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  1. Chris
  2. MODX
  3. Tuesday, 02 October 2018
I've had a Montage 8 since it came out in 2016. I just bought a MODX 8 today. I love my Montage, but after today it's staying in my home studio and I don't have to move that 65 lb. beast to gigs. Anyway, I haven't spent a lot of time with the MODX yet, but I have a few initial impressions and I want to know if others have seen these things and what they think of it.

1. I like how the UI on the MODX shows you a pop-up with adjustments as you turn the knob. I like big and easy to read numbers. Will the Montage get this feature?
2. I like how the UI on the MODX has a fader-tracker so you can see where the fader is relative to the part you're fading. It makes it easier to 'hook' your part's volume and adjust it. Like #1 -- will the Montage get an update with this feature?
3. Is it me, or is the touch screen on the MODX more responsive? I feel like the MODX might have an updated or superior touch screen.
4. I like how the buttons on the MODX aren't as 'clicky' as the ones on my Montage. They're just slightly easier to press. This is a matter of taste I'm sure.
5. The MODX keybed feels great to me. They're equivalent in my opinion.
6. There are definitely some controls that I will miss on the MODX. I like the pitch and mod wheels better on my Montage. I also like having all 8 faders and scene buttons on the Montage. I also like having all the mutli-purpose buttons on the right side of the Montage. These past two years I've taught myself to use them in gigs and it's great for making fast changes between performances, and especially between Live Set pages.
7. I like the "Rhythm" button on the MODX. The Montage could use a button like that.
8. I haven't encountered a limitation in the less voices on the MODX yet. I suppose I will eventually.

So I wonder if anyone else has any thoughts about a comparison between the two.

In particular: will the Montage receive an update to give it some of the UI benefits of the MODX?
Responses (22)
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
1. I like how the UI on the MODX shows you a pop-up with adjustments as you turn the knob. I like big and easy to read numbers. Will the Montage get this feature?
It was necessary on the MODX because the Rotary Encoders do not light up to indicate where they are set.

2. I like how the UI on the MODX has a fader-tracker so you can see where the fader is relative to the part you're fading. It makes it easier to 'hook' your part's volume and adjust it. Like #1 -- will the Montage get an update with this feature?
The MONTAGE has the same “fader-tracker” it’s just located next to the Fader and lights up... it serves the same purpose (to hook the stored value) but naturally it is located by the actual Fader!

3. Is it me, or is the touch screen on the MODX more responsive? I feel like the MODX might have an updated or superior touch screen.
It’s you.
Two things: make sure you remove the plastic guard that initially covers the screen and calibrate your screen if response is not crisp.

4. I like how the buttons on the MODX aren't as 'clicky' as the ones on my Montage. They're just slightly easier to press. This is a matter of taste I'm sure.
I’m sure, too! It is a matter of taste.

5. The MODX keybed feels great to me. They're equivalent in my opinion.
They are different, however. GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) versus BH w/AT (Balanced Hammer with Aftertouch).

6. There are definitely some controls that I will miss on the MODX. I like the pitch and mod wheels better on my Montage. I also like having all 8 faders and scene buttons on the Montage. I also like having all the mutli-purpose buttons on the right side of the Montage. These past two years I've taught myself to use them in gigs and it's great for making fast changes between performances, and especially between Live Set pages.
The PB and MW are different, the locations are different... that and the front panel layout is way different.... these are a major difference in cost...

7. I like the "Rhythm" button on the MODX. The Montage could use a button like that.
Not likely that a button can be added but the Rhythm Pattern > Envelope Follower Macros are very cool workflow items. Easily reproduced on the MONTAGE although not as convenient. It was developed from information based on how users were working with MONTAGE.

8. I haven't encountered a limitation in the less voices on the MODX yet. I suppose I will eventually.
??? Are you talking about polyphony “voices”? The AWM2 (sampled based) Engine has the same 128 notes of stereo polyphony as the MONTAGE. The FM-X engine is 64 versus 128 in MONTAGE. You may never notice this difference in actual use...

Congratulations and enjoy! We appreciate your feedback... it’s where new routines (like the Rhythm Pattern/Envelope Follower macro) come from...
  1. 2 weeks ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
... and perhaps the USB level.
  1. 2 weeks ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I have the Montage 6 and now the MODX 8. I always wanted a piano keyboard, but the Montage 8 is just too heavy and bulky for me. The MODX is much better in that aspect. Having both is really cool!

I am pretty sure that the touch screen on the MODX is different. It does not have the issue of the Montage where the key presses are bouncing resulting in multiple characters appearing in many cases when pressing only once. But for me it is actually a bit *less* responsive... Maybe a software thing...

I would also like to see the additional UI elements seen on the MODX on the Montage as well. It should be basically free and gives some more hints on what's going on, even if the LEDs in the Montage are actually even better having more feedback is always better.

The buttons feel the same for me, but the location and feel of the pitch bend and modulation wheels is really much worse on the MODX compared to the Montage. Not a big deal for me since I barely use them, but could be an issue for some people.

The Rhythm Pattern should be please added to the Montage. As BM writes, even if there is no hardware button, having a touch screen button leading to the same screen would be very much appreciated.

The reduction of polyphony for the FM-X is not a huge problem. But when playing the TX816 E-Piano or similar it do hear sounds cutting off. For most sounds it is not a problem, though.
  1. 2 weeks ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Although not for me, I understand the appeal of the Rhythm Pattern button.

I don't do it, but in the meantime I could [CATEGORY SEARCH] then press the Drums category button (physical button or touchscreen) and pick my kit. That's one extra push. Then press the ARP button - that's two extra pushes. I do understand there are a few more features inside of RPAT - but a couple extra button pushes gets you mostly there.
  1. 2 weeks ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I've spent some more time moving between my MONTAGE and MODX and I want to revise what I said about the touch screen -- today they felt identical and both of them were equally responsive. There have been definitely times when the touch screen was a little sluggish. I think it must depend on what's going on at the time.

That being said, I still like having the visual feedback on the screen for knob adjustments and even the fader cues. Feedback redundancy is a good thing, especially when it can communicate information to the performer faster and more clearly. I wonder if someone at YAMAHA is considering adding some of these features to the MONTAGE.

Regarding the Rhythm Pattern button: I know that it's possible on the Montage with a few more clicks. I don't really mind the extra clicks, I guess.

But here's an idea: How about incorporating an entire rhythm composer/performer program into the MONTAGE? This is very possible with the touch screen and the OS. I have a Roland TR8S and I love it. In fact, when performing lately, I just plug it right into the A/D input and use it instead of the MONTAGE rhythm arps. But... what if I could build patterns and variations right on the MONTAGE touch screen? That'd be wicked awesome and dead useful. I've always felt that the arpeggio building process could be easier.
  1. 2 weeks ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 5
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
One can always dream about what’s not there (and we encourage that), but by dealing with what is already there we think we can be more useful... fun.. and fulfilling!

For example, using an external device connected to MONTAGE/MODX is a big part of the design concept. You are not likely to see this demonstrated in your local store... but when you Control an external device via MIDI and you connect the audio Outputs of that device to the A/D In of the MONTAGE/MODX... you enter the ‘undiscovered country’.

The Motion Control Synthesis Engine can include anything connected to the A/D In as a modulation source, as a tempo provider, as a sound modifier. You control it, apply MONTAGE/MODX boutique grade effects and processing, you can morph to it with the Super Knob. You can automate functions that control it. You can route it as a side chain modulation source, you can run it through the Vocoder.

Seriously, I set aside a little time each week to explore some of the possibilities. I don’t know the device you mention, but try connecting it via MIDI and audio to your synth and start to explore the possibilities yourself. In particular Drum machines are an awesome input... because the Motion Control Engine can be Tempo aware you can automate things to happen at specific times... Motion Sequences can be made to make changes every measure, every other measure, every 4th measure, maybe every 64th measures - to design it.

The A/D Input can be customized on a per Performance basis. This means you can customize it differently in each program. Automate volume changes, control it with the Super Knob exactly like it was an internal synth Part. It even has its own Dual Insertion Effect!

If you are working in the computer environment, boot up Cubase and discover “Groove Agent”... one of the coolest tools for drum track construction.

Hopefully soon we can get the Soundmondo thing running on all cylinders and have folks post SoundCloud or YouTube examples of what they’re doing with the tech. Watching Richard Devine (at the recent MODX launch event) integrate the MODX with his modular rig was fascinating, exhilarating - and makes one realize there is no limit but imagination
  1. 2 weeks ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I'm with you absolutely and I don't mean to downplay the TONS of features on the MONTAGE. Honestly, even if there was a software solution like I describe, I'd prefer the TR8S because of the physical controls that I adjust during performance.

One thing that I've noticed is that the MONTAGE syncs to the TR8S clock much more precisely when I use the MIDI connection. The A/D tempo sync seems to be a little iffy -- it really seems to depend on the nature of the rhythm being inputted. Of course, when I have a MIDI-IN the clock is synced perfectly and I can coordinate MONTAGE arpeggios with TR8S patterns perfectly.

I've got to look into the A/D input customization that you're talking about. That sounds intriguing and there definitely seems to be some creative possibilities there.

Regarding my computer environment, I only use Logic Pro as my DAW. I've never tried Cubase although that Groove Agent sounds interesting. Is it similar to Logic's Drummer?
  1. 2 weeks ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I’m sure Logic’s Drummer is similar to Groove Agent (no disrespect). Groove Agent is extremely mature and is the cutting edge of Drum Track construction - amazing. Worth a look... when using computer based drums.

With hardware, MIDI Clock will be rock solid, the AD In for Tempo is technology attempting to “listen” - it can be fooled, but it recovers nicely (sort of like a real drummer, ha!) if you have MIDI clock why not use it, agreed!

The more interesting the drum pattern the more it triggers ideas when used as a modulation source. You can choose to additionally route it to the audio Outputs or you can just have it a modifier where you hear it through other sounds... as it animates the keyboard sound your playing... you start looking at percussion in a whole new light. Example, a kick drum could be causing one of the sounds you are controlling to dip in volume each stroke, while at the same time it is moving the Filter Cutoff on another Part causing a unique substitution sound... because it’s rhythmic your ear/brain has a field day with the new patterns... you can build in randomness, pitch change, effect changes, its compelling.

Try it you’ll see...
  1. 2 weeks ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 8
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I absolutely want to try more of this kind of thing. I just need to find the time to learn it and incorporate it. You're talking about setting up a side chain modulation, right?
  1. one week ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 9
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Either MODX or Montage touchscreen will seem more responsive if you turn Animation off. Turn off Blur while you're at it since it obscures where the GUI is relating parameters to each other. It's extremely difficult to see a shared header color when there is background (blur) visual noise intruding.

If either of your keyboards has Animation turned on while the other is off - that would be one source of difference in response.

The settings for Montage shown here - should be similar in MODX. Red box is for something else - look above the red box for these settings.
http://www.moessieurs.com/download/pictures/Sknob-flash/knob-flash-system-b.png
Credit: Moessieurs.com
  1. one week ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 10
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
That makes a lot of sense! Thanks for the tip.
  1. one week ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 11
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I just had my first run-in with the limitations of the MODX's reduced polyphony. Now that I've noticed, I see that there are several performances on the MODX that do not have SSS (Seamless Sound Switching), where as they do on the MONTAGE.

In fact, I was playing at a gig with the MODX and had the Seattle Strings performance on and switched to CFX Concert and... *klunk* the sound just died out. I covered it up well enough, but I was a little surprised. Anyway, after the gig I was looking at several performances and was disappointed to see the little "SSS" logo missing from many of them.

Of course, there are workarounds. There are other string performances that I could use on the MODX which do still have SSS. I'll just have to pay more attention and, what's more, when I'm working out a song in my office on the MONTAGE I can't assume that the same performances on my MODX will have SSS.

Even so, the MODX is still worth it and I do like it. This was the first time I had the MODX in my Gator hard case and I can actually carry it with one hand! Moving the MONTAGE was like moving a box of bricks. I just need to learn the differences and take them into account.
  1. one week ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 12
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I just had my first run-in with the limitations of the MODX's reduced polyphony. Now that I've noticed, I see that there are several performances on the MODX that do not have SSS (Seamless Sound Switching), where as they do on the MONTAGE.

That's not a polyphony issue, it's a result of seamless-switchable performances being limited to those of up to 4 sounds vs. 8 (regardless of how many notes you can play at once in any of those performances, which would be polyphony). I believe the restriction comes from having fewer effects processors.
  1. one week ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 13
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
As mentioned, you can only have a maximum of 4 PARTs in your Performances for both the starting and ending Performance in a switch.

Referencing a cheat sheet: http://docdro.id/0cf7fej - Seattle Sections utilizes 7 PARTs which is over the count for SSS to work.

Every tune I play keys on - at the start of the tune (or medley) - I change to the Performance using Live Set. I've structured each so that I do not need to change the Performance until the song/tune/medley ends and the band starts a new tune. I do not like fooling with switching Performances in the middle of a tune. That's just me. Instead, I'm more comfortable using splits and scenes to handle changing the various sounds I need to cover.

This may not work for you due to other goals. I also rarely use any sounds that consume more than 2 PARTs.

Also, building on this polyphony business - this only applies to FM-X. Seattle Sections is not FM-X and therefore is not impacted one bit by any changes in MODX to polyphony limits.
  1. one week ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 14
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Yes, I see my error and I wasn't accurate in my description of the MODX limitation. Nevertheless, for the purpose of my original post I still wanted to point out that there is this difference and it is a drawback of the MODX that it can't handle SSS with more than 4 parts, whereas the MONTAGE could do 8.

Personally I am a big fan of Live Sets with Performances that I can move between. I often sustain a chord or even a single note with one hand, switch Performances and then transition to a whole new set of sounds with the other hand without losing that first chord. Then, when I'm ready, I release the chord and trigger whatever is next, be it a Scene or another Performance.

It's not a huge problem, but I've got two years of habits with my MONTAGE that I need to reconsider. I think on the MODX that I'll simply need to be mindful of these limitations.
  1. one week ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 15
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
More updated thoughts on the MODX vs MONTAGE:

I just had a long rehearsal tonight using the MODX. The keybed on the MODX is definitely not as good as the one on the MONTAGE. I didn't notice at first, but it sunk in after a while that it just doesn't have as good of a feel. Now, don't get me wrong, it's still a fine feel. Just not as good as the MONTAGE.

I also found a few more performances that aren't on the MODX but are on my MONTAGE. Not a big deal, but as I'm recreating Live Sets from my MONTAGE on my MODX I'm noticing these things.

I've also decided that I don't like how small the volume control knob is on the MODX. For example, in the middle of a song when I switch from CFX Concert to a Hammond performance I definitely have to adjust the volume, because the Hammond is going to come out way too loud if I don't. That tiny knob on the MODX makes it that much more difficult to make a small and careful adjustment in the middle of a piece. Sure, I'll eventually get used to it and it'll be fine. That's what we do, right? However, I just have to say that I wish YAMAHA had left the main volume control as a slider, or at least as larger knob.

Nonetheless, my band said they thought the MODX sounded great. And it does sound great. And it is such a pleasure to move! My bass player came to help me put it in the case and said, "Wow, this thing really is light!"

In the end, that makes it worth it, in my book.
  1. one week ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 16
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Since you're using Live Sets to switch performances - I would adjust the volume setting inside your Live Set for the CFX Concert or Hammond or both Live Set slots so that there is no need to adjust the main volume.

I use the main volume to do volume swells or fades (taper off a string). There are other ways to do this - just how I do it. So a knob would be worse for this and I may reprogram to use superknob instead or maybe use the PART sliders for just the string PART. That said - I can see how the knob would take adjustment or possibly changing to using something else.

What I'm getting to is that other than a few "novelty" things - I don't touch volume at a gig. Early on in getting the instrument - I had lots of mismatches in volumes. Mainly when I programmed my own Performances vs. using something that was more preset based. During the gig (or practice) I mentally take note of these and then make adjustments later. Over time, my adjustments have accumulated so I do not have places that "jump out" requiring any adjustment during the gig.

Live Set volume offsets are a big part of what makes this easy.

Certainly, there have been cases where I have had to adjust the levels of different PARTs within a Performance. This will only be solved by adjusting the Performance itself. Same general route taken - I work out these kinks as I go. The goal is to require zero fiddling during the gig except requirements to change sounds - in the easiest-to-control, most-repeatable way possible.
  1. one week ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 17
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I think the simplest way around this is just to put a traditional volume pedal on the outputs of the MODX. (You could also use a foot controller as volume pedal, but it seems a shame to take up a useful multi-purpose pedal for this.)
  1. one week ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 18
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Does anyone know how many User Performance slots/locations are available in MODX? I thought I read somewhere that the total number of User Performances was less than Montage but I cannot find that info any more

Thanks
G
  1. one week ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 19
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
MODX has the same count of Performances. The difference is in memory size for samples (Waveforms). MODX has 1.0GB vs. Montage's 1.75GB. If Performances have no custom waveforms, then both Montage and MODX can have the same total count of Performances when adding User + LIbrary. The limitation is once the water-line is crossed for sample data. This is a different bucket of limitation than number of Performances.
  1. one week ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 20
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