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Montage: project closed?

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The last firmware update for Montage that contained new features was 3.5, made available in June 2020, that is two and a half years ago.
Can we definitively consider the Montage project closed?
It would be nice to have an official confirmation or denial from Yamaha ๐Ÿ™‚
The possibilities for expanding the features of Montage obviously remain many: if we compare with MODX+ (which now manages the same 128 voices of AWM2 polyphony + 128 of FM-X with just one SWP70) it is very probable that the two SWP70 sound generators could guarantee additional features; without bothering other synthesis techniques (the much desired VA), through AWM2 it is possible to obtain without particular problems the typical sounds of the WaveSequence and Wavetables synthesis (here my study and a free library) MONTAGE Wavetables and WaveSequence ; through an additional software capable of converting the libraries in LossLess compressed format it would become possible to double the space for the user Samples to about 4 GByte (16 bit linear equivalent).
The list could go on for much longer.
In a new firmware,...a glimmer of hope, I still have ๐Ÿ™‚

 
Posted : 22/12/2022 12:21 pm
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"if we compare with MODX+ (which now manages the same 128 voices of AWM2 polyphony + 128 of FM-X with just one SWP70)"

Has this been confirmed somewhere? It has been speculated ad-nauseum, but I have seen nowhere where this is confirmed via teardown or service manual.

If that truly is the case, the MODX+ "upgrade" was a kind of a fast one on consumers and will breach a lot of trust - especially considering the extra memory was already there in the MODX. Doing essentially nothing to the box other than rubberized wheels and charging a premium seems a bit dishonest.

 
Posted : 22/12/2022 6:02 pm
Jason
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Doing essentially nothing to the box other than rubberized wheels and charging a premium seems a bit dishonest.

In the computer industry something called a "speed bump" is fairly common. You take existing hardware and change very little - maybe component BOM changes - but no change to the PCBs. You slap a new sticker on it and market it as a "new" product. Most of the work done with this new project is actually in qualifying the faster processors/memory or what-have-you.

The part about updating the components (bill of materials) could be part of what is at play with MODX+. Components often go EOL (end of life) which impacts production. When you're lucky, there will be a replacement component that can be swapped which is footprint compatible requiring no change to the PCBs. When the component going EOL is a memory component (which is often the case, but not exclusively) this requires a lot of effort to qualify the new memory.

There may be "unseen" changes such as this in MODX+.

I still don't have the secret sauce of the new service manual name to purchase that and see what components it uses.

 
Posted : 22/12/2022 9:21 pm
Michael Trigoboff
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I am hanging onto my Montage for the moment, just in case they ever update the firmware. But I am starting to have severe doubts about that.

 
Posted : 22/12/2022 10:31 pm
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Whatever the case is - they are really heavily promoting it as "something new", when at this time, it's really not unless you count rubberized wheels and different color end-cheeks.

Anyway, I bought mine to replace a Roland FA06 - and I am happy with it as it is (no more wasteful menu diving and really bad keybed). Some sort of 'visual' with the sequencer and arpeggiator (piano roll.... or similar) would be very nice - and would help compete with Rolands '0' series Fantoms, but sonically, within the context of the rest of my setup - its perfect as it is.

 
Posted : 22/12/2022 10:49 pm
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Per Yamaha Parts dept. - the MODX+ service manual is NOT available for purchase by end users due to a very recent policy change by Yamaha. Further - service centers are NOT authorized to disclose info from the service manual to end users.

 
Posted : 22/12/2022 10:55 pm
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[quotePost id=119867]"if we compare with MODX+ (which now manages the same 128 voices of AWM2 polyphony + 128 of FM-X with just one SWP70)"

Has this been confirmed somewhere? It has been speculated ad-nauseum, but I have seen nowhere where this is confirmed via teardown or service manual.
.[/quotePost]
There is no certainty that MODX+ has only one SWP70 SoC inside: it is very probable since Seamless Sound Switching (SSS) is the same as MODX (limited to 4-part Performances)

 
Posted : 23/12/2022 9:40 am
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Regarding SSS and the effects limit on parts (the only two main differences remaining) may be for continued product differentiation (at least at this time). In addition the Montage has a lot of other niceties on it including a superior keybed w/AT, overall build quality, higher fidelity DAC, more outputs, more front panel controls and so on. For the extra 1500 on the price tag, those options didn't mean enough to me to justify the higher price. I am happy with the MODX+ as is (although as I said above a more "visual" MIDI representation would be a nice update across all models)

Back to the MODX+. If they were able to squish out another 64 voices of polyphony from the current swp70, that's great, but I am not sure how likely that is. If that's the case it will for sure make current MODX owners very upset as they have essentially the same unit with different software. Not likely to go over well (perhaps the reason for the recent "policy change" on the service manuals, maybe?). Eventually someone will take it apart (it won't be me) and we will know. I have also heard a number of reports that the MODX+ is performing better overall than the MODX, so maybe there is something a little different under the hood, but who knows at this point. I would guess some sort of update is on the horizon given the massive ad campaign for it.

 
Posted : 23/12/2022 8:40 pm
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Could be a production process advance combined with significant clock speed improvements for the synth chip... that'd explain why only voice count has gone up, not the other stuff that needs more ancillary support.

 
Posted : 23/12/2022 8:52 pm
 Paul
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MODX got the same kind of spiff as the MX series received a few years ago. Reading Yamaha's annual report, they have struggled with component shortages and possibly, a re-spin of the basic hardware was necessary.

As to clock speed improvement, the SWP70 -- like all Yamaha tone generators -- operates at a fixed multiple of the sample generation rate. It is a synchronous pipeline, not a general purpose CPU. It operates in lock-step with the DACs.

As to service manual policy, this change is not recent. Ever wonder why I haven't done additional deep dives? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ They are probably tired of the speculation caused by TMI. ๐Ÿ˜€

Frankly, whether there is one, two, or ten of anything is not really that important. Exposed functionality is important.

As to honesty, Yamaha writes the spec, makes the product and sells it at a particular price point. They have not really promised anything over and above the original MODX. The price change is more likely due to currency fluctuations. If you read Yamaha's annual report, their management and bean counters are keenly aware of and concerned about currency fluctuations because they have very significant effect on profitability.

Hope everyone has a happy holiday season -- and that doesn't depend on part count. ๐Ÿ˜€

-- pj

 
Posted : 24/12/2022 12:08 am
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[quotePost id=119888]
As to clock speed improvement, the SWP70 -- like all Yamaha tone generators -- operates at a fixed multiple of the sample generation rate. It is a synchronous pipeline, not a general purpose CPU. It operates in lock-step with the DACs.

[/quotePost]

Could they have just doubled it? Or 1.5x the speed, so it can feed more tones out over a given time and not have any issues with timings/sync as a result of an exactly proportional step up in speed?

I find it hard to believe they're not crowing about an extra chip... if it had it.... as they would, because for pro users the costs for the Montage are worth it. A significantly (massively) better keyboard, MUCH more controls, superior inputs and outputs and the better chassis etc are all worth the gap to the Montage, regardless of its age, so there'd be little range cannibalisation if they admitted adding a second tone generator....

...which makes me think they didn't, and instead of making existing MODX owners upset by saying it's much the same chip config (thereby causing them to ask "why not me, too..."), they simply keep quiet about a speed bump.

Having said that, and regardless of what's in it, I don't think the MODX+ represents anywhere near the kind of value proposition the MODX did at its launch, and is extremely unlikely to draw new sales from those not already Yamaha customers.

Little has been made of the SuperKnob and Motion Sequencers in the last few years. They're visually iconic, but have done nothing that someone could hear and say "wow, that must be a MODX/Montage on song!" and that draws people to these key features. They're under-utilised to an incredible extent.

 
Posted : 24/12/2022 6:55 am
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Topic starter
 

Among many possibilities, seeing what happened with the MOTIF (Original MOTIF, MOTIF ES, MOTIF XS, MOTIF XF) at NAMM 2023 (April 13โ€“15, 2023) an expanded version of Montage could be presented (+, plus, EX,ES,XS,XF...???).
If this hypothesis is true, there are 2 questions: the first is what more will be added, and the second is the possible concomitance of a new firmware for the first generation Montage.
I think it is probable an increase of ROM-Flash for the AWM2 part (maybe they will insert the Bรถsendorfer available today as a library ...and more): regarding the much desired additional engines the simplest to add could be the ToneWheel (see the YC series). will there also be room for the new AN-X engine? We'll see ๐Ÿ™‚

 
Posted : 27/01/2023 11:25 am
Darryl
Posts: 784
Prominent Member
 

[quotePost id=119866]The last firmware update for Montage that contained new features was 3.5, made available in June 2020, that is two and a half years ago.
Can we definitively consider the Montage project closed?

In a new firmware,...a glimmer of hope, I still have ๐Ÿ™‚
[/quotePost]
I would not close the book on the Montage just yet. I just checked my crystal ball and it says that the Montage will have update 4.0 in 2023, which will include a new AN-X virtual modeling engine. The MODX+ will also have this new engine in an update and it will be revealed that the MODX+ has a 2nd SWP70 tone generator.
This ball is highly accurate, and has worked in past predictions. Plus I paid a lot of money for it, and it was designed by a Jedi Master who attended Hogwarts. :p

Loving how you speak Yoda!

[quotePost id=120219]Among many possibilities, seeing what happened with the MOTIF (Original MOTIF, MOTIF ES, MOTIF XS, MOTIF XF) at NAMM 2023 (April 13โ€“15, 2023) an expanded version of Montage could be presented (+, plus, EX,ES,XS,XF...???).

I think it is probable an increase of ROM-Flash for the AWM2 part (maybe they will insert the Bรถsendorfer available today as a library ...and more)[/quotePost]
This goes against my prediction, but on the chance that my ball is wrong, adding more memory & the Bosendorer library to the presets are entirely possible and would be great.

Me's a notta thinkin we's a gettin a new Montage+ anytime soon (quote from Jar Jar Binks)

 
Posted : 27/01/2023 8:06 pm
 Phil
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Active Member
 

Several posts have mentioned the addition of rubberized wheels to the MODX+. That is actually one feature about recent Yamaha keyboards that concerns me regarding longevity. I have purchase many other brands of products that have "rubberized" coating, only to have them turn sticky after not all that many years. This type of plastic (probably not actually plant rubber) loses its stability, and there is no amount of cleaning that will take away the stickiness.

I've even had to discard other products such as perfectly good lighting controllers, whose rubberized buttons made them completely unpleasant to use. Unless Yamaha stocks replacements part well into the future it may be that these outer parts cause the product to age quicker than any failure or obsolescence of chips and circuits. I'd prefer that they use durable, stable plastic with no coating for wheels, knobs and buttons, as well as the keyboard case itself.

 
Posted : 30/01/2023 3:17 pm
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