YamahaSynth.com Forums

This is the place to talk about all things related to Yamaha Synthesizers!
  1. natalini
  2. Vanity Monster Sherlock Holmes The Voice
  3. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  4. Thursday, 04 July 2019
the pitchbend of the montage is stepped, this default is even more obvious when you use an external controller for gliding the beast. it is impossible to get a natural bending as you can hear each halftone in the coarse. i cannot figure out why this bad behavior, a such limitation in a professional priced device. it have been already some judicious comments in other threads about this issue. it looks like a smooth bending is not important for montage owners and designers or maybe is there a technical issue at the core of the montage? now that there are some interest from rolli mpe world toward yamaha montage, is this dysfunction does not matter to them to ? that is a pity, montage with his sonic possibilities and the ability to routes controllers should be the best candidate for mpe controllers. i was dreaming to control the montage with the Linnstrument but not be able to get a true bending is juste a severe limitation and a desperation.
Responses (88)
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Montage should respond to 14-bit pitchbend messages. There’s a note that Montage only transmits 7-bits which would cause more severe stepping if you were to use one Montage (or MODX) to control another. You’d shave off half the resolution going that way.

Similarly, other MIDI controllers may not implement the full 14-bits of pitch bend in their messages. I would imagine if you were looking at these in a MIDI monitor, you’d see the LSB data byte as 0 and only the MSB (7 bits) moving when activating the PB wheel.

If only 7 bits are used then +/-24 is going to sound like 13-step microtonal scales.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
So, this microstepping pitchbend is a step backward. It amaze me that we have to push an update for something that should be implemented at first. I was planning to use sample robots for make a set of Indian instruments sampled from my collection of acoustics Indian instruments, sarangi, delruba, sitar, tabla, , some of them I designed myself in India. But with this limitation of the pitchbend message, that is not possible. I should sell the montage and find another platform. Unfortunately, it seems that the montage is not going a big succès in Europe, people and shop are selling the montage with a huge cutting price, you can find for 2500 euro a new montage 7 with one year warranty. Thank you Yamaha, l lost already 1000 thousand euro. Here the link for update this horrible pitchbend that’s sound for me like a scarf on the Yamaha face: but I lost my hope.

Montage/MODX Pitch Bend micro Stepping-like Sound - Not 'Smooth'
https://yamahasynth.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Montage-MODX-Pitch-Bend-micro-Stepping-like-Sound-Not-Smooth/231136-45978
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
So, this microstepping pitchbend is a step backward. It amaze me that we have to push an update for something that should be implemented at first. I was planning to use sample robots for make a set of Indian instruments sampled from my collection of acoustics Indian instruments, sarangi, delruba, sitar, tabla, , some of them I designed myself in India. But with this limitation of the pitchbend message, that is not possible. I should sell the montage and find another platform. Unfortunately, it seems that the montage is not going a big succès in Europe, people and shop are selling the montage with a huge cutting price, you can find for 2500 euro a new montage 7 with one year warranty. Thank you Yamaha, l lost already 1000 thousand euro. Here the link for update this horrible pitchbend that’s sound for me like a scarf on the Yamaha face: but I lost my hope.

Montage/MODX Pitch Bend micro Stepping-like Sound - Not 'Smooth'
https://yamahasynth.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Montage-MODX-Pitch-Bend-micro-Stepping-like-Sound-Not-Smooth/231136-45978


Thanks for Up Voting my idea! ;)

I agree, it is many 'steps' backwards the way pitch bend has been implemented...pun instended! :) One thing I noticed though is that the shorter you set the bend to, the smoother & less stepping it is. If you can get away with most bends being only +/-2 or maybe +/-5, then you won't notice it as much as when it's set to +/-10 or higher.

Hopefully they change it in a future OS update to be the same as they implemented it over 30 years ago on the DX7 synth, which is perfectly smooth!

Although I wish it were smoother & hope they fix it, the Montage is still an awesome Synth with far more polyphony when using multiple engines, than even the Kronos has, not to mention all the quality sounds and functionality that it has. I am quite confident that Yamaha are listening to our feedback & working on providing numerous enhancements, new features & sounds in the not too distant future.

Until then, I find ways to work with what I've got and make it better somehow. I've found that adding some effects like reverbs, delays, pitch changer, etc., can help mask the stepping a fair bit on sounds that I use pitch bend on. For example, I have an 80's rock solo guitar sound, whereby I need to do some dive bomb whammy bar actions, so I have all the effects listed above and kept the down stepping setting to no lower than -5 and the up bend set to +2. It is fairly decent sounding now with all the effects and harder to hear the stepping when bending notes...!

There always seems to be some way to work around things and make the Montage do what you need it to do. Many times it's just a matter of posting on here or other forums and people are quite helpful in giving ideas on how to make it work in a different way than you normally would.
Another perfect example, is when I converted a sound from my DX7II-FD that uses Unison (something they have not implemented on the Montage/MODX, yet...), it took up 4 PARTs on the Montage, each detuned to give the same Unison sound as on the DX7. I wanted to emulate the same Unison as the DX7 using just only 1 PART. I think it was Jason on this forum that suggested trying the Pitch Changer effect on both the Insert A & B of one PART, thus giving 4 extra layers each detuned to taste. That worked for me, so now I can do basically 5 voice Unison using only 1 PART, which is one voice more than was on the DX7's Unison!

All I can suggest is to not give up hope on the Montage, and find ways to make it work as it is now, but also be patient because the OS updates will come, and I suspect some previous Montage owners are going to wish they waited and kept their Montage, as I think there are some really great enhancements, new features & sounds coming our way over the next several years to come! Yamaha have shifted to a software based upgrade methodology whereby they provide features and enhancements via OS updates, instead of the more costly way of redesigning, re-engineering & reprogramming new hardware...
The MODX is the hottest selling synth on the planet and the Montage is the flagship synth, whereby the two are married together with updates/libraries/etc. on the Montage being compatible on the MODX...so what we get on the Montage, will feed the MODX!!
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
thanks Darryl for your suggestions, you keep positive, that's good. what make me give up is the fact that not many montage/modx owners seem concerned about this failure. even Roli does not speak about this issue and only seven votes for this update wish. a wish that should not be a wish because, so far, that is a so basic and essential function that to beg it is near to be insane. and also maybe is there in the montage core architecture something that prevent a smooth and normal pitch bend and this could not be solved?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I am also one of those who was never concerned about this. In fact I did not really notice it because I pretty much never use any pitch bend than 4 half tones. At this level the problem is not apparent.

Out of curiosity: was this better with the Motif?

Note that the work on MIDI 2.0 might help there. I would assume that some update to the Montage will add support for it.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 5
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Montage has already been a platform running elements of MIDI 2.0 for the online demos - so that would be seemingly a lot of work to "throw away" if not released to the public unless Montage is simply used to prototype firmware for other keyboards.

Another thread from BM:
Pitch Bend is handled by 14-bit resolution (has been since the introduction of MIDI in 1983) — higher resolution PB will be implemented as part of the new 2.0 MIDI spec.


Doesn't exactly hint that Montage is going to implement this - but there is some guilt by association if you're optimistic.

Internally, Motif isn't going to be any better. Externally, Motif XF's data list also shows it transmits only 7 bits. So if you're using Motif as a MIDI controller - then presumably you do not get the "fine tuning" portion of the pitch bend feature (at least not 128 of them PER coarse step as would be represented in 14-bit control).

If you're having issue with the stepping of Montage - verify if you are using an external controller to adjust the pitch bend value vs. the native on-Montage pitch bend controller. Presumably, you could get much different results from using one vs. the other. This isn't a matter of the receive logic - but possibly a matter of the device transmitting pitch bend. Unfortunately, using a Motif as a controller or another Montage/MODX will cut pitch bend's resolution down by a considerable amount.

This would also apply to using Montage as a controller for VST instruments.

I would hope internally Montage does use the full 14-bits as documented by the data list and "point of ordered" by BM in a previous message.

When I experiment, I find this is not the case. The internal controller (pitchbend wheel on Montage) will only change pitch when I see the external MIDI pitch bend message change - which is 7-bits. I hear clear stepping using +24 and, unfortunately, do not benefit from the full 14-bits of resolution.

MIDI receive is supposed to respond to all 14-bits, so presumably if you had a "better" MIDI controller than Montage or MODX - you could reduce the stepping if the external controller sent all 14-bits.

When I use MIDI-OX to send all 14 bits or software like "sendmidi" (PC)
sendmidi --out 2 --pitch-wheel 0 XXXX

Where XXXX = an integer 0-16383

I get smooth steps - unlike the pitch bend controller on Montage.

What I get out of this is that although Montage can respond to 14-bits of pitchbend data, if your controller supports it, even the internal pitch bend controller does not feed Montage (itself) 14 bits. So you get these steps no matter what you do unless you have an external controller capable of full pitch-bend resolution. Something a DAW can do - but that's hardly performance friendly for all users.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I have to check if Linnstrument transmit a 14 bit pitchbend data. What I know so far is that when using linnstrument with software sound generator, I get a smooth pitchbend/glide with almost presets.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
It seems that Linnstrument send 14 bit for pitchbend but maybe, I don’t know, as we cannot plug in montage thru usb, but midi din, I will try to test with a daw to see if the limit comes from the midi plug?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 8
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Interesting post on Yamaha musician about pitch bend;

Post by SeaGtGruff » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:58 pm
The stepping is caused when a keyboard responds to the MSB of the Pitch Bend message, but not to the LSB.

The Pitch Bend message uses a 14-bit data parameter so that 16384 different values are possible across the Pitch Bend Range, or from -8192 to +8191. Considering that a semitone is 100 cents, and thus 12 semitones is 1200 cents, spreading a Pitch Bend change of 12 semitones across 8191 or 8192 possible values gives 6 or 7 steps going from one cent to the next, so even though there is stepping, each step is so tiny that the human ear perceives it as a smooth transition.

Some modern keyboards skimp on their Pitch Bend implementation, responding to the MSB but discarding the LSB. That means there are only 128 different values, or from -64 to +63. Dividing 1200 cents by 63 or 64 gives much larger step sizes of nearly 20 cents per step, which is easily heard by the human ear.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 9
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Pitch bend (using the springy circle on Montage) divides the full 16384 values into 128 and evenly will skip values so only 128 of the 16384 are used. If your bend range is wide then having only 128 points makes for less of a bend and more of a scale. The same sort of 7-bit (128 points) output you see on the MIDI bus is used internally when the internal pitch bend is used.

I'm guessing the thought here - and also even MPE spec mentions some of this - that the concern is for flooding the bus with pitch bend data. So perhaps the rationale behind at least the external 7-bits is to keep the bus from saturating with pitch bend messages while you travel through one rotational angle of PB to another. Internally, there's possibly more resources (at least timing is known) - but the pitch bend controller (springy circle) seems to do the same thing external as internal.

Montage, in any case, doesn't just ignore the LSB. You'll see a fixed "mapping" of the MSB/LSB (0xEn) across all bits. Due to skipped values - you effectively get 7-bits. Again, this only applies when using the internal controllers since none of them seem to map to anything more 0-127 (7-bit). External controllers with 14-bits are supported including just raw MIDI messages from your computer.

I tend to use MIDI-OX's SysEx scratchpad to send even raw MIDI commands. Because it doesn't force sending 0xF0/0xF7 book-ends, you can send any arbitrary command if you type in the right hex values. Although sendmidi ended up being easier to send 0xEn since it already supports 14-bit from the command line using integer values.

I guess it's important to understand the distinction between the pitch bend controller - which is limited vs. the pitch bend MIDI implementation - which isn't "skimped" as the quoted other forum post talks about for some (not Montage/MODX) keyboards.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 11
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
For what it’s worth, the Roli Rise 25 generates Pitchbend messages with values that differ by as little as 2 from one to the next. When the MIDI recording is played back into the Montage, the pitch changes steadily with no stepping.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 12
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The rise must have a +1/-1 setting. This would, how Roli does it, give you 16384/2 points of pitch offset.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 13
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Portamento must use different MIDI parameters than Pitch bend does, because it pitch changes up and down the keyboard with no stepping sound.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 14
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Portamento does not need to transmit anything. You press the notes and if portamento is on then it will glide between the notes. That does not require any additional data.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 15
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Jason: I guess it's important to understand the distinction between the pitch bend controller - which is limited vs. the pitch bend MIDI implementation - which isn't "skimped" as the quoted other forum post talks about for some (not Montage/MODX) keyboards.

I will like too, but using linnstrument witch send 14 bit data pitchbend, the Yamaha respond as the pitchbend wheel, à stepped curve. If somebody get a smooth pitchbend with let say a 12 -+ setting with an external controller, please let say to us. What mister bad have to say about this issue, is it or not possible to get a smooth pitchbend from external controller in the montage, but it looks like that is not possible.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 16
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I've already done it with sendmidi. That's my external "controller".
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 17
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Closer examination shows even 14-bits are not acted upon. I've written a script to smear pitches and Montage did not actually change any pitch until multiple values were sent. So values within ranges of the 14-bit data are processed as the same pitch by the tone generator.

Yes, Montage accepts 14-bits. But doesn't do anything with the extra bits. Below "--out 2" targets my MONTAGE-1 (port 1) and the first argument after --pitch-wheel is the channel number where 0=MIDI channel 1. I have the "Fat Sine" preset recalled and change the PB range as -48/+24 (maximum spread).

sendmidi --out 2 --pitch-wheel 0 9983
sendmidi --out 2 --pitch-wheel 0 9984
... at 9984, which is binary ‭0010011100000000‬ the pitch changes with a large step (range set to -48/+24)
sendmidi --out 2 --pitch-wheel 0 9985
through ...
sendmidi --out 2 --pitch-wheel 0 10111
pitch does not change (between 9994 to 10111)
sendmidi --out 2 --pitch-wheel 0 10112
pitch changes with a large step . Binary for 10112 is ‭0010011110000000‬

Values 99945-10111 are ignored.

... so the two inflection points of pitch:

0010011100000000
0010011110000000‬

You can see that any non-zero bits in the lower 7 bits are ignored.

0010011100000001 is same pitch as 0010011100000000
0010011100000010 is same pitch as 0010011100000000
... and so on until
0010011110000000 ... lower 7 bits "roll over" to zero and then pitch changes.

I'm not sure how applicable the comment that Montage uses 14-bits internal is (from BM's prior post) because the tone generator doesn't USE 14 bits. Yes, it doesn't lock up the keyboard or throw an error or go completely wacky. However, bits 0-7 of MIDI message (LSB) 0xEn (n=ch #) are ignored in terms of pitch shifting. Non-zero values in the LSB are masked as if they were zero.

On the MIDI bus, this looks as (for MIDI channel 1):

0xE0 0x00 0x4E
... same pitch output as
0xE0 0x01 0x4E
... through
0xE0 0x7F 0x4E
(no change in pitch)
0xE0 0x00 0x4F
pitch changes

Pitch bend is generically 0xEn <LSB> <MSB> (MSB is 2nd byte) n=ch # zero-based.

... so we do seem to have a 7-bit tone generator in a 14-bit world. Bad if you need wide ranges and small steps.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 18
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Link to previous inference that Montage/MODX uses the full 14-bits:

https://yamahasynth.com/ask-a-question/unison-montage-fm-x#reply-82920

Several: Points of Order...
Pitch Bend is handled by 14-bit resolution (has been since the introduction of MIDI in 1983) — higher resolution PB will be implemented as part of the new 2.0 MIDI spec. There are 16,384 increments of PB, If you Set the PB Range to -2/+2, it’s obvious that the 16,384 increments will sound smoother over that distance, as opposed to what happens when PB Range is Set to -12/+12. That’s what you’re hearing.


When, in fact, Montage's AWM2 and FM-X engines appear to "throw out" 7 bits on all fronts. Using internal controllers. Using external controllers. Or a more controlled environment sending specific MIDI commands from a PC.

Saying Montage has 16,384 increments of pitch bend is similar to the TV marketing around HDR. How TVs claim HDR support which really means they accept movies/content which provide HDR data - but do not actually respond to it. Or only provide a subset of the range (bits) in the visual domain similar to Montage's limitations on pitch bend in the audio domain. These days - folks are fairly "in tune" with the marketing and see "HDR support" as "fake HDR".

Instead of 16,384 increments, Montage provides 16,384/128 = 128 increments. The result of throwing out those LSB 7 bits.

... so Montage/MODX doesn't need MIDI 2.0 to gain 16,256 more increments of pitch bend. Montage/MODX can just implement the 1983 solution in a full-scale manner if that's at all possible. MIDI 2.0 will give even more resolution than the 1983 spec - but currently full 1983 resolution is not realized.

Just so you know - MIDI 2.0 provides 32 bits of pitch-bend resolution. If the trend continues (and MIDI 2.0 is "implemented" ), this means Montage could be throwing out 25 bits of information or 33,554,432 increments instead of the 7 bits or 16,256 it throws away today.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 19
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Thanks, Jason, this is then the issue. But it looks that you do the job that Yamaha team should do. If you were not here, this forum will be just empty. I will like to have some return from the people in charge there, but maybe is it just holidays. It is interesting to discover some bad and even hidden failure of the Montage, how is it possible to step back like this in a 4000 bucks synth? Designer fault or budget economy? Both are just obscene to me and put me in a very uncomfortable state.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 20


There are no replies made for this post yet.
Be one of the first to reply to this post!
2021 © Yamaha Corporation of America and Yamaha Corporation. All rights reserved.