Yamaha FM-X Synthesis: Way More Powerful Than A DX-7

Our coverage of the Yamaha Montage synthesizer introduction generated a lot of questions from readers about FM-X – the company’s ‘modern, pure Frequency Modulation synthesis’ engine.

So, we talked with Yamaha product specialist Blake Angelos, right, to find out more.

“Although it’s is based on the same type of synthesis as the DX-7,” said Angelos, “It is very different in terms of how it works, the flexibility of the FM-X engine and so on.”

Angelos shared details of the new FM-X synth engine with us. Here is an outline of the main differences between FM-X synthesis, as implemented on the Yamaha Montage keyboards, and the FM capabilities of a keyboard many readers will be familiar with, a Yamaha DX-7:

FM-X Is One Half Of The Picture

While advances in technology have made much deeper FM synthesis practical, FM-X is just one of the Montage’s two synth engines. The Montage keyboards also offer the AWM2 engine, a 128-note polyphonic synth engine that’s an evolution of the one in Yamaha’s Motif synth line.

The Montage architecture, above, lets you create patches that combine sample-based AWM2 sounds with FM-X pure synth sounds, and then animate the sounds with motion control, motion sequencing, envelope followers, an arpeggiator and more.

“Overall, the FM-X sounds in Montage are just way fatter, have much more detail, can do some really amazing morphing things, have stunning pads and leads…It just sounds entirely different than anything else on the planet,” says Angelos. “I’m pretty excited about this instrument, as you can tell!”

Here’s a playlist of Yamaha’s official audio demos for the Montage, which features examples of both FM-X & AWM2 synthesis:

The Yamaha Montage is expected to be available in May, with 61-, 76- and 88-key configurations. See the Yamaha site for more info.