Understanding Master Mode

“This synthesizer is loaded with such a wealth of different features, functions and operations, you may find it difficult to locate and call up the particular feature you need. This is where the Master function comes in handy. You can use it to memorize the operations you use most often in each mode, and call […]

By Bad Mister

Tagged Under

“This synthesizer is loaded with such a wealth of different features, functions and operations, you may find it difficult to locate and call up the particular feature you need. This is where the Master function comes in handy. You can use it to memorize the operations you use most often in each mode, and call them up instantly anytime you need them with a single button press.

The MOTIF XF has space for a total of 128 of your own User Master settings. Press the [MASTER]

button to enter the Master Play mode.”

The Master programs can be used to organize and memorize your MOTIF XF programs into one neat bank. It can also function as a place to store your external MIDI Controller setups when using the MOTIF XF as an 8-Zone Master MIDI controller. Familiarize yourself with basic MOTIF XF modes and operations before diving in this end of the pool. Save any personal data before following this document.

The principal modes of MOTIF XF are VOICE, PERFORMANCE, SONG and PATTERN. A Master mode setup can be used to recall a Voice, a Performance, a Song or a Pattern. Rather than jumping back and forth between the modes, organize things in the one Bank ‘to rule them all.’ You can then easily access setups via a Foot Switch (FS). The programmable FS assigned to cc98 will increment you through the Master setups.

A second use for Master setups is to integrate and organize your external MIDI gear, as well. This is accomplished with the ZONE Switch active. You can send a Bank Select and Program Change message on eight different MIDI channels simultaneously when you recall a MASTER setup. The Bank Select and Program Change data can be “preset” so that you can address internal MOTIF XF Voices and/or external device setups from your 8 Zones.

Although Master setups are non-volatile (they do remain in memory between power cycles), often the data they point to is changeable – this can present a problem if you are not organized and aware of this fact. For example, if you load new Voice data into a USER location or are pointing to volatile User sample data (SDRAM), this can cause the Master to not sound properly. In general, if you are going to setup and use MASTERS you will want to save your data in “ALL” data files (.X3A). This way you restore all the information that your MASTER programs might be accessing. Read on…

If you are using a MOTIF XF alone (that is, no external MIDI devices), Master Mode can be used to assemble your on-board MOTIF XF setups (Programs) in one convenient bank. A Master program location can point to a Voice, a Performance, a Song Mix or a Pattern Mix. You can use a Footswitch to advance through the Master setups during a live session. Study the Factory data for examples of this type of usage of the Master setups. The MASTER setups are used to recall different Performances, Voices, Patterns, or Songs. You can set up a Footswitch (FS) assigned to Control Change 098 to advance through the Master setups.

  • Recall MASTER 056

To learn from these MASTER setups:

  •  Press [EDIT]
  •  Press [COMMON EDIT]
  •  Press [F2] OTHER

Here you can see how they are directly associated (linked) with a “MODE”: Voice, Performance, Song or Pattern. Master number 056 is associated with “MODE”: PATTERN; “MEMORY”:01 [Someday]

Master mode has a second more complex use – with ZONE control. You see the “Zone Switch” is set to ON in the screenshot above. Master mode can be used to control internal sounds, and/or complex configurations where both internal and external sounds are used together, that is, setups where some “Zones” are controlling Internal MOTIF XF Voices or a MOTIF XF Performance while other Zones might be controlling external devices. By the time you reach the level of creating your own Master setups you should have gained a thorough knowledge of the MOTIF XF and its modes. We will state their general definitions here so that you can fully understand what is possible and what is impossible from a Master setup. Then we will look at a few possible scenarios.

Rule 1: A Voice is the fundamental playable entity in the MOTIF XF. The internal Voices are made up of up to eight multi-sampled sounds called Elements. Each Voice has a Dual Insertion Effect, plus a Reverb and a Chorus processor available. The two Insertion Effects can be real-time controlled via MIDI controllers and have an intricate relationship to the individual Elements of the Voice. The Dual Insertion Effect is an important component – and is often the “personality” of the Voice. A Voice occupies a single MIDI channel and in Voice mode, significantly, only one Voice can be recalled at a time. There are 1024 Preset Voices in 8 banks of 128. There are 512 User Voices in 4 banks. There are 128 Normal General MIDI Voices and a GM Drum Kit; 64 Preset Drum Kits; and 32 User Drum Kits. When you associate a MASTER with VOICE mode, you will be able to play just one internal VOICE. Voice mode rules will apply. Even if you activate the ZONE SWITCH, only one Zone will be able to access an internal sound – because in VOICE mode only one Voice can be recalled at a time.

Left: The current MASTER is shown in [EDIT] > [COMMON EDIT] > [F2] OTHER. The MODE is “VOICE”, the associated program is PRE 1:001(A01) Full Concert Grand. Because the ZONE SWITCH is ON, this program’s Zone parameters will determine how MIDI is transmitted.

[F6] GET NAME: This function, when pressed will transfer the name of the MEMORY selection “Full Concert Grand” and make that the name of this MASTER. Currently the name of this MASTER is “[ Demo Pattern 1 ], if you were to press [F6] GET NAME, the MASTER would be renamed “Full Concert Grand”.

Rule 2: A Performance is a combination of up to four Voices. Each Performance has a reverb effect, a chorus effect and all four of the assigned Voices can recall their own Dual Insertion effects from Voice mode (including the real-time effect controller assignments). All four Voices can recall their full compliment of arpeggios, as well, because the XF features up to four simultaneous arpeggios. It is important to realize that Performances are made up of sounds found in Voice mode. It places up to four of them into what are called “PARTS”. Through these, PARTS, you can edit the sound of a Voice in a Performance without changing the original Voice data. This is accomplished by applying “offsets” to the original data. All Voices in a Performance occupy the same basic MIDI channel and only one Performance can be recalled at a time. There are 512 USER Performances in 4 Banks of 128. In fact, all the Performances are USER. A Performance can be copied into a Song and/or Pattern, as necessary. This actually places the PARTS (up to 4) in a MIX (occupying 4 PARTS) with each one set to the same Basic Receive Channel. A Performance can be recorded directly to either a SONG or  PATTERN via the innovative DIRECT PERFORMANCE RECORD feature. When you associate a MASTER with PERFORMANCE mode, you will be able to play just one (Performance mode rules will apply). Even if you activate the ZONE SWITCH, only one Zone will be able to access an internal Performance – because in PERFORMANCE mode only one PERFORMANCE can be recalled at a time. All four PARTS of the PERFORMANCE will be addressed together by a single ZONE.

These two modes, Voice and Performance, are the principal playable programs on the MOTIF XF.

Rule 3: Next there are the SEQUENCER MODES: Song and Pattern. These have multi-part setups (called MIXING) to hold up to 16 PARTS, typically used when playing back from the sequencer. When you enter a Song or Pattern you typically play on one MIDI channel at a time – as you normally record one track at a time. MIXING setups can also be used to conveniently hold the VOICES to which you require quick and seamless access. For this type of use of the MASTER Zoned Program you can transmit on up to 8 MIDI channels simultaneously. Several PARTS, however, can be assigned to the same MIDI channel, as necessary to accomplish very complex setups. Thus it is possible to transmit from a single channel yet play multiple VOICES (PARTS).

That is how powerful the combination of “MIXING” and “MASTER” modes can be… as we will see. When you associate a MASTER with a SONG MIXING or PATTERN MIXING setup – the Masters can be routed internally and/or externally as necessary in any number of combinations totaling eight Zones. Therefore you can use this to address multiple internal PARTS on discreet MIDI channels (which is not possible in Voice or Performance mode).

Left: The “INFO” view, shows the associated SONG 01, and the potential 8 Zone’s transmit channels.

Rule 4: 128 MASTER Control setups can be created with an internal MOTIF XF Voice, Performance, Song or Pattern MEMORY location associated (memorized) with it. You have the option of activating the ZONE Switch with any of them – which adds communication to both internal and external sounds to create your own Master setups. You can have up to 8 Zones. The MOTIF XF can transmit to itself and OUT via MIDI on up to 8 Zones. Zones can address internal sounds and/or external sounds.

To understand rule 4 please take your time with this article. We have all ready seen how MASTER setups can be used to simply recall an internal Voice, a Performance, a Song or a Pattern. Now, we need to understand how a MASTER can work as a “multi-zoned” controller setup, controlling both internal and external tone modules. The architecture of the MOTIF XF is extremely flexible.

NOTE: Your mileage will vary depending on the external MIDI module you may be using. Please refer to the Owner’s Manuals of your external gear for Bank Select and Program Change numbers. Also find out what information they are capable of receiving in this fashion. Some modules require you store the Volume and Pan information locally in their own setup, which you recall. Some modules can receive Volume and Pan commands directly. Additionally, you can control parameters on each ZONE ‘live’ from within a Master program.

When a Master Zone Switched Setup is recalled you can have it send a Bank Select and Program Change both to the internal tone generator and OUT via MIDI or, if you wish, to one or the other, as is necessary to setup your rig. The key thing to know is that you can control up to 8 individual ZONES. That said you might find some unique uses for the Master setups as you get to know them better.

Learning About Bank Select and Program Change information
Although you do not necessarily need to use MSB and LSB Bank Select commands to select an internal sound, we will learn about these here so that you can see how they can be used to add flexibility. This is the type of information you will need to find about for any of your external MIDI modules, keyboards, etc. Bank Select messages are actually MIDI Control Change messages. MSB (Most Significant Byte) is Control Change message 000, and LSB (Least Significant Byte) is Control Change message 032.

In spite of the name, both numbers are (significant) important. They are used together to allow MIDI
devices to have 128 x 128 banks (That’s 16,384 banks for you math majors). Not that you will need all of these but they are provided by the designer’s of MIDI for future expansion. Each will have 128 places, 001- 128, to store program data. The Bank Select messages for the Motif-series (XS, Rack XS, XF) and MOX-series synthesizers follow this general layout: There are 8 Preset Banks of 128 Normal Voices, followed by a number of User Banks of 128 Normal Voices (the number of USER banks depends on the product), and so on. Each Bank is defined by a two byte message: MSB and LSB.

Bank                MSB                  LSB      PC range
Pre1                  063                   000       1-128
Pre2                  063                   001       1-128
Pre3                  063                   002       1-128
Pre4                  063                   003       1-128
Pre5                  063                   004       1-128
Pre6                  063                   005       1-128
Pre7                  063                   006       1-128
Pre8                  063                   007       1-128
User1                063                   008       1-128
User2                063                   009       1-128
User3                063                   010       1-128
User4                063                   011       1-128
Preset Drum      063                   032       1-64
User Drum         063                   040       1-32
User Sample      063                   050       1-128*
Mix Voice           063                   060       1-16 ~
GM                     000                   000       1-128
GM Drum           127                    000       1

* (63/50) A User Sample Voice is one that is recorded directly to the Integrated Sampling Sequencer using the “sample+note” or “slice+seq” sample record types. This Voice is only local to the current Song or Pattern in which it is created. (found only in the Motif-series keyboards)

~ (63/60) A Mix Voice can be recalled if you are within the Song or Pattern Mix for which it was created … There are 16 per Song or Pattern but a maximum of 256 MIX VOICES total.

MOTIF XF Performances can be recalled via the same type of Bank Select messages. But please note: You can use a Performance only when a Performance Memory location is associated with the Master setup. Bank Select commands cannot be used to change MODES. They are used to make program changes within the pre-selected MODE. (Very important).

Bank               MSB     LSB       PC range
Performance      063       64         1-128

To recall an entire Performance you would have to associate the MASTER with PERFORMANCE mode and then send MSB = 063/ LSB = 064 followed by the Program Change number to recall the desired Performance.

I will reiterate this important point – you do not have to use MSB/LSB number to associate an internal Voice, Performance with a MASTER. If, for example, you want a MASTER to recall the Organ Voice: You could simply associate the MASTER with the VOICE without activating the ZONE Switch and without using MSB/LSB numbers. But, so we can learn about all of this: let’s see how you could use the MSB/LSB screen to address internal sounds…

Make sure the ZONE Switch is set to ON:

  •  Press [EDIT]
  •  Press [COMMON EDIT]
  •  Press [F2] OTHER page.
  •  Memorize MODE = VOICE and MEMORY = PRE 1: 085(F05) First 3 w/Perc
  •  Set the Knob Control Assign = ZONE
  •  Press Track [1]


This will select ZONE 1 for editing…

The MSB/LSB Preset page is [F4] PRESET:

The organ sound: “First 3 w/Perc” located in PRESET 1, position 085(F05), translates to MSB = 063; LSB = 000 (to select Preset 1) and Program Change 085.

You cannot use Bank Select commands to address a single Voice within a Performance. Nor can you switch from Performance Mode to Voice Mode or vice versa with these types of commands. If you select the MASTER to associate with a VOICE you can select a VOICE. Only if you associate the MASTER with a PERFORMANCE, can you select a different PERFORMANCE with MSB/LSB commands.

A Performance must be recalled as a unit. The reason should be obvious but let’s state it again anyway:

A Performance addresses all of its component PARTS (Voices) on the same (Basic) MIDI channel and only one Performance can be recalled at a time. There would be no way to recall with a Program Change different Voices within the PERFORMANCE – it is a unit.

Notice that when you activate the MASTER mode the Voice, Performance, Song, or Pattern mode LED is also illuminated signifying that you are actually in that modeIts rules will apply! Don’t fight this – this is a rule.

When Zone is ON and the associated Memory mode is “VOICE”, you will be able to address one internal Voice via the Zones. The other Zones are available for external communication, only. Technically
speaking, you are in Voice mode. Voice mode rules apply: i.e., In Voice mode only one internal Voice can be recalled at a time.

When a Master Zone is associated with a “Performance” mode Memory, you will be able to address up to 4 internal Voices via a single Zone (i.e., one internal Performance). The other Zones at that point will be available for external communication, only. Depending on how you have configured your Performance, you can have complex split/layers. Technically speaking, you are in Performance mode. Performance mode rules apply. In Performance mode only one Performance can be recalled at a time.

When a Zone is associated with a “Song” mode Mix or a “Pattern” mode Mix, however, you will be able to address up to 8 separate MIDI channels, simultaneously and you can transmit to any combination of internal and/or external ZONES. This is because these are MULTI-TIMBRAL/MULTI-MIDI Channel modes. This can be very flexible depending on how you have configured your MIX. Now you can address individually eight separate PARTS of a MIX. That said, if you have copied a Performance into the MIX of your Song or Pattern, it can have multiple PARTS assigned to the same MIDI channel. Then you can still address the MOTIF XF internally with the other available Zones. Go crazy. But know the rules!

Combining internal and external:
The Basic Receive Channel and the Keyboard Transmit Channel are global for when the MOTIF XF is in Voice or Performance mode. When you are in a multi-timbral SONG/PATTERN MIX your transmit channel will be determined by the track you select. However, when in MASTER Mode your transmit channel will depend on what Zones are active in the current Master program.

  •  Press [UTILITY]
  •  Press [F5] CONTROL
  •  Press [SF2] MIDI

In the “CHANNEL” area of the screen above you see the MIDI channel parameters; These apply to VOICE and PERFORMANCE mode only.

  •  Set the Keyboard Transmit Channel = OFF
  •  Set the Basic Receive Channel = 1
  •  Press [STORE]


This will write the changes in the UTLITY mode settings to FLASH ROM. Setting the keyboard transmit channel OFF is typical when you are going to use the MOTIF XF as a MASTER Mode MIDI CONTROLLER in a large setup. Now all of your settings will be determined by your MASTER configurations. Setting the MIDI channel transmit to OFF will mean that you will play only the internal MOTIF XF sounds when you are in [VOICE] mode or [PERFORMANCE] mode, however, when you activate the MASTER MODE you can be transmitting on the MIDI channels as defined by the current Master settings.

This is a useful when you want to break the fulltime MIDI connection between the MOTIF XF and your external rig. When you recall a MASTER that is associated with either Voice or Performance mode (without the ZONE SWITCH active) you will communicate with the internal Voice and Performance as normal. If you activate the Zone Switch for a MASTER with a Voice or Performance Memory associated, as we’ll see, it then will receive according to the Basic Receive Channel selected in [UTILITY] mode. You will address any external modules only when you activate the MASTER Zone control function – giving you complete control over MIDI transmit via your MASTER setups.2 When a MASTER ZONE setup is associated with a Song or Pattern MIX you can address the MIX on eight independent channels via the eight ZONES.

Let’s create a MASTER program. First let’s ‘associate’ it with an internal MODE and MEMORY location:

  • Recall [MASTER] and Initialize MASTER 001. Press [JOB]/ [F1] INIT and check the “ALL” box. Press [ENTER]/ [YES] to execute.
  • From the main MASTER 001 screen press [EDIT] > [COMMON EDIT] > [F2] OTHER. To associate this memory location select “VOICE” as the MODE, and “PRE1: 001(A01): Full Concert Grand” as the MEMORY.
  • Press [F6] GET NAME (if you wish to capture the name of the associated program). Handy.
  • Press [STORE] / [ENTER] / [YES] to store this Master setup to location 001 (A01).

This is how a Master is “associated” with a particular Program location. You have 4 different Mode choices, as we have been speaking about: Voice, Performance, Pattern or Song. Each MASTER will always be associated with one of these 4 Modes. Just thought I’d mention it again as now you can see where this takes place (screen at left). Now let’s use the knowledge of MASTER mode to get creative – a real world application:

Scenario 1: On the opening number of the evening you need to start with a single Voice, a solo MOTIF XF acoustic piano, (Full Concert Grand). Later you will need the MOTIF XF piano Voice layered with an external MIDI module set to a string-pad sound.

There are a several ways to accomplish this. We will use the Master 001 that we just stored to connect to the complex setup. This example will give some idea of the flexibility of the MASTER mode when used as a Zone Controller.

  • We are already associated with the VOICE mode Memory location “PRE1: 001 Full Concert Grand”. We will activate the ZONE parameters to recall both the internal piano sound and the external string sound.
  • Activate Zone Switch = ON.
  • Set the Knob Control Assign = ZONE
  • Now we will assign the Zones to select the sounds. This will entail going to MASTER- EDIT.
  • Press [EDIT]
  • Press Track [1]-[8] for Zone parameters.


Like other MOTIF XF modes there are two levels of editing here: the COMMON EDIT level and the individual ZONE EDIT level.

The [COMMON EDIT] button selects the upper level that affects all Zones ([F1] NAME/ [F2] OTHER). The Track Select buttons [1]-[8] will select editing of the individual Zones 1-8.

  • Activate Zone 1.
  • Press [F1] TRANS (transmit). Set the transmit channel to communicate with the internal MOTIF XF  Tone
  • Generator, Channel 1.


  • INT SWITCH = ON (check)
  • Press [F2] NOTE and make any Octave, Transpose or Note Limits, if you need them.
  • Press [F3] TX SWITCH (Transmit Switch).
  • Press [SF1] PROGRAM
  • Activate both Int Bank Select = ON and Int PrgmChange = ON for ZONE 1.

This will enable us to send a Bank Select/Program Change to the internal MOTIF XF tone generator when the MASTER is recalled. Nothing is sent right now, the actual value is sent when you recall the MASTER or you activate the SEND command (more on this later). You will see the change when you STORE this MASTER setup.

  • Press [SF2] CONTROL – you will see switches for your various controllers per Zone.
  • Press [F4] PRESET. Here you can set the Bank Select and Program Change values for the MOTIF XF tone generator. Set this to: PRESET 1; Voice 001(A01)
  • “Bank MSB” = 063
  • “Bank LSB” = 000
  • “Pgm Change” = 001 (Full Concert Grand)
  • Set “Volume”, as required
  • Set “Pan”, as required


Now let’s setup the external sound.

  • Press [F1] TRANS (transmit) and set parameters for ZONE 2. Press Track Select [2] or cursor right. Set the transmit channel to communicate with your external module. This can also be set to MIDI channel 1, as it will not interfere with the internal setup – this zone will be setup for external use only. (Select any channel, as necessary for your external module).
  • INT SWITCH = OFF (this is why it doesn’t interfere with internal sounds, each Zone has an independent destination in this case)


  • Press [F2] NOTE and make any Octave, Transpose or Note Limits, if you need them.
  • Press [F3] TX SWITCH (Transmit Switch). Activate both Ext Bank Select = ON / Ext Prog
  • Change = ON for ZONE 2. This will set up the Bank Select and Program Change messages we will send. Make sure your external module is set to receive these messages.
  • Press [F4] PRESET. Here you can set the Bank Select and Program Change values for your external module. Refer to the documentation of your external device to find the MSB/LSB and PC numbers. Check to see if your external module will receive Volume and Pan information in this manner. With some devices you will have to store that information in the external devices setup. You also need to decide whether to use your external module in its single or multi-timbral mode.
  • You can change the NAME of the MASTER if you prefer. [COMMON EDIT] > [F1] NAME
  • [STORE] your MASTER setup. [ENTER]/[YES].


When setting up the MASTER location, we “associated” it with VOICE mode. In our example we associated the Voice “Full Concert Grand” as that single Voice. We also used the MASTER Zone’s MSB/LSB function to point to the “Full Concert Grand” sound, internally, and the String-pad sound, externally. When this [MASTER] program is recalled, the Full Concert Grand/External layer sound will play. To play just the “Full Concert Grand” simply press the [VOICE] mode button – this will exit MASTER mode and recall the Full Concert Grand piano sound in VOICE mode. To play the internal/external layer, press the MASTER button. This will return you to your Internal/External layered program.

This works because when you recall the MASTER program it will send out the Bank Select and Program Change information to the internal MOTIF XF controlled Zone. Also it will send it to the external Zone, and when you select [VOICE] mode you are not transmitting out via MIDI (MIDI Transmit OUT parameter, which effects Voice mode, is set to OFF, remember?) so that the Full Concert Grand Voice is played without transmitting out via MIDI. Cool!

This tip will work anytime your principal sound, in this case a MOTIF XF Voice, and your Zone controlled sound is also a MOTIF XF Voice. It will work if your associated sound is a Performance and your Zone controlled sound is also a MOTIF XF Performance. In other words, you cannot use this trick to switch from an associated Voice to a Zone-selected Performance (or vice versa) with this power tip. This should not present a problem since a Performance can be made that contain any single Voice you need, if necessary. In fact, the sounds that are active when a MOTIF XF Performance is recalled are programmable. For example, the Volume slider position is storable in a Performance; therefore a Performance that normally contains a Piano layered with strings could be recalled with the Volume of the strings stored at zero. You can fade them in or out, as you need, with a CS (control slider).

Summary: A Master setup can be activated (associated) with a single MOTIF XF Voice, or a single MOTIF XF Performance. Basically, a MASTER memorizes the MOTIF XF MODE and the program selection (Voice or Performance). If the Zone Switch is active, a MASTER can additionally include all the setup parameters for communication, internally to the memorized mode, and externally to your connected MIDI modules. Yes, you could attempt to create a setting where you were simultaneously attempting to communicate with the MOTIF XF TG via 4 different channels while in association with a Voice or Performance. Nothing in the parameter page prevents you from setting this up…however you would be deluding yourself. It ain’t gonna happen! Although you can make these settings, they will be illogical and ignored. By definition, Rules 1 and 2, the MOTIF XF Voices and Performances occupy a single MIDI channel and only one can be active at a time. If you wish to address four MOTIF XF Voices simultaneously, then you need to create a MOTIF XF Performance. (Again, by definition, this is what a Performance is). If you want to address the MOTIF XF on four separate MIDI channels via four discreet Zones you would have to associate the MASTER with a SONG or a PATTERN MIX and setup a 4-ZONE program. Then you can address multiple PARTS of the MIX, independently. In fact, you can address the internal Motif XF on as many as 8 Zones.

ZONE Templates
The MOTIF XF gives you several templates for setting up ZONE configurations. To use these templates from MASTER mode, you would press [JOB]/ [F1] INIT. Uncheck the box that says ALL and highlight the box that says, for example, ZONE. Press [YES] to check it. You can select a SPLIT (2 Zones will be activated with a default split point at C3), ZONE (the first four will be activated/while Zones 5-8 will be Off) and LAYER (2 Zones will be activated across the MIDI key range). Select a template, set MIDI channels (for Split or Layer) and press [ENTER]/ [YES] to execute.

Initializing with the 4-Zone routine will create a Note Limit arrangement dividing the keyboard into 4 discreet Zones. You can, however, divide it in any manner that you need including overlapping Zones.

In a MASTER you can set up how the Knobs and Sliders behave per Master setup. You can select which row of Knob Control functions will be lit and active for your Master Program. If your Master program is associated with an internal VOICE you can select between TONE 1, TONE 2, ARP FX and ZONE. What this refers to is how the KNOBS in the [SELECTED PART CONTROL] are set when the MASTER setup is recalled.

If your Master program is associated with a PERFORMANCE, SONG/PATTERN MIX, you can select between TONE 1, TONE 2, ARP FX, REVERB SEND, CHORUS SEND, PAN, and ZONE. This will give you, additionally, real time access send levels in the [MULTI PART CONTROL] knobs.

If you select TONE 1, for example, the LED at the top of the Knob Control Function will illuminate and you will have access to:

  • Knob1 = Cutoff
  • Knob2 = Resonance
  • Knob3 = Attack
  • Knob4 = Decay
  • Knob5 = Sustain
  • Knob6 = Release
  • Knob7 = Assign 1
  • Knob8 = Assign 2


If you select TONE 2 then the eight knobs will be:

  • EQ LOW (gain)
  • EQ MID Frequency
  • EQ MID (gain)
  • EQ MID Q (bandwidth)
  • EQ HI (gain)
  • PAN

If you select ARP FX the knobs will access real time control over the assigned arpeggio play function, if
any… recalling what the Knobs were programmed to do in the original Voice or Performance with which it is associated).

If ARP FX is selected you will have control over:


  • Swing
  • Swing Quantize
  • Quantize Strength
  • Gate time
  • Velocity
  • Octave Range
  • Unit Multiply
  • Tempo

If your MASTER program is a “Zoned” setup you may want to select Knob Control Assign = ZONE. This will make the settings you make per each Zone, active. Use Track buttons [1]-[4], or [5]-[8] to view individual Zone parameters.

The default assignment when you select ZONE is for PAN (10) for the KNOBS and Volume (7) for the CONTROL SLIDERS.

You can set the KNOBS per Zone to any MIDI control change message from 1-95 (except 32), per MASTER setup. Likewise, the Sliders can be programmed per MASTER setup, per Zone to any control change number from 1-95 when “ZONE” is selected as the Control Function option.

There is a difference between the Element VOLUME assignment of the Control Sliders, as when you are in [VOICE] mode, and when the ZONE assignment is set to control VOLUME. In VOICE mode the SLIDERS assignment will be controlling the internal Voice’s Element Volumes 1-8. If you are in a MASTER program and set the ZONE SWITCH = ON, then the Sliders will be controlling the Volume of the entire Voice assigned to that ZONE (not individual Elements as in Voice mode).

Advanced Tip:
Can I assign/direct multiple ZONES to the internal tone generator so I can use the extra Knobs and Sliders? By setting the NOTE LIMIT parameters so that the HIGH NOTE LIMIT is C-2 (low) and the LOW NOTE LIMIT is G8 (high), you can create a “no-fly zone” (A zone that does not send NOTE-ON trigger messages from the keyboard) – this allows you to assign (redirect) the KNOB and SLIDER of that ZONE to your internal program’s Channel without sending an additional NOTE-ON message into the target Zone. This avoids triggering the target Voice multiple times.

You can always see a quick overview of your MASTER setup by pressing the INFORMATION button.

  • Press [Master]/ [F1] Play/ [F6] INFO

In the screen shot (left) of MASTER 008 it is associated with a SONG: 01. There are actually 3 ZONES active (shown below) allowing you to play three sounds at once on top of this Song. Check it out:

Notice that “Int Switch” is active for the first three Zones – by using this MASTER setup to recall the “Yours To Save” Song you can actually select 3 different PARTS and play them ‘live’ on top.

As you can see MIDI channel 1, 4 and 6 are active internally. Letting you play Strings, distortion guitar, and a synth lead across the keyboard. If you simply recall the Song (from Song Mode) you could only play one PART at a time. Master mode is giving the ability to address multiple Parts, on separate MIDI channels via the Zone setup. These Parts are NOTE LIMITED and OCTAVE shifted by the Master Zone setup as shown here:

In the screen shot (left) of MASTER 008 it is associated with a SONG: 01. There are actually 3 ZONES active (shown below) allowing you to play three sounds at once on top of this Song. Check it out: Notice that “Int Switch” is active for the first three Zones – by using this MASTER setup to recall the “Yours To Save” Song you can actually select 3
different PARTS and play them ‘live’ on top. As you can see MIDI channel 1, 4 and 6 are active internally. Letting you play Strings, distortion guitar,You can see that the screen shots were taken on a Motif XF7. The light red area indicates the active area.

Designing your own setups
How complex can these setups get? This is unknown. If you have a need, you’ll figure it out, necessity being the mother of invention. The thing is; if you understand the fundamental rules, you will know the difference between what is and what is not possible. For example, if you play in a live scenario, you may need to play more than one keyboard at sometime during the madness of an evening’s set. Can you recall a Master setup on the MOTIF XF that sends setup data to your other devices and play an internal/external combination when you are playing on the MOTIF XF keybed and play a different sound from the MOTIF XF
when you move to a second external keybed? Well, yes, that is possible. If you have a Master Zone setup that is associated with a MIXING program, you can certainly play a Zone setup with as many as eight internal/external sounds and still access the MOTIF XF sound set, independently, via the MIDI IN jack. Because the MOTIF XF is multi-timbral and capable of receiving on multiple MIDI channels when in a SONG or PATTERN MIX, you will be able to control a PART or PARTS of that MIX via MIDI IN. Imagine that your second keyboard when set to transmit on MIDI channel #16 communicates with PART 16 of the MOTIF XF MIX. At the same time you can independently be transmitting via a ZONE MASTER to 8 separate PARTS when you play the MOTIF XF keyboard (let’s say on channels 1-8). If you send Program Changes from your external keyboard on any unused MIDI channel (9-16) you can select and change the sounds in the MOTIF XF MIX remotely. If that external keyboard can send Bank Select and Program Changes you can select VOICES from the entire MOTIF XF palette.

No one article can outline all the possibilities. But if you understand MIDI and you understand how the MOTIF XF behaves in response to your MIDI settings you will be able to design some pretty complex but thoroughly useful setups. This article can only hope to get you started.

You cannot, however, slave MASTER mode. In other words, your external controller can address the Motif XF … but there are no simple commands that you can send in via MIDI to manipulate Master mode itself… it is after all, MASTER mode. Only through Parameter Change messages (System Exclusive) can you address controlling the MASTER mode from an external device.

Storage issues
Your MASTER setups will be saved as part of an “ALL” data FILE type (.X3A). Master setups will remain in memory after power down but will be cleared if you perform a Factory Reset or you load in another ALL data file (.X3A). Backup all data by saving an “ALL” file type to an optional USB drive or via Ethernet to your computer. The data that they “point” to must be returned to its appropriate place, i.e., Voice data, Performance data, Song/Pattern. If you change or replace any of the target data, then the MASTER setups will be altered. The MASTER actually stores ‘pointers’, not the actual data. So a MASTER setup may be there but the song, pattern or sound it is referencing may not. For example, if your MASTER setup targets a USER bank Voice, if you do not have that USER Voice in the proper location, the data for the MASTER will be incorrect. It will simply ‘target’ the Voice in that location. If the MASTER is associated with a SONG MEMORY location and the song data is not loaded into that location, the MASTER will point to the location but the data will not be there. For this reason Master’s cannot logically be loaded individually – they depend on all the components being in the proper places, because all a Master is, is a collection of pointers. To restore your MASTER setups you would need to restore ALL data. It is simply a matter of logic.

Phil Clendeninn
Senior Technical Sales Specialist
Product Support Group
Pro Audio & Combo Division
©Yamaha Corporation of America

Keep Reading

© 2024 Yamaha Corporation of America and Yamaha Corporation. All rights reserved.    Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us