- Super Knob
- Touch Screen
- “Live Set” Mode
- 2 Powerful Synth Engines: AWM2 & FM-X
Game-Changer… Next-Level… Whole New World – These descriptions might sound cliché, but as soon as you get your hands on Yamaha’s new Montage, you’ll realize it is all that and much more! Read on——>
You know you’re facing a Big-Time challenge when you try to outdo the best-selling keyboard in the world, the Motif; but the Genius-Designer Guys at Yamaha proved they are up to the task. Here are the Headlines:
By far the coolest feature of this new keyboard beast. Add an Expression Pedal to control it and this is da BOMB! For me, it’s the perfect solution for so many challenges I face on stage while trying to blend, modulate, and change instruments. For example…
> Check Out: ‘CFX and Strings’ – How many times a night do you start a song on grand piano and need to bring in a string section on the chorus? At least half a dozen for me. With the Super Knob / Expression Pedal, now I’ll be able to do this without ever taking my fingers off the keyboard.
> Check Out: Any of the ‘Pipe Organ’ sounds – Notice how with the Super Knob at minimum you hear only soft ‘flute’ pipes, and as you increase using the Expression Pedal you add ranks of pipes exactly as you would using the Crescendo Pedal on a Cathedral Organ; until with the Super Knob at ‘full’ you have literally “pulled out all the stops!”.
Superb Sonic Quality
Let’s put it this way… On stage with the Alan Parsons Project I’m playing tons of orchestral parts; gorgeous string lines / brass figures and stabs / detailed woodwinds / every conceivable type of percussion, timpani, etc – I’ve been using the most expensive sample libraries on the market live, and about 5 minutes into auditioning the Montage, I’m thinking “…Why am I bothering with these Libraries; I could just use the Montage for those orchestral sounds!” The sonic quality is THAT good.
> Check Out: The ‘CFX’ Grand Piano – I have 4 state-of-the-art keyboards in my live setup, and I always turn to Yamaha for my grand piano; it’s the heart of everything I do. I just turned on the Montage and played ‘CFX Grand’ for 5 minutes… No-Brainer / Game Over – This is my new grand piano sound live on stage.
SO many features, SO little time in this article!
> Check Out: The Touch Screen is very intuitive and very fast – I haven’t even seen the manual yet and everything about the interface screen is working exactly as I would expect. Even on the brand new features, my first guess with the Touch Screen is always getting me precisely where I want to go… no crazy-deep menu diving required… NICE.
> Check Out: ‘Live Set’ mode – BANG-DONE. I’m already putting my sounds/performances in Set List order for our concert this weekend in just 2 clicks. Last minute change in the Green Room? No Problem – the ’Swap’ command allows you to change the song order instantly. This feature is light-years better than the “Favorites” function on most keyboards. 16 songs right there in front of you on the Touch Screen. One touch brings up the next sound or you can increment up using a foot switch. For me, this all means one thing: I’m thinking way less about menus and patch changes and way more about playing great… Really Nice.
> Check Out: Typically referred to as ‘Patch Remain’, the Montage’s “Seamless Sound Selection” is a big answer for me. Several songs where I have literally just an 8th rest to change sounds, I’ve always been frustrated because the first sounds cuts off abruptly as soon as you switch… NO MORE! With the MONTAGE I can actually switch to the next instrument while I am still holding the chord with the first sound; and it will keep sustaining until I start the next phrase with sound #2 – Even the reverb tail of sound #1 is still there as I am playing sound #2… Very Nice.
Fasten your seat belt! If you want to crossfade between multiple sounds / modulate attack velocity or filter emphasis / animate arpeggiated grooves / all in tempo with the song, and without ever taking your fingers off the keys, the Montage is the axe for you. Add the Super Knob, controlled by the Expression Pedal to the Motion Sequences that are already moving parameters like sweeping filters and modulating arpeggiators, then throw in 8 ‘Scenes’ that recall complete snapshots of the entire keyboard…and you can create a universe of sonic color, dynamics, and tonal variety while your hands stay on the keys where they belong. Definite Poetry in Motion.
Montage by the Numbers
2 Powerful Synth Engines – AWM2 is for sample-based sounds, and comes from the factory with 10 times the wave memory of a stock Motif XF! Tons of gorgeous sounds from the Seattle Symphony, from vintage synths, classic keyboards, drum machines, and much more. Then there’s the FM-X engine, which is a completely re-designed 21st century take on FM. With this you can go totally retro DX-7 all the way to surprisingly warm analog-sounding synth leads / thundering bass sounds / aggressive brass / swirling motion pads and much more. Layer these two engines together and you have a serious creative palette at your fingertips. And with the AWM2 engine you get 128 stereo polyphony (twice that of the Motif XF) plus an additional 128 note polyphony from the FM-X (translation: HUGE!)
Complete Backwards Compatibility – If you spent the buck$$ for any of the brilliant expansion sounds in your XF, like the Chick Corea Rhodes, or the Alan Parsons Imperial Grand Piano, have no fear – they’ll feel right at home in your new Montage. In fact, they’ll actually load much faster due to the 1.75 GB of Flash Memory built right in.
There just isn’t room in one article to touch on all the features that really deserve mention – Great sounding studio quality D>A converters, built-in MIDI interface, 16 stereo FX slots, great new FX emulations, super-easy interface to navigate, and much more.
Summary – Just buy it! You wouldn’t hire a doctor that didn’t use state-of-the-art instruments – You wouldn’t hire a builder that didn’t use state-of-the-art tools. If you are a professional musician, you need to play a state-of-the-art instrument; and the Montage is exactly that. And it will be for many years to come. I’ve been playing a Motif on stage for 15 years, since it first came out… Call me 15 years from now and I’ll betcha this new Montage will likely still be right here by my side!