Was perusing downloads yesterday when I saw the 3.0 update. I was very eager to see what was new and hoped/prayed they had expanded sequencing a little. Was ELATED to find pattern sequencer added. Pattern sequencer was easily one of the best features of having a Motif. I could sketch music so blisteringly fast on my XS8 it wasn’t even funny.
So I installed 3.0 on Montage and played around with it today. Having literally written the book on Motif sequencing (motifcity.com is my web site and publications) I was eager to see how the new pattern mode functioned.
In a nutshell, I like it. It works. It gives me enough functionality to sketch a song by section and I’m happy about that. Love the phrase get/put as well as ability to add arps. This is all awesome and will allow people to use the Montage to write songs much easier than <2.5. This was a much needed upgrade and I’m really impressed with how Yamaha team integrated into this system. Also MIDI timing is super tight and swing is very MPC-like. Really good work, Yamaha.
The only thing I’m trying to adjust to is the idea that everything is seen from the perspective of a performance, rather than being in a song mode or a pattern mode or even a voice mode. As a songwriter I think in terms of the songs I have written, not the performances I use for those songs.
Don’t get me wrong, I like this idea. Perhaps it’s best to call it a performance rather than a song or a pattern or anything like that. Because essentially it is a performance of some sort... be it a performance set up for a live show, a song, an instrument, a pattern or whatever. I think it was very forward thinking on Yamaha’s part to put everything within the paradigm of a performance. I wasn’t fully tracking with it first, but I get it now.
The Montage is actually on track to become the greatest keyboard in the history of keyboards, and I don’t say that lightly. The sounds are absolutely astoundingly beautiful and rich, the converters are amazing, the build quality is off the charts. This is truly an epic achievement.
Having said all that, and recognizing that this is a “new kind of synth” and that sequencing is not its focus, obviously sequencing is important to a lot of folks or Yamaha would not have added expanded pattern sequencing functionality. So assuming that they will continue to improve it until it reaches the level of the Motif and beyond, here are my small suggestions after first use today:
Please move the UNDO button to the record screen (so we don’t have to press JOB first to undo).
Please give us a note editor so we can edit at the note level. At least the ability to delete a note (yes I know this can be done in real time, and I will use it)
Please add a step sequencer. Oh how amazing that would be in this board.
Please give us a pattern view so we can choose to view by pattern rather than by performance (like you could if you were in pattern mode in Motif)
Oh and one last thing, please give us the ability to set the recording mode to a default of either replace or overdub.
Thanks again Yamaha. I think you’re doing a wonderful job with this keyboard and I could not be more impressed with it.