Yamaha Montage Flagship Keyboard

By | April 30, 2016

Yamaha MONTAGE Flagship Keyboard and Workstation


Welcome to the new era in Synthesizers from the company that brought you the revolutionary DX and the widely popular Motif. Continuing the legacy of these two iconic keyboards, the Yamaha MONTAGE Flagship Keyboard and Workstation yet again raises the bar for synthesizers with sophisticated dynamic control, massive sound creation and streamlined workflow powerfully combined in a keyboard to ignite your creative power. If you enjoyed the DX and Motif, you’re going to absolutely love Montage! This new flagship synthesizer from Yamaha builds on the foundation laid by MOTIF, and excels exponentially in regards to sound, control and workflow.

A Brief Background

Since the release of MOTIF in 2001, technology has drastically changed. As technology has changed, so has the way musicians use their equipment. When Yamaha acquired Steinberg in 2004 (one of the top DAW software designers and makers of Cubase and Nuendo), it became evident in which direction things were going as far as music, technology, and equipment. This led Yamaha to heavily invest their time, energy and resources into developing products with computer integration. Thus far, MONTAGE is the climax of this initiative. In a new era where computers, smartphones, and tablets allow for endless production possibilities, MONTAGE is here to lead the way.

Product Overview

First and foremost, MONTAGE is available in three different models – the MONTAGE6, MONTAGE7, and MONTAGE8. The MONTAGE6 features 61 semi-weighted keys, the MONTAGE7 features 76 semi-weighted keys, and the MONTAGE8 features 88 fully weighted keys. Additionally, The MONTAGE6 and MONTAGE7 feature premium FSX synthesizer action with aftertouch, whereas the MONTAGE8 features Balanced Hammer action with aftertouch.

Before we begin to look at some of MONTAGE’s more specific, key features, it’s important to understand some of the fundamental characteristics that make MONTAGE so special. First and foremost we have Motion Control. Motion Control is a concept created by Yamaha that brings instruments to life in an exciting way. It makes instruments freer, more dynamic, and much more complex. This new level of expression allows for performances to be more interactive and emotional. It enables both the musician and the audience to experience entirely new dimensions of sound, both texturally and rhythmically. The beauty of MONTAGE Motion Control is that this expressive power is immediately in front of you. While there is the option, there’s no need to connect to a DAW or any other external source to experience its full power and flexibility. On the keyboard itself, Motion Control is directed by the Super Knob, which can be assigned different effect parameters for different sounds. As a complimentary feature, the Super Knob lights up in different colors as sounds morph and change. This wondrous display of both sound and light adds to the mystique of MONTAGE.

Montage by Yamaha

Montage by Yamaha

A Quick Look Under the Hood: The MONTAGE Motion Control Synthesis Engine

The MONTAGE Motion Control Synthesis Engine brings together and harnesses two iconic Sound Engines: AWM2 (high-quality waveform and subtractive synthesis) and FM-X (modern, pure Frequency Modulation synthesis). These two engines can be freely zoned or layered across eight parts in a single MONTAGE Performance. These two legendary sound engines along with motion control and effects create an entirely new sound that must be experienced to be understood.

The Three Pillars of MONTAGE: Sophisticated Dynamic Control, Massive Sound Creation, and Streamlined Workflow

– Pillar 1: Sophisticated Dynamic Control

Three things create Sophisticated Dynamic Control in the Yamaha MONTAGE Flagship Keyboard and Workstation: 1) the Super Knob, 2) Motion Sequences, and 3) the Envelope Follower. Lets take a closer look at our first component, the Super Knob. This knob allows you to create dynamic sound changes from radical to sublime. The Super Knob can control several parameters at the same time resulting in endless possibilities. For example: change your listening position from right in front of an instrument to in the back seat of a concert hall. Or radically change the character of a Performance from atmospheric and mellow to rhythmic and edgy. The Super Knob can even be assigned to a second FC7 foot controller making it easy to manipulate the sound when playing with both hands.

Next on our list is Motion Sequences. Motion Sequences are tempo-synchronized, completely customizable control sequences that can be assigned to virtually any synthesizer parameter and provide incredible creative new ways of programming sound. Motion Sequences also have dedicated controls on the front panel making it easy to manipulate and change in real-time, providing incredible interactivity and expression.

Finally, we have the Envelope Follower. The Envelope Follower converts audio into a control source for control of virtually any synthesizer parameter. For example, a drum loop could drive effects parameters for a cool rhythms or a vocal recording could control multiple parameters for a “talking” synthesizer. The audio can even be a “live” source through the A/D input.

– Pillar 2: Massive Sound Creation

The next pillar of MONTAGE is Massive Sound Creation. As we discussed earlier, MONTAGE features two Iconic Sound Engines modernized for amazing sound playback and complex sound design. The AWM2, powered by proprietary Yamaha technology for data compression and sound playback, AWM2 allows tremendous data compression without sound quality loss for unparalleled, realistic sound reproduction. It features a 128-Note, stereo polyphony, which allows for a rich stereo sound without halving the available number of notes. Now lets check out the FM-X. This is an amazingly sophisticated pure synthesizer engine capable of producing classic ‘80s or cutting-edge EDM sound with incredible dynamic range, power and fidelity. MONTAGE features an 8-operator FM architecture and 128-note polyphony, allowing for a massive array of sound design options.

As far as content goes, MONTAGE features a huge range of incredible sounds like a brand-new Yamaha CFX Premium Grand Piano, detailed new strings and woodwinds and select content from the DX and TX family, all modernized to take advantage of the Motion Control Synthesis Engine.

Some of MONTAGE’s premium effects include:

  • Beat Repeat
  • Vinyl Break
  • Bit Crusher
  • Compressor with sidechain for a modern “ducking” effect
  • Analog Delay
  • VCM Phaser
  • Amp Simulators
  • Damper Resonance
  • HD reverbs

– Pillar 3: Streamlined Workflow

How do you want to integrate your instrument with your system? How do you want to organize the onboard content? How do you want to interact with the instrument while you play? The MONTAGE6, MONTAGE7, and MONTAGE8 were designed with these questions in mind. The answer is a more flexible and streamlined workflow.

USB Audio/ MIDI Connection adds to the flexibility of MONTAGE. Connect MONTAGE to your computer with a single USB cable and capture every nuance of your creativity into your DAW. MONTAGE’s powerful USB driver can send 16 and receive 3 channels of STEREO 24 bit/44.1 kHz digital audio to/from your computer or iOS device (MONTAGE is class compliant, no driver needed), no other hardware required! The USB connection also features full MIDI support of 16 channels. MONTAGE supports the sampling rate up to 192 kHz. Seamless Sound Switching (SSS) is another amazing feature that enhance your workflow. SSS lets you change performances seamlessly without any cut-off in envelope or effects. This is perfect for live performances where you end one song and start another without stopping. However, this function is only available for Performances that have a maximum of 8 parts.

When it comes to physical control, the Yamaha MONTAGE Flagship Keyboard and Workstation features a comprehensive set of physical controls for intuitive music making and sound creation. For example, the Touch Screen. The color touch screen allows you to select and change parameters simply and directly. Eight Rotary Encoders and Faders with Stepladder LED simply feedback and allow for a more connected experience. Stepladder LEDs next to the faders indicate position making it easy to see where your current mix position is.

MONTAGE is proud to introduce the especially awesome Live Set feature. Live Sets let you organize your Performances however you want without copying, changing order or renaming. When a Performance is selected, you can easily register it to a Live Set. This is perfect for playing gigs or even creating your own organization scheme for Performances. To top it all off, MONTAGE is bundled with Cubase AI, Steinberg’s professional music production application that offers integrated recording and editing.