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  1. Rod
  2. Sherlock Holmes The Voice
  3. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  4. Tuesday, 18 June 2019
May I make a plea for what I think would be a simple adjustment for the next update? As a sound producer, I use 'Favourites' to select the sort of sounds I expect to use in my next project. From a number of Libraries kept on the USB stick. I load one, maybe 300 sounds on it, and select perhaps 40 as likely candidates. Then I have a problem - I have 40 Favourites but can't do anything with them. I would like to either save them as a Library to the USB - or - import them as Performances to the User area. Maybe both as options! I can't do either at the moment - I have to convert each one separately to a User Pf - and even though I am now something of an expert it still takes a lot of boring time - I can manage 2 a minute, so 40 will take me 20 minutes (unless I trip over myself trying to go faster, and screw up). So to be able to avoid that would be very helpful.

Unless, of course, it is already possible by some combination of button presses I don't know about? Thanks for any info ...
Responses (14)
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Sounds like you’re ready for the John Melas MONTAGE Waveform Editor and his Total Librarian Tools... what is now taking you 20 minutes can be done literally in seconds (I’m guessing about the 120 seconds you now are waiting for data to assemble). It’s literally drag and drop.

You work on assembling the data on your computer... the end result is the same, a new .X7L file with just the data you want in it. You can, as you know, accomplish building a new Library on the instrument, but because the computer has the RAM available you can work with assembling the data totally offline...
It’s such a workflow plus, that you’ll never do it any other way. Seriously.


Favorite Bank Workflow (current firmware)

Extra Credit: Using the Favorite Category
As to the “Favorite” Bank. If I understand what you’re saying, you’d like to be able to mark a Performance and then take the batch of marked Performances and move them to a new Library or to the User Bank area, (or maybe both options).

Well, let’s look at that workflow... you would need to assemble data in the User Bank to make a Library File, any way. Moving the data to the User Bank area is always the first step in onboard Library creation. A Library is a capture of the current User Bank area written so that the file, when loaded as “Contents Type = Library”, will be installed to your Flash memory: the Waveforms, and the samples they organize, are burned to ROM.

When you use the “Library Import” this is what you are doing... marking the Performance to be moved to the User Bank. The Library Import operation must be handled in a single-operation so that duplicate Waveform imports can be resolved and eliminated. Therefore it is a separate operation from marking a “Favorite”

“Favorite” has a different purpose, and while the act of marking it is somewhat similar, it’s purpose is in the “search” area. The goal being ease of finding a Performance. A Favorite can be located anywhere, Preset, User, or in a Library. It simply forms a completely user-created Category search field. The concept being... MONTAGE has (currently) 2,655 Presets, you can have 640 Performances in the User area, which means you could house some 5,120 Performances in your eight Libraries.

That means, current firmware, you can have 7,775 Performances on board in permanent ROM, plus 640 Performance locations in the User Bank.

A recommended workflow might be to assemble your Performances so that they are all in memory (ROM) and then you can work from that ROM. When your entire compliment of MONTAGE sounds are onboard the synth, that’s when Favorite can serve you best. It creates a viewable field respecting all of the Attribute, Main and SubCategory definitions.

Each new project starts with initializing the USER BANK. [UTILITY] > “Settings” > “System” > “Initialize User Data”. I do this because this Project can ultimately have its own File... which I can restore and add to when necessary during the life cycle of the Project.

If all of your sounds are accessible in ROM, it eliminates the need to care about *where* you are getting them from. Once you have efficiently filled your FLASH, your Waveforms wind up with “permanent” homes. This means Bulk Dump utilities like MONTAGE CONNECT and Media Bay become extremely useful. Because my Library installation is now as permanent as the Factory Presets, I can use a program like MONTAGE CONNECT or Cubase’s “SoundBrowser” to capture and restore sounds in seconds.

I can audition from hundreds of Performances (Preset, Library), I can mark as Favorite those I am considering using on this project. As a “search” function Favorite shines... It maintains the Main and SubCategory headings... so Favorite > Piano > Acoustic; Favorite > Brass > Ensemble actually works to find those I’ve designated useful for this project, specifically.

If I really want to make a separate Library of the sounds used in this Project, then and only then would I use “Library Import” on Data that utilized custom Waveforms.

This will not work for you...
If you are constantly loading different Libraries, either because you can’t keep all your data loaded, or you have more data than will fit in your instrument... you will need to develop a different workflow. Skip the Favorites routine for when the data is already in place — it’s really a “search” enhancement, not an “import” data enhancement.

If you are loading a new Library (one that does not have a ‘permanent’ home in your system)... and want to pick certain sounds, here is the workflow that might be a “best practice” recommendation:

The Melas Waveform Editor will allow you a workflow as follows...
Load the Library to the MONTAGE so you can audition sounds
Open the same file in the MONTAGE Waveform Editor.
Play through the Performances, find one you would mark, and then go to the Editor, drag its title from the Library listing into a blank MONTAGE Library field, drop it. This act will bring along everything that allows it to sound/play properly including Waveforms and Arpeggios.
Continue auditioning sounds in the MONTAGE, picking those sounds you like; drag and drop their title to the new Library field in the Waveform Editor as you go. The Editor will be able to sort out Duplicates and ensure efficiency... even if you go back and wish to add Performances later, you can have the Editor find and remove Duplicate Waveforms.
Name the Library File something that reminds you what Project it goes with.
Export the .X7L file to a thumb drive.
(Gone will be all of the wait time as MONTAGE does the ‘heavy lifting’ of copying and repointing each Element to the appropriate location to find the Waveforms and Arpeggios it requires because they are now in a different Bank location).

Hope that helps... I should mention, there is no one-way you have to work. Adjust your workflow as necessary. The Favorite Bank function is not currently linked to the selection process for data repointing (importing). A Favorite can be from any Bank. Importing, necessarily, has its own selection method which is specific to moving data from a Library ROM location to the User area while *repointing* each and every Element used so it finds the newly copied Waveform data. Because the Import functions ‘adds to’ (rather than overwrites) the target Bank data... the process is dynamic. New data is sent to the ‘lowest numbered empty’ location in the User area.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Oh BM - what would I do without you! I do have the full set of John Melas tools, which I bought for a project I was then working on, but discovered I could do what I was planning on doing faster on Montage than using the JM tools! Forgotten what it was now, too ... however, I decided I would not use the computer any more with the Montage in that I am not doing complicated things like making music - just making sounds. Your comprehensive overview made many good points and rang several bells ... leading me to question my work practices. I am a creature of habit, and tend to run on rails rather than look at it from another angle. Which I have now done - of course you're right that I would need to convert the Favorites to User Pfs before creating a new Library - but do I need to convert to User Pfs in the first place? Found I don't. I can use the Favorites as a source file directly for initial audition (with a pre-selected Part 1). For some reason I had not considered that - habit again. So I created my own problem out of nothing. Which you, in your inimitable manner, made me see. I know that the JM tools and the computer may make things quicker - but I'm an old dog, and like to try and keep it all 'in house' so to speak. Thanks again!

Incidentally, some time ago I half-remembered being able to add Pfs to an existing Library, which you said isn't possible. Well, you were right! I found that my half-remembered method was simply clicking on the existing Library on the USB instead of 'Save as new file' and the User Bank over-wrote what was in that Library. It was of course necessary to load that Library and 'Import to User' to begin with - then add the new Pfs and save the lot again. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing ...
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
You can add to library files - just not library slots on the keyboard. You have to update the files offline then delete / re-install libraries. Your options on-Montage are delete an existing library or add a library to an open slot.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi Jason - I've taken the computer out of the Montage circuit - but there is a third option on Montage that saves a little non-productive time. Load and import a Library from USB, add a few new Pfs to that collection, then Save not as a New File, but to the same Library by clicking on it. You are warned the Library will be over-written, which is exactly what's wanted, and it saves having to delete the old one and creating a new one. As a bonus I can change or delete any file already in that Library while it's in the User area.

I now use the 'Favorites' file as if it were a Library, and can audition each with my pre-selected Part 1 using the 'Part Control' function for relative volumes to get a good idea of its suitability, without converting them all to User files as I did before. Considerably eases and speeds up the work-flow.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Yes, you are adding options that you can do TO the User bank. I was focusing only what you can do TO Libraries as a follow-up to your comment:
... add Pfs to an existing Library, which you said isn't possible. Well, you were right!
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 5
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Ah, got you! But without the computer (self-inflicted!) it's no go ... what would be useful as an update is the 'batch' facility, perhaps. That is, set up an operation to do something, then press Batch (probably 'Shift' + another key) to carry out that same operation on every Pf in the Favorites folder. It soon gets unwieldy using it in the production chain - one is reluctant to 'Unset' something that took so long to 'Set' - more so if there's a further possible use for it later. I've started converting batches to User Pfs again (takes 4 button presses per Favorite plus the navigation). Navigation would be helped if Montage didn't revert to Square One every time you press 'Category Search' - another candidate for the next update - the option to return to where you came from. Never satisfied, I hear Yamaha mutter ...
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I agree with you about the category search, I find it very frustrating that it reverts back to square one every time and you can’t tell it to remember your search criteria.

I’ve been adding performances to Live Sets but every time I save to a Live Set and then go back to my search I have to enter all the criteria again. It would be great to have a ‘hold’ option so that you can say which of the entered criteria will be remembered.

For instance I had narrowed my search down with text but also told it to just list favourites. I had to re-enter every from scratch every time I saved one to a Live Set and then went back again.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
There has been previous discussion regarding [CATEGORY SEARCH]. Several threads. Here's just one:

Date: April 4 2017, Source: https://www.yamahasynth.com/ask-a-question/montage-feature-requests-for-your-consideration
Return to previous search location (exact page) when pressing Category Search button as opposed to defaulting back to "All" every time. (Finding your previous location when coming back to Category Search after using the options in the Utility section can take 30+ button presses due to amount of patches a Library can store)..
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 8
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I'm waiting for an update for "memorise last category search" since i bought the keyboard, almost two and a half years ago, made some threads but all in vain...and what upsets me the most is why we should buy J.M. tools for managing libraries, performances...no disrespect for the developer, but Yamaha should have provided this type of software for free if they managed to make the arhitecture of this keyboard so cumbersome...
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 9
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
With the older architecture - before the keyboard was built upon an OS and more "hard coded" - I would be more inclined to give passes on the "GUI" and resulting usability because in that sort of environment, changes are more painful. The synths have been running the GUIs on Unix/Linux for some time now - so there is more flexibility in that department. Staging the DAW remote control is one example (new menus, new stuff) - and other retro-fitting to menus demonstrates that building the keyboard on standards (Linux) with a flexible architecture helps in the "wedge-in-feature" department. It also makes it easier during development stages to try some things out and do usability testing and react to this. Not to go to deep into this - really, I'm saying now I'm more inclined to think some of these historically hard-to-use features should receive some attention (like the file system - which includes library/performance shuffling, loading, etc). That a computer is better at this is true to a point. A typical computer has a physical keyboard which can make data entry easier. But we have a model for other experiences like tablets. The interface is much like a tablet. Touch screen, built on Linux (just like Android). Is there a tablet version of JM tools? Not sure - maybe not - but there's a huge gap between ease of use for some of these features as of today and where they could be. There's a class of things that JM tools does that Montage/MODX does not ever need to do. All of the sampling stuff like loop points, cross-fading, etc. But then there are things that Montage/MODX do today but so clumsily that Yamaha suggests using the computer and staying away, if at all possible, from the on-keyboard way of doing the same sorts of things. The state of this isn't because of a limitation of the hardware - or limitation of what the software running on this hardware could do. It may be too late now to steer the ship into a more usable on-platform state (resources, dependencies of certain things not changing because of ripple effect if change was made, etc). The issue goes back earlier to the design phase. The trend for past keyboards, in the areas where things are difficult to do on Montage/MODX, is reflected in past generations. So some of this stuff seems to be embedded in tradition. I'm looking forward to future products where usability is looked at through a different lens and efficiency of use is revamped. How many clicks to do XYZ? Is it intuitive? Powerful, configurable, and elegant?

I do see some things changing. Montage/MODX has some areas of elegance enhancement. The CP series is testdriving a new approach in that space. Things are not necessarily stuck into one track. I'm optimistic.

I also agree about the JM tools tax. For a very long time there were things you just couldn't do without these tools. The tools were referenced as the only game in town to create custom Waveforms to load into Montage. Now there's Samplerobot (and free) - so that needle moved - but not without a year or more of being "force fed" JM Tools. Nothing against any 3rd party here - I'm just not a fan of the approach that was taken (Yamaha's approach - JM is in the clear). Take features away without having some replacement (that's included). Cubase was/is an OK "replacement" for the onboard sequencer. You may not dig the loss of a hardware sequencer - but at least there's a path and strategy from day 1 to give customers some form of "replacement". Sampling finally got this together - although there was a big gap. Not sure Soundmondo is a reasonable replacement for the previous Motif editors -- but it's the closest thing as a "replacement". Maybe a 1/4 replacement. I guess this is where they would say use JMT instead. The strategy here is Yamaha's. There was a big opportunity here to make Melas, Yamaha, and the entire user base one big happy family. Some are happy. Some are not. Divided/fractured.

@Marius

In summary, I completely agree with your opinions here.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 10
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Oh BM - what would I do without you! I do have the full set of John Melas tools, which I bought for a project I was then working on, but discovered I could do what I was planning on doing faster on Montage than using the JM tools! Forgotten what it was now, too ... however, I decided I would not use the computer any more with the Montage in that I am not doing complicated things like making music - just making sounds. Your comprehensive overview made many good points and rang several bells ... leading me to question my work practices. I am a creature of habit, and tend to run on rails rather than look at it from another angle. Which I have now done - of course you're right that I would need to convert the Favorites to User Pfs before creating a new Library - but do I need to convert to User Pfs in the first place? Found I don't. I can use the Favorites as a source file directly for initial audition (with a pre-selected Part 1). For some reason I had not considered that - habit again. So I created my own problem out of nothing. Which you, in your inimitable manner, made me see. I know that the JM tools and the computer may make things quicker - but I'm an old dog, and like to try and keep it all 'in house' so to speak. Thanks again!

Incidentally, some time ago I half-remembered being able to add Pfs to an existing Library, which you said isn't possible. Well, you were right! I found that my half-remembered method was simply clicking on the existing Library on the USB instead of 'Save as new file' and the User Bank over-wrote what was in that Library. It was of course necessary to load that Library and 'Import to User' to begin with - then add the new Pfs and save the lot again. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing ...
Each person must find their own workflow. Even if you are “not doing complicated things like making music - just making sounds”, I think you will find that computer’s principal strength is organization. That’s been a difficult sell, as you can see from those protesting that the elegant manipulation of data should all be magically included in the product.

And they are right... but it’s simply not practical to do this. It simply adds cost, and the product quickly becomes unaffordable by the target audience... and that being the case, removing redundant services or features that are so commonplace among the target audience to where putting them in the product is redundant. (Serious sampling folks sample on a computer). Because the majority of the audience doing an activity uses a dedicated tool for that activity.

Once your custom Waveforms are in permanent place, Bulk Dumping (MONTAGE CONNECT, Media Bay) becomes an easy, affordable, wholly practical way to manage individual Performances. For the vast majority of users, those with just one MONTAGE or one MODX, who have less Library data than the 1.75 or 1.0GB space provided, who don’t and who never create their own sample data... (because they simply don’t have the hundreds of thousands of dollars of gear/logistics to sample their own orchestra, properly), it’s for those folks that the sampler was eliminated from this new series of products.

If you have lived in a cave, you may still believe that lots of people still sample in a hardware device (but you would be deluding yourself, I’m afraid). Similar thing with traditional sequencing functions in hardware. We’ve heard all the arguments concerning the hassle of having to connect to and configure a computer every time you get a musical idea. And have dealt with that via the “Performance Recorder” (whose purpose is to quickly capture that inspiration as either MIDI or Audio). Your musical idea can be programmed (create the Performance) in the synth engine, then immediately documented as MIDI (drag n drop-able to your favorite DAW directly through the USB connection) or documented as 44.1kHz/24-bit wav that can be shuttled over to your DAW via a thumb drive.

Once the data is in the DAW you can add tracks to it.

True this doesn’t serve everyone, but it does land closer to the target customer goal (an affordable but no compromise Synthesizer).
If we put EVERYTHING in it would be certainly over $10,000 _ at Yamaha we do that, when necessary (lol).

The CS80 or should I say, the legendary CS80? It was actually the “cost down”, “portable” version of the Yamaha GX1 synthesizer.
“Cost down”, yet it was $6900 in 1976 dollars.... yikes (that’s like over $30,000 today)
Portable, yet it was 220lbs... double yikes!

The real deal was the Yamaha GX1, it sold for $60,000 back in 1973 (that’s well over $340,000 in today’s economy)
It weighed over 850lbs without its four 300lbs speakers. Total rig was over 2000lbs. and that’s still pretty heavy in today’s economy!

In reality, these products landed just ever so slightly above that volume zone median price point/practicality point (ya think!?!)
But I shutter to think where Synthesis would be if Yamaha hadn’t attempted these products. Changed the world in their own way. Let’s just say we wouldn’t be sitting here having this conversation.

You (as a manufacturer) can put ‘everything’ in a product, but then you must remember the price point/practicality point for the target audience.
Fact is that the computer is an option for the majority (not all) but the majority of the target MONTAGE/MODX audience... and in many cases it has become the preferred option for certain tasks.
Definitely/certainly for organizing sounds... if you ever get hip to doing your organizing on the computer, I think you’ll find new, more efficient ways to get at your sounds. I understand getting set into how you always worked... it’s a comfort zone.
But if you accumulate massive amounts of sounds, you’ll want to have an elegant way to audition them when you need to hunt down that one “right sound”.

Suggestion: look into the Media Bay feature of Cubase (doesn’t matter if you use nothing else in Cubase... the Media Bay is the thing).
A separate engine for organizing all media on your computer... this includes videos, wav, mp3, loops, audio clips, synth sounds, etc., etc., etc. MONTAGE CONNECT is the portal through which you can create VST PRESETS from your MONTAGE data to the Media Bay’s Sound Browser.

It’s a tool that, once apart of your workflow, becomes one of those things you wonder how you ever worked without it. Yes, you can organize the data with just the tools you purchased included with the Synthesizer... this doesn’t mean that an external program dedicated to the task of organizing, ranking, and recalling will not be useful. It will. You can look at data in ways that serve your needs. You can even setup Audition capabilities — makes the task of finding “that specific bass sound” that much easier.

If you’re in a studio situation where you want to have access to tons of sounds...all your sounds... be they hardware synths, software synths, whatever. You can just move through them without having to know *where* it comes from. (In working with clients, I often remove the burden of telling them what synth or what technology is making the sound before they hear it, I’ve found they pre-judge sounds when you tell them its source. I want them to choose solely on the appropriateness of the sound itself, not whether it’s FM-X or a VSTi

You should also expect to get more when you add utilities to your basic setup. That is why they exist, after all. To enhance the experience. Yes you can “import” data on the product. Expect to do it quicker when you add your (expensive) computer with its ability to cut/copy/paste and organize. This is still ‘news’ to many who feel this same elegance found in software should be built in... I know it could be (who doesn’t) but I have a little closer perspective on how much that might impact the end price of the product — and what that means to the ultimate success of the product.

GX-1’s are necessary — and if only a handful of musicians can afford it, so be it. It was proof of concept
That was not the goal here with the current synths.

Have you tried the Media Bay yet?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 11
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Reference to "Media Bay" in practice with Montage Connect: https://youtu.be/5orjucDcoyI?t=248

The link skips to the mention of "Media Bay" - you would want to rewind this tutorial to earlier locations to gather all the preceding context.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 12
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
@Rod,
From two years ago
See this post on Media Bay
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 13
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Thanks guys - I accept that computers can do some things better. Absolutely. It's just my personal aversion ... I quite enjoy devising a useably brief type code for categorising Pfs, including a degree of cross-referencing - on two occasions I have had to revise everything I'd done up to that point by not having thought far enough ahead. Being a complete amateur with no commercial connections whatsoever leaves me free of the need to be either prolific or precise - I just enjoy fiddling about and don't mind the restrictions I place upon myself. But this does not excuse Montage for not being as effective a synth as it should be!

I've posted an unrelated question separately that's niggled at me for years ...
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 14
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