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  1. Derek
  2. The Voice
  3. MONTAGE
  4. Saturday, 19 August 2017
Hi,

Just thought I would pass by and say I have purchased a Montage 7 to replace my Yamaha EX5 as my lower tier keyboard for live use, and I think it nicely complements my Korg Kronos X61 on the top tier.

Experience so far is very positive.

As a long time Yamaha fan (CS15, DX7II, SY99, TG77, EX5, AN1x, FS1r, A4000, WX5 and Motif Rack ES with PLG150-AN and PLG150-VL), who to be honest jumped to the Kronos in 2013 as I couldn't take any more Motif derivatives ;) , I was quite critical of Yamaha when I saw the Montage on paper.

Whilst I applauded the return of FM, I would have loved to see them go further with more engines: AN and VL engines for example. And it is criminal that FDSP only ever appeared on the EX5 - Not just for the EP and Guitar modelling, but the note and velocity independent effects processing in general. I was hoping with the Kronos as the competition that Yamaha would "do the EX5 as it should have been done". As much as I am now a Korg fan with the Kronos (which I see as a modern day EX5), I still love the Yamaha sound.

So I was disappointed when I saw that the Montage "only" had AWM2 and FM-X, I always knew one day I would have to retire my EX5 from stage duties and that I would go and demo the Montage to hear it for myself, once I had the budget ready to replace the EX5.

So, why did I pull the trigger on the Montage?

Simple, it sounds fantastic, and the performance focus is well thought out, and gives you lots of inspiration. I never use a Workstation sequencer for any recording work, so the fact it does not have a full blown sequencer is not an issue for me personally. All my studio recording is done in Cubase and if I need a backing track on stage I use Cantabile (more later), or I have the Kronos Sequencer.

I think Yamaha score a bit of an own goal when they refer to Montage AWM as AWM2, which has been the name since the SY series. AWM-X might be a more appropriate name, and a more powerful beast compared to the four element AWM in my SY99, TG77, EX5 and Motif Rack ES.

In fact (RCM notwithstanding) the Montage reminds me of my SY in that here we have a digital workstation that can sound very analog. Its AWM engine has some really good analog sounds and it even does sync lead sounds pretty well, which is always a stern test for a sample playback engine (need to dig in and understand how!)

Use of Cantabile as a live VSTi host is also why I am more relaxed about lack of engines on the Montage (as well has having 9 in the Kronos!). I will soon have an embedded computer in my gig rack (to replace my current aging laptop) with plenty of horse power and memory, and Cantabile will host my arsenal of soft synths, even resource hungry ones like UH-E DIVA, Omnisphere, etc. Oh, I still have my Nord G2 Engine in the rack as well :D

So with the combination of Kronos, Montage, Nord G2 Engine and Cantabile host (with any VSTi I wish to use), I think that will see me through for a while. :D

But back to the Montage, it really does sound great, and three weeks in I am glad I purchased it. I've had a lot of fun checking out the presets, I got some of the EasySound packs as well for even more fun, and it is now time to get it integrated in my rig.

I'll be honest, I miss some of the convenience of the Kronos, such as having everything on SSD that also does sample streaming and which can be accessed direct from computer via FTP for patch transfer, but I can live with that ;)

I'm still on the learning curve of the Montage, but so far so good. :D
Responses (5)
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Welcome on board ;)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I am so ignorant on the FM journey but so excited about learning and playing on the board....., I get back in town on Thursday and pick it up Friday (bought the 6 used from Guitar Center... got a great deal). I will be the using the recommended Cubase set up to jam along with as I explore FM and the new board. The analog vs FM considerations went away when I heard the EasySound moog sounds....., the Chick Corea sounds also sounded great. The FM sounds so silky on my little speakers.... I will be pulling out my Roland Stage Amps, and also try playing through the 5.1, and my Beats.... to see how this beast sounds to these Ol ears. Reading and watching the videos... the FM synthesis and the Motion control seems like a whole new universe to me...., and having drum beats as inputs to control parameters... sound very intriguing...., can't wait to play.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi Derek,
Are you the same Derek C that I know from ex5tech? I also moved from EX5 a few years ago, though I do still have my EX5R sitting in my studio - not getting much use anymore.

Sean
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi, Sean

Yes, the only and only (probably just as well). ;)

I have been gigging with an EX5 as my bottom tier for 18 years, but due to a PSU glitching and it seemed about to go (Yamaha UK no longer offer repair support for the PSUs) I ended up getting a second EX5 as a backup as I was doing small theatre gigs in "Welsh Floyd" where the "show had to go on" if a piece of kit went down. Funilly enough the PSU of the second EX5 failed after I had left the device on all day! I repaired that EX5 by a chance discovery of the A3000 having exactly the same PSU (and A3000 are as cheap as chips on ebay these days). But that episode got me nervous about gigging old kit (and of course a good excuse for a new toy :) )

But TBH as great as the EX5 is, it had slowly been relegated to the role of master keyboard on stage (which it was very good at) as the Kronos on my top tier was doing most of the sounds in the Pink Floyd show, although there were still a few sounds where the EX5 whooped the butt off of the Kronos - sync leads from the AN engine being one area, and there were still a few songs where I preferred the bite of a Customised AWM stereo piano sound, or the FDSP Rhodes (a specific patch made by Ski from EX5Tech).

So I wanted to retire the EX5. I did think about going for a master keyboard only along with the Kronos and a porky PC for the VSTis. But I still wanted my boards to make sounds as well to spread the load of a complex electronica stage act I am planning, and I could not find a MIDI only master keyboard in 76 note form factor (61 keys is too small for the bottom tier, and I am not bought up on weighted hammer action keyboards - it was the Yamaha semi-weighted action I really learnt on).

So the Montage is retiring the EX5 from stage use. I will be selling the two EX5s but want to get an EX5r for the studio, as it still has use for me, and as author of ex.factory (amongst others) I need to retain something for testing with.


And thanks for the other welcomes. :)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Mitchell wrote:

I am so ignorant on the FM journey but so excited about learning and playing on the board....., I get back in town on Thursday and pick it up Friday (bought the 6 used from Guitar Center... got a great deal). I will be the using the recommended Cubase set up to jam along with as I explore FM and the new board. The analog vs FM considerations went away when I heard the EasySound moog sounds....., the Chick Corea sounds also sounded great. The FM sounds so silky on my little speakers.... I will be pulling out my Roland Stage Amps, and also try playing through the 5.1, and my Beats.... to see how this beast sounds to these Ol ears. Reading and watching the videos... the FM synthesis and the Motion control seems like a whole new universe to me...., and having drum beats as inputs to control parameters... sound very intriguing...., can't wait to play.


Hope you enjoy. The EasySounds are pretty good. I got three packs to give me a very broad palette along with the presets, and to keep me busy for a while.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 5
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