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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Apr-16 > YAMAHA MONTAGE


It’s tough being a digital synth in a world full of reborn analogue and modular systems. Tough, that is, unless you can do everything they can do and more (not to mention everything your software can do, too). Andy Jones tests possibly the biggest synth ever made and a beacon in a world that has gone retro mad…
It might look like just another black synth from Yamaha, but Montage is probably the most feature-packed and sound-packed synth we’ve ever looked at


Price Montage 6: 61-note synth action, £2,250; 7: 76-note synth action, £2,625; and 8: 88-note fully-weighted, £3,000

Contact 0844 811 1116

Key Features

● Motion Control Synthesiser with AWM2 and 8-op FM-X engines

● Sophisticated Dynamic Control

● Motion SEQ

● Super Knob for multiple parameter changes

● Effects include Virtual Circuit Modeling (VCM), Beat Repeat, Vinyl Break, Bit Crusher, compressor with sidechain, plus retro vintage effects like Analog Delay, VCM Phaser or a variety of Amp Simulators

● USB Audio and MIDI

● Seamless Sound Switching

● Live Sets for gigging

● Direct Control Assignment

● Pure Analog Circuit (PAC) ‘improves the quality of signal after being converted to analog from digital’

● Sound memory 5.67GB preset; 1.75GB user memory; no of performances: approx 2000

● Cubase AI bundle

● Dimensions (W x H x D): 6 is 1037 x 131 x 396; 7 is 1244 x 131 x 396; 8 is 1450 x 160 x 470

● Weight (kg): 15, 17 or 29

There’s no doubting that the hardware synth is back. Witness the Eurorack phenomenon, the number of big companies exploring analogue options (Roland, Korg, Arturia) and the number of classic brands reborn (Oberheim, Sequential, even Moog took a break for a while). This year’s NAMM Show threw them at us wherever we walked down those crowded aisles of new gear releases. Where once the NAMM Show was about software emulations or ‘iPad everything’, the last couple have been about turning real knobs and switching real gear back on.

Arguably, it’s all part of a (perhaps) unconscious move by the production world to bring creativity out of a virtual environment back into a real one, with the software companies that once ploughed those pirate-laden waters now in on the act, creating hardware to seamlessly integrate their titles into a real, ‘non computer screen’ way (inMusic’s VIP, Ableton’s Push, NI’s Komplete Kontrol and Novation’s Launch range being perfect examples).

But one casualty of the rebirth of classic analogue synthesis (or perfect analogue emulation thereof), and the seamless marriage and transparency of studio hardware and software, has been the digital synth. And when I say ‘digital’, I mean the type crammed with sounds, packed with features and also stuffed with enough gubbins to create complete productions, soundtracks, and albums in any genre, on any format, any time, any place. These once-lauded ‘machines that can do everything’ were already taking a beating from DAWs that could also do everything; and then along came analogue and seamless integration and the poor machines were left out of the party, stuck betwixt stools and as out of place as mullets in a Shoreditch beard competition.

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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech is on sale Thursday, March 17th and this month we’re bringing you a 'Big Beats Special!'; we gathered together as many tutorials (for all levels) to help you provide that all-important backbone to your music productions. Or if you are some kind of ambient maestro, you’ll be pleased with a certain level of synthesis achieved over our 6 Of The Best, DIY Eurorack, Sound Design and Yamaha Montage features. As ever, enjoy the issue and send us some of the resulting beats. We like to Show Off Your Studios and we’ll soon be Showing Off Your Sounds, too, so keep it all coming.