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Montage Successor Rumors

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Jason
Posts: 7919
Illustrious Member
 

Placement (1st, 2nd, etc) is subjective - but it's healthy to have multiple companies in the game to foster attempts to leap-frog each other. Innovation is inspired and also eventually even the best parlor tricks get tiresome if overused or over relied upon for too many generations. You certainly have one perspective and I agree with parts of your assessments which is why my main wish for the successor is for some innovations at the ASIC core level which would expand upon the possibilities - enough to deserve "AWM3" for sample based technology and other innovations for internal routing capabilities, etc. I think the engineering team is well aware of the limitations instantiated by paradigm and perhaps someone high enough in the food chain will enable some shifting soon. There's a long lead time for some of this stuff and it's a fairly expensive undertaking. Not something that blends well with the current market conditions. Montage/MODX is a transitional point. The first departure from "Motif". When I look at the history - things didn't get "mature" until Gen 3 of Motif.

Roland meanwhile does roll out exciting updates to their platform. More sizzle for sure. And I mean that in the most positive of ways. It will be interesting to learn if Montage/MODX ever does gain a new engine or if this research was more for a follow-on product.

I think we're both lucky since you have so much prior experience with Yamaha. The lack of revolutionary change also means you can dig into the engine and see all of the same familiar parameters as before. How AD1D2R works, arps (and ranges), and other stumbling blocks for others is already old hat for both of us so we can spend time utilizing the system rather than learning it. I'm straying a bit from the stage series mostly because I don't own this instrument -- my "stage piano" gear is the Roland RD2000 which is a pretty darn good realization of such a device. It didn't get many updates and is more in-line with the YC in terms of launch day vs. later life capabilities.

We'll see if anything comes out on or about Jan 20th.

 
Posted : 03/01/2022 8:06 pm
Posts: 1717
Member Admin
 

At this point, Yamaha would best serve themselves and the market by aquire-hiring InMusic.

 
Posted : 03/01/2022 8:35 pm
Darryl
Posts: 784
Prominent Member
 

As some have mentioned about the competition, the Fantom does double the work and offerings of the Montage and sounds as good as the Genos.
Yamaha has a massive task (impossible for their AWM2 technology) of not only matching Fantom but doubling or beating it.
Yamaha would have to double the power and performance of Montage, add Genos to the Montage, add the CP1 technology for keys because AWM2 sucks, add pads and full capability sequencer, double the memory, make it simple to use etc., etc.
I didn't even crack open the Fantom user's manual to use it and I never figured out the Montage.

@david I won't deny that Roland have done some great things adding more and more to the Fantom, and that from most accounts it is more user friendly to learn.
I have to respectively disagree with regard to the Fantom doing double what the Montage does & sounding better.
One of my main criteria I had when purchasing a new synth was piano sounds. After a great deal of research, comparisons, and demoing different synths, I chose the Montage 8 because it has awesome piano samples, as well as lots of polyphony, a massive list of quality sounds and really great FM synthesis.

Although the Fantom wasn't an option at the time I purchased the Montage, I find that it's 'modeling' based pianos (at times) have a very subtle fake/synthesized/digitally thin sound to them, just enough that I can notice it from time to time, and thus I would still have chosen the Montage over the Fantom had it been a choice. I realize that the Montage could use a new piano modeling 'effect' to enhance the pianos a bit; however Yamaha did an awesome job sampling their CFX. I hear it in these examples, but I have also taken both the best Preset CFX pianos & Wojtek Olszak's pianos, and enhanced them so that they are even that much more realistic in my own customer Performances. Most times I find I can program & tweak Performances on the Montage to be as good or better than anything else out there.
https://youtu.be/gKvbYU8aapg?t=25
(Wojtek Olszak - https://youtu.be/U7OD0IsqoRg?t=379 )
https://youtu.be/U7OD0IsqoRg?t=490

This isn't even comparing to the CFX on the Montage and it sounds far more realistic than the Fantom's piano:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsvmnaPsHig

While it's great that the Fantom have a modeling based Hammond, I found that the 'Organimation' organ library was quite well done for the Montage, so I took the best one as a template, tweaked it until it sounded awesome, added the best distortion/overdrive, comparing to several well recorded organs (A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum, Gimme Some Lovin' - The Spencer Davis Group, etc.), tweaking each of those as separate Performances so that they sound nearly identical to the recording. I also set the distortion/overdrive level to an AssignKnob so that I can easily adjust that. I then replaced all the 'Organimation' waveforms with the Montage Presets, which were virtually identical if not even better after a few tweaks.
Sure, functionally (drawbars, etc.) the Fantom would be better for organs, but I bet my customized ones are as good or better in terms of sound compared to anything the Fantom can do. Funny thing is I'm not even much of an organ guy, hence why I don't care so much about drawbars, etc., but when it comes to sounding authentic or exactly like a specific organ, I've got everything covered on the Montage.

When you say "Yamaha would have to double the power and performance of Montage", I have several DAW sequenced songs that have all 16 PARTs in use at the same time, using a boat load of polyphony and I have still not yet hit the wall ... so I am not sure how the Fantom could do double that. And I am using both insertion effects as well as Var & Rev sends on all the PARTs.

I actually find the AWM2 engine is quite good. It's all in the programming. I could match or beat any sound from the Fantom using either the AWM2 or the FM-X engine. Sometimes I flip a coin as to which engine to use when programming a new sound. I can't agree with any implication that the Fantom does double what the Montage does ...I would have no problem owning the Fantom as a second Synth, but the Montage is a complete beast and better overall IMHO! 😉

 
Posted : 04/01/2022 4:47 pm
Dragos
Posts: 0
Eminent Member
 

There's nothing interesting in Fantom when compared to the Montage/MODX from the point of view of someone interested in synthesis.
It's a very well executed flagship performance keyboard but it doesn't add new stuff to the game.

It's easy to complement the Montage/MODX in a cost effective manner with the stuff the Fantom does "better" (VA, sequencing, sampling), but it's pretty much impossible to do the reverse with the Fantom.

 
Posted : 04/01/2022 5:14 pm
Posts: 1717
Member Admin
 

Yamaha has mismanaged the reputation and usage of AWM2, on a multitude of levels.

Zero Point: It's Sample oscillators! Instead of seemingly being embarrassed by this, they should have embraced it!

Firstly, it deserves better, curved envelopes. Just getting that out the way because it would add an enormous amount to what follows.

Secondly, the loading process for samples in and out is incredibly slow for modern era transport and storage, to the point of being ridiculous. So offloading anything you've created with a big library like the Bosendorfer set of samples (so as to have enough memory to play with others and keep whatever you made with these samples and added to them to flesh out pianos) is a long process, and much longer going back the other way when you need those great pianos again.

Making full back ups and restores is essential because of the low storage and the time consuming ways of above, and uncertainty of the file system, but is insanely slow, and largely a non-transparent, all-or-nothing process. Restoring seems to be even slower. It's go have dinner and watch a game, slower.

USB 3.1 wouldn't have massively increased the price of these synths, but would have made these processes at least an order of magnitude faster, perhaps 20 to 25x faster.1

The process for building a wave form with 4x velocity and many note divisions is not free, and not widely known, unless you've got a Montage and happened to come into knowing about the Sample Robot version/deal, which still requires a PC. This would have been MUCH better if the Montage (and MODX) had an inbuilt facility to play/control an attached synth via MIDI and grab its audio on the audio in, and make a sample set with desired note and velocity divisions (waveform, they call it) automagically.

Given the portability of the MODX 6, this could have been an incredible feature for those that go around playing with others that have unique and interesting analogue synths, and created a compelling and virtuous cycle of interest in the Montage/MODX range as a kind of curation platform for all sorts of synths and their oscillator sounds, and what can be done with "opinionated" recordings of those oscillators within the Motion and Effects world of the Montage/MODX. This could have been huge, the Montage/MODX could have become essentials for all kinds of synth nuts!

Soundmondo can't share samples!!!???

etc.

 
Posted : 04/01/2022 5:37 pm
Darryl
Posts: 784
Prominent Member
 

I can see why they might not allow sharing of samples via Soundmondo. It could become a copyright legal nightmare for Yamaha if they were to host the sharing of all their customers' wave file samples..!?

 
Posted : 04/01/2022 8:21 pm
Posts: 1717
Member Admin
 

I can see why they might not allow sharing of samples via Soundmondo. It could become a copyright legal nightmare for Yamaha if they were to host the sharing of all their customers' wave file samples..!?

Not all, just the ones that users tick a box to say they own the right to distribute. Same way everything else works. This is a solved problem. See every online content hosting system, ever.

 
Posted : 05/01/2022 5:00 am
Dragos
Posts: 0
Eminent Member
 

Sampling is a legal minefield.

Just look at what YouTube is doing, scanning and blocking content etc.

A big music corporation allowing users to post potentially copyrighted content on their servers just by checking a checkbox?

 
Posted : 05/01/2022 6:54 am
Michel
Posts: 0
Eminent Member
 

I can see why they might not allow sharing of samples via Soundmondo. It could become a copyright legal nightmare for Yamaha if they were to host the sharing of all their customers' wave file samples..!?

Not all, just the ones that users tick a box to say they own the right to distribute. Same way everything else works. This is a solved problem. See every online content hosting system, ever.

LOL - so says the person who's never hired a copyright lawyer to actually do such a thing. Yes, I've done this and you're talking out of your ass. As usual.

The problem with this kind of trolling is that you don't even realize you're trolling because you're on some half-cocked, partially ill-informed mission to change the products of a major multinational corporation by, ummm, browbeating them and anybody who offers thoughtful disagreement. Solid strategy.

Enjoy pissing in the wind. I'll be here laughing the whole time 😀

Meanwhile the others here will continue to figure out what works and doesn't work for them, make the best of what they have and offer useful criticism to Yamaha without the kindergarten drama.

 
Posted : 05/01/2022 7:07 am
Jason
Posts: 7919
Illustrious Member
 

Hosting samples probably has economic impacts due to the (projected) sizable uptick in storage requirements.

Also ...

Adding samples introduces the problem of how to conveniently transfer the samples into Montage/MODX. There isn't a way. I've wished for the USB interface to allow file transfer (maybe add an endpoint for bulk transfer from host to keyboard and vice versa - a driver+firmware change) which could be leveraged for firmware updates with auto-backup, sample transfer, faster instrument management with host software, etc. However, none of that exists. Therefore even if samples were hosted - the method of transferring them to and from your instrument would be clumsy. Probably a cure worse than the symptom.

The horse before this cart would be the file transfer through USB-to-host cable.

The copyright or other infringement possibilities is a real problem - but, to me, further down the list. Although I'm not aware of the contracts in place with content providers (in other words, maybe more important to legal depending). Already encoding/compression algorithms seem to serve as markers for commercially available content.

Without "significant" (disclaimer: I can't really determine how much or little dev is needed) development to the underlying infrastructure - Keyboard Firmware, Driver - we can't even get to a reasonable user experience where Soundmondo can consume samples even if we ignore any "legal" entanglements and also ignore the dev of Soundmondo itself.

I would prefer to ignore the development requirement of Soundmondo itself (web, iOS) because I have more confidence in the firmware dev team (and even driver dev team) versus the web-midi Soundmondo or iOS Soundmondo dev teams. The web team I am most pessimistic about although years of issues with iOS logins place iOS at a close runner-up (this may be more of a backend configuration issue and not really an iOS issue per-se).

Also ...

As the complexity goes up -- even if I got what I wanted -- a way to transfer "big" data to/from the synth via USB -- this would mean this added complexity is in Yamaha's hands to support. From a software bug perspective, test perspective, user support perspective, etc .. etc .. "Keep it simple" may be a mantra that keeps the boat afloat. I think Yamaha has to pick the battles they can win and given where Soundmondo is today - I'm not sure more complexity is how we plot a course for success. Hate to be pessimistic - but ...

------

On the positive side - when Soundmondo works - even without samples - it's great. A place to share parameter changes that do not depend on user waveforms, user curves, user microtuning, or user ARPs is still a powerful resource. There's lots of value to having the benefit of others' shared Performances that stay within this lane. I see lots of great stuff available. Soundmondo could be better on multiple fronts - but what's there is impressive.

 
Posted : 05/01/2022 7:08 am
Dragos
Posts: 0
Eminent Member
 

I've wished for the USB interface to allow file transfer (maybe add an endpoint for bulk transfer from host to keyboard and vice versa - a driver+firmware change) which could be leveraged for firmware updates with auto-backup, sample transfer, faster instrument management with host software, etc..

You might wish to check / add to this idea that I posted:
https://yamahasynth.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Ability-for-Connect-to-upload-samples/283816-45978

 
Posted : 05/01/2022 7:33 am
Jason
Posts: 7919
Illustrious Member
 

This would depend on https://yamahasynth.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Enhanced-USB-Functioanlity/209936-45978

 
Posted : 05/01/2022 7:51 am
Posts: 1717
Member Admin
 

The issues around Oscillators (which are samples) being shared has to be solved for AWM2 to gain the kinds of popularity for its prowess that turns it from a negative to a positive.

Otherwise it will continue to be considered a Rompler, with all those negative connotations binding.

For a different view of how to miss the opportunity of sample based oscillators, see how the Prophet X rollout was handled, with a "too strong" relationship, bound to one supplier of samples, despite masses of memory and bandwidth.

Where samples come from, and how they're shared aren't insurmountable issues, but they might be for Yamaha, simply because they seem to have given up on AWM2, and underestimated the evolution and growing awareness of users. And don't have a way to monetise beyond selling the hardware. This is their own fault.

Sadly, I think Yamaha will copy EA, and oscillate far too far towards the subscription based model of revenue generation in whatever they do next. Which probably won't be for a few years, but is probably being worked on right now, on the premise that subscriptions are life (see boosters).

Fortunately, those that can create great samples for oscillators will eventually realise there's a potential market in the volume of MODX and early Montage sales - with a bit of a push.

More than partly because Yamaha aren't going to fill the void.

If you have any classic synths, I strongly suggest considering creating opinionated (flavoured) sample waveforms for the Montage/MODX with Sample Robot. Once you've created "Oscillators" you like, ideally that can loop, it's very easy to use Sample Robot to create a waveform pack with 4x velocity mappings and whatever note division you think necessary.

Then start really closely examining the effects of the various Yamaha filters and envelopes, and reconsidering what's ideal in terms of flavoured/opinionated "Oscillator" samples to extract the most from what the Montage/MODX AWM2 sculpting can do.

 
Posted : 05/01/2022 11:31 am
Posts: 1717
Member Admin
 

In an ideal Montage:

The FM-X engine would be able to make samples for the AWM2 engine.

 
Posted : 05/01/2022 10:01 pm
Michele
Posts: 0
 

I admit that I didn't bothered to read all your (interesting) comments. On the other hand, I'm wondering why Yamaha doesn't release a significative firmware upgrade to the Montage, since a long time. Has the possible developement reached an end?.

 
Posted : 06/01/2022 10:46 am
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