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Alternatives path to adding VA than upgrading to Montage M

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 Phil
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I have a Montage 6 that I still like very much. Though I don't want to upgrade to a larger M8 to gain poly AT, I would like to add 8 or more voices of analog/VA to layer with the AWM2/FM sounds. I do have a Audiothingies Micromonsta Mk1 that isn't bad, but us a little clunky to program and adjust live.

I'm looking for suggestions for other analog/VA modules comparable in sound to AN-X with 8 or more voices that I could play from my Montage and have more or less the same thing as upgrading to the M. Even some of the more expensive synths might still be less expensive than upgrading to the new Montage.

 
Posted : 01/11/2023 2:55 pm
Dragos
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Yamaha Reface CS
A second hand Yamaha AN1x or the module version, the Yamaha AN200.

 
Posted : 01/11/2023 4:16 pm
Darryl
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Perhaps the Expanded Softsynth Plugin (E.S.P.) VST of the Montage M would work for you? It has THE AN-X engine in it along with everything else on the Montage M (in terms of software/waveforms/engines/etc.). It's supposed to be released in early 2024 with a version that is not fully editable, and I thought I heard the fully editable version would be released by the summer perhaps..!?

 
Posted : 01/11/2023 5:25 pm
Jason
Posts: 7886
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... I guess on the theme of throwing additional hardware at it:

A PLG150-AN board along with a compatible keyboard that has a PLG port (according to a Reverb.com ad: S90ES (3), Motif ES6,7,8 (3), Motif Rack ES (2), (original) Motif 6,7,8 (3), Motif Rack (2), S90 (3), S80 (2), CS6 (2), CS6R (2), PSR9000 Pro (2), MU100 (1), MU100R (2), SW1000XG (1)

Current pricing on reverb for lowest price with shipping added (no local pickup only listed):

S90ES - $2,130
Motif ES6 - $900
Motif ES Rack - $620
Motif Rack - $540
S90 - $790
S80 - $650
CS6X - $435
... and so on

The AN1x can be had for about $710 which is competitive (to above options) unless you can find the PLG board for a song.

$365 is the least expensive reverb option currently available for the Reface CS. So that's bottom dollar compared to what I've been looking at thus far.

The AN200 can be found on ebay currently. It's not clear which of the listings have the PLG card installed which would be required for the (analog) synth feature to work. Given that folks rob the PLG card out of the AN200 and sell the shell (you can still get drum beats + bassline (PCM = sampled, not analog) out of it -- so it's still functional) there is some risk in going this route unless you confirm the synth section is operational.

I guess the other option is to use some form of VST/plugin to get VA which I think would generally cost less and take up less room overall in what you would have to haul.

 
Posted : 01/11/2023 5:56 pm
Darryl
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[quotePost id=124185]
I guess the other option is to use some form of VST/plugin to get VA which I think would generally cost less and take up less room overall in what you would have to haul.
[/quotePost]
My guess is that the Expanded Softsynth Plugin (E.S.P.) VST will be the best one to use, as it should be/sound exactly the same as the AN-X on the Montage M...

 
Posted : 02/11/2023 1:36 am
Jason
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ESP: If it costs less (or within reason) than the other options and is made available to non-Montage-M owners. It'd be one of the VST options for sure.

Retrologue, for example, is (rounding up ... by a penny) $100 USD

Nanologue, a scaled-down version of Retrologue is available for free on iOS.

There's got to be a ton of other options out there.

 
Posted : 02/11/2023 3:15 am
Darryl
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[quotePost id=124195]ESP: If it costs less (or within reason) than the other options and is made available to non-Montage-M owners. It'd be one of the VST options for sure.
[/quotePost]
Yeah, it will be interesting to see what the cost is. And since it's not just a single AN-X that you are getting. It's the entire Montage M's 3 engines, all AWM2 preset waveforms, effects, ARPs, Motion Sequencing, MIDI sequencing functionality, they may (or may not) charge more than what a soft VA synth would, but the AN-X appears to be among the best sounding, most authentic analog emulation out there (if not THE best), so all combined, people might pay a bit extra for it..!?

The other thing is that it due to be released in early 2024, but not the fully editable version, so it's possible non-Montage M users won't be able to buy one until the fully editable version is ready..!?

 
Posted : 02/11/2023 11:44 am
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[quotePost id=124179] I do have a Audiothingies Micromonsta Mk1 that isn't bad, but us a little clunky to program and adjust live.

I'm looking for suggestions for other analog/VA modules comparable in sound to AN-X with 8 or more voices that I could play from my Montage[/quotePost]
It sounds like you want a compact module to play from the Montage, and something with its own live-friendly hard controls, and I don't think anyone has given you a viable suggestion yet! Jason comes closest with the AN-200, but that's only 5-voice and you also said you want 8-voice. Other suggestions have either had their own keys, or been software with no hard controls of their own. But also, as for sounding like AN-X, different synths will have their own character... but it sounds like you may be speaking broadly of being "analog-ish" sounding, since sonically, the Micromonsta seemed to satisfy you pretty well.

So with all that in mind, I think your best bet might be a Roland JX-08. There are actually a number of Boutique models that have a good form factor for this, but some don't have 8-note polyphony, and some emulate digital rather than analog synths. I don't know off-hand of any of the other Boutiques that meet your specs, but I think at least the JX-08 would,

 
Posted : 02/11/2023 12:29 pm
Jason
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VSTs should have a MIDI learn such that controls (knobs 1-8, for example) can be used to adjust the VST parameters in realtime.

 
Posted : 02/11/2023 3:56 pm
Posts: 799
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[quotePost id=124211]VSTs should have a MIDI learn such that controls (knobs 1-8, for example) can be used to adjust the VST parameters in realtime.
[/quotePost]
Sure, but that's a poor substitute for having dedicated knobs. Compared to the control surface of a dedicated module (a la AN-200, JX-08), with the VST approach on a Montage, you have relatively few controls available, and they are generic rather than being logically sized/placed/grouped/labeled/laid out for their functions, You've got to bother with the mapping process, and that mapping would have to be made part of every Performance in which you wanted to use those knobs for that module, and then you wouldn't simultaneously have those knobs available for controlling Montage parts. He's looking for something less "clunky to program and adjust live" than his existing module... I don't think having to repurpose the Montage knobs accomplishes that. (Even assuming he's bringing or wants to bring a computer to gigs to run VSTs, which is another whole conversation.) If we're not offering ergonomic/operational advantages over his existing Micromonsta solution, I don't think we're getting him closer to his goal.

 
Posted : 02/11/2023 5:30 pm
Darryl
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If it has to have dedicated knobs, do they need to be physical knobs or could they be virtual on a good touch screen?
Such as a Microsoft Surface (or Ipad) that sits on right side of the Montage, connected in via USB, whereby the E.S.P. is running and can be modified on that right side screen?

Edit: I have a Montage 8 with lots of real estate :p For the Montage 6 and a Surface tablet, one of those tablet sliders you can get for the Montage/MODX would allow you to move the MS Surface (E.S.P.) whereever you need it to be, or maybe some kind of add on to the stand/rack to hold it...

 
Posted : 02/11/2023 5:57 pm
 Phil
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Topic starter
 

So far these are all good ideas, including V.S.T.s, as I have added a new laptop to my live setup, but haven't invested in any higher end VA plug-ins yet.

I do like the idea of gaining hardware knobs/controllers/ribbons as a added bonus of buying a synth in a box, versus on a laptop. As AnotherScott mentioned, using Montage as my centerpiece means that I'm limited to what that keyboard is set up to offer in the way of external MIDI CC faders and encoders.

I'm not sure if Montage is really set up to map certain controllers to external control very easily, especially if you're already using the faders and knobs to adjust the internal Montage sounds. Even my humble Micromonsta gives me assignable parameter 5 knobs to make on the fly tweaks. Perhaps that is one good reason for still considering a hardware solution over VSTs.

I do have an iPad Pro and have experienced using touch screen controls with some of the synth apps I have on there, so software still isn't completely out of the question. I just prefer actual knobs!

 
Posted : 03/11/2023 1:56 pm
Jason
Posts: 7886
Illustrious Member
 

If you're using the Montage in its standard state (not as a DAW remote including the plugin option) then I take it you would be controlling the VST with the output of a Part dedicated to be external only. Say it's Part 8. You would turn internal sounds off for this Part and this Part need not have any Part8 Assignable Knobs assigned to anything. This would give you 8 knobs to control 8 parameters of the VST. You would first have to select Part 8 in order to get the knobs to output CCs and they would output CCs on MIDI Channel 8 in this example (unless you used Part Zone control to change the transmit channel - which you can). Make sure the [ASSIGN] button is lit for this.

If you don't have Super Knob assigned at all then you could use Super Knob as a 9th controller.

Ribbon is hardly used (by me, at least) so that would be another thing that wouldn't conflict with other assignments.

Of course these may come out different MIDI channels (than 8) so your VST host would need to route everything properly so your VSTi "sees" all of these messages.

You may also be able to use some knobs' CCs using modes other than [ASSIGN] (the fixed function modes). This would be more than I would want to fiddle with, though.

 
Posted : 03/11/2023 6:58 pm
Posts: 799
Prominent Member
 

[quotePost id=124235]I do have an iPad Pro and have experienced using touch screen controls with some of the synth apps I have on there, so software still isn't completely out of the question. I just prefer actual knobs![/quotePost]
Actual knobs aren't out of the question for a tablet-based synth, check this out...

https://www.pepperdecks.com/products/28-tunagear

I had forgotten about those!

Also even if you take the laptop approach, you do have the option of also adding a control surface (say, Korg NanoKontrol or similar), though again you get into what I think is a less desirable "generic" approach to control layout.

The other issue is where to put this stuff for easy in-performance access. A Montage 6 has a pretty packed control surface. A Montage 8 (or a MODX) gives you a little more flexibility there. Where do you currently place your Micromonsta?

 
Posted : 04/11/2023 3:34 pm
Darryl
Posts: 0
Trusted Member
 

[quotePost id=124273]
Actual knobs aren't out of the question for a tablet-based synth, check this out...
https://www.pepperdecks.com/products/28-tunagear
I had forgotten about those![/quotePost]
Oh, that is interesting and could make it work for a tablet based touch screen.

The other issue is where to put this stuff for easy in-performance access. A Montage 6 has a pretty packed control surface. A Montage 8 (or a MODX) gives you a little more flexibility there. Where do you currently place your Micromonsta?

If it were me and I wanted to run a VST/software app synth on a tablet, I would get a sliding tablet stand that's designed for the Montage/MODX, like this one (hopefully you can see the Facebook video as it's within a specific FB group):
https://www.facebook.com/100002432971045/videos/pcb.2630776573703922/2670575116366895

Might be worth checking out, as it allows for easily adjusting where the iPad/tablet is located/positioned on limited Montage 6 real-estate! 😉

 
Posted : 04/11/2023 4:24 pm
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