Yamaha MODX vs Motif XS

Covers the Yamaha MODX6, MODX7 and MODX8

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iixorbiusii
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Yamaha MODX vs Motif XS

Unread post by iixorbiusii » Fri May 10, 2019 8:22 pm

Hi all,

Apologies if this subject has been covered before - I did have a quick look, but couldn't see anything specific....

About 12 years ago, I spent a lot of time deliberating between the Motif XS and the Korg M3. I bought a Motif, but exchanged it within a week for the M3. This was not because I didn't like the Motif XS - I thought it sounded incredible - but at the time, the KARMA features built in to the Korg M3 were what I was really looking for ( I know it came out later on as an external program for the XS :-) )

The brief period of time with the Motif XS was enough for me to consider getting one again, one day. Of course, since then, the Motif XF came along and now we have the Montage / MODX.

I've just had the opportunity to get hold of a MODX6 at a reasonable price, so I jumped at the chance ( without the extensive testing I used to do years ago!). My understanding was that it can do everything the Motif XS could do (in terms of synthesis) and 'then some' with FM capabilities... and that it would be loaded with Motif XS / XF sounds.

Yet having played around with it over the last few days, I'm left feeling somewhat underwhelmed by it. Perhaps sonically my ears and expectations have moved on since being so impressed by the Motif XS some years back and if I were to play a Motif XS today, I might also be underwhelmed?

Or possibly (and this is the question I have for the forum members) - is the MODX less sonically capable than the old Motif XS? I'd really like to hear what people who have access to both the Motif XS and the MODX think,when comparing the two?

Cheers!
Steve.
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Re: Yamaha MODX vs Motif XS

Unread post by Saul » Fri May 10, 2019 8:44 pm

Hi Steve.

Like you I have owned the Motif XS and also the KORG M3 and now the MODX and I think you have pretty much summed it up yourself. If you were to compare the sound of the Motif XS with the MODX you would soon realise the MODX sounds better...or for me it does, all subjective of course. Or maybe it should be "sounds different"?

Of course the Motif XS has some features missing from the MODX such as sampling and full sequencer but I would trade those any day for the AWM2/FM+ on the MODX. Not forgetting of course the touch screen interface which makes life a lot easier. The MODX is not built as well as the Motif XS but mine never leaves the house so it doesn't need to be :)
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Re: Yamaha MODX vs Motif XS

Unread post by vertig0spin » Fri May 10, 2019 9:04 pm

iixorbiusii wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 8:22 pm
Yet having played around with it over the last few days, I'm left feeling somewhat underwhelmed by it. Perhaps sonically my ears and expectations have moved on since being so impressed by the Motif XS some years back and if I were to play a Motif XS today, I might also be underwhelmed?

is the MODX less sonically capable than the old Motif XS? I'd really like to hear what people who have access to both the Motif XS and the MODX think,when comparing the two?
Before I bought the Montage 8 a few months back, I did over 6 months worth or research (probably more like 8 before I decided on the Montage 8 over the Korg Kronos 88).

I watched a lot of videos on what both are capable of, comparisons, etc.
You may want to check out some of the videos on YouTube whereby many do a great job of demoing & showing you what the MODX/Montage are capable of. Watch videos of either products as they are pretty much the same in terms of sounds and functionality.

Another thing is when you are going through the various sounds/Performances, don't just hit the keys yourself. Press the "Audition" button, whereby the programmer or some keyboardist demonstrates a sequenced version of what that particular Performance can do. Most times there is things hidden that you can't tell by just playing the keys.

With a DAW (& note that you get Cubase AI for free, just in case you don't have a DAW setup), the synth can connect and basically with the DAW, you can do all the Sequencing & Sampling, etc., as well as be able to use the free SampleRobot Montage Edition.

There are also a lot of free libraries you can obtain and load into the MODX, including the Expansion Pack, the Imperial Grand Piano, etc.
There are tonnes of sound libraries out there, as well as Soundmondo where you can connect and share sounds with others.

Some of the FM synthesis stuff on the MODX takes motion sequencing and Dub Step to a whole new level, so check out some of those FM-X performances...
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Re: Yamaha MODX vs Motif XS

Unread post by iixorbiusii » Fri May 10, 2019 9:17 pm

Hi Saul,

Great to see your site is still going strong - I only pop in from time to time.... I should try harder ! ;-)

And thanks for the quick reply. Good to know that the MODX is 'better' than the MOTIF XS in your opinion - or maybe 'different' but not 'inferior to' !!

I guess then, that I have got used to fantastic, hugely capable synths (vsts) in the years since I had the MOTIF XS. I own most of the 'most popular' VST's, including Omnisphere, Dune 3, Massive, Sylenth, Serum, Vengeance, etc etc, all having an incredibly impressive, professional pallet of sounds.

When I had the MOTIF XS and Korg M3 straight after that, I didn't use any VST's back then and was upgrading from a Korg Trinity and Yamaha EX5R as my two newest synths at that time.

Being predominantly a trance / ambient producer (in a completely non-professional capacity), I remember one particular patch that I was blown away by on the Motif XS. It was called 'Trance MW'. I found the same patch on the MODX, but it just sounds 'good' to me but no longer 'amazing'... I just wanted to be sure that the MODX isn't 'MOTIF Lite'...

I probably need to persevere with it - learn to program it !!

Cheers.
Steve.
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Re: Yamaha MODX vs Motif XS

Unread post by iixorbiusii » Tue May 21, 2019 7:34 am

Thanks Vertig0spin for your detailed response, too.

I just want to update this thread, given that my last post (unfairly) paints a slightly negative view of the MODX.

Having now used the MODX for a couple of weeks, I am beginning to appreciate what an incredible synth this is.
It may not have 'wowed' me as much as the Motif XS did 12 years ago but I think that's probably down to being spoilt for choice these days with owning some of the best VST's out there - most of which didn't even exist 12 years ago.

I have also got used to the MODX's keybed; i suppose it's a bit like getting used to driving a different car! It actually has a great feel - and I think I am starting to prefer it over other keybeds I've been brought up on - typically the old Yamaha one found in the DX7, M1, Trinity etc.

So conclusion: impressed in the end and looking forward to deep diving this one :-)
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Re: Yamaha MODX vs Motif XS

Unread post by Saul » Tue May 21, 2019 9:33 am

Thanks for the update iixorbiusii and glad to hear the MODX has grown on you :)

I am very much the same in that I often start off disliking something and then given some time to get used to it I find it is actually quite good. Your car analogy is spot on :)

I now try not to go by my initial impressions, especially with acoustic guitars. I let them settle for a few days, play them constantly for a few weeks and then If I still feel the same as when I first picked it up I can be pretty sure I am not going to change my mind.

The MODX is a great keyboard. Not perfect but Yamaha have done as much as they could to give us a powerful set of tools at such a reasonable price.
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