Blake's Take

By: Blake Angelos

Powerful updates to Sound, Control and Workflow.

MONTAGE M OS v2.0 and E.S.P. v2.0 have arrived! The Sound, Control, and Workflow enhancements take MONTAGE M to a new level. This article covers the new MONTAGE M OS v2.0 features. Stay tuned for my next article on E.S.P. v2.0.

Sound: What’s New?

MONTAGE M OS v2.0 adds the following new features:

  • Two new AWM2 instruments, the CFX2 and Synth Space LA CP-80.
  • A total of 58 new Performances.
  • A new Shimmer Reverb.
  • A Wave Folder Modifier added to the AN-X Engine.
  • AN-X Smart Morph.

The new Performances highlight the new waveform content, effects, and features. I’ve added Audition audio examples of the new Performances throughout this article.

Let’s begin with a look at the new AWM2 content.

The CFX2 Concert Grand Piano

Yamaha introduced the new version of the CFX Concert Grand Piano at NAMM 2022. I had the opportunity to play this amazing instrument during the show, which was a memorable experience. The touch and tone come together providing even more control and nuance. Soft passages are soft, clear, and present. Faster runs are easy to pull off and when you need to get loud the instrument delivers. Everything about the new CFX design is inviting and empowering, delivering incredible dynamic range, added richness, presence, and projection.  

MONTAGE M is the first instrument to receive a meticulously sampled version of the CFX2. Below are two audio examples. The first is the original CFX and the second is the same musical passage played by the new CFX2. Both examples have the system reverb effects bypassed:

I love the larger note bloom and body of CFX2 and continue to love the original CFX! Which one do you prefer? CFX2 adds another color to the extensive collection of acoustic pianos in MONTAGE M. There are 11 new piano-focused Performances in MONTAGE M OS v2.0. Check out the playlist below:

Synth Space LA CP80

This CP80 Electric Grand from the LA Synth Space has a big, warm, and full sound with extended “soft” layers and more natural decay. We sampled this piano based on a survey we posed to the YamahaSynth IdeaScale community. It’s a great addition to MONTAGE M and delivers the unmistakable sound and expression of the original instrument. Check out the CP80 Performances below:

A creative use of this new CP80 content is the Performance “Smashed CP80 SySpLA”. This uses the classic compressor with a 20:1 ratio (hence the word “Smashed” in the title). The Scenes change Super Knob position, effect depth, and amplitude envelope and [ASSIGN] 1&2 increase reverb depth and high pass filter cutoff. It’s a creative approach to a classic sound!

Shimmer Reverb

It’s difficult to target the exact date the Shimmer Reverb first appeared in music, but I first became aware of the effect in the music and productions of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois back in the early 80s. I remember two things when I first heard the effect. First, I loved the sound, especially on ambient recordings of Eno and the Eno/Lanois produced U2 recording, “The Unforgettable Fire”. Secondly, I had no idea how it was being created until I did some research and discovered that it was basically a reverb effect with a pitch-shifted reverberation tail. This effect mixes different harmonics of the input signal with the original signal creating a reverberant wash of pitch-shifted sound that resembles a synth pad. It’s great for creating ethereal, atmospheric music.

The Shimmer Reverb is a Performance Common level effect found in the Reverb block, so the same reverb is available to all Parts of a Performance with Reverb amount controlled by Part Reverb Send. Check out the screen shot below. I highlighted assignable parameters in light green:

The cool thing about the Shimmer Reverb in MONTAGE M is the deep level of control. All the highlighted parameters above can be assigned to any available control source like the Assignable Knobs, Modulation Wheel, Ribbon Controller, etc. And how those controls move can be assigned a specific curve so as one parameter increases, another can decrease, or bounce up and down, or move in an opposite direction and more. This is what the sophisticated dynamic control baked into the Motion Control system of MONTAGE M is all about! Check out this MONTAGE M Performance playlist using the Shimmer Reverb:

AN-X Wave Folder

Expanding the AN-X engine, the Wave Folder is great for making simple sounds more complex and edgy. The Wave Folder is a distortion type that works by increasing the amplitude of an AN-X oscillator past a given threshold. Once the wave goes above the threshold, harmonics fold back, creating a unique distorted sound, hence the name “Wave Folder”. You’ll find the Wave Folder under Part Edit->Modifier->Wave Folder:

Here’s a Performance playlist featuring the AN-X Wave Folder:

AN-X Smart Morph

Smart Morph is a machine-learning-powered sound creation technology for the original MONTAGE FM-X engine. It works even better in MONTAGE M due to faster processing and additional features. MONTAGE M OS v2.0 adds Smart Morph for AN-X. It works amazingly well and can generate a seemingly endless variety of intriguing and useful sounds quickly and easily. Here’s how to find and explore Smart Morph AN-X Performances:

Smart Morph works by analyzing two or more sounds added in Parts 9-16. This is done in the Edit tab. The three-parameter slots labeled Red, Green, and Blue are found in the Analyze Tab.

There are many parameters you can assign to the Red, Green and Blue Parameter Slots. You can choose from Part Common, Oscillator 1, 2, or 3, Filter 1 and 2, or Modifier parameters for your AN-X Smart Morph.  Set the “Coloring” to “Manual’ and it will retain your selections.

Check out this playlist of Smart Morph Performances:

Smart Morph is designed for fast sound creation. Our sound designers have discovered a few tips and tricks that I’ll share with you in a later article. Stay tuned!

Control: What’s New?

MIDI 2.0 Updates

MONTAGE M OS v2.0 implements several MIDI 2.0 specifications. Data has increased to 0-1024 for the following parameters:

  • Note Velocity
  • Polyphonic and Channel After Touch
  • Super Knob
  • Modulation
  • Assignable Knobs and Sliders
  • Foot Controllers
  • Sustain

This exciting update is just the beginning: Stay tuned for more MIDI 2.0 features in future updates.

Workflow: What’s New?

Element Edit (AWM2)

When selecting Element 9 and higher, the Sliders update to the corresponding group. Say you have a Part with 16 Elements. When you select Elements 1-8 the sliders control the corresponding Element levels. As soon as Element 9 is selected the sliders control the next group of 8 Elements, 9-16.

Want to Mute elements? You need to use the [SHIFT] button. I changed the font color to reflect [SHIFT] functions. Pressing and holding [SHIFT] allows you to get to those features listed in RED below any button that have this functionality.

  1. Press and hold [SHIFT], then press [MUTE].
  2. The [KEYBOARD CONTROL]/[MUTE] button will blink in a light purple color indicating you are in Mute mode.
  3. Press and hold [SHIFT] again and you’ll notice that the [PART]/[EL/OP/OSC] buttons directly below the sliders turn yellow.
  4. While still press and holding [SHIFT], press one of the yellow illuminated buttons to mute the corresponding Element. You’ll see that the muted Element dims indicating that it is muted.

Drawbar Graphics

When the Slider Direction is set to “Reverse” (found under Edit->Part 1->Common->Mod->Control->Control Settings) drawbar organ graphics appear when the View Mode is set to “Part Info”. It’s a nice organ graphic that responds as you adjust sliders. Check it out:

FM-X Operator Type

A cool visual update for FM-X shows whether an Operator functions as either a Carrier or Modulator. The red ladder LED directly to the left of the slider is brighter when an Operator is a Modulator. Check out the photo of the front panel below:

Quick Edit in Category Search

MONTAGE M OS v2.0 adds Quick Edit control directly from Category Search. This is great when you are searching for sounds and want to tweak them during the search process. It saves time and helps you to quickly get to the sound you want.

MONTAGE M OS v2.0 has something for musicians of all genres, with great new sounds, new control features, and new workflow enhancements. Check out Dom Sigalas’s video below for an overview of all the new features and stay tuned for my upcoming E.S.P. v2.0 article coming soon!

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