Over 30 years ago I bought a Yamaha DX7II-FD and still have it. I plan to migrate some of my favorite sounds over to the Montage; however I am coming to realize that Yamaha dropped 'UNISON' as a feature..!?
When did Yamaha start dropping 'Unison' as a feature for their Synthesizers? I could almost understand it if they did this with the Motif's & AWM based synths, but for FM synthesis, one of the most useful (If not THE most useful) features was always 'Unison'! The best sounds I have on my DX7II-FD use Unison. I have some really great voice strings that I programmed from scratch, as well as some really cool synth solo sounds that I'd like to bring over.
Why would they do this and not include Unison?
This is a "MUST", not an idea to ask for when it comes to FM synthesis!
So, looking at what I could do on my DX7II-FD vs the Montage/MODX...on the DX, I could have 2 Unison based sounds split, playing my voice strings on the left side, while doing a synth solo on the right side. This is a total of 8 voices, because Unison layers the same voice sound 4 times and then allow you to detune to taste. The only easy way I can see replicating this on the Montage, is to copy the two 2 different parts 4 x each for a total of 8 parts. And since Yamaha have limited KBD CTRL to only 8 parts, it appears that after over 30 years, they have not improved the number of FM sounds (that use Unison) that can be played at the same time. Basically, just 2 different sounds...same as on the DX7II-FD ... Why? Why even include FM-X as an engine, if you are going to take away THE most import thing that makes it sound the best???
If using 4 PARTs was the thinking, then you have just put the ability of the new Montage/MODX synths back 30+ years, which is extremely limiting!!!
They could have (& could still) given us 4 x UNISON of a PART via a "Quad Harmonizer" effect at the very least, which would have done the trick!!
For FM synthesis, this is as big a deal as if they decided to leave out 'portamento' or 'pitch bend' as features!
I put this on Yamaha IdeaScale a few months back: "Montage-MODX UNISON Layering Functionality"
So, working with what has been given to us. How can I replicate UNISON for my DX7II FM based sounds without having to use up 4 PARTs? Any & all options/suggestions that you know of & can share would be greatly appreciated!
What I have tried on my own that does an OK job:
- I took an FM-X part and copied it to the next available free PART location (not ideal but better than using up 3 additional PART locations)
- I setup a Stereo Chorus insert effect on on the 1st FM PART & a Stereo Flanger insert effect on the 2nd FM PART
- I then setup the Ins B on the 1st FM PART with a Basic 'Cross Delay' effect, with a very short Delay time, Feedback=0, and Input Select to 'L' so that the sound would repeat to the Left side.
- I repeated this for the 2nd FM PART, except I set the Delay time slightly different, and the Input Select to 'R'.