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MOTIF to Montage: Architecture and Interface Differences
To check out the previous article in this series go here.

The MOTIF was defined as a Music Production Synthesizer; MONTAGE is a Music Synthesizer. I touched on this briefly in the last article and would like to expand on the concept. The difference is the word “Production.” MOTIF epitomized “Production” with the inclusion of a fully-realized sequencer, integrated sampling and multi-mode operation. It was definitely a compelling and powerful instrument, but, as I said before, times have changed, and the way people work has changed. MOTIF has a number of different modes:
  1. Voice Mode: Generally single instrument sounds
  2. Performance Mode: Up to 4 Voices
  3. Song Mode: For linear sequencing
  4. Pattern Mode: For pattern-based sequencing
  5. Master Mode: Master keyboard settings and a “catch all” mode that allowed the user to access the other modes (Voice, Performance, Song and Pattern) from a single mode
  6. Remote Mode: For DAW remote control
  7. Integrated Sampling: Access to the sampling functions
  8. File: For file management
  9. Utility: For global settings
That’s a lot of different modes, and all served their purpose to create an effective all-in-one Music Production Synthesizer. Times definitely have changed over the life cycle of the MOTIF series. Computers became exponentially more powerful and cheaper, software has become more and more powerful and capable and mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are powerful music-making devices. All of these developments had profound effects on design and usability in virtually all industries, including Yamaha.
MONTAGE is the keyboard instrument of today with a design and user interface in line with our modern world and workflow. With the modern advances in usability, people expect products with streamlined workflows that allow tasks to be done within a single user interface. With these ideas in mind, the entire top-level design of MONTAGE – where you play the instrument, interact with Motion Control, connect to a DAW or iOS device, etc. – all happens from a single Performance Mode.

For people familiar with MOTIF:
  • Where MOTIF had four different modes (Voice, Performance, Master and Mix) for playing back, editing and mixing parts, Montage has one: Performance. What was a Voice in MOTIF is now a Single Part Performance in MONTAGE, and each Performance now contains its own Mix. This reflects a move towards a more streamlined, all-inclusive workflow.
  • Master Keyboard functionality has been improved and now exists within each Performance as a complete master setup instead of a separate mode, allowing for better integration of MONTAGE Performances with external gear.
  • MOTIF featured a linear SONG and loop-based PATTERN sequencer for recording and playback. In contrast, MONTAGE has a quick and easy Performance recorder to instantly capture inspiration. For more detailed edits, MONTAGE features a powerful 32-channel out/6 in USB audio and MIDI interface capable of recording each Part of a Performance as both a MIDI track and multichannel stereo digital audio track on your DAW (Cubase AI included).
  • Loading custom waveform content into the onboard flash memory of MONTAGE is possible. Better yet, user samples can be played back, assigned, processed and controlled with Motion Control.
  • Overall MONTAGE settings and file loading and saving is done from a single Utility mode instead of two separate modes.
The end result of these changes is a completely streamlined MONTAGE user interface. Finding sounds, playing sounds and interacting with the instrument is much faster and smoother. On the main points – waveform size, synthesis type, polyphony, standard features – MONTAGE is truly a major step forward. But the entire design of MONTAGE has been dramatically changed and improved with completely new features that cannot be effectively compared with MOTIF. Below is a chart that highlights some of the important specification improvements in MONTAGE compared to the MOTIF XF:
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Mastering MONTAGE 2: Super Knob Common

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