How does the Montage sequencer compare to the Motif XF sequencer?
Hi Andy, Welcome to Yamaha Synth!
Thanks for the question. They are very different. As different as the instruments themselves.
The Motif XF sequencer is divided into two related parts: a 16-track looping Pattern sequencer and a related 16-track linear Song sequencer. These both work based on a one instrument per track paradigm. Each track is assigned a single Part, each Part represents a different instrument in your virtual ensemble. Each track is assigned a MIDI channel and all communication to an instrument takes place on that single channel.
The Montage sequencer is a single linear 16-track song structure. However, the architecture of Montage allows that more than one Part can make up an instrument, so often the one instrument per track paradigm may not apply. Each track is still assigned a single Part, it is just that one playable instrument program may contain multiple Parts. And those Parts interact in a number of new ways.
The Montage MIDI sequencer can be described as a "direct Performance recorder"... It is designed to record your Montage performing, which by its nature can/will be necessarily different from what you encountered on the Motif XF. And while a track still records either your playing, direct, or it records the output of an arpeggiator, it is also documenting all the interactions between Parts, as well.
There is Voice, Waveform, and Arpeggio compatibility between the Motif XF and Montage (meaning they will load into the Montage), and sequences exported as SMF (Standard MIDI Files) can be ported over, but for your XF data to work in the Montage you will perhaps need to limit your selection to Single Part programs.
The "Full Concert Grand" is a single Part, 8 Element stereo grand piano.
The Montage's "CFX Concert" is a four Part, 18 Element stereo grand piano.
The Montage is clearly built to be a Music Synthesizer, documenting your performance can be done quickly and easily right on board. That quick documentation of your musical inspiration is an important common request among synth users. That recording of data can reference CLOCK (whether you record MIDI to the internal sequence recorder or you document your playing direct to a USB drive as audio)... Meaning you can easily export your inspiration to your favorite DAW where you can continue your work.
Much of what you perform on Montage is best captured as Audio - thus the very robust 32-bus audio outputs available to record your Montage music, built-in, ready to rock. Every Part, including the A/D Input Part can have its own dual Insertion Effects. Individual drums from any drum kit can routed to their own discreet audio output.
Montage is an instrument much like the acoustic piano is a musical instrument... Just add a digital, clockable, musical recorder that allows you to document your performance and you have it. The Montage is not a standalone Music Production system like Motif XF (with its Integrated Sampling Sequencer) where Patterns are built into Chains, and then converted to a linear Song. At this price point we've found overwhelming use of computer DAWs as the "best tool" for the job of recording. The focus of Montage was to deliver a powerful music synthesizer that can be as big as your musical imagination, in many ways it's bigger than the MIDI channel that is trying to contain it. You'll see that new production opportunities aplenty exist within this synth engine. As you begin to study some of the factory Performances (there are no Preset Performances, they are all just suggestions) you see that they are often complete through-composed compositions or are the basis for being the instrumental bed of a composition.
"Motion Control" offers players a completely new set of musical parameters to play with, and new workflows and methods are beginning now. That tag line about a "new era", is true for the hardware synthesizer, no doubt.
The Montage will be able to output its multiple Part Performances as MIDI in two modes:
MIDI I/O mode MULTI - where each Part is output on a separate MIDI channel (as you are probably familiar)
MIDI I/O mode SINGLE - where a Multi-Part program is output on a single MIDI channel
Each has itS use when recording to a computer DAW. As the synth is likely just one instrument in the target recording, integrating your musical instrument to the studio is something every musician needs to approach... This is true whether you're a keyboardist, guitar player, or tympani is your main axe.
If you ever tried to record multiple Parts of the Motif XF to an external DAW, you earned a MIDI Jedi Merit Badge in the process. Playing Multiple Parts, simultaneously, is a big kick, a big jump start to synthesizer composing... Just wait til you see what's on offer in the Montage to jump start your compositions. Yes, a computer is the target studio recorder for external parts, but neither a guitar, piano, nor a tympani can record external things either... To make the Montage as powerful as it is, we had to break the all-in-one-box thing open, and set the Montage free to be a powerful musical instrument.
Hi Bad Mister, Thank you for explaining the differences between the XF and the Montage sequencer. With the XF I often would record direct record performances and do some overdubs and I never use pattern mode so the Montage sequencer along with my DAW will be an excellent setup.