Yamaha Montage

Powerful next-generation keyboard workstation
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Just as we were going to press, Yamaha gave us the skinny on its new keyboard workstation, the Montage. Available in 61-, 76-, and 88-key configurations, the Montage is based around the company’s new Motion Control Synthesizer Engine, which provides two sound engines—the Advanced Wave Memory 2 (AWM2) and FM-X.

The AWM2, which offers 128-note stereo polyphony, is compatible with earlier generations of Motif libraries (ES/XS/XF Voices) and has nearly 10 times more waveform memory than the MotifXF. In addition, its 1.75 GB of flash memory allows users to load their own samples or additional synth libraries downloaded from yamahasynth.com.

As the name suggests, the FM-X engine provides DX-style FM synthesis with an 8-operator architecture and 128-note polyphony. FM-X was designed to provide a range of timbres, from vintage ’80s tones to modern sounds, and the company plans to offer a converter that will load DX7, DX7II, TX802, and TX816 patches.

The Montage also introduces Motion Sequences, which are tempo-synced control sequences that can involve nearly any parameter in the synth system. The front panel includes dedicated Motion Sequence controls.

The onboard DSP effects include reverb, as well as vintage-style processing (analog delay and phase shifting) and EDM-friendly effects (sidechain ducking, vinyl break, beat repeat, bit crush). Pianists can also take advantage of the damper resonance and high-definition reverb effects, especially with the included Yamaha CFX Premium Grand Piano. Montage owners will also be able to download the Bösendorfer Imperial Grand Piano for free.

Yamaha says that, despite its powerful synth features and dynamic control, the Montage was designed with a streamlined workflow. For example, the interface includes a color touch screen, faders with step-ladder LEDs, and eight rotary encoders. The Super Knob macro-control lets you change several parameters at a time.

The keybeds in the Montage 6 and 7 (61-and 76-key, respectively) have an FSX semi-weighted synth action, while the 88-key Montage 8 provides a fully weighted balanced-hammer action. All three models provide Aftertouch.

For more information about the Montage series, visit yamahasynth.com.