Yamaha Montage 2.0 Hands-On Demo At The 2018 NAMM Show

2018 NAMM Show: Yamaha has introduced Montage OS version 2.0, the fourth free firmware update to its flagship synthesizer line.

Montage OS v2.0 adds full Voice and Performance compatibility with recent MOTIF series instruments, additional control and workflow improvements.

We talked with Yamaha product specialist Blake Angelos about Montage 2.0, and he gave us an in-depth look at the new features and how they can be used.

Here’s what Yamaha has to say about Montage OS 2.0:

MONTAGE adds full Voice and Performance compatibility with the Yamaha MOTIF XF, MOTIF XS and MOXF music production synthesizers. The MOTIF family dominated the music production synthesizer world for over 15 years. Now, MOTIF users can have confidence that their favorite sounds will load seamlessly into MONTAGE and perform without a hitch.

MONTAGE users have always been able to employ the free FM Converter web app at yamahasynth.com/fmconverter to convert DX7, DX7II, TX816 and TX802 Voices and Performances to MONTAGE Performances. Coupled with the Advanced Wave Memory 2 sound engine in MONTAGE and compatibility with legacy MOTIF content, musicians now have access to the largest and most established hardware synthesizer sound library in the world – a sonic palette that has been expanding and developing for over 35 years.

User-friendliness is essential in both modern studio and live-gig rigs, and MONTAGE OS v2.0 makes it easier to assign synth parameters to controllers such as the knobs, faders and Super Knob. For example, moving any physical controller now immediately shows destinations on the Controller Overview page. Several other workflow enhancements make it easier for musicians to interact with the vast MONTAGE Motion Control Synthesis.

Additional new features include a global setting for the A/D (external audio) input, which overrides the setting at the Performance level. This is useful for gigs or sessions where the player is using the input for the same purpose across all Performances. MONTAGE OS v2.0 also adds 87 new Performances, further expanding the amazing onboard content.

“With its absolute realism across acoustic and electronic Voice categories, plus the FM-X engine and extensive control and modulation options rivaling modular synths, MONTAGE was already the most powerful and versatile synthesizer in the world when it launched,” said Nate Tschetter, marketing manager, Yamaha Music Production. “With OS v2.0, MONTAGE advances even further ahead of any other synthesizer in terms of sound, control and workflow.”

Pricing and Availability

Yamaha MONTAGE OS v2.0 is a free update that will become available to all Montage users on February 7, 2018. See the Yamaha site for more info.

22 thoughts on “Yamaha Montage 2.0 Hands-On Demo At The 2018 NAMM Show

  1. Looks like a great update.

    The Montage is seriously under-rated. For keyboard players, it’s the best synth available, because it does keys well, in addition to being great at more ‘synthy’ stuff.

    1. Have you played a Montage?

      For me, the biggest strength of Yamaha’s keyboards is their playability and expression options. Hook up a pedal and put the knobs to work and the Montage is a beast.

      If you had it in a rack, you’d need to have all those sliders and controls duplicated on both the rack and on your controller to get the most of it, which would probably defeat the purpose of a rack module.

      1. Different manufacturer but years later I am still controlling a Triton Rack with the Orchestral cards installed, from my fully loaded Triton studio keyboard. I would add a Kronos rack to my Kronos X88 in a heart beat. I am also still using my WavestationSR, Korg TR-Rack, MS2000BR, RADIAS rack and my Roland XV-5080. I would definitely buy a Montage rack. I have three studios but no more room in them for large keyboards. JMO.

  2. I would guess that they wouldn’t sell enough rack workstations, since workstations are traditionally with keyboards (i.e., one-stop shops).

    Also, since yamaha keyboards are well-regarded, then having this keyboard as the center of the universe is a reasonable purchase choice. Obviously not for everyone, but it is an understandable position to take.

    That said, if they did release it as a rack (as they have with other motif instruments) that would be a great thing

    1. Just curious…in what respect is this a waste of resources? The name performance? this synth sounds amazing and the fm stuff was pretty great too, so what exactly is the waste here? All these analog synths are very, very cool, but montage is great sounding and the FM stuff is cool..it’s different.

      1. well i am guessing there were people around a table discussing what a flagship synth/this synth for yamaha would be about….. And that tympani moment, so effing bontempi-like, i felt of the guy…..

        1. yup, Im having time flashbacks too.
          This is supposed to be their flagship synthesizer and all they updates are all these dance tea entertainer things,
          and here we have these cool macros to control fm, nah,
          here are 20 ways to quickly come up with something cool sounding from init, nah
          import dx 7 sounds and diddl filter and phaser over it.
          I think the 400 bucks korg box those that.
          MEH

  3. Now that’s a proper demo. It reminded me a bit of my first workstation experience years ago, wherein I was knocked O-U-T. You know how that goes.

    Stub is right about the ‘one-stop’ aspect of workstations. Most rack-mount versions of things take away performance controls and send you towards software editors. You might as well start there and save on needless sweat unless you’re cash-on-the-table sure of a new instrument.

    This one is a serious player’s synth, not a modular, for instance. I’m not much of a Yamaha-minded sort, but its easy to imagine someone pairing this with a laptop/DAW and really going to town. I wonder if they’ll eventually release a Montage Jr.? I’m impressed.

  4. > 2.0 adds Voice and Performance compatibility
    > with recent MOTIF series instruments

    Laughable. Consider the following aspects: With the release of the Montage, fans of the Motif series were hopeful that the new instrument would live up to the legacy that the predecessors established. So far their hopes were deceived. Yes, the Montage has its own proprietary built-in MIDI sequencer, called ‘Direct Performance Recorder’, but unfortunately, upon release, important features were missing. Basic functions like copying or erasing MIDI data have not been implemented. WHY NOT, YAMAHA? So far only simultaneous recording of all 16 tracks is allowed – an impossible task with only one pair of hands. One can not fix mistakes made during a recording. ARE YOU KIDDING, YAMAHA? There is no point in all of that, due to the fact that we are talking about simple MIDI data, not audio.
    Recommended improvements are:
    CONSECUTIVE RECORD: It allows tracks to be recorded one after the other, instead of simultaneously.
    LOOP RECORD: Recording takes place repeatedly over a specified area, according to loop point settings.
    COPY: This function copies a specified area of recorder data. It is convenient for repeating the same phrase several times.
    DELETE: This function deletes a specified area of recorder data, and moves the subsequent data to fill the gap. As a result, the measure length will be shortened by the number of deleted measures.
    ERASE: This function erases all the recorder data inside a specified area. As the erased data is replaced by rests, the original measures will remain.
    INSERT: This function inserts blank measures into a specified song position.
    TRANSPOSE: This function transposes the pitch of notes within a specified area, over a +/- 127 semitone range.
    COPY ARP TO TRACK: It allows to place arpeggios in destination tracks. In a ‘Measure’ field, one would be able to specify the beginning bar of the copy-destination.
    Without those basic functions the Montage is nothing more than an expensive train wreck.

  5. While Korg and Roland are looking for ways to create something different than standard workstations and arrangers, Yamaha stuck in this format. In my opinion the Montage is a sophisticated SY-99, which should have come out in the past decades, and nothing more. Surely the next upgrades will be expected, and will include the remaining Yamaha (AN and VL) sound engines, and it will take another decade to reach the final version of the Montage that will include all the YAMAHA sound synthesis methods. ie AWM + FMX + ANX + VLX + FDSPX. and nothing more. So we will have one of the same, that is like a sophisticated Motif ES with all the cards in a more advanced version. After all, nothing is accidental. The name says a lot. Montage (multi-engine association). Did Yamaha eventually lose the train of developments? If it continues its future is cloudy.

    1. I fully agree with Peter K. answer, and since Yamaha is orienting in this direction, to re-sell its well-known sound engines a bit more sophisticated, so Montage in its final form will look like an upgraded Motif ES. It will not offer a new synthesis engine proposal. At best case, it could suggest granular synthesis that exists only at the computer level.

    2. I just discovered that granular synthesis suggested by Waldorf with Quantum. Sorry Yamaha even here, someone else has experienced.

  6. Solid update to an impressive piece of gear! As long as there are cruise ships and bingo halls workstations will always have their place. Kidding aside this is a nice setup for someone that wants a ton of power with no computer close by. Too much of a time investment for me but the market must be there or Yamaha wouldn’t be playing in it.

    Side note: Gotta be the most bummed out looking crowd at a NAMM ever. Doesn’t seem like it was THAT bad. What happened to them?

    1. Well they use to have guys like Steve Pocaro, James Newton Howard, Jeff Lorber and Kenny G working the Yamaha booth back in the day .. maybe these people are longing for the old days?

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