Introduction to the Yamaha Montage 8
The Montage 8 is Yamaha’s answer to the demands placed on synthesizers today. This instrument has been designed to replace the Motif keyboards in delivering high-quality sounds for a magical stage performance. The Yamaha Montage 8 employs the elements of both the keyboards in the Motif and DX series. It also combines two different sound engines; the frequency modulation synthesis (FM-X) and the AWM2. These two engines and especially the AWM2 deliver realistic sound reproductions with almost 10 times the waveform capacity found in the Motif XF. What does this mean? This means that the Montage 8 accommodates more samples per instrument and hence more nuanced sounds than the Motif XF. The FM-X, on the other hand, produces everything from classic FM-based basses to some of the latest EDM sounds. This is just but one of the aspects in which the Montage 8 completely outshines the Motif XF and all other synthesizers dubbed as “competitors”.
The Montage 8 builds upon Yamaha’s Montage 6 and Montage 7. Now, how is the Montage 8 any different from the other two versions? For one thing, you will notice that the Montage 8 costs a lot more than the other two. It goes for around $4000 which is over $1000 the price of Montage 6 and around $600 more expensive than the Montage 7! The numbers are insane, I know! So, is the Montage 8 really worth spending such a ludicrous amount of cash on?
On the first glimpse, the Yamaha Montage 8 can feel very intimidating. The top panel is filled with lots of buttons and you will also realize that this one comes with 88-keys which are an upgrade from the previous two synthesizers in the same Montage series. Fortunately, the dozens of buttons on this keyboard are very well organized giving the keyboard a neat and elegant appearance. Talking of appearance, you will find this keyboard really good-looking experiencing the professional craftsmanship of the guys at Yamaha. The manufacturer paid attention to all the fine details from the keys, buttons, all the way to the curves and edges ensuring that it looks and feels like a 4 grand machine. All the buttons, keys and knobs are made of premium materials not just for durability purposes but also to give you the best experience possible.
We understand that with all the buttons on the panel it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. Using them is, however, a lot easier than you think. Once you power on the machine and get familiarized to it you’ll be able to understand and use all of these buttons with more ease.
At the center of the keyboard is a relatively small display screen. We still can’t understand why even 88-key synthesizers are coming with small screens yet they have enough space for bigger displays. This is an issue not just with Yamaha but also with other synthesizers out there. The good news is that the small and simplistic nature of the display does not interfere with the keyboard’s performance in any way. You will still be able to see and access the wide scope of features of this synthesizer through the screen and the supporting buttons located on the sides of it.
The only thing better than how elegant the Montage 8 looks is its performance. The Yamaha Montage 8’s performance lives up to the hype and this is why the huge price tag doesn’t look so ridiculous once you start using it.
Everything about the sounds contained in this synthesizer is just fantastic. First of all, the selection list of the sounds you can use is huge enough to meet your wildest musical dreams. Secondly, the sounds are of all genres and this makes sure that even musicians with the most diversified skills have something to polish their skills with. Finally, you will completely fall in love with the actual sounds and how they are produced. The authenticity, richness, clarity and overall quality of these sounds are out of this world. We understand that there are a few videos online that try to showcase these sounds but with all honesty, you will never fully appreciate these sounds until you hear them live.
The organ sounds are just as marvelous as the piano sounds. The pipe-organ is on its own level of greatness. Saying the samples, articulations and DSP/Effects are impressive is a gross understatement.
We can go on and on about how wonderful the sounds from this synth are but words alone won’t be enough to fully describe how great they really are. With the Montage 8, Yamaha has changed the synth game completely!
The Yamaha Montage 8 comes with lots of features. Covering them all could take a whole day so we are only going to talk about the Unique SuperKnob feature.
The SuperKnob is a modern performance control interface that allows you to control various effects at the same time. It works with the Motion Control Synthesis Engine to deliver excellent results that will blow your mind away. With this interface, you will gain dynamic control over the sounds and effects from the FM-X and AWM2. This leads to an electric live performance that will leave a permanent mark on your audience.
Thanks to the SuperKnob, you can mix different predetermined effects ranging from swooshing pans, FM fuzz to drenched EQ. In summary, the Motion Control Synthesis Engine and the SuperKnob make this keyboard an excellent choice for live performance.
The Envelop Follower helps in converting audio to control sources that can control any synthesizer parameter. With this feature you can, for instance, use vocal recordings to control different parameters for a talking synthesizer. You can also use drum loops to control effects parameters to make cool rhythm. The audio here can even be from live sources obtained through the keyboard’s A/D input.
The Yamaha Montage 8 has USB Audio/MIDI connections that allow you to exchange data between the synth and your pc. Through a single USB cable, you can capture every detail of your performance to your DAW. The USB driver on this keyboard allows you to receive three and send up to 16 channels of stereo 24bit/ 44.1 Hz digital audio from/to your pc or mac. You’ll also enjoy a sampling rate of up to 192kHz with this synth. Needless to say that the Montage 8 is class compliant and hence you won’t need any special drivers or hardware to connect the keyboard to your computer.
The synth also comes with an A/D input which allows you to use external audios with the synth’s DSP. You can connect the keyboard to guitars, mics or other sources and process the audios with internal effects. You can even use a source with Sidechain to create your own sounds.
Yamaha Montage 8 Specs
- Dimensions: Width 1450mm (57 1/16”); Height 170mm (6 11/16”); Depth 460mm (18 1/8”)
- Weight: 29kg (63lb 15oz)
- 88 balance hammer effect keys
- Initial touch and after touch sensors
- 8 Elements FM-X; Motion control synthesis Engine AMW2 and 88 algorithms
- Maximum polyphony: FM-X – 128 max; AMW2 128 max (stereo/ mono waveforms)
- 18 types of filters
- Effects: 12 types of reverbs, 76 types of variations, 76 types of insertions (A, B), 15 master effects, 71 A/D part insertions, 5 bands of master EQ, 3 bands of 1st part EQ and 2 bands of 2nd part EQ
- 7” TFT color wide VA LCD touch screen
- Controllers: super Knob, Data dial, eight knobs, eight control sliders, master volume, pitch bend wheel, AD input gain knob, ribbon controller and a modulation wheel
- Connectivity: USB to HOST, USB to DEVICE, MIDI (In, Out and Through), Foot controller (1,2) Foot switch(assignable/sustain), balanced TRS jacks (6.3mm), standard stereo phone jack, A/D Input (6.3mm)
- 128 preset and 2048 user live sets
- Comes with 16 sequence tracks, scene tracks, and tempo tracks
- Supports three types of recordings: real-time replace, real-time punch in/out and real-time overdub
- Approximately 130,000 notes capacity
- 480 ppq note resolution
- Tempo: 5 – 300
- 27W power consumption
The keyboard comes with a manual, AC power cord and a Cubase AI download info.
Conclusion on the Yamaha Montage 8
With the Montage 8, Yamaha has refined everything we knew about synthesizers. They have taken everything good about their previous synths, improved them and then added a few extra features to come up with this amazing equipment. This new model is a worthy successor to the brilliant Yamaha Motif. The sounds selection, quality, playability, and overall build ensure that you and your audience will have a memorable time around this keyboard. For the performance and overall value of this keyboard, we are not going to shy away from saying that the Yamaha Montage 8 is worth every single penny that you’ll pay. There is no any other synth in the market at the moment that I’d rather spend my $4000 on other than this beauty.