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  1. Mark
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. Friday, 18 October 2019
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.
Responses (53)
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

The horrendously named "Jobs" feature of the Pattern Sequencer has options to copy materials from any tracks in any patterns to any tracks in any other patterns.

Yamaha has called their non-realtime midi manipulation tools "Jobs" for 25 years. Every synth manufacturer has some specific workflow nomenclature, right?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
So to clarify: you can easily record to all 16 tracks from the Montage without external gear and without copying. Switch to the display of tracks 9-16, select one of those channels and record. Voila. Continue by recording to the other channels one by one. The only thing you cannot do with those channels it’s to record to more than one at the same time.


Longer ...

There are approx 25 multi-PART bass Performances in Montage. Meanwhile, there are about 160 single-PART bass Performances in Montage. What I'm getting at is that chances are your bass track will always be a single-PART. And therefore it would "make sense" to record the bass straight into track 9-16 if you're planning on using all 16 tracks. Likewise, drum kits would have only one PART for the drum PART itself. So a drum PART would make sense to place into track 9-16. ... and so on. If you have 8 or more single-PART sounds then it would make sense (if you're against copying) to record these straight to tracks 9-16. You can even place drums on track 10 if you're a stickler for that sort of thing.

I'll experiment.

FIRST - I'll setup a template that uses PARTs 9-16 with single-PARTs

1) I recall "Multi/GM" (from the Init category) This is just a canvas which tells me to change everything. I could have built what I wanted from any other starting point.
2) I press [PART CONTROL] and then the Number A [9] button (which is labeled "1/9" under "PART SELECT 1-16" ). This selects PART 9
3) I press the [SHIFT] button + [CATEGORY SEARCH] (at same time). This allows for me to change PART 9 to any sound I search for. I search for "bass" main category and "electric" sub category and pick the first bass in the list "Perc Flat Wound". Note that this mode of category search picks a "source" for the PART to extract from the given Performance and defaults as "Part 1". That's what I want since these are mostly single-PART Performances including "Perc Flat Wound". Then I press [ENTER] to select this Performance/PART
4) Part 10 is already a drum kit of some default type. I'll just leave that alone - but I could have selected one of my fancy.
5) I can also use the touchscreen - I touch PART 11 where it says "Piano Acoustic" - a popup menu displays - and I choose "Category Search". This does the same thing as pressing first the PART 11 part select button (Number A [11] ) then pressing the [EDIT] button. You may prefer the touchscreen over button way.
6) I first change the attribute (filter) to "Single" then touch the magnifying glass to search and search for "lead". I know I could have used categories - but just mixing it up here. I see "Huge Lead". Looks good - I touch it. Play some keys to audition the sound. Sounds good. Then press the [ENTER] button to commit this sound to PART 11
... almost half way there
7) Same general idea - set PART 12 to another single-PART sound ("Seraphim" - which is a choir sound). Note that the "Attribute" is remembered from the last time I filtered by this attribute ("Single" ) - so I don't necessarily have to keep selecting that.
8) PART 13 "Early Fusion" - a single-PART electric piano
9) PART 14 "1968" - a single-PART acoustic piano sound
10) PART 15 "Space Walking" - a single-PART sound effect (pitched)
11) Finally, PART 16 I select "Fiddle" - you know what that is.
... I won't bother with PARTs 1-8 since we pretty much know what those will do. "Standard Fare" where you can have multi-PART instruments and leverage keyboard control.
12) After all this work, I'm going to [STORE] what I've setup as a template. I call the User Performance "Template 16p SpaceCB". I could have probably shortened "Template" to "Plate" and known that my templates start with "Plate" which would leave more room for "SpaceCB" to be longer. 16p tells me 16 parts. This is as much of an art - naming stuff so you can recall it easily - as anything else. Come up with your own workflow that makes sense.

SECOND - I'll start fooling with the Pattern feature.

13) I press the record button. This automatically pops me into the "Play/Rec" -> "Pattern" screen
14) I want to record bass first, so I press [PART CONTROL] then Number A [9] (the "1/9" button) to select PART 9. Note that [PART CONTROL] was already selected (illuminated) from before, so all I had to do was press Number A [9]
15) Length is 4 - I'll just leave it like that. "Key On Start" is off. I'll turn that ON. "Loop" is on - I'll turn that OFF. Tempo is 130 - I'll dial that back to 100. I'm not concerned about quantize for this. All is ready ...
16) I start pressing piano keys to record my bassline. I keep playing until the recorder stops. First takes are all I'm going to deal with. I played all white keys.
17) I press Number A [10] to select the drum track. I have no real idea where drum kit notes are - I don't usually "do" drums for my playing. So I'll just pick the G above middle C and play quarter notes of whatever comes out. I press the record button to arm recording then start my quarter notes. Something funny happened. There's missing quarter notes of the drums. I know what happened - I didn't press "rewind" to start from the beginning of the track. Keeping on the same track, I first pressed the "rewind to the start" button (so the position shows ":01:000" ) then pressed the record button and then changed the "Record Type" to "Replace" (really, it was already set this way - so I was fine with the default). I started striking the same "G" (which is a cowbell type sound) . That's better.
Note: as I recorded the cowbell (really, one of the 2 pitches of agogo bells) I could hear my bass playing at the same time. Now as I record the next sound (synth lead) I'll hear bass and the cowbell
18) Now I have "drums" I'm going to turn off click since I don't need it anymore. I touch "click settings" on the screen, change the click mode to "off", then in the upper-left of the screen touch the "up arrow" icon which returns me back where I left off at the pattern recording screen.
19) I press the Number A [11] button to select the lead PART. Same drill - remembering to rewind first.
... and, well, you get the point. This all works without copying anything. Without external gear.

The comment on external gear was if you want to play everything live and simultaneously recording all tracks at once. If you're OK with one-by-one, then that's achievable on PARTs 9-16 with single-PART sounds.

Also can be done with PARTs 1-8 using the exact same method (single-PART sounds).

However, PARTs 1-8 are also an open area for using keyboard control to tell Montage/MODX you want the keyboard to simultaneously record multiple PARTs at the same time. Ideal for multi-PART instruments.

It's (as one example) if you have 100% multi-PART instruments (zero single-PART) AND want to use all 16 PARTs where you would have to either shuffle tracks around or use external controllers. Or if you have more multi-PART sounds than fit in slots 1-8.

... a tangent:

You cannot render patterns/sequences to audio unless recording with a connected computer/tablet. The internal audio recorder, recording to a USB flash stick, is a mutually exclusive function to playing patterns.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

18) Now I have "drums" I'm going to turn off click since I don't need it anymore. I touch "click settings" on the screen, change the click mode to "off", then in the upper-left of the screen touch the "up arrow" icon which returns me back where I left off at the pattern recording screen.

Where is the click mode off button? I haven't seen this.

Also, is there a way to play this drum loop pattern whilst not recording, in anticipation of recording, so the user can get "in the groove", and then initiate recording the moment they're "feeling it"?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Thanks for several answers. They all refer to recording. I dont need to record. Only to play live.

If I want to use Yamaha Montage pattern mode playing live with my band. No recording. Just playing live. With eg 4 layers divided in 4 zones. All in all using all 16 tracks. That you can do with Motif. Saving you 16 track pattern i Master mode, and using it live in gigs.

But can you do it with Montage? And save in Live set. I couldn't do it while testing the Montage in the shop. While testing track 9-16 were not activ. Not responding. Greyed out, no Kbd Cntr activation possible.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Regarding the problem of playing 16 parts/tracks live (not recording).

Jason, Andrew, Michel, Stefan:

Just found this on the yamahasynth/ideascale community:

This is a wish for the next update. Exactly what I miss:

"Expand KBD CTRL to 16 parts on the Montage/MODX
Please expand KBD CTRL so that it is no longer bound to parts 1-8 on the Montage/MODX. Change it so that we can have parts 1-16 available to layer/split/etc. at the same time all via KBD CTRL, so that we could potentially have 16 parts playable at the same time!"

So I guess I'll have to wait!

Maybe Bad Mister can help to make this wish come true :-)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 5
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi Bo,

I guess the confusion came from the fact that this is a thread about the pattern sequencer. And the comment that you do not want to record did not necessarily mean that you do not want to play back something which was pre recorded... and play live over it.

From the local keyboard you can only play up to 8 parts with up to 8 elements at the same time without additional hardware. With a second keyboard or an additional iPad or phone and some software you can potentially play all 16 parts. If you really need all 16 and don’t want to add extra hardware, then yes, you will have to wait...
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
This confusion might stem from the fact that, on the Motif, "Pattern Mode" (as well as Song Mode) was largely synonymous with the potential for keyboard control over 16 parts. You had to use one of these Mixing Modes to get access to 16 parts, otherwise you were restricted to either 4 or 1. The Montage moved to a paradigm where 16-part Mixing Mode is now the only mode, but also brought the restrictions in regards to keyboard and MIDI control and removed much of the sequencing tool-set.

I think that someone coming from the Motif could be forgiven for seeing that the Montage has gained a pattern sequencer and thinking that this included Motif features that were related to the Pattern Mode but technically not directly related to actual sequencing.

Put another way, on the Motif you went to sequencing mode to get access to unrestricted control over 16 part mult-timbrality. On the Montage, "sequencing mode" brings nothing but exactly what its name describes: sequencing.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Interesting and good to know!
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 8
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
@Bo Bjerre

When you say use live - I assumed you were going to use the pattern sequencer for live performance. That's MIDI recording AND playback. So I assumed you were going to use the pattern sequencer's playback feature live.

I think the revision (to my understanding of your question) is that you're not talking about the pattern sequencer at all - you're just wondering about why the local keyboard cannot play all 16 PARTs at once.

I wish there was not this limitation either - but it's there. Parts 9-16 cannot have keyboard control turned on because that's how this box is wired. PARTs 9-16 can only be locally controlled by the on-board piano keys one at a time (and only if selected).

If you want to use the local piano keys to control all 16 PARTs at the same time - you can do that - but it requires external "something". That something can be a MIDI controller. It can be an external MIDI controller OR Montage/MODX itself as the MIDI controller - sending MIDI out the MIDI OUT port and then loop back to the MIDI IN port. You would setup PARTs 1-8 MIDI transmit channel to channels 9-16 respectively. It's worth noting that this configuration is not recommended - but you can make it work, within its limitations, if that's your goal.

Back in 2017 - this request to have keyboard control active for all 16 PARTs was already a frequently requested item: https://yamahasynth.com/ask-a-question/parts-9-to-16

Where is the click mode off button? I haven't seen this.

If you follow my steps up to that point on your own keyboard - you'll see the screen where this is. The click options are in the upper-right of the touchscreen. It's a "wormhole" shortcut to the click setup which can also be gotten to by pressing the tempo icon on the top of the screen among other ways.

Press [PERFORMANCE] (HOME), then press the record button in the transport controls area. This brings up the menu with the click options wormhole as I described in the steps.

The screen looks like this:

See "Click Settings" in upper-right.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 9
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

Press [PERFORMANCE] (HOME), then press the record button in the transport controls area. This brings up the menu with the click options wormhole as I described in the steps.

The screen looks like this:

See "Click Settings" in upper-right.

Thanks @Jason

I know where it is. I have a little screed I've been meaning to post about its foibles. But I haven't seen a button that turns off the click. I've been adjusting its volume to 0 to "turn it off".

Also, slightly related, the click distorts and does other funky things when used during play and record. That distortion is often sticky, staying around after whatever has caused it to become (what sounds to me) like it's getting a bit bit crushed.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 10
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
When you are In the screen you reach using the button Jason mentioned you can then decide to have the click on/off, on during record and play it only record, etc.

I have never heard any distortion when using the click unless other sounds were also distorted already.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 11
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I couldn't find just a screenshot alone of this screen. From the reference manual:

See "Click Mode". The "Mode" parameter (connected to the parameter category "Click" through a common dark grey bar) is shown as "Rec" in the picture above. This means the click will only occur while recording. You can change this to:

Off (Click will not sound)
Rec (The click will sound during Song/and now pattern recording only)
Rec/Play (The click will sound during recording and playback)
Always (The click will always sound).

Change to "Off" to replicate what I did in the instructions.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 12
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
So far I’ve been using the pattern sequencer for recording a left hand chord progression with Arps and letting it play over while I fly away playing soaring right hand melodies while my left hand works the pitch bend, mod wheel, ribbon, and AF switches. Loving it. :-)

I agree with others that it would be better if the pattern sequencer did not record the start position of the super knob. It doesn’t do it with the mod wheel or filter cut off.
What I want to do is use the super knob to change the sound over time, exactly as I do when not using the pattern sequencer. In the performance I’m playing at the moment the super knob controls the mix of instruments and shifts between a pad like and a more rhythmic accompaniment, and I’d like to retain manual control over that as I play.
I have set the super knob memory switch for the scene to OFF, but the pattern overrides it, which is a bit counterintuitive to me, I expected the switch to mean “super knob position is not recalled by this scene”, and I think it does mean that until you record a pattern. (If super knob memory switch is ON for the scene, it jumps to the memory position when the scene is selected but is immediately jumped back by the pattern.)

I think Yamaha have got the super knob recording in patterns wrong in v3.0.1 because Montage is primarily a performance instrument, and that’s why we all bought it. I want to perform live music, but the pattern sequencer recording and replaying the position of the super knob when I’ve not touched it is a song editing approach, and to my mind, not Montage-like. If I don’t move the super knob, then super knob position was not part of my performance and according to everything Yamaha have been saying up until now, shouldn’t have been recorded.

I think a good way for it to work is that the super knob is recorded in the pattern only if you move it. The super knob memory switch value for the scene takes care of it when you want the super knob value to be something when you select that scene, which is also when the patten will kick in if the sequencer is playing.

Actually, I suspect that the programmers working on the pattern sequencer began before the super knob scene memory switch was added, and simply overlooked it. ;-)
(And I think they are busy on 3.1 after having worked overtime to get 3.0 out on time... ;-) Well done them! )

I like sequencers and thought long and hard before investing in a synthesiser that had a sequencer as limited as the Montage did then. But playing is what I wanted it for, so I bought a Novation Launchpad Pro to go with it and decided to learn to use Ableton Live.

The new pattern sequencer is a pretty good addition as a tool for live performance. I think we can look forward to a refinements soon. Another addition is perhaps to combine the scene/track matrix with the pattern chain so you can chain e.g. scene 1 part 1, then scene 1, parts 1& 2, then scene 1, parts 2,3&4, then scene 2, parts 1,2&3, etc.

And of course a step sequencer... Im sure it’s coming, but I’m going to start a new wish list thread for that so we can talk about how we might like it to work. :-)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 13
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