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Yamaha Montage 7

Yamaha Montage 7

3.75 3.75 out of 5, based on 1 Review

New Spin on a workstation has its charms and setbacks.

13th September 2017

Yamaha Montage 7 by Chromalord

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
Yamaha Montage 7

You should check out their website for specs as its too much to go into here.
Yamaha's most recent entry into the pro-level workstation has some significant improvements over the protracted release of the Motif series, but sadly has it quirks too:

Borrowing some of the attributes of the Korg Kronos, Yamaha has attempted to target some of the more-modern approaches to arpeggiation and Karma-esque phrases.

While the unit does not have the raw power of the Kronos, ( less polyphony, memory, and stackable FX) it is no way weak. However it should be noted, the street price of Montage 7 is more than a Kronos-88.

The sound-quality of the Montage is spectacular, sounding very hi-resolution. Maybe not the best, yet I defy you to tell me what's better. Drum kits sound amazing, strings and brass are very crisp with great imaging. The Pianos, Rhodes, Organs, and Clavs are above average, of course the FM portion has great bass and bell sounds. Awful guitar patches.
With the motion sequencing and complex EG's , and 8 ( count-em 8!) operators, this expands the palette of the original DX7 greatly. Certain algorithms ( there are 88!) duplicate the inherent digital aliasing in the lower-region of certain patches. Some find that charming, some do not. There are many inspired complex FM sounds ( musical and sound FX) in the factory banks.
My biggest gripe is the architecture. This is NOT an intuitive instrument to get around, there are no happy-accidents with this one, you must know what you are doing. Some of the switching of scenes, and arpeggiations and sequences is confusing. Many functions have to be properly engaged, and in order, for many buttons on the panel to even work. I have sat with the unit for a few days ( the included owners manual is vague at best) and have concluded the only fun I have had making sounds is the sense of accomplishment I felt after navigating thru a myriad of convoluted Yamaha programming language to create a simple sound. There there is the beautiful "Big Super Knob" which you can gang tons of controller functions to, but I honestly have not figured out how to use it, along with a lot of other functions.
While its easy to stack patches within a performance, a lot of the immediate parameters one usually needs are not there on the master page.You have to dig for them. By comparison the Kronos is far easier to navigate despite it being more complex and having its fair share of indigenous quirks.
With the thousands of patters and waveforms, a list would have been nice, and for that matter a numerical keypad which the manual unsuccessfully explains how to access: I never figured that out either. Why Yamaha has made the simplest things so counter-intuitive frustrated me.
The default system setting is auto-power down after 30 minutes, be warned. Despite the TRS outputs, the unit has a very low output.
I was a little surprised of the anemic spring-loaded keyboard or not offering options for something weighted except on the 88-version.
I realize I have been hard on the Montage but not without good reason: Its expensive and only has two modelers. Despite it offering pristine audio-quality, the unit isn't much fun, as attempting to create the simplest things is a chore.

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