Yamaha Intros MODX Synthesizer Line

Yamaha Corporation of America today introduced a new line of synthesizers, the Yamaha MODX line, at an event in New York and livestreamed via the web:

The MODX series of keyboards beings the same technology that powers their Montage line to a mid-range synth line. So, while the MODX is patch-compatible with the Montage keyboards, it’s designed to be lighter and more affordable. 

The MODX offers a sound engine based on the Montage:

  • AWM2 (Advanced Wave Memory 2) sample and synthesis engine for emulative acoustic instruments, synth sounds and drums; and
  • FM-X (Frequency Modulation) —  an FM synthesis engine that’s designed to be expressive and highly-programmable.


  • AWM2 (Advanced Wave Memory 2) sample and synthesis engine
  • FM-X Synth Engine
  • Integrated performance controls include faders and encoders for in-depth control over parameters
  • LCD-Touchscreen 7-Color-Wide-VGA-TFT
  • Waveform-ROM expanded from 741 MB to 5.67 GB
  • 2,370 new Waveforms, 6,347 total in ROM
  • 1 GB Flash-ROM built-in
  • 640 user performances
  • Seamless Sound Switching “SSS“ for Performances with up to four Parts
  • 13 dual insert effects (12 Parts + A/D Input)
  • Over 256 preset live set slots, 2,048 User & 2,048 library live set slots
  • 10,239 arpeggios
  • Eight arpeggio Parts simultaneously
  • Eight Scenes per Performance
  • Master keyboard functions for each Performance
  • Multichannel USB Audio Interface, 2-in/10-out

Pricing and Availability:

  • MODX6 – $1,299.99
  • MODX7 – $1,499.99
  • MODX8 – $1,899.99

50 thoughts on “Yamaha Intros MODX Synthesizer Line

  1. If this had more in built memory for user samples or supported sfz samples off a usb harddrive, then it would it be a complete winner.

      1. @synthesis. I think you may find that having 1 GB of user sample memory would be much more than adequate for most performance and studio applications. Combining samples+synthesis vastly reduces the need for vast layers of multi-samples consuming lots of memory. The synthesis engine creates the variations in tone & timbre rather than continually triggering new samples.

        1 GB provides:
        1.5 hours of 16/44.1 stereo sampling time.
        180 minutes of 16/44.1 mono sampling time.
        Over 650,000 single cycle waveforms sampled at 24bit/48 khz
        or over 1 millions single cycle waveforms sampled at 16/44.1!

  2. Pretty crazy Product roll out with the leak and all. My choice was made today and am waiting for that Sept. 27 ship date!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Totally Stoked

    Still gonna get the JDXA down the road provided they are still in production

    1. The no aftertouch is a deal killer. One of the amazing things about the DX-7, at the time, was all the ways modulation could be applied. Aftertouch was VERY important and I used it a lot for controlling operator levels, vibrato etc. This is s major blunder in the design of the MODX.

      1. Not sold on aftertouch – every keyboard I’ve used that has it seems to treat it as an on-off switch that kicks in when you press harder, vs a really expressive tool.

        The Roli gives you way more y-axis control, but feels wonky for playing.

        The Continuum is still the best expressive controller. They just need to figure about a way to make it more affordable.

    2. Though Yamaha does lots of good and cool things (especially around hardware), I would have pretty low expectations about any sequencer they would add to any keyboard. That said, IF they were to make a keyboard with more sample-loading capability as mentioned by synthesis and Michael L, then I would encourage Yamaha to devote adequate resources to making a really powerful, built-in sequencer for grown-ups. They’d need to hire some people, ‘cuz I don’t know if they have those people there now.

      1. > I would have pretty low expectations
        > about any sequencer they would add
        > to any keyboard.

        lmao. you made my day. its quite the opposite. the onboard pattern sequencer inside the motif line is generally considered as the best onboard sequencer ever. it´s one thing to make the motif users angry by leaving out a sequencer inside montage that is worthy of the name, but now yamaha is also intimidating their loyal mo and moxf users. wtf? if roland is clever they should come up with a fa-06/07/08 successor quickly, w/ an internal pattern sequencer. guess what? they could say hello to all former motif users. if i were jack o´donnell if inmusic i would come up with a mpc rompler workstation (without pads!) that has internal keygroup sounds only. it would be the ultimate roland/kurzweil/yamaha killer, the king of workstations. i would buy that board in a nanosecond.

        1. Sound like someone never programmed a Triton Seq… it was like pulling teeth. My only experience with a Yamaha seq was the Rm1x which was insanely good.

        2. I may be wrong about this sequencer, but the sequencer in the DTX Multi 12 was very limited– and that is a product for drummers. Is a “Pattern Sequencer” an actual linear sequencer with the ability to change tempo & time-sig through out the sequence? Percentage quantize? Reference Quantize? Transpose diatonically (constrained to key)?

          Some people expect more from a sequencer, and some people don’t mind a steeper learning curve or slower workflow to have more musical flexibility. You can laugh at these people.

    3. Like Montage, the MODX actually *HAS* its own proprietary built-in MIDI sequencer, called ‘Direct Performance Recorder’, but–yet again–important features were missing. Basic functions like copying or erasing MIDI data have not been implemented. 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. WTF, Yamaha?? There is no point in all of that. We are talking about a couple of kilobytes of simple MIDI data, not memory-intensive WAV files!! 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.
      Phil Clendeninn, senior technical sales specialist for Yamaha, has been informed about the flaws.

  3. 2003. Bought my wife a first generation Motif. She used it with her trusty Ensoniq SD-1 for several years. The SD-1 had 32MB of wave ROM. The Motif had 254MB!

    Now we complain that a keyboard “only” has 1GB of user memory? Or lacks a sequencer (when it’s designed to work seamlessly with Cubase/Cubasis). Or lacks aftertouch (when only the very best pianists could probably use that feature).


    This looks to me to be a super powerful FM synthesizer with an equally powerful S+S engine. For half the price of a Montage.

    It’s your cup or tea or it isn’t. Why the condescension Internet?

    1. I think a lot of people were hoping for a synth-man’s FM-X synth, rather than a general purpose machine like this. Some people were even asking for a rack module. Given the prices that the FS1R goes for, it’s reasonable to say that there would be a market for something along those lines, but Yamaha have probably done their research and the market for general purpose stuff is probably much bigger.

      1. How much more FM synth do you need than 8 operators, 64 voice polyphony, great effects and a touch screen interface?

        Half of me thinks that if they’d released it with just the fm synth engine, propel would be going apeshit over it. They gotta have the emulating sounds, though, for gigging musicians.

    2. with you on the RAM and seq, but I have a piano/controller kb without aftertouch and find it useless for anything other than piano sounds – I never realised how much I use if for those subtle expressions to give a performance feeling, and I’m not a great pianist by any stretch

    3. Even for a beginner synthesizer player aftertouch is extremely useful for adding depth and modulation to a performance. Are you sure you are talking about the same feature? Aftertouch is modulation of a parameter, like filter cutoff, by adding pressure on the keys after the initial hit. Especially useful for pads. Definitely not a feature for pianists. I only ask because of your example, which is odd for aftertouch.

  4. I’ve been eyeing a Montage since I tried one or when it laughed but I couldn’t justify spending so much… Finally I’ll have a cheaper alternative without sacrificing sound quality or flexibility. Apparently the only differences are physical UI/Hardware and not software/capabilities. If that IS the case, it seems I must start selling some stuff!

  5. Granted, I may not be a Yamaha enthusiast, but curiosity always gets the best of me. 192 polyphony shared between two different types of synth engines? Over 2k presets, 5k waveforms + 10k rhythms + patterns? There are so many choices galore – even a whole set of free waves from the CS80, not to mention downloading patches from tons of Yamaha synths from the past decades. All between $1300 for 61 keys and $1800 for 88. Take a look: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv4wFSK-_AE

  6. Yo! Where’s the cs80 evolution synth. Where’s the analog good stuff? Dudes at yamaha dont get that its time to re do the YMxxxx chips and make some new iterations of their cs synths in actual analog tech! With smd nowadays its not that difficult anymore.!!

    1. The CS80 was a pretty wimpy synth with a great keyboard on it. Listen to a CS80 without any effects sometime!

      Why would you ant to go back to that?

  7. Hmm. CS-80 is thought of as the holy grail while DX-7 with its glassy, thin sounds was not even that popular compared to Juno back in the day and sell for far less on eBay than Roland analog gear.

    So does Yamaha choose the holy grail CS-80 to modernize or the not very desirable glassy and thin one The DX?

    I always hold out hope for some CS-80 thing but Yamaha seems not to be aware of the potential.

    1. Totally wrong. The DX7 far outsold the Juno. I know. I was there. I had a Juno60 and lusted mightily after the DX7 because it could do so. much. more.

        1. It was the best selling synth of all time, until the M1…. and then the MicroKorg!

          DX7 was a game changer because it brought digital sounds to the masses. Sounds nobody heard before.

    2. “DX-7 with its glassy, thin sounds was not even that popular compared to Juno back in the day”

      Not sure what you’re smoking, but the DX7 single-ha deadly killed off analog synths for two decades, and just about every American synth manufacturer, too.

      It was THE synth of the 80s and the analog synths of the day were toys in comparison. Everybody dumped their analog gear, because the DX7 could stay in tune, it had more polyphony, it was much more expressive for players and it was built better than most synths.

      The only reason they are cheap today is that Yamaha sold a bajillion of them in the 80s, so there are literally 100 of them for every prophet or jupiter.

  8. No aftertouch is a deal breaker for me, excellent sounds from the demos online though. And as much as I really like the Montage (very nearly bought one), I’m not seeing the £900 difference here……yes I know the polyphony is lower and there is no aftertouch but does that really cost £900 more?

    Why haven’t Yamaha hooked up with Dave Smith to do a CS60/80 style synth like they did with Tom Oberheim?

  9. Aftertouch is nice, but an expression pedal gives you more precise control over modulation. Plus you can use it when keys are not being pressed; which makes it much more flexible. Looks like there are two inputs for expression control here aside from 2 for sustain. Now I’d love to see MPE support. MPE is basically poly aftertouch on steroids.

  10. I have to disagree. I had s great deal of control over expression using aftertouch on my DX-7. And an expression pedal can control one type of modulation and aftertouch another. This is supposed to be a replacement for the Motif line. Motif had aftertouch.

  11. So how does this compare to the Montage, other than bing more lightweight?

    I was interested in the Montage but it was just out of my price range.

    1. Checkout Blake Angelo’s interview with Sonicstate, it’s the best video so far stating the difference vs Montage.

      Sound engine wise, it’s half of the FMX voices (64 vs 128), fewer insert FX, and the MO DX has a sequencer that the MOXF had. Hardware wise, MODX is all plastic ,has fewer sliders+knobs and has most of the UI taking place in the screen (which is identical to the Montage) they just took out all of the hardware buttons that had an equivalent in the touch screen.

      1. Blake also mentioned that the d/a converters in the montage are better. This means that if you load, say, a Montage sound in to the modx, you can expect that it won’t have the same depth and detail to it.

        In saying that, the d/a converters in the moxf are very, very good considering it’s price (I owned a moxf6 for a while) so I fully expect the modx to be very good too.

        I think most musicians realise that cheaper quality d/a converters in scaled-down mid priced versions of a manufacturers keyboard range is nothing new – manufacturers do it all the time because it helps keeps the price down. However I’m just delighted to hear Blake from Yamaha being open and honest about this – it really is a breath of fresh air.

        Contrast that to the Roland rep who tried to convince me last year that the sounds in their £700 keyboard were exactly the same sounds as their £2000 flagship keyboard and sounded exactly the same (trust me, I a/b’d them both and they most definitely did NOT)!

  12. > Performances with up to four Parts

    It’s a workstation with a big screen bit isn’t 16 way multitimbral? Or are “parts” some other thing.

    1. Apparently a part is one of 8 possible timbres (samples) or 8 operators (FM). I quickly looked in the manual and didnt see anything about 16 parts.
      4 parts refers to the max amount a preset can have for SSS to work

  13. Very heavy on use of touchscreen. Too much menu presses for my liking and screen interface does not look responsive at all. Nonetheless, packed with features and a good all-in-one.

    1. Complaining about the UI on something like this, which has a touchscreen as big as an iPad Mini – when you compare it to basically any box Electron has ever made or any synth from just about any company in this price range – is just bizarre.

    1. That’d be pretty badass! I’m pretty stoked for this though. Montage has always been a bit too expensive for me but I can see myself getting one of these!

  14. I think you are all missing the point. I had DX7 Jupiter 8 and Juno 106, oh and a Korg M1. I will tell you that this looks really exciting. I was sold on a system 8 but It is so overpriced like the JD XA. I think this is going to be around for a while. Especially at this price point. So stop living in the past and move forward!

  15. I secretly wish they’d make a cheaper FM-X only synth. Lose the AWM2 etc. AWM2 is a decent approach to subtractive synthesis, but FM is totally the secret sauce.

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