myself using it, it’s in a bit of an awkward spot for me. Using a pedal is so much more convenient and it’d have been cool to have it as second mod wheel instead or a smaller knob somewhere more accessible or even a rotary encoder. I’m not criticizing the way it works, I think it’s really cool to have something this convenient. I just think the current implementation is a bit silly but then again, it’s probably THE “party piece” of the Montage/MODX.

As far as FM goes I don’t care about it and I don’t care to care about it. I’ve had more than enough mid/late 80s cheese and Mega Drive in my lifetime.

My biggest gripe with the Montage is the sounds.
I really love quite a lot of them in terms of sample quality, especially the acoustic ones. But the overwhelming majority of acoustic sounds sound overly bright, almost artificially so. I don’t know how to explain it. They really “cut” through the mix but it’s honestly too much. There’s something unpleasantly artificial and kind of grating about them, particularly brass, strings and guitars. I tried messing with the EQ but I honestly couldn’t solve the problem. The best way I can describe it is that it feels like I’m using Beyerdynamic DT1990s. Okay, maybe it’s a slight hyperbole but yeah.

I genuinely wanted a Montage and even saved up for a used Montage 6 but after falling in love with the XF I really can’t see myself ever owning a Montage/MODX. Still though, props to Yamaha for actually improving on it.

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Posted on: April 27, 2021 @ 10:20 AM
Jim Shoe
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Total Posts:  69
Joined  06-18-2014
status: Experienced

I agree with these posts. Back when this was going on in 2016, I put up a post prior to the release of the Montage, but after the specs were released. That post received the most hits of any post ever. There were positive comments, negative comments, and even hostile ones!

I can see that all of these years later that the debate continues. The Montage while a powerful instrument, was never a replacement of the Motif XF. My fondest wish is that Yamaha would do another run of these instruments with one exception (I’m sure we can think of more) a better computer interface than firewire.

I am the continued proud owner of the XF8, but would love to add an XF7 simply due to it being more portable. You once in a blue moon see used ones on eBay, but used and eBay is not my fondest choice. Besides, they are in demand and go for a high price. Still in such high demand, hmmm.

That said, this post, and the very nicely detailed post to start this thread shows just how glorious this instrument is! I do hope Yamaha reads and listens to these going forward.

Live long and Motif XF!

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Posted on: April 30, 2021 @ 02:51 PM
lastmonk
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Total Posts:  298
Joined  12-17-2013
status: Enthusiast

To be totally honest, If Yamaha were going to reissue the Motif and I could have input on what to add, I wouldn’t ask for much.  The Motif really, truly is a masterpiece.  Its hard to improve on it without just asking for ancillary bells and whistles.  But here are two things that would make it even more formidable.

1) They Yamaha QY 700 Sequencer (which shares a great deal of sequencing architecture in common with the Motif) had a 32 track linear sequencer, and 16 track for patterns for a total of 48 tracks for sequencing.  I would like to see a new Motif with a 32 or 48 track sequencer.  I’ve learned how to do very very large sequences on the Motif by managing Songs, Pattern, Sections, and the Usb storage, so the 1024k limit is not as hard as it originally seemed.  But 32-48 tracks would hit the sweet spot.  The QY700 had 48 tracks and for some reason Yamaha cut the number of tracks back in the QY100 and the Motif.

2) I would add Midi 2.0 and MPE to Motif, the resolution alone is worth the price of admission

The only thing I would add in addition to those two things, is Color!  I would hope that Motif could be produced in 7 colors:  Mauve, Teal, White, Purple, Red, Silver, and Black.  Possibly allowing potential owners to order and pay-for their color of choice.

The Motif is an incredible music production synthesizer and supports the complete process from inception to finished mastered composition.  Both as a stand-alone music production synthesizer or with total integration with a computer based music production environment.

The Motif is also a full blown synthesizer with support for subtractive, AM modulation, FM modulation, granular, and wave table synthesis (for those that are willing to dive deep).  Its only true competition in the market today is the Montage.

The Montage is likely in its twilight years.

Yamaha would do well to reissue a new Motif perhaps:

Motif MPE 8, Motif MPE 7, Motif MPE 6 with Midi 2.0, MPE and an updated sequencer to take full advantage of Midi 2.0 and MPE

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