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  1. Jason
  2. Sherlock Holmes The Voice
  3. MONTAGE
  4. Sunday, 15 September 2019
The thread on sequencers was getting heavy on other items (sampler, etc) - so it may be worthwhile to have a dedicated thread for comparing the two keyboards.

Just a few items to kick things off.

Fantom has a more fully capable on-board set of sequencers. Montage has a recorder with limitations and no editing.

Fantom has balanced audio inputs (my favorite XLR+1/4" TRS combo). Phantom power is supported and each channel (L and R) gets its own level trim. Montage has unbalanced audio inputs. No phantom supply. Level gain knob is applied equally to both L and R. Montage's knob is on the front face - Fantom is behind the keyboard. So probably not something you will use much on Fantom past set-it-and-forget-it.

Fantom has XLR audio outputs (my favorite cable for live use). Montage has balanced - but TRS

Fantom allows controlling all 16 zones with local keyboard. Montage allows only 8 zones under local keyboard control.
EDIT: worth noting that Fantom's zone, made up of a "Tone" can have 4 different "partials" - so some look at this as being the same as Montage since Montage's AWM2 supports 8 elements and if you see "partials" as elements - then 16x4 = 8x8. However, the difference is that all sounds on Fantom work with this - so a single zone is a fully-formed instrument which all are done within 4 partials while Montage gets 8 elements. I think, given this, it's a false equivalency - although worth mentioning. Both Fantom's PCM (sample) based engine and the virtual analog support 4 partials.

Fantom supports "seamless" type Performance switching with less limitations than Montage. Montage, and only when supported, you can only switch to one next Performance while holding the original sound. With Fantom, you can switch many times (seemingly unlimited - more than 5 as demonstrated) while the original sound is still sustained. Also, all 16 zones are supported. Fantom has no limitation based on zone usage - as Montage only allows the 1st 8 PARTs to be used by both the original and final Performances in a switch.

Fantom has a touchscreen operated joystick-like fader between 4 different sounds with ability to record a travel pattern. Montage has superknob which is different. You can realize the same sort of thing with appropriate programming - but also have superknob target many other parameters.

Fantom appears to have ability to chain performance equivalents. Closest Montage has is sequential position of Performances in live set and using footswitch to advance to next Live Set Performance. Maybe a wash here. Would have to learn more about Fantom to know advantage/disadvantage.

Fantom's GUI allows more "touch and drag" operations - which enables editing curves by "drawing" on the screen (such as ADSR envelopes, cutoff curves, etc). Montage doesn't have any touch/drag support so editing is done more indirectly (increase/decrease individual parameters).

Fantom's pitch wheel and possibly other controllers support 1024 values. Montage's pitch wheel supports 127 values. Use of Fantom's controllers results in less "stepping" - more smooth results than Montage. There's a thread on Montage's issues with pitch bend.

Fantom has some dedicated knobs for items which are typically "deep edit" items. Cutoff, Resonance, A/D/S/R, patch select. Montage you can assign different assignable knobs for some of this - but Fantom's more dedicated knobs integrate a bit differently with how different sounds can be selected to apply to their fixed-function knobs. Slightly more "dynamic" than Montage's approach for these functions.

Fantom has an engine supporting modeled pianos. Montage doesn't have this.

Fantom has a virtual analog engine. Montage doesn't have this - but FM-X is the trade - Montage has this and Fantom doesn't.

Fantom seems to have more knobs/buttons. There are the knobs similar to the assignable knobs in Montage under the faders. Then there are a set of knobs in Fantom below the touchscreen. These sport my favorite knob feature to have a push-button integrated so they take less space and can do more. There are the other knobs mentioned before for ADSR/etc. Then there are the pads which can take on many different modes (DAW control, sample playback, etc).

Fantom has tight integration with Mainstage where the Mainstage screen will "show up" on Fantom. You can see the VSTi controls on the Fantom screen. Montage's integration is less. More geared towards having Montage (knobs and sliders) controllers assigned to controlling different things in your DAW - but no other integration.

Fantom ... there's also vapor-ware "rumors". Where reviewers mention that more synth engines are to come in future updates. Not sure what will come of that. Montage does have this - a rumor of a new engine in the future. Relatively speaking, Fantom already starts with more engines.

Fantom has CV/Gate outs. Montage doesn't have this.

Fantom has more aux audio outs. Helpful for click track and other uses. One extra output compared to Montage.

Fantom supports 3 USB ports for external MIDI USB-MIDI controllers. Montage doesn't have this. Technically, the USB port for Montage is for flash drives only.

Fantom has 2 MIDI outs (or 1 out and 1 thru). More possibilities perhaps integrating with external gear. Montage has 1 MIDI out.

Fantom has a joystick control (pitch and mod in one controller) or wheels. Montage has wheels.

Fantom has a sampler built-in. You can edit loop points and such. Montage doesn't have any sampler features. Currently, Fantom doesn't support sampling/editing multisamples on board. The sampler is "dumbed down" to only support loading in one-shot samples for the multi-pads. The keyboard has a lot of beefy support for audio input (balanced inputs, phantom power, XLR or TRS) - "expensive" stuff to only support pad-triggered samples. The vaporware promise/rumor is that multisample editing is to come later. I would think, given what's there, this seems like a reasonable thing to anticipate. That said, Roland's track record of firmware updates and support-after-the-sale has not been stellar. As many complaints I've seen against Montage on this front, Yamaha did a great job of delivering. So great that I think it started to setup an expectation of ultra-frequent updates. I would say relatively, Yamaha (Montage) wins in this category although there's no real data on Fantom yet.

Yes, none of these matter if the keyboard sounds like a tin can stuck the bottom of your shoe. Fantom's V-piano engine sounds great to me. The synth sounds are Roland - they have a characteristic sound I do not personally gravitate towards (which is why I've gone the Yamaha path). But they sound fine and balanced with the other sounds. I think the sound is no slouch and there is vapor-ware promises of updates to bring more/different sounds to the table where the current release sounds are more derivative of past products.

There are more differences to possibly highlight. Those are the main ones I can think of to start the ball rolling.
Responses (81)
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I think you forgot the most important, Fantom , like all Roland instruments, has a complete and standarized MIDI implementation, without the pretension to tell, teach or force the users to adopt odd non standard manners of to use their instruments.

Of course you can assign any MIDI input channel to any part and you can duplicate channels if you want.

What is not clear to me at this moment is if the tracks of the sequencer are multichannel (can mix the16 MIDI channels in each track) or simple monochannel tracks.

But the limited MIDI side of Montage is nothing that Yamaha, if have good will and hear their profesional musicians customers, could not fix easy.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I didn't forget it - but I don't quite have the details to discern this level of implementation. The intent wasn't to have a complete list - but open it up.

Mainly I wanted to give a space for this type of conversation apart from the sequencer thread - since that one was getting some sprawl over this topic.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The ONLY creative advantage Montage has over Fantom is the arp implementation. Fantom crushes Montage in hardware quality, connectivity, creative options overall, and it's expandable. This is not a fair competition- it's a slaughter.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
One interesting difference - something that's been asked for on Montage - is how "elements" (called partials in Fantom) can be batch-edited. Meaning to apply changes to all "elements" at once. Fantom can select multiple "elements" at once. The edits will apply to all selected "elements" (partials) - so there's a way to make edits on multiple "elements" at the same time within the on-board GUI. There has been some requests for this sort of thing on Montage - but the only way to do this sort of thing would be to use offline software, at additional cost.

On the losing side - Fantom seems to support about half the Montage effects per ZONE ("PART" in Montage) . You end up with the same amount - but each Zone only gets one "MFX" in Fantom - which functions as Montage's insertion effect. Fantom has more shared effects (IFX + Reverb + Chorus). If Fantom has only one zone used - then this IFX can "act" as an additional Montage-style "insertion" effect - but beyond that - there are more constraints on how each Zone can get its own effects. Overall, I believe Fantom loses on effects resources from the perspective of each Zone (Montage "PART" )
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Also Fantom does not have a reverb as a zone effect. So it's one reverb for each scene (= performance in Montage). In Montage you can have a reverb in a part - although not all reverb types are supported. So it's up to 16 reverbs per performance.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 5
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The Montage has remote control for Cubase, Logic, Ableton Live and ProTools. The Fantom has something related but it looks more powerful but less flexible. And apparently it support at this point only Logic and main stage.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
In the Montage the parts are stored with the performances. So if you edit a part which is part of a performance and then store the performance, the changed part is stored with the performance. In the Fantom the zone (roughly equivalent to a part) stores only some parameters like transpose etc. The rest like waveforms, envelopes, filters comes from a tone which is referenced from the zone and not stored with the scene (equivalent to a performance). So if you want to change a tone you have to store the tone so that later the changes are audible when switching to a scene. Those tone changes are shared with all scenes using the same tone. So if you want to change only the tone used in that one scene, you have to store it to a new tone and change the tone referenced by the scene.

While this sounds complicated, it means that deep editing the sound inside a performance is easier in the Montage. You cannot accidentally destroy other performances or lose changes in a tone. Both things happened to me in the Integra-7 which has the same concept.

On the other hand the Fantom concept is more traditional and may be easier to grasp for some people. Also if you want to edit a tone which is shared between multiple performances and actually want to affect all performances you can easily do that on the Fantom. This is impossible on the Montage, you have to apply the changes manually to all performances.

I personally much prefer the Montage way after working with the Integra-7 for a couple of years. But other may prefer the alternative.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The Fantom 8 features triple-sensor keys, allowing for rapid single key repetition. This is included in Yamaha's CP88, but not the Montage.

One early report suggests that the Fantom has a curious MIDI limitation of its own, related to output:
The worst problem though is that it won't send midi when you are using the internal sounds. So forget about recording the midi out and the audio out into Ableton if you want to use your nice brand-new keyboard. (If anyone has figured a way to do this let me know). So far my work around is to use a different keyboard into Ableton and then repeat the outputs to all the zones I want played at the same time. The other trick has been to use an unused zone as an "EXT" instrument into Ableton and record from that. But its a really silly limitation.


Edit: I originally mistakenly stated that the CP88 did not have triple-sensor action.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 8
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The ONLY creative advantage Montage has over Fantom is the arp implementation. Fantom crushes Montage in hardware quality, connectivity, creative options overall, and it's expandable. This is not a fair competition- it's a slaughter.


I would prefer if people would stick to the comparison style Jason has started on this thread. Comparing features one by one in a factual manner helps while such general comments do not help. While I think the Fantom has a couple of advantages, the Montage also certainly has some. Like working multi-samples. Agreed, the Fantom can get that at a later time (and I think it is highly likely, considering the amount of hardware they have already invested to make it possible). But it is not there, yet. I cancelled my Fantom order after learning that it does not have that. I need it for my music. When / if it comes I can reconsider.

For this thread we should consider what is there and not what may or could come. And it's certainly no "slaughter", otherwise we would immediately see the Montage sales go to 0, while the Fantom sales would take over everything. I think that will not happen. See this threads for detailed comparisons which show that it is not a one-sided game.

In more specific comments:

  • Hardware quality: I think the one thing I did not hear complaints about when it comes to the Montage was the hardware quality. It is really very sturdy, very well built.
  • Expandable: The Fantom is certainly expandable. But so is the Montage. I am reasonably sure that the Montage could be extended to have some more engines. The effort is not clear, but considering that it is based on DSPs that should be possible. There was even a survey which asked if people would appreciate an AN-X engine or so. Sure, that's not proven and may never happen. But that's the same with the Fantom. We have not seen any extension engine. And from what I heard of former Roland owners (I have no experience with that) Roland does not really have a great track record when it comes to delivering new features with future firmware updates.
  • Connectivity: Yes 100% winner is the Fantom. Some of the options are most probably niche, like the CV connectivity. But some like XLR outputs and inputs, phantom power are really nice
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 9
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The chain set of the Fantom (which is similar to the Set List in the Montage) allows inserting and deleting scenes in the middle of a chain. This is something which has been requested for the Montage but is not there (yet?). With the Johan Melas tools you can do that, though. And much more.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 10
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The Fantom can use the USB MIDI in parallel to the normal MIDI. This is something which has been requested for the Montage but is not there (yet?). In addition there are 2 MIDI outputs, although the second one doubles as a MIDI through, so can have one or the other but not both at the same time.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 11
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The amount of additional content and software for the Montage is really huge:

  • There are tons of libraries, most Motif content can be used and there are lots of Montage specific ones. Considering that the libraries for the MODX (which was best selling synth for quite some time and maybe still is) can be used for the Montage as well, there is a huge market for libraries. And the libraries can come with additional samples, which is apparently not the case for now for the Fantom. In contrast I believe at this point it is not clear if the Fantom can load any sounds from earlier Roland synths like the Integra-7. At least I did not see anything in the manuals or the marketing material indicating that.
  • Soundmondo is an easy way to share sounds with others. I am not aware of anything similar existing or planned on the Fantom.
  • The John Melas tools are a huge workflow improvement for the Montage. Editing sounds and samples, shifting around sounds between internal and libraries or between libraries etc. makes editing and reorganizing things really easy.
  • SampleRobot which is free with the Montage (or at least was, not sure if it is still) makes sampling some other synths and using the samples in the Montage really easy. I used it to sample quite some sounds from the Integra-7 which eventually allowed me to not use it anymore on stage.
  • Montage comes with a free Cubase license (some limited edition, not the full one, but still may be useful for many people).
  • Montage connect allows it to easily integrate the Montage with Cubase (and I believe other DAWs). So you can automatically store your current sounding performance with the Cubase project. That's huge.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 12
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The Montage allows to load 8 libraries with 640 performances each in addition to the user performances. That's 5760 performances which are user editable. Each comes with 16 performance specific parts. I did not bother to calculate the number of parts you can store.

I did not see any hint for a library system in the Fantom manuals. The number of scenes (which roughly compare to the performances in the Montage) is 512. So that's pretty limited. Tones are shared between scenes on the Fantom so that may also be a limit. But it is not really clear how many tones can be stored. So that may not be a problem.

But the 512 scenes limit allow would be a problem for me! And I believe that those 512 scenes include the preset scenes. So if you use one, you overwrite a preset scene.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 13
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
On the Montage you can search for performances by name. I did not see anything similar on the Fantom. Considering that you only have 512 scenes that's probably a smaller limitation than on the Montage which has something like 10000 performances. But for tones there is also no search, I believe. You can go by category (same as in the Montage) but not by name.

On the other hand, the Montage only has the "favorite" classification while the Fantom has 4 stars for rating.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 14
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
In the Fantom it is possible to store the song with the scene. This has been requested for the Montage but is not there (yet?). Something similar is possible with the audtions but the workflow to get there is quite ... involved.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 15
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The Montage has the scene buttons which can be used to change quite a few settings between scenes. Like ARPs, volumes, effect settings, super knob settings and much more. It does not allow to store the key control state, though.

The Fantom allows the Pads to be used for a similar purpose. I think it only allows to store the key control state, though, nothing else. Both would be ideal :D. And if you use the Pads for that it is a global setting, so they cannot be used for anything else like triggering samples.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 16
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
In the Montage the parts are stored with the performances. So if you edit a part which is part of a performance and then store the performance, the changed part is stored with the performance. In the Fantom the zone (roughly equivalent to a part) stores only some parameters like transpose etc. The rest like waveforms, envelopes, filters comes from a tone which is referenced from the zone and not stored with the scene (equivalent to a performance). So if you want to change a tone you have to store the tone so that later the changes are audible when switching to a scene. Those tone changes are shared with all scenes using the same tone. So if you want to change only the tone used in that one scene, you have to store it to a new tone and change the tone referenced by the scene.

While this sounds complicated, it means that deep editing the sound inside a performance is easier in the Montage. You cannot accidentally destroy other performances or lose changes in a tone. Both things happened to me in the Integra-7 which has the same concept.

On the other hand the Fantom concept is more traditional and may be easier to grasp for some people. Also if you want to edit a tone which is shared between multiple performances and actually want to affect all performances you can easily do that on the Fantom. This is impossible on the Montage, you have to apply the changes manually to all performances.

I personally much prefer the Montage way after working with the Integra-7 for a couple of years. But other may prefer the alternative.


Not entirely true, the Fantom has some offset settings where you do not have to alter the original tone for basic things like attack, decay, release, cutoff, resonance and so on. So you can use a tone then alter those settings in your scene without having to save another version of the tone.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 17
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

Not entirely true, the Fantom has some offset settings where you do not have to alter the original tone for basic things like attack, decay, release, cutoff, resonance and so on. So you can use a tone then alter those settings in your scene without having to save another version of the tone.
Yes, that's correct. It's similar to what the Integra had. But for me it was too limited ok most cases. Still it makes things a bit easier!
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 18
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Some of you are blatantly grasping at straws here. The shortcomings of the brand-new Fantom are easy to add with software updates, which many insiders have said are coming in droves. Within a year it will crush everything in it's class. Saying Roland has a history of not adding firmware updates is complete bullshit, and sounds like the ramblings of a jealous child. I own a Montage, but I have no problem admitting there is a much better choice available now, and I 100% will be owning it.

Fantom is the new KING- you have no choice but to bend the knee.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 19
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Well i just think Fantom and Montage are just great Synths... i would like to get them both :p
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 20


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