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  1. Leon
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. Wednesday, 25 May 2016
I just purchased a Montage this past weekend, and am trying to figure out the best way to MIDI sequence to Sonar Pro (preferred) or Cubase 8 Elements, which I also have installed. I've been off of the scene for a few years, so whichever one I can get the Montage to work best with, quickest, will probably become my current "standard".

From speaking with a Yamaha support expert just yesterday, I've learned that I should be only using MIDI channels 9-16 for Montage sequenced tracks on my DAW. That may be all that I need, but I thought I'd throw this out here for discussion. I may learn something new or improve the old strategy that I used in the past with more "traditional" synths.

Since the Montage Instrument defs are not yet available, I've added the Motif XF INS to my Sonar, and it seems to play the instruments as listed. I have, however, experienced problems isolating the midi channels so that it will play different instruments on different tracks (the usual). One thing that I noticed is that even when I had instruments assigned to different MIDI channels, the pitch bend wheel seemed to transmit globally to all the MIDI channels. Is that something that I need to set specifically on the Montage to behave differently?

Also, at the moment, I have the Montage connected via USB to my computer, as well as a Yamaha MG10XU USB mixing console. I'm using the MG10XU as my primary audio device right now, because it handles my phantom powered condenser mic. I may look at some other options in the future if this is limiting my immediate capabilities (but I've got a lot more basic stuff to learn before I'll be concerned with using functions like the vocorder on the Montage. I just need to get the MIDI stuff ironed out for now so that I can effectively record midi tracks into the DAW and then record vocal tracks into the projects as well.

To ensure that I understand this correctly, using the setup\configuration described above, from my DAW's perspective, I have a MOTIF XF, and can use the sound patches known as the MOTIF kind of in the "traditional" way that I'm used to, right? If so, that is totally ok for me, as after the basic instrument tracks are laid down as MIDI, I'm ok with adding the Montage's innovative sounds as audio tracks if needed to further animate the songs.

Looks like others have been having similar issues while trying to get used to the new concept Montage with DAWs, so I'm just trying to learn anything new and useful that I can related to the topic, and also if anyone has the layout handy regarding settings on the Montage, Sonar, and\or Cubase, that would be greatly appreciated! :-)
Responses (8)
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
You should use whichever DAW you find easiest for you to use. While the steps to set them up might be different in the details, fundamentally setting up to record is similar. I have not used a Sonar in over 12 years so I would not be able to help with setup.

If you downloaded and installed the copy of Cubase AI8 we can at least talk you through basic setup and recording. From that you can find the equivalent functions in Sonar. I would recommend you use you Montage as your primary audio device since it gives you 32 audio bus outputs via USB. But this is up to you.

I would still use the MG10XU as a standalone mixer, especially since you have a microphone requiring phantom power. You can plug the analog audio outputs of the mixer to the A/D Input of the Montage... As a LINE INPUT. Connect your Montage to your Monitor speakers. You will be able to route the A/D input though Montage effects and route it to its own discrete audio bus output.

I recommend this because rendering audio will definitely be apart of your workflow with Montage. There has never been a synth with 32 audio bus outputs and as you get to know the power of Montage you are going want to use them.

Alternatively, you can switch devices _ are you singing and playing simultaneously? Cubase allows you "hot swap" ASIO devices mid session (you do not have to shut down the program, but you will need to switch the device connected to the speakers)

There are several recording scenarios - and there is no one way to work. You can record MIDI, you can record audio.
Montage offers you several different types of setups. You don't necessarily need an "instrument definition" or XML, or script file to select sounds. In fact, it probably is better to learn to select sounds from the front panel... A skill you will want to have in your arsenal when not near a computer. (later you can add this if you desire).

To setup to record single Parts on Montage:
Press [CATEGORY SEARCH]
Select the "INIT" category and select "Multi/GM"
This will place Single Parts in each of the 16 slots, and sets you up to record using the track-by-track method to your DAW (Cubase or Sonar)
Press [ENTER]

You can now replace the default sounds with ones of your choosing by touching the Part, and using Part Category Search.
Each Part 1-16 is on a successively higher correspondingly numbered Midi channel, 1-16.

There are a few Setup things to check:
_ Make sure your DAW is set to Record and playback System Exclusive data. The Super Knob, Assignable Knobs, etc, send Parameter Change message (sysex). In Cubase this is found in PREFERENCES > MIDI > MIDI FILTER, uncheck SYSTEM EXCLUSIVE.
_ Typically, the DAW is set as the master MIDI clock. This must be sent to the Montage via USB (port 1). In Cubase this is found under TRANSPORT > PROJECT SYNCHRONIZATION SETTINGS > MIDI > MIDI CLOCK OUT DESTINATION
_ in the Montage, there are two different QUICK SETUPS for MIDI recording:
Midi REC on DAW
Arp REC on DAW
These are found in [UTILITY] > "Settings" > "Quick Setups"
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
You are indeed one baaaad, baaad mister (meant in a good way of course)! Many thanks for the detailed advice! I will be trying this out as soon as I'm off from work today and will let you know how it works out for me! As I've seen on many blogs, forums, and FB community groups, this appears to be a very common question. It would probably help Yamaha's sell with this amazing new synth to at least put as much info out there as possible so that people clearly understand how to use the Montage in a variety of ways. The info that you've shared with me, I have not seen in clear detail anywhere else on the web! Thanks again sir! I greatly appreciate it, and am confident that you have probably just helped me solve a major head scratcher! :-)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Bad Mister wrote:

You should use whichever DAW you find easiest for you to use. While the steps to set them up might be different in the details, fundamentally setting up to record is similar. I have not used a Sonar in over 12 years so I would not be able to help with setup.

If you downloaded and installed the copy of Cubase AI8 we can at least talk you through basic setup and recording. From that you can find the equivalent functions in Sonar. I would recommend you use you Montage as your primary audio device since it gives you 32 audio bus outputs via USB. But this is up to you.

I would still use the MG10XU as a standalone mixer, especially since you have a microphone requiring phantom power. You can plug the analog audio outputs of the mixer to the A/D Input of the Montage... As a LINE INPUT. Connect your Montage to your Monitor speakers. You will be able to route the A/D input though Montage effects and route it to its own discrete audio bus output.

I recommend this because rendering audio will definitely be apart of your workflow with Montage. There has never been a synth with 32 audio bus outputs and as you get to know the power of Montage you are going want to use them.

Alternatively, you can switch devices _ are you singing and playing simultaneously? Cubase allows you "hot swap" ASIO devices mid session (you do not have to shut down the program, but you will need to switch the device connected to the speakers)

There are several recording scenarios - and there is no one way to work. You can record MIDI, you can record audio.
Montage offers you several different types of setups. You don't necessarily need an "instrument definition" or XML, or script file to select sounds. In fact, it probably is better to learn to select sounds from the front panel... A skill you will want to have in your arsenal when not near a computer. (later you can add this if you desire).

To setup to record single Parts on Montage:
Press [CATEGORY SEARCH]
Select the "INIT" category and select "Multi/GM"
This will place Single Parts in each of the 16 slots, and sets you up to record using the track-by-track method to your DAW (Cubase or Sonar)
Press [ENTER]

You can now replace the default sounds with ones of your choosing by touching the Part, and using Part Category Search.
Each Part 1-16 is on a successively higher correspondingly numbered Midi channel, 1-16.

There are a few Setup things to check:
_ Make sure your DAW is set to Record and playback System Exclusive data. The Super Knob, Assignable Knobs, etc, send Parameter Change message (sysex). In Cubase this is found in PREFERENCES > MIDI > MIDI FILTER, uncheck SYSTEM EXCLUSIVE.
_ Typically, the DAW is set as the master MIDI clock. This must be sent to the Montage via USB (port 1). In Cubase this is found under TRANSPORT > PROJECT SYNCHRONIZATION SETTINGS > MIDI > MIDI CLOCK OUT DESTINATION
_ in the Montage, there are two different QUICK SETUPS for MIDI recording:
Midi REC on DAW
Arp REC on DAW
These are found in [UTILITY] > "Settings" > "Quick Setups"


Can the way that is described here to record tracks, be associated with emulating the pattern mode function of the onboard sequencer of the Motif ES? I am trying to just get a grip on emulating the pattern mode function of the Motif ES within Cubase, using the Montage ie. record track 1, listen to track one while recording track 2 etc. This is the main feature I am trying to understand in Cubase with regards to Montage and my decision to keep moving forward with this software and hardware setup. Thank you
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 3
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I know this may sound very trite, but the danger in writing any guides to workflows is that people start to assume that this means it's the only way to work. And to cover all possible workflows is impossible. Montage challenges many, especially those who approach it in a manner of how they are used to working.
The most significant thing that is new/different about Montage is that it is designed for the "LIVE" performer (the performer on stage) to NOT be restricted by the "one Channel-one Part-to one Track" paradigm that so many have restricted themselves to working within. montage can be so much bigger than that workflow.

It makes no sense (perhaps an overstatement on my part) to use a detailed four Part acoustic piano with tons of subtle detail if you are going to bury it in a mix with tons of other sounds that hide this. The big multiple Part instruments should probably be reserved for when it is a feature instrument. But that's just one view of things.

Montage may call into question your reason for initially recording tracks as MIDI. Since the Montage is a synthesizer where multiple controls are put in motion simultaneously via a single gesture, this means that editing MIDI data takes on a new aspect. If you've been used to recording MIDI and then, say, dropping into the data and drawing or redrawing filters with cc074, you're in for a big surprise. You are not simply controlling all the filters with cc numbers. You can setup so that a single control gesture does custom things to each different Element... Instead of treating them as just one entity (all together) - it's this detail that makes people go, "wow! this thing sounds good"

To make changes in how a sound responds is necessarily not about fixing the MIDI event after you've recorded it, but can very much be about tweaking how the synth engine response to your playing. So it more about front loading, not fixing it after-the-fact. It takes each individual interacting with Montage to figure out exactly how they are best going to use it.

If you want to treat it like your old synth... One-track-one-Part-on one channel.... There certainly is a way to do that... But something you said in your first post shows me you are "getting" the gist of what's happening: "I'm ok with adding the Montage's innovative sounds as audio tracks if needed to further animate the songs."

That to me says, you're starting to understand that some of what Montage does is best captured directly as audio... Because you find that beyond fixing misplayed notes, editing controllers is done (best) by editing the synth engine - and as a "synth person", this is where it's at. The so-called ROMPLER term is somewhat outdated by what Montage is doing. (It does have 32 audio bus outputs) but again, this is going to be a very personal choice. And in the end must be made by the musician.

I'm a realist, there are going to be musicians who will happily play Montage without utilizing Motion Control (some because they play all synths like it's a piano, some because it just doesn't appeal to them) and this is okay, Montage sounds unbelievably good just being played (static). But those who dive into the concept of Motion Control, I think will find new avenues of expression... and will reap the rewards.

I'm constantly amazed at what expression and emotion can be evoked from a sound by simply changing the balance of timbres... There's an Upright piano Performance that had me up into the wee hours last night. Typically, unless I needed specifically that type of broad piano tone, would I even spend time with such a sound. (Upright Mod 1) but this blend of AWM2+FM-X seems to strike a chord (pun intended) with me. To play it without Motion you'd miss the sweet FM-X tone morphing into play. Not a piano you'd use as a feature, but a perfect piano-object for comping in the rhythm section.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 4
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
@ Ryan
Can the way that is described here to record tracks, be associated with emulating the pattern mode function of the onboard sequencer of the Motif ES? I am trying to just get a grip on emulating the pattern mode function of the Motif ES within Cubase, using the Montage ie. record track 1, listen to track one while recording track 2 etc. This is the main feature I am trying to understand in Cubase with regards to Montage and my decision to keep moving forward with this software and hardware setup. Thank you
Absolutely.

Set your Markers in Cubase to outline the number of measures you would like to cycle (loop) you recording. Let's say you want to do 8 measures. This would mean you have a left Marker at measure 1 and the right Marker at measure 9. Click on the CYCLE icon on the Cubase Transport.

Set the attributes for your MIDI recording on the Cubase Transport bar... Set "Auto Quantize" if that is your thing, and set it so each cycle allows you to Mix new data with existing data as it loops around.

I always select at least three or four instruments first before I ever hit record, this way I don't have to break my concentration to pick sounds. For example, in the MULTI/GM Performance I select the following four Parts:
Real Drums
Velocity Bass
Clavi Stuff
Wind Synth

I create 1 MIDI track in Cubase, set to receive Montage 1, set to output to Montage 1, and set to Channel = ANY (this allows Cubase to THRU the data back out on the channel it came in.
On Montage, I use the Quick Setup #1 = MIDI REC on DAW

I set Cubase click, set the tempo... And go.
Recording is exactly like recording to Pattern mode in a Motif/MOXF
You can use the front panel PART SELECT buttons to select the Part you want to play... And you don't have to hit stop to switch to the next instrument.

This basically how I build my rhythm section tracks. For the next "section", set the left Marker at 9 and the right Marker at 17...
If I need to edit the data of one of the tracks you can use the MIDI pull down option: DISSOLVE PARTS _ by channel... This separates the four Parts to four tracks for easier viewing.

Once I have my rhythm section tracks in a reasonably workable state... I render them as audio.
This allows me to play along with them while I free my Montage for more creative duties. I keep the MIDI Tracks in a muted folder -so that if later I change my mind about what's there, I have my original data.

I've found that working with the rhythm section and rendering audio via the 32 studio bus outputs is awesome workflow... Every Part can use discreet outputs, every Part can have its own dual insertion effects... And depending on the Project I can even route each drum on its own discreet output to its own audio track! Heaven!

Now that the rhythm section is rendered as audio, I'm free to use anything I want on my Montage. Because we have Midi clock adding things like arpeggios, tempo driven effects and LFOs, even replacing earlier Parts is possible. Once again, everyone will find their own best method of working!

But if Pattern mode is your workflow of choice, you can setup Cubase AI to function this way, as described above.
Of course, if you have Cubase Pro 8 the Arranger > PLAY ORDER function is like Motif/MOXF PATTERN mode on steroids.

We plan on having several workflow tutorials in the coming weeks... Hopefully, we can point out some things that will be of interest to a wide array of users without pidgeon holing folks into a specific workflow. The one you develop for yourself usually fits best.

Hope that helps.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 5
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Thank you very much. I think this is going to help when I get a chance to try this tonight. Also, tutorials on workflows, possibly touching on my type of work flow, is very exciting!! Thank you again, I really appreciate your help.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
@ Bad Mister

I really appreciate the detail and attention that you've given regarding this question! I actually sort of gave up (at least for now) on the MIDI channelization issues that I'd been struggling with. I took some time to lay down a few test tracks, pretty much just outputting the audio to each track from separate Montage audio out ports. Still feels a little weird, but I see where Yamaha is going with this now. Using this method, I'm not really having to focus on MIDI channel "stuff" at all, and I can definitely grow to like that aspect once I'm in a little deeper.

One follow up question regarding "Real-time Quantize". Using this method, since there aren't many editing functions built in to the Montage "performance recorder", is it possible to set the quantize function on the Montage to just quantize in real time as I'm playing? This is mostly applicable to recording the percussion tracks. The way I'm trying this right now, I'm not even using the Montage performance recorder at all. I'm just recording the tracks straight into Sonar. So I'm wondering if I can apply that quantize on the front end to my playing, as my logic assumes that the Montage doesn't know\care if I'm recording to an external DAW or not at that point. It's just sending out that sound to whatever the destination is.

So where by in my "old" method, I captured the MIDI data, and did any "piano roll" edits or applying quantize at the DAW level, now it seems that the emphasis has to be on getting it right at time of recording. I definitely think that with this method, a tremendous amount of tailoring ability is lost, but once I do this a bit more, I will get used to it.

This is major progress for me, so I think that maybe my last remaining challenge is to get a good understanding of the best quantizing techniques\possibilities.

Almost ready to start cranking out songs again! Yay!!! :)
Attachments (1)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Ok, update to my previous comment. What I was doing wrong before(in Sonar) with the MIDI was selecting the MONTAGE1 input and selecting omni mode. What worked was changing that to "all inputs" (Not Montage1, 2, or 3, but the top option - all inputs). I think I've got the hang of it now!

-So I can record the MIDI tracks, and edit that note data if I need to from the DAW.
-Now that it plays back, I create a new audio track to record that once I've got it perfect.
-Lastly, mute the MIDI track(s), so that I have it for data if I need to change something later, but I now have the audio track ready to mix with the rest of the tracks.

:-)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 8
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