The New Yamaha MODX

Covers the Yamaha MODX6, MODX7 and MODX8

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The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by Saul » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:03 pm

Well Yamaha have been keeping this one quiet and probably for very good reason!

Still, the news is out and the photos are doing the rounds so no point being coy about it now ;)
Yamaha MODX7 Front.png
Yamaha should not be too concerned about this though. From what I can see and the details given so far this looks like the sort of keyboard they simply won't be able to make enough of!

It is pretty much my entire keyboard wish list all in one place and apart from the "Super Knob" is more or less what myself and Chris (Parametric) discussed with Yamaha when we met them for a focus group at their product development HQ in London a couple of years back.

They had me at the AWM2 +FM AND the Touch Screen ;)

I very much doubt I will get a "hands-on" with this new keyboard until it appears in the stores but, from what I have seen so far it's a massive thumbs up from me. Well done Yamaha! ((i)) ((i)) ((i))
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by pologuy » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:26 am

:D
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by Derek » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:09 am

And 76 notes as well! :)

Can't find much info on it yet, so not sure how many of the Montage features it has.

From a control surface perspective, Pitch bend and MOD Wheels have been moved above the keyboard, and the Ribbon controller has been lost. Scene switches, sliders, knobs are reduced to four, and the "button bank" to the right is gone.

This is a very powerful way of navigating in the Montage for both performance selection and then edit page selection. I do not really use it for the former (you have the touch screen right in front of you, and the Performance search functions), but switching edit pages, selecting muting parts/elements is more intuitive from the bank.

By way of explanation, this button bank replaced the usual Bank/Item matrix found on Yamaha synths since the SY Range as there would not be enough space for a bank/item matrix that would allow direct selection of 640 performances per bank over 1 user bank and 8 library banks (the difference is you cannot edit Performances in a library bank), and that's just what you can load (5,760 Performances in total). There are also the preset performances, which Yamaha keep adding to in OS updates - 2,655 in OS 2.5. So (as of OS 2.5) that is 8,415 Performances in total. Compare that with something like the EX5 that had two preset and two user banks, or 512 Voices, and only one bank of 128 Performances!

But as well as selecting voices/performances, the matrix has always had the second function, since SY days, in edit mode for quick access to edit pages, element mutes, etc.

Whilst I found the Montage button matrix very confusing at first, it is a very elegant solution to the challenges of this vastly expanded Performance memory and access to the edit pages.

So I'm not sure how the MODX will cover this. But maybe that is an extra page or pages on the touch panel?

But it I agree with you, Saul, I think this will fly off the shelves. If they have retained most of what the Montage is at a cheaper price point.

PS: Clever name as well. Has the MO root of Motif, Montage, MOX, and MOD and X has DX7 Frequency Modulation associations, or you can look at it as an amalgam of MO and DX :) Whilst FM-X is based on the FS1r (half of) MOFS or MOFM aren't as snappy. It allows Yamaha to trade on both their Motif and DX heritage as well as most people in the keyboard world will have heard of the DX!
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by Saul » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:45 am

Very nicely put Derek and great comparison with the Montage too :)

Removing the buttons was one of the ideas we talked about with Yamaha and I think it had a lot to do with keeping the cost down. They were very focused on this being a £1000 keyboard...which I think the MODX6 will come in at given the £1399 price of the MODX7.

It is always about compromise at this price point and probably a touch screen AND the buttons would have pushed the price too high...as well of course as reducing the differential between Montage and the MODX.

From my own perspective I prefer more screen and less buttons. I am not a big fan of Yamaha's very "clicky" buttons anyway but I never perform live and I understand they are really made like that for ease of location and tactile feedback on stage.

For the price and looking at the specs I think Yamaha have nailed this one and will now take the lead in the mid-range market once again. And that is something we can all be happy about :)
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by Derek » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:26 am

Oh, yes, fully understand there will be compromise to get down to the price point, I am just thinking out loud as to how they might replace the bank. Doing something on the touch screen is the most likely option.

Will be interesting to see the reaction to it when it comes out.
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by Saul » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:05 pm

I know some people will prefer the more tactile approach of the buttons and I guess removing that option might be seen as a compromise too far but on the whole I think they have done an amazingly good job with this. The caveat being of course none of us have even seen it in the metal/plastic so to speak.
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by Derek » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:09 pm

Or heard it, but I'd have every confidence it would sound first class!

My one comment on the Montage, which I think I have made before, is it reminds me very much of the SY series in that the combination of AWM and FM gives it a lot of versatility. Like the SY, the Montage can sound vey analog. So much so that my initial criticism that it had no AN engine is not really justified, and if I want AN modelling, then I have so many soft synths to choose from that it is insane!
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by Saul » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:42 pm

I agree with you Derek. I think the Montage is a bit of a slow burn. Loads of things to discover and it always manages to surprise. I had one on loan but often that doesn't give you the insight into the true nature of a keyboard. I have plenty of other things to be doing so my actual "hands-on" time was not that long. I think had I bought one my initial conclusions about it being too expensive etc would have faded over time.

The MODX is exciting for me because at that price point I CAN justify buying one and I have no doubt that with both the AWM2 and FM-X engines on-board the possibilities would be endless!
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by Derek » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:24 pm

I agree. I was in the lucky position where a works bonus meant that I had the funds for a Montage last year (same when I purchased the Kronos in 2014), but I also look at it over the long term as well. I purchased my EX5 new in 1999 and only retired it in 2017, so had 18 years use. I purchased at £1,600 and sold at £300, or it cost me about £72 per year or £6 per month of ownership. If similar math is applied to then Montage then it is an equal bargain :) Purchase at £2,400 and sell at, say, £400 after 10 years it is £200 a year.

After owning a Montage for over a year now, apart from a few stupid quirks (which Yamaha seem to be good at ;) ) it is a very powerful synth. I think they made the right call in not making another workstation - I've never used workstation features as I have Cubase.

So I'll be interested to see the reaction that the MODX gets.
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by pologuy » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:27 pm

It is rather "strange" that they made it look almost exactly like the Montage...

I assume that all of the MOXF sound-packs that I have acquired will work in the MODX...
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by Saul » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:28 pm

Exactly and total cost of ownership is something I had not considered when looking at the price of Montage. Which is odd because I always apply that principal when considering the cost of a Mac over a PC ;)

I am absolutely sure there will be people moaning about one thing or another where the MODX is concerned but I think this time around I can confidently predict I won't be one of them. Going by the specs and the fact that I actually asked a Yamaha engineer for most of these things I have nothing at all to complain about and THAT is a very good feeling indeed :)
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by Saul » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:30 pm

pologuy wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:27 pm
It is rather "strange" that they made it look almost exactly like the Montage...

I assume that all of the MOXF sound-packs that I have acquired will work in the MODX...
It's part of the same product line so will have the same look and feel about it.

As far as I know, Montage supports all MOTIF sounds so I don't see why the MODX would not and anyway, Yamaha want people to "upgrade" from the MOXF so it makes sense not to legacy the sounds from that keyboard.
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by wavesequence » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:23 pm

About the 28(?) AWM2 synth engine polyphony. Was this a typo?
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by Saul » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:26 pm

wavesequence wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:23 pm
About the 28(?) AWM2 synth engine polyphony. Was this a typo?
Yes it's a typo. Should be 128 :)
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Re: The New Yamaha MODX

Unread post by SeaGtGruff » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:24 pm

Indeed, earlier in the ad they refer to a total polyphony of 192 notes, and since there are 64 notes of FM-X polyphony there must be 128 notes of AWM2 polyphony. :)
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