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  1. david
  2. Vanity Monster Sherlock Holmes The Voice
  3. YC61 Stage Keyboard
  4. Wednesday, 14 October 2020
So I literally log onto the forum daily in anticipation of YC61 OS update but then I see a monsterous advertisement for yet another CP OS update.

Really? I think what I will start doing is not buying any Yamaha products until the OS has been updated by about the 4th time or so.

I had been through everything on the YC by about the first month. If only I knew what was coming but I'm selling mine now.

Support likely depends on produce popularity and not so much on secrecy to stay one step ahead of the competition.

If it's not popular then service will be placed at the end of the priority list. CP is apparently doing better and I know it's been out longer but still.
Responses (13)
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YC61 Launch Date January 2020
... first available for purchase sometime after that
YC61 1.02 Update 04/23/2020

CP73/88 Lauched January 2019
1.10 Update January 2019 (basically close to launch update)
1.20 Update 09/23/2019
1.30 Update 01/16/2020
1.40 Update 09/27/2020

If I ignore the CP practically day 1 firmware update - then I would say YC's firmware updates are exactly tracking the CP's releases. At this time in the CP's life - there was essentially one firmware update past launch and January was the next update. The NAMM release cycle.

The fact that CP is more mature also means there's more user feedback. That could come into play.

Ignoring that it seems the firmware releases are "the same" as CP if you compare the 1st year of CP to YC - also there's the reality that CP's first year did not intersect with certain realities that kept engineers out of the labs (and develop new processes for dealing with these factors).

I'm not sure comparing year 2 of CP to year 1 of YC is apples to apples.
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One similarity that should place the YC tracking much faster is that I think the brain is the same as the CP series.

So the CP series had to be development over time whereas the YC not so much.

I'll bet they can almost "cut and paste" from CP into YC in a sense & if not directly then pretty close.
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I get it, but they're on different timelines. They have enough differences that it's not similar enough to be "like" MODX/Montage. And even still, if you look at two keyboards with essentially all the same stuff (MODX and Montage) - features were not launched at the same time. MODX didn't pick up DAW remote control for a long time. MODX still doesn't have the Motif XF sound set (and, I suppose, may never). Even when the keyboards are very, very, very close - you still do not see temporal proximity with releases of features.
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I think there may be a further distinction here ..
The CP OS updates are all 'significant digit' updates. 1.20 - 1.30 - 1.40 whereas the only (tiny) YC61 OS update so far is '1.02'.
Hopefully the next ( which is pretty much due, I would have thought?) will be '1.20' rather than '1.03'.

From the comments here - and indeed on Yamaha's own 'Ideascale' forum - the much heralded rotary speaker sim is in need of serious improvement.
Maybe it's that which is causing the delay?... It's not trivial task, creating decent 'Leslie' sims. :)

Of course, the Yamaha reps are still suggesting 'have you tried changing the settings?' and don't comment further after you reply 'yes'.
Understandable of course - you don't bite the hand that feeds you - but they haven't got cloth ears, and will undoubtedly have raised the issue with the development engineers.

At the moment, it's a bit like the 'Montage doesn't need a sequencer' saga. Once Yamaha finally realised that sales had probably been quite seriously compromised with that omission, the 'totally unnecessary' sequencer duly arrived!

Maybe the engineers are having trouble actually updating the rotary sim software effectively? .... Hopefully they'll sort it out soon.
I feel sure that - like the missing Montage sequencer - the current YC61 rotary sim must be costing sales...So there's probably some pressure on the engineers, behind the scenes...:)
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There's a longer history than YC61 that the rotary speaker simulation from Yamaha is lacking. Even Yamaha's own demo star and content creator (presets) has expressed that the rotary speaker (in Montage) is so lacking that an external pedal from not-Yamaha is the preferred solution. This was with the first pass of rotary speaker in Montage. Many months later a new rotary speaker effect emerged - improved. So what's available to YC61 was already some attempt to squeeze some juice out of the lemon.

I do hope that focus on a keyboard that is more organ-centric would make "world class" the goal rather than "good enough for occasional use". We'll see. BTW: if the rotary speaker in YC61 is different/enhanced vs. Montage - I'm not sure or implying it is or is not the same. Just that engineers had already invested in the modeling and responded to similar complaints in that platform -- so that work is in the toolbox already for YC61.

All of that aside - I think given the timeline, it's a little early to call foul on the amount of firmware releases YC is seeing as of yet. If something like rotary speaker is something I want updated - it's not something that necessarily benefits from a rush job.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I heard the original Montage rotary sim at a launch presentation. It was not good! Glad to hear it's been improved since.

The YC61 launch information made much of the 'new' Rotary Sim. The reality turned out to be somewhat different.

Yamaha have clearly made an attempt to try and copy the two independent rotor concept ... they have included separate acceleration and deceleration controls - independent speed settings, and different level settings for each rotor. So the intention to try and copy the features of external pedals - like the Neo Vent 2 - is clearly there.

This initial version however suggests that launch date pressures permitted a 'half finished' implementation to be included ...
• The crossover frequency between the two rotors is not well defined. The lower rotor is very weak.
• The acceleration limits appear to use completely arbitrary figures - between '0.2' and '2.00' ( they seem to bear no resemblance to any time settings -- '2.00' is the fastest!) and the slowest acceleration setting for the lower rotor is still not up to speed after 2 minutes !
• Worst of all is the much complained about 'beat' frequency present on the fast rotor. That is really not good at all!

As I say, it's almost as if there wasn't time to 'finish things' before launch?...

It must be affecting sales? I'm one of those who has 'bitten the bullet' and added a Neo Vent 2 to my YC61 - to restore my sanity. It makes a massive difference!

If Yamaha do manage to get somewhere near the Neo Vent 2 sound, then they have a killer keyboard on their hands, in my opinion.
There are many features to like about the YC61. The rotary sim is currently not one of them :)
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Without taking any "pressure" off the engineers to redo the rotary, I would be happy with an interim OS update that, among other fixes suggested on IdeaScale, 1) allowed hard panning of the organ and keys to one side and the other so you could use a Neo Vent, etc more practically and 2) allow the source signal to be removed from the outputs so you could run a 100% computer processed signal returned from the USB Audio feed (a "kill dry" as someone called it on an idea posted for the CP)...this would allow someone to use a computer-based rotary sim like the IK TR-5 (this is what I'm doing currently but I have to use an outboard USB audio device). That coupled with a "we're working on it" for the internal rotary sim might be something to consider.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I bought a rebrub Fantom like new for almost what I paid for the YC.

The Fantom is a workstation, sampler, sequencer, drum machine w/pads, arranger, stage keyboard, synth, analog system with miles of balanced I/Os etc.

I've owned the Genos and Montage and I think Roland engineers gathered the complaints of Yamaha users in the forums and then incorporated all of that into this unit.

Nice strategy to provide what Yamaha did not. It resembles both the Montage and the Genos. I think all 16 parts are also available in real time. Still learning it.

I probably have no good reason to keep the YC or Montage now.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Surprising that the Fantom is a workstation, drum machine, stage keyboard/piano/organ, sequencer, sampler, arranger, synthesizer, analog, controller/Daw etc. with bunches of I/Os including balanced w/sub/gate/analog filter outs. XLRs etc.

Some have suggested Yamaha is not creating the Montage XS but only upgrading the Montage. If they want to compete the Montage XS better be about ready to release.

I've never owned a Roland until now but this technology seems to allow more capabilities than sampling instruments and looping them. Yamaha had the CP1 technology but stopped pursuing it.

Sometimes Yamaha would only offer 4 pianos, poor organs, almost no choir etc. while Roland has hundreds and hundreds. Yamaha would charge for expansions or dump it off to 3rd parties. Roland's are all free, 15 expansion packs all free and many sound as good as the Genos with super articulation tones.

I've probably spent thousands of dollars on Yamaha expansion voices, probably won't in the future. I guess Yamaha's sampling technology is too expensive to compete with free.

Roland voices are all pretty usable whereas Yamaha would add hundreds of useless noises/sounds etc.

We know for a fact when Yamaha adds their FM engine it raises the unit price by at least $500 like on the YC61. Why is this technology still so expensive in 2020? The YC61 should only cost about $1,500 for what you get although it is a fantastic design. I want to keep mine if I can afford it. Still waiting for a massive OS upgrade.

Sure the Fantom is 4 years ahead of the Montage, has it really been that long? I still bet Yamaha will never offer thousands of free sounds so what's next for them and sampling/looping to create waves?

Roland did copy the Genos and Montage build quality, appearance, layout and even interface because it seems so familiar. Value wise it's 4 years better than Montage and especially because it can feel like the Genos too plus it's every single thing the Montage is not. It even morphs 4 sounds and not just FM tones like Montage.

I'm not sure how they did it but the fun factor/excitement factor is through the roof. I'm not sure Yamaha can compete in the value market with this unit without totally changing the Montage. Their typical trend to just double everything still isn't going to match. They'll have to add AN & FDSP & VL & CP1 technology and a sequencer/sampler/drum machine pads and provide all 16 channels under keyboard control and on and on.

Can't wait to see what they come up with but I'm not expecting them to surpass the Fantom but only try and match it without it costing as much as the Genos.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I don't think Fantom has arranger features - so I haven't understood the comparison exactly.

I do agree the Fantom has a compelling set of features. Outside of Fantom - Roland's Zencore software engine/VST is interesting. I would like the flexibility to do some sound design in software instead of needing to setup my gigging keyboard a studio keyboard in order to do sound design. I'd pay into that upcharge more readily than getting 2 keyboards. So Roland seems to be checking lots of boxes.

Glad you're finding inspiration - wherever that may be coming from.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Well, I used to have the Genos and those 16 buttons that instantly recall instruments and chord memory & with the real sequencer you can do some custom arranging I suppose.

We used to beg Yamaha for pianos and we'd get the Bos or some small token but after I loaded the 15 free expansion packs I had over 440 pianos to choose from.

On my Montage we only have 8 control performances. When I select (2) pianos all 8 slots were filled.

On the Fantom I have 16 available slots to control and I could, in theory, select 16 pianos to play in a scene.

The Fantom slots do not get occupied by multiple parts that comprise a voice/tone as they do in Montage.

What's lightyears better is once you've selected a scene you can change the tone in the slot instantly to change the character of the scene without worrying about other slots being filled.

It's a true one to one relationship. On Montage, if I wanted to modify a performance voice using a different wave, every element has to be changed out or remapped etc.

If I remain on the performance level I can only change out 8 slots (I know they are call single part perf) and how many times do we grab one we like and it spills over into the 9-16 slots and stops playing the portion? It's not a one to one relationship so it's extremely underpowered and inconvenient and rather confusing too.

On Fantom you open the scene you are in and active any of the 16 slots and place an entire tone or swap them within any slot for an instantaneous new voice and zero worries. The only limit is that the V-piano has to occupy slot number 1 and you can only use 1 per scene. However the Zen-core pianos you can use 16 of your 440 I suppose.

I also believe there's no SSS interruption even using all 16 voices unlike Montage depending on the performance limitation. Their system just works better.

Yamaha is notorious for confusion and complexity. Their design engineers are extremely logical but not necessarily practical. I'm an engineer also so I understand both perspectives extremely well. Design things so that child can operate it and you'll never go wrong.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I completely agree on the general notion of Yamaha's usability experience for synthesizers. That's why I've been advocating for a more elegant design. And, for me, this means retaining the power/options/flexibility while simplifying the interface. The Yamaha approach has generally been for the user to be very close to the hardware. So the user has to confront what seems like strange hoops to jump through and learn instead of having the user interface offer a layer of abstraction to simplify actions.

I like the power, so I don't want to lose this. But lack of abstraction makes the file system and these operations overly convoluted. Even someone who manages to understand how to use the system (power user) can get slowed down by the lack of elegance.

One limitation on Fantom seemed to be effects although the latest firmware update improves the overall effects story.

Having an RD-2000, I would prefer to have the option for a modeled piano with these kind of limitations vs. no modeled piano option at all. I prefer the Roland modeled pianos over their factory PCM ones.

I think over time one bumps into the walls of hardware - but Roland certainly has paid attention to usability vs. power and seem to be doing something right with the user interface.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
That's the disconnect. Musicians love keyboards and synthesizers, even the ones who don't play them as their primary instrument. I play the trumpet.

I didn't have to open the Fantom manual to learn a lot of stuff about how to select, build and navigate etc. Although I have experience with boards (not Roland) but my point is for someone who has never used one before to instantly connect with it.

Secondly, players like to play and not get frustrated or distracted by technology, the interface, general operations etc. I was able to use the Fantom quickly and play more than getting lost in the system.

If we have to read a phone book like manual and still scratch our heads that's not helpful for any player.
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