If you are looking for a reliable keyboard with powerful music-making capabilities, Yamaha MOXF8 vs Montage are some of the most popular choices in the market right now. Both are the more portable and more affordable siblings of Yamaha Motif XF, and both offer incredible feature sets and performance. So, which one is the right keyboard for you?
Continue reading to find out more about:
– The available variants of Yamaha MOXF8 and Yamaha Montage
– Which keyboard that is lighter and more portable
– The comparison of their features and versatility
– The performance of Yamaha MOXF8 vs Montage
– Which Yamaha workstation keyboard that is generally more recommended for you
Yamaha MOXF8: Design and Build
Let us start with Yamaha MOXF8. It is one of the more affordable alternatives of Yamaha Motif XF, but it is still equipped with many similar features like those found in its bigger brother. Yamaha MOXF8 is available in two variants, the 61-key and the 88-key. While the 61-key variant is indeed very portable and great for musicians who travel from gig to gig, the 88-key is probably better for studio use. See also: Yamaha P115 vs P125
Yamaha MOXF8 is given the Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) action. While the GHS action doesn’t really feel like a real grand piano, it is pretty close. Most affordable keyboards from Yamaha uses this action. Yamaha MOXF8 has a plastic chassis, and thanks to that, the weight can be kept at a minimum.
Despite being more streamlined than Yamaha Motif XF, Yamaha MOXF8 already has a lot of things going on. A beginner may feel overwhelmed by the number of features available on this keyboard. There is a backlit LCD screen on the center with two faders for the Master Volume and the DAW Level. Then, there are two wheels on the upper-left side for Pitch and Modulation. The volume of the aux input is controlled by a dedicated knob, and a section of knobs and buttons will allow you to manage various parameters of sound effects, amp simulators, EQ, and tone.
One of the advantages of Yamaha MOXF8 vs Montage is that it has two dedicated sections for Sequencer Transport and Effects. Older Yamaha Montage models used have dedicated sections like these, but the latest models no longer have them. As the effect, Yamaha MOXF8 may feel more flexible and versatile when you need to control the multitrack sequencer, and when you need to control your DAW through the keyboard.
Yamaha MOXF8: Features
Workstation keyboards like Yamaha MOXF8 and Yamaha Montage are packed with a lot of features, so it is virtually impossible to talk about every feature in great detail. Experienced users are probably already familiar with the capabilities of such keyboards, but beginners will need to take their time to get familiar with the features.
That said, let’s take a look at the key functions and capabilities of Yamaha MOXF8. First of all, it is equipped with a search function that will allow you to search through 16 instrument categories and their sub-categories. In other words, you won’t need to scroll through hundreds of options just to find your desired sound. This is a very convenient feature.
Secondly, it also has the Performance Creator, which will allow you to layer and split performances quickly with a press of a button. You can start with a simple sound, then press the Layer button to make the keyboard pick the most suitable sound. You can press the Split button to make the left-hand side of the keyboard serves as bass.
Thirdly, Yamaha MOXF8 comes with an expandable memory. You can add as many third-party sounds as you want through a flash memory card. The keyboard can accept a flash memory card with a maximum capacity of 1GB. As a note, although Yamaha MOXF8 has more than 3,900 waveforms on-board, they sound a bit skimpy; the expandable memory will allow you to install higher quality samples.
Yamaha MOXF8: Performance
Performance-wise, both Yamaha MOXF8 vs Montage are great. You will find that Yamaha MOXF8 is more flexible, especially when working with the sequencer and effects. However, the embedded non-volatile memory of Yamaha MOXF8 is a little bit slower than that of Yamaha Montage. Not a big problem, except that you need to have some patience when manipulating waveforms.
The sound engine used by Yamaha MOXF8 is the same AWM2 sound engine used by Yamaha Motif XF, which is great. Yamaha MOXF8 has a 128-note polyphony and a 16-part multi-timbral capacity, so the sound can be delivered with impressive dynamics and richness.
Yamaha MOXF8 is also armed with the 8-way Virtual Circuit Modelling (VCM) effects, which will allow you to layer up to eight tracks to compose complex music and apply different effects to every track.
All in all, Yamaha MOXF8 offers a very good value for the money. It has excellent portability, features, and sound quality. It is also able to control your DAW in an easy and practical way.
Yamaha Montage: Design and Build
Yamaha Montage has been designed to be the successor of Yamaha Motif. It is available in three variants: 61-key, 76-key, and 88-key. All variants are equipped with weighted keys with aftertouch. If you need a keyboard that can be carried around easily, you may want to choose either the 61-key model or the 76-key model. But, for studio use, the 88-key is definitely better.
In terms of size, Yamaha MOXF8 vs Montage are quite different. Yamaha Montage is quite bigger and heavier. However, the build quality is also better. The metallic top panel feels robust and tank-like, and all of the controls are solid and precise. There are rubberized knobs with LED rings and plastic-capped faders with LED meters which can be assigned for various functions, including organ drawbars and part volume levels.
The center of Yamaha Montage’s system is the full-color touchscreen and the data wheel. There are also several real-time controls, but these ones don’t get involved too frequently in the editing process. The display screen is fast and responsive; you can switch sounds very quickly, and the brightness is just right to be seen comfortably from any angle.
Yamaha Montage comes with a special control knob called the SuperKnob. At first, it may seem like a gimmicky feature, but it is actually very useful. It serves as a macro knob through which you can adjust a plethora of parameters quickly. There is also a “motion control” feature to automate the knob’s parameters through motion sequences or MIDI. The SuperKnob will flash according to the overall tempo, and you can also control it remotely by using a foot pedal.
Yamaha Montage: Features
Unlike Yamaha Motif, Yamaha Montage has streamlined things a little bit so that the workflow can be more efficient. This keyboard now only has three levels: Performance, Part, and Element.
A “Performance” is like the “Multi” in Yamaha Motif. It has up to 16 MIDI parts that can be layered, split, panned, or mixed. Meanwhile, a “Part” is like the “Voice” in the old model, with each part having up to 8 elements (waveforms or oscillators) in the AWM2 mode or 8 operators in the FM-X mode. Yes, Yamaha Montage can use two sound engines, and the two of them can be layered, split, or mixed. However, you won’t be able to use AWM2 sounds or custom waveforms as modulators within FM-X sounds.
Creating a performance is very simple and straightforward. You can add a layer to a performance on-the-fly by clicking the “+” button on a blank channel strip and searching the performance on-screen.
You can group performances into “live sets” for easy selection. This is incredibly useful for preparing multiple setlists for different gigs. The search function will make it easy for you to find performances and live sets within a matter of seconds.
Finally, Yamaha Montage will also allow you to import third-party samples via a USB flash drive. The keyboard has 1.75GB of user flash memory, so it will be able to keep your samples and libraries for instant loading without requiring the USB flash drive to be plugged all the time.
Yamaha Montage: Performance
As mentioned above, Yamaha Montage somehow feels less flexible due to not having dedicated sections of sequencer transport and effects. But, then again, it is still a very powerful keyboard with an amazing sound quality.
The sound is stunning. It is wide and clean, and it has sufficient warmth to make it very enjoyable. The acoustic sounds are incredibly accurate and beautiful. The clavinets sound authentic, and the Bosendorfer grand pianos are gorgeous. The strings and woodwinds are good, and the acoustic guitars are particularly awesome when used with the arpeggiator.
The FM-X sound engine is extremely versatile and comprehensive. It has 8 operators, 88 algorithms, and 18 filter types. There are several classic DX sounds on-board, but you can convert original DX sounds and put them into this keyboard by using the utility at the YamahaSynth website. The keyboard is also backward-compatible with the AWM2 sound engine.
With the Motion Control for manipulating and evolving sounds, the incredibly powerful arpeggiator, and the 16-stereo-out/3-stereo-in/MIDI USB interface, Yamaha Montage becomes a very powerful and versatile keyboard. It is sonically superior and it offers upgraded features.
Yamaha MOXF8 vs Montage
- Motif XF Sound Quality
- Flash memory expandability
- Performance mode to enhance your creativity
- The Motion Control Synthesis Engine unifies and controls two iconic Sound Engines: AWM2 (high-quality waveform and synthesis) and FM-X (modern, pure Frequency Modulation synthesis.)
- Motion Sequences are tempo-synchronized, completely customizable control sequences that can be assigned to virtually any synthesizer parameter and provide incredible new ways of creating sound.
- Montage features professional, stereo balanced outputs with “Pure Analog Circuit” digital to analog conversion.
In general, Yamaha Montage is more recommended. It is indeed a more powerful keyboard with better sound quality, and it is worth the money. It is armed with the FM-X sound engine, which is backward-compatible with AWM2 sounds. It also has a larger user flash memory capacity. However, if your budget is strictly limited, Yamaha MOXF8 makes a fine, more affordable alternative.