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  1. Robin
  2. The Voice
  3. MONTAGE
  4. Monday, 25 April 2016
I'm very excited about the Montage. I'm dying to see more of the sound editing.
The Montage surely is promoted to be a live performance instrument, but let's not forget it's a synthesizer at heart.
I can't wait to try messing around with motion sequencing together with FM-X, it seems like a stunning combo.

I have a few questions, I'll just line'em up.

1. Will it be possible to make drum kits based on FM-X? (FM is just awesome for percussion sounds).
2. Will the hardware controls work as editor controls when in sound edit mode?
3. How does the polyphony usage work? Will 8 elements/operators use 8 notes?
4. Can I order a DX7 themed Version (it would sound better this way!)?
5. Is the Keybed on Montage 6/7 similar to the Motif XS 6/7? (XS had pretty good keybed, never tried XF).


PS. Hope we can get a DX7mkIII with knob per function (one operator at a time) with effects in the future. Would be a blast!
Responses (8)
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi Robin,
We are excited, too. This is one very powerful synthesizer. I will try to answer your questions...

1. Will it be possible to make drum kits based on FM-X? (FM is just awesome for percussion sounds).
Nothing prevents you from creating drum and percussion sounds using the FM-X engine. But the actual Drum Kit Part is constructed using the AWM2 engine, 73 Elements C0~C6. If you use a Part for building with the FM-X engine you can build any type of sound - in future articles we'll cover FM PERCUSSION... as you know it can make for some stunning percussive tones.

2. Will the hardware controls work as editor controls when in sound edit mode?
Yes, every Part has 32 knobs... It breaks down like this: when you highlight a Part (selected) there are three rows of 8 Quick Access parameters, plus each Part has 8 Assign Knobs. Additionally, the MW, PB Wheel, two Assign (Function) Switches, Motion Control On/Off, Motion Trigger, Ribbon, FC1/FC2, dedicated Sustain, Assignable Foot Switch, 8 Faders. The Faders are used to physical set values for Motion Sequences, and for setting things like Element Levels, and Operator Output Levels, and the like. And since the controller matrix is so massive - almost anything can modulate something else. The special (and already misunderstood) "Super Knob" is able to not only control multiple Destinations (parameters) you are able scale the range and the direction of control to a dizzying degree. The parameter that was called DEPTH in the Motif/MOXF engine, has been expanded to create an entirely new way to think about controllers.

3. How does the polyphony usage work? Will 8 elements/operators use 8 notes?
Understanding how polyphony works is an important subject to understand. It is not as simple as 8 Elements use 8 notes, that rarely happens (I explain below). An Element only uses polyphony when it is actually sounding. When an Element is sitting in reserve (which is how most are used), it does not use up polyphony. The advantage of having access to 64 oscillators (8 Parts, 8 Elements) is awesome, and works because of this "dynamic allocation" of resources.

An acoustic piano that is a three way velocity switching program, like the "Full Concert Grand" - well known from the Motif XS/XF and MOX/MOXF series - although it has a soft, a medium and a hard strike sample set and has key off noise, and a separate undamped sample set... All eight Elements are used, but when a Key is triggered on this program only two notes of polyphony are used. This is because "an Element only uses polyphony when it is actually sounding". When the velocity value is low only the soft sample is recalled and plays, the others are "in reserve". It uses two notes of polyphony because to recreate the Full Concert Grand in stereo there are two separate samples, one representing the left channel, the other the right channel.

In the Montage, the Full Concert Grand uses only a single note of polyphony for each Key pressed. The Montage is 128 notes of stereo polyphony on the AWM2 engine side.

The Montage has a separate 128 notes of polyphony for the FM-X engine. I stress: this is separate polyphony. Separate, being the key word here.

A case in the Motif/MOXF series where a "Voice" used 8 notes of polyphony for each Key pressed was the Voice that had drawbars of the B3 mapped ... Element 1 was the "16+8" foot waveform, and Elements 2 thru 8 each had a single drawbar. This Voice is one of a handful that actually use polyphony that way. Mostly the Elements are dynamically triggered and only when they are called for. Velocity switching is one way to preserve polyphony. In some cases, an Element will only sound when a certain Assignable Function button is pressed (XA CONTROL) - this expanded articulation means Elements can be "in waiting", triggered only under specific conditions. These are ideal for executing quick spicato bow strokes on string programs, or scoops up to the pitch on acoustic guitars, or sforzando attacks on brass, or a harmonic, or hammer-on, or growl, or flutter tongue, etc., etc. having access to additional content which are musical gestures in how the addition Elements are used.

And Motion Control is about programming these to express yourself. The huge multi-Element, multi Part Performances are about having access to changing the sound, from subtle changes to earth shaking dynamic changes. That's what's compelling.

FM-X is the perfect, pure synth engine because of its flexibility and behavior. And there is usually plenty of room for customization in the FM-X programs in the Factory Set. And it serves as a great way to see how the interaction with the Motion Control functions can be used. The factory set is just a peak down another infinite hallway.

4. Can I order a DX7 themed Version (it would sound better this way!)?
No, I'm afraid not. :) But I think you will agree with Yamaha engineering, this is a very, very useful combination, especially the way it is integrated. This is very (very) different from the AWM2/AFM RCM combination of the SY era. This time around, the interaction is based on musical and rhythmic interaction between the tone generator and controllers. Using the timing of one thing to create a trigger to influence something about another.

You can route any audio source to create a rhythmic trigger, you can direct this to increase the Output of specific Operators, say, the Modulators in an FM stack. Now you have harmonic content of your FM sound influenced by the rhythm of your source. The source could be an arpeggio, a drum groove, a mic input ... It could be a live source like a drum kit, or your guitar player... Use the rhythm of the guitar to cause Elements to pan in the stereo field or to control the filter cutoff frequency, or whatever... (It's a long hallway of possibilities...)

5. Is the Keybed on Montage 6/7 similar to the Motif XS 6/7? (XS had pretty good keybed, never tried XF).
The key bed for the Motif XS6/7, Motif XF6/7 and the Montage 6/7 are identical. The Yamaha FSX action.
The 8 models are similarly, identical throughout. The Yamaha Balanced Hammer action.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I find the comparison between SY77/99 and Montage very interessting. Even though Montage is the successor for Motif XF, it still feels a bit more
close to where the SY77/99 left off. Some notable similarities:

* Two synthesis Engines. (AWM2 & FM).
* Separate polyphony for each engine (both having 16 voices each on SY77).
* Basic Music Sequencer.
* 16 part multitimbral (in total).
* Third Mod Wheel (Not like the superknob, but still an extra modulation source for live use).

The design filosophy seems very similar.


Thanks for the answers! But I have more questions.

1. About polyphony and FM-X. Does each operator consume one voice? Or does one voice include a fully utilized algorithm with all operators active?
2. About algorithms. I like to use algorithms with one carrier, but there are only two of them among the 88 existing ones.
Is there a way to add more algorithms or edit the existing ones? (You could do this on the SY77). if no, shouldn't be too hard for the devs to implement I think...
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Robin wrote:3. How does the polyphony usage work? Will 8 elements/operators use 8 notes?

PS. Hope we can get a DX7mkIII with knob per function (one operator at a time) with effects in the future. Would be a blast!

Hi, Robin. I think all your queries have been answered except this one, #3.

The 8 elements/operators count only as 1 voice. A maximum of 8 elements/operators are used to create that voice. They do not take up 8 voices. So you do have 128 genuine individual voices, each of maximum 8 operators.

I say a maximum, because you can mute or have some operators idle, depending what algorithm is being used. Obviously, if you mute the carrier, you'll have no sound... so that's not a smart thing to do! :D

It is likely that through an editor you'll be able to change the configuration of algorithms, as was the case with the SY 77 & SY 99. I can't see myself doing that for a looong time, since even 88 algorithms is more than enough to keep me distracted from my paying job more than is healthy. Bear in mind that the 88 algorithms have been very carefully selected for maximum variability.

But I DO look forward to a computer editor from Yamaha (that was sadly not there for the SY77 & 99). Third party developers did provide an editor, but most are no longer available. I use FM Alive for the SY77.

A great offering on a Yamaha editor would be automatic & random algorithm & element generation, as was the case, I think, with the Sequential Circuits Prophet VS (though of course it was not an FM machine). This allows random voices to be generated (mostly rubbish) that can give you ideas and be used as a launch pad for pruning & molding into interesting new sounds.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
"The 8 elements/operators count only as 1 voice. A maximum of 8 elements/operators are used to create that voice."

This might be true for OPERATORS (FM), as in "The 8 operators count only as 1 voice [of polyphony]", but it is definitely not true for ELEMENTS (AWM2).
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Sam wrote:

The 8 elements/operators count only as 1 voice. A maximum of 8 elements/operators are used to create that voice. They do not take up 8 voices. So you do have 128 genuine individual voices, each of maximum 8 operators.


Where do you get this information Sam? Badminster said otherwise about Elements.

8 sounding Elements uses 8 voices of polyphony. But this rarely happens since Elements are triggered at different velocity Levels, or at certain portion of the keyboard or other conditions. To my understanding 8 Elements will potentially consume up to 8 voices on one note.

Historically for FM synths, all operators per note is the norm. But Montage is a DSP environment, so I'm unsure, more operators would potentially use more DSP. Unless the DSP resourses are reserved for 8 operators at 128 note polyphony.

I don't think he responded about the Operators specifically.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 5
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
To be clear, ELEMENTS refer to AMW2 Oscillators. As many as 8 can be used to create a PART. And an Element only uses polyphony when it is sounding. And remember it is the dynamic allocation of resources here that determine what polyphony is used.

OPERATORS refer to FM-X Oscillators* (*The Operator, in the short explanations of FM, can be equated to an OSCILLATOR although its structure and role is quite different... an Operator includes an AEG (amplitude envelope generator) and is an interactive block... As Sam mentions some make sound others are modifiers. FM-X uses polyphony differently than the sampled-based ELEMENTS of the AMW2 engine. Whether you use one Operator or all 8 Operators to create your FM-X PART the polyphony will be either 128 (when you select poly) or 1 (if you select 'mono').

The AMW2 engine is 128 Notes of Stereo polyphony
The FM-X engine is 128 Notes (separate) polyphony
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Bad Mister wrote:

To be clear, ELEMENTS refer to AMW2 Oscillators. As many as many 8 can be used to create a PART. And an Element only uses polyphony when it is sounding. And remember it is the dynamic allocation of resources here that determine what polyphony is used.

OPERATORS refer to FM-X Oscillators* (*The Operator, in the short explanations of FM, can be equated to an OSCILLATOR although its structure and role is quite different... an Operator includes an AEG (amplitude envelope generator) and is an interactive block... As Sam mentions some make sound others are modifiers. FM-X uses polyphony differently than the sampled-based ELEMENTS of the AMW2 engine. Whether you use one Operator or all 8 Operators to create your FM-X PART the polyphony will be either 128 (when you select poly) or 1 (if you select 'mono').

The AMW2 engine is 128 Notes of Stereo polyphony
The FM-X engine is 128 Notes (separate) polyphony


As I thought and hoped. :)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Jan wrote:
https://yamahasynth.com/index.php?option=com_easydiscuss&view=post&id=6995&Itemid=851
"The 8 elements/operators count only as 1 voice. A maximum of 8 elements/operators are used to create that voice."

This might be true for OPERATORS (FM), as in "The 8 operators count only as 1 voice [of polyphony]", but it is definitely not true for ELEMENTS (AWM2).

Indeed. Apologies for the ambiguity. I thought that Robin's query was only about the FM engine. My response was only to do with the FM voice creation. Layering of voices is a different issue. :(
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 8
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