What is the Yamaha Montage 7?
For any musical instrument, a review can only tell you so much but you can never fully understand how a device performs until you get your hands on it. By this, we don’t mean using the instrument once or twice and then passing your judgment. A couple of days alone aren’t even enough to fully comprehend what some musical instruments offer. Normally, one needs a couple of weeks or so for a more comprehensive understanding of how to get the best out of a music instrument. With synths such as the Yamaha Montage 7, words alone can never be enough to describe the full extent of just how great the device is.
Take note that the Montage 7 costs an excess of $3000! This is quite a lot to invest in a music instrument and hence you can’t afford to not be keen on understanding how well it performs and whether it meets your needs before you chuck such a huge amount of cash.
In this review, we will try as much as possible to tell you about how much this flagship synth from Yamaha has to offer. We will highlight some of the differences it has with the other two montage synths from Yamaha. From the word go, we can tell you that it is cheaper than the Montage 8 and approximately $500 more expensive than the Montage 6. We, however, can’t place the value of an instrument based on its price alone. Let’s have a look at the features that the Montage 7 comes with.
Apart from the differences in the number of keys all the three Montage synths look almost the same way. They both come with quite a number of buttons around the top panel and an LCD screen at the center. The build quality and overall design are almost the same throughout the series. This is quite unfair to the Montage 8 considering it is more expensive than its counterparts by up to $1000. The Montage 8, however, redeems itself by having a weighted balanced hammer action keybed, unlike the other two synths which only come with semi-weighted keys. We would have loved to see the Montage 7 with a similar keybed but we are glad that even the semi-weighted action used here also performs quite well. The keys are of high-quality and they come with slight resistance as is common in any other semi-weighted keyboard. They have an executive appearance, they feel really good and their response is also excellent.
All the buttons are very well organized and grouped depending on their functions. They also have a premium appearance and feel which is everything we were expecting in a 3 grand instrument. You will also notice that the knobs have a slight resistance and this is very useful as it helps you to select the functions or parameters you need with more precision. The whole arrangement, color and overall designing of the synth give it a premium appearance that we found really attractive.
In the middle of the panel is a color touchscreen display. This was one of the big surprises in the Montage Synths because Yamaha has always been quite reluctant about making touch screens. The screen’s presence is an amazing addition and it has made execution of various functions a lot easier but there are few limitations that we just cannot ignore. For one, the touchscreen doesn’t give you full control over some of the sliders and knobs in the keyboard. Instead, you have to tap the exact control you want to manipulate and after it has been selected you’ll need to adjust it using the actual knobs located on the panel. All this feels kind of redundant and it’s odd coming from Yamaha because we know they have the expertise and resources to do better. We would have loved it if we could fully control the knobs through the screen. After all, other cheaper machines like Krome and Korg Kronos already have these functions. Another minor issue with the touchscreen is that the home function doesn’t take you back to the start page. Instead, it brings you to the root page for the sound you are playing at the time. This will need some time getting used to because we are all used to “Home” functions which automatically take us to start page. To access the start page on this synth is a small unlabeled grid icon on the top right of the screen which can easily go unnoticed. On the plus side, everything else about the keyboard is very well thought-out. Additionally, certain functions which involve adjusting numbers can be done by simply entering the values you need on the screen. It isn’t much but it makes work a lot easier and quicker.
This is the one place where all Montage Synths are simply undefeated. From this flagship synths, Yamaha introduces us to the Motion Control Synthesis Engine. The engine has managed to bring together two phenomenal sound engines i.e. FM-X (a modern frequency modulation synthesis) and the AWM2 (a top-notch waveform synthesis). The results of this combination are magical! You can now use this engine to create fresh and dynamic sounds.
The Montage synths were supposed to be an upgrade from the Motif XF. Yamaha has imported some sounds from the XF and enhanced them for even better performance. Unlike the Motif XF, you’ll now be getting 7gb of sounds and an additional 2gb flash RAM memory that allows you to import new samples into the keyboard. You will also get sounds from the Yamaha CFX Premium Grand Piano which comes with 10 velocity layers and impressive notes that can be sustained for up to 10 seconds before they are looped. Yamaha has also imported sounds from the Bosendorfer Imperial Premium Grand Piano and some classic sounds from the TX and DX synthesizers. A few EDM sounds, woodwinds, and strings are also available.
We normally expect sounds to come with a good variety of effects and Yamaha haven’t disappointed us here. The Montage 7 comes with a wide array of effects ranging from detailed virtual circuit modeling, Bit crusher, amp simulators, resonance damper, analog, and digital delays, compressors to HD reverbs. These effects are of high-quality helping to match the already excellent quality of the piano sounds.
Yamaha has equipped the keyboard with a super knob to control the sounds more efficiently. With this SuperKnob you can control lots of parameters at once. What’s even more mind-blowing is that you can connect the synth with a foot pedal (FC7) that gives you the same control. With this pedal, you never have to use your hands in controlling the Superknob. Instead, your legs will be doing the task as your fingers stay focused on the keys. Unfortunately, the foot pedal doesn’t come with the synth and hence you’ll have to dig back into your pockets to purchase it separately.
The Yamaha Montage 7 allows for recording of 16 stereo audio channels into your computer, DAW or iOS gadget. The best part is that it is class compliance and hence you’ll never require to download or buy any sorts of drivers for this purpose. You will also get a full MIDI support through a USB connection for the 16 channels.
The synth can also be connected to guitars and microphones. You can also connect a line level source to the A/D input. This is a useful feature that lets you manipulate your samples with the inbuilt effects.
Yamaha Montage 7 Specs
- Dimensions: Width 1244mm (49”); Height 131mm (5 3/16”); Depth 396mm (15 9/16”)
- Weight 17kg (37lbs 8oz)
- 76 FSX Keyboard
- Initial touch and after touch sensors
- 128 polyphony
- Multi Timbral Capacity: audio input parts (A/D, USB), 16 parts (internal)
- Wave: user 1.75gb; preset 5.67gb
- Performance: Approximately 1900
- Effects: 12 reverbs, 76 variations, 76 insertions (A, B), 15 master effect, 5 bands master EQ, 3 bands 1st part EQ, 2 bands 2nd part EQ
- Controllers: super knob, data dial, eight knobs, 8 control sliders, ribbon controller, modulation wheel, pitch bend wheel, AD input gain knob, and master volume
- 7” TFT color wide VGA LCD touchscreen
- Connectors: USB to DEVICE, USB to HOST, MIDI, Foot Controller, Foot Switch, assignable output, balanced TRS jacks, 6.3mm balanced TRS output jacks, standard stereo phone jack, A/D input, 6.3mm standard phone jacks
- Tracks: Scene track, tempo track, and 16 sequence tracks
- Recording types: real-time overdub, real-time replace, and real-time punch in/out
- 480 ppq note resolution
- Tempo: 5 – 300
- 64 songs
- 27W power consumption
The synth comes with a user manual, Cubase AI Download Information and AC Power cord.
Conclusion on the Yamaha montage 7
We have to admit that the Yamaha Montage 7 just like any other machine out there, comes with a few challenges that can’t be overlooked. But when we got down into using it, we really loved how it performed. Yes, its price is pretty steep but considering the amount of feature and the quality of sounds it contains, we couldn’t help but feel that it is worth spending on. For anyone who can afford it, the Yamaha Montage 7 is a valuable instrument that will transform your entire music life totally.