Yamaha Motif

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The Yamaha MOTIF is a series of music workstations, first released by Yamaha Corporation in August 2001. The Motif replaced the EX series in Yamaha's line-up. Other workstations in the same class are the Korg Kronos, Roland Fantom G.

Larry Logan playing Yamaha Motif.jpg

Product lineup[edit]

MOTIF Classic[edit]

Original MOTIF series, now called "MOTIF Classic", were released in four variants in 2001:

Model Year Number of keys Key action Polyphony Waveform ROM Waveforms Memory
MOTIF 6 2001 61 FS 62 84MB 1,309 384 presets + 48 kits, 128 user, 128 performances, 128 master
MOTIF 7 2001 76 FS 62 84MB 1,309 384 presets + 48 kits, 128 user, 128 performances, 128 master
MOTIF 8 2001 88 Balanced hammer effect 62 84MB 1,309 384 presets + 48 kits, 128 user, 128 performances, 128 master
MOTIF-RACK 2001 N/A N/A 128 84MB 1,309 640 presets + 48 kits, 256 user + 32 kits, 59 performances, 65 multis

MOTIF Rack is a sound module without any keyboard, designed to be controlled by external instruments. It can be expanded with two Modular Synthesis Plug-in boards but has no sampling capabilities. Balanced hammer effect action is the same action found on Yamaha's S90 series keyboards. GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) action is the same action on Yamaha's high end digital pianos.[1]

MOTIF ES[edit]

MOTIF ES, a successor to original MOTIF series, debuted at Summer NAMM Show in 2003:

Model Year Number of keys Key action Polyphony Waveform ROM Waveforms Memory
MOTIF 6 ES 2003 61 FS 128 175MB 1,859 768 presets + 64 kits, 384 user + 32 kits, 128 performances, 128 multis
MOTIF 7 ES 2003 76 FS 128 175MB 1,859 768 presets + 64 kits, 384 user + 32 kits, 128 performances, 128 multis
MOTIF 8 ES 2003 88 Balanced hammer effect 128 175MB 1,859 768 presets + 64 kits, 384 user + 32 kits, 128 performances, 128 multis
MOTIF-RACK ES 2003 N/A N/A 128 175MB 1,859 768 presets + 64 kits, 384 user + 32 kits, 128 performances, 128 multis

MO[edit]

In January 2006, Yamaha launched two 'lite' versions of the MOTIF ES - the 61 key Mo6 and 88 key Mo8. Though only containing half the polyphony and fewer preset sound programs, these models contain all the MOTIF ES sample sets, along with arpeggios and a song and pattern sequencer. Lacking are the professional MOTIF ES features such as mLAN connectivity, PLG integration, sampling and multiple foot controllers.

Model Year Number of keys Key action Polyphony Waveform ROM Waveforms Memory
MO 6 2006 61 FS 64 175MB 1,859 768 presets + 64 kits, 384 user + 32 kits, 128 performances, 128 multis
MO 8 2006 88 Balanced hammer effect 64 175MB 1,859 768 presets + 64 kits, 384 user + 32 kits, 128 performances, 128 multis

MOTIF XS[edit]

The XS versions were announced at NAMM 2007:

Model Year Number of keys Key action Polyphony Waveform ROM Waveforms Memory
MOTIF XS6 2007 61 FSX 128 355MB 2,670 1,024 presets + 65 kits, 384 user + 32 kits, 384 performances
MOTIF XS7 2007 76 FSX 128 355MB 2,670 1,024 presets + 65 kits, 384 user + 32 kits, 384 performances
MOTIF XS8 2007 88 Balanced hammer effect 128 355MB 2,670 1,024 presets + 65 kits, 384 user + 32 kits, 384 performances
MOTIF-RACK XS 2008 N/A N/A 128 355MB 2,670 1,024 presets + 65 kits, 384 user + 32 kits, 128 multis

MOTIF has a mLAN connection which can be used to transfer MIDI and video, sound to a PC.

The operating system of the MOTIF XS was revealed to be based on MontaVista Linux.[2]

In 2011, Yamaha launched two 'lite' versions of the MOTIF XS - the 61-key MoX6 and 88-key MoX8. Though only containing half the polyphony and fewer insert effects of the XS, the MoX series contains all the MOTIF XS WaveROM and voice presets, along with arpeggios and a song and pattern sequencer. The number of performances in the MoX has been reduced to 256. The MoX does not support user sampling, nor does it support the mLAN/Firewire expansion. However, the MoX does feature a built-in 4-out/2-in USB audio interface, allowing users to record audio directly from the keyboard or an outside source to a computer, as well as play and control VST-instruments directly through the keyboard via USB.

In 2012, Yahama introduced the entry-level MX series, based on the soundset of the Motif XS. It features the same voices as the XS, although with less WavROM (166 MB vs. the XS's 355 MB), fewer performances (128), fewer arpeggios (999), and fewer editable parameters. The MX series also has no sequencer. It does, however, feature a similar USB audio/MIDI interface as seen on the MoX series. The MX is always playable in 16-part multi-timbral performance mode, fully configurable with the third-party Vycro editor. It is also the only keyboard in the Motif family to be available in a 49-key model (alongside the 61-key MX61.)

MOTIF XF[edit]

The XF versions were announced via www.MOTIFator.com on August 2, 2010:

Model Year Number of keys Key action Polyphony Waveform ROM Waveforms Memory
MOTIF XF6 2010 61 FSX 128 741MB 3,977 1,024 presets + 64 kits, 512 user + 32 kits, 512 performances
MOTIF XF7 2010 76 FSX 128 741MB 3,977 1,024 presets + 64 kits, 512 user + 32 kits, 512 performances
MOTIF XF8 2010 88 Balanced hammer effect 128 741MB 3,977 1,024 presets + 64 kits, 512 user + 32 kits, 512 performances

While the preset voices in the MOTIF XF are the same as in the previous XS model, the XF includes an extra user bank containing 128 brand new voices. Also, 8 new drum kits are also included in the user bank area.

In 2013, Yamaha launched two 'lite' versions of the MOTIF XF - the 61-key MoXF6 and 88-key MoXF8. The MoXF series contains all the MOTIF XF WaveROM and voice presets, along with arpeggios and a song and pattern sequencer. The MoXF does not support on-board user sampling, nor does it support the mLAN/Firewire expansion. However, the MoXF does feature one slot for a flash memory board (versus 2 on the flagship XF), allowing users to load additional sample libraries from third-party sources. The MoXF also features the same USB MIDI/audio interface seen on the MoX series.

Specifications[edit]

Comparison[edit]

Feature Original MOTIF MOTIF ES MOTIF XS MOTIF XF
Tone generator AWM2 (complying with the Modular Synthesis Plug-in System) AWM2 with Expanded articulations AWM2 with Expanded articulations
MIDI sequencer capacity 110,000 notes @ 480 ppq 226,000 notes @ 480 ppq 130,000 notes @ 480 ppq 130,000 notes @ 480 ppq
Polyphony voices 64 128 128 128
Sample formats compatibility Original, WAV, AIFF, Yamaha A3000/A4000/A5000 (load only), AKAI S1000/S3000 (load only) Original, WAV, AIFF, Yamaha A3000/A4000/A5000 (load only), AKAI S1000/S3000 (load only) Original, WAV, AIFF Original, WAV, AIFF
ROM size, MB 84 175 (converted to 16-bit linear format) 355 (converted to 16-bit linear format) 741 (converted to 16-bit linear format)

MOTIF Classic[edit]

  • AWM2 PCM tone generator
  • 110,000 note MIDI sequencer @ 480 ppqn
  • Sample engine (4MB built-in, expandable up to 64MB of user RAM)
  • Compatibility with common sample formats such as Akai, WAV, and AIFF
  • 84MB of read-only memory (ROM)
  • 62-voice polyphony

MOTIF keyboards include three internal expansion slots (two on the rack-mount version). These slots allow one to significantly augment the instrument's soundset through the purchase of Yamaha PLG Expansion Boards--which are available in a variety of sonic flavors. The MOTIF Classic featured 4MB of onboard sampling RAM, which could be increased to 64MB with the purchase of third party memory sticks. External connectors include a firewire 400 port for connecting an mLAN network card; a USB 1 port for connecting the instrument to a computer via a MIDI cable OR for external storage; and a SmartMedia port for storing sequence, voice, and sample data (in which case the purchase of a third party SmartMedia card is necessary).

MOTIF ES[edit]

  • AWM2 Tone Generator (complying with the Modular Synthesis Plug-in System)
  • 128 note polyphony
  • 226,000 note MIDI sequencer @ 480 ppqn
  • Audio Input ports: A/D, AIEB2, mLAN, Stereo IN
  • Sounds: 175MB (when converted to 16-bit linear format), 1,859 waveforms

All MOTIF ES synthesizers feature a wide selection of high-quality sounds, and use a sample-based subtractive synthesis engine. The MOTIF ES6, ES7 and ES8 feature 16 track sequencers that can use MIDI and sample tracks, and 512MB of sample memory can be fitted for completely new sounds. Physical modeling, virtual analogue synthesis, FM synthesis plus a variety of additional sample sets can be installed with Yamaha's Modular Synthesis Plug-in System (PLG boards).

The ES models features several key improvements over the original MOTIFs: twice the polyphony with faster envelopes, a massive DSP effects engine (up to 8 tracks in sequencer mode can use independent dual insert effects), USB mass storage support, 8x sample RAM expansion (up to 512 MB via twin DIMM modules), vastly improved acoustic piano sound, twice the storage amount for user sounds, among other enhancements.

The MOTIF ES range employ the use of "Megavoice" technology from the Tyros; the flagship of Yamaha's performance keyboards. These high quality samples utilise 'velocity switching' to enable greater natural expression over the sounds, expressions such as fret noise, hammer-ons, slides and ghost notes.

MOTIF XS[edit]

  • AWM2 Tone Generator
  • 128 note polyphony
  • 130,000 note MIDI sequencer @ 480 ppqn
  • Connectors:
    • Output L/R standard phone jack
    • Assignable output standard phone jack
    • A/D input
    • Digital out (coaxial S/PDIF)
    • Phones
    • Foot controller 1,2
    • Footswitch x 2 (Assignable, Sustain)
    • MIDI In/Out/Thru
    • USB 2.0 to Host, to Device
    • AC In
    • Ethernet
    • mLAN (XS8 only, optional for XS6, 7)
  • Sounds: 355MB (when converted to 16-bit linear format), 2,670 waveforms
  • Weighted Keys

Some improvements over the previous ES series are:

  • Assignable AF1/AF2 buttons (Often defaulted to control XA)
  • Larger Color display
  • Eight faders (four more than the ES)
  • Up to eight elements (waveforms) per voice
  • Expanded Articulation (XA) (e.g. being able to trigger a voice element at note-off to change the voice character)
  • Ethernet connectivity
  • Larger waveform ROM (more than double compared to the MOTIF ES)
  • Up to 4 simultaneous arpeggios (in performance mode)
  • Shipped with Cubase AI
  • Direct performance recording to pattern

The MOTIF XS is not compatible with the Yamaha PLG expansion cards.

MOTIF XF[edit]

  • AWM2 Tone Generator
  • 128 note polyphony
  • 128MB internal SDRAM (sampling memory) standard
  • 130,000 note MIDI sequencer @ 480 ppqn
  • Connectors:
    • Output L/R standard phone jack
    • Assignable output standard phone jack
    • A/D input
    • Digital out (coaxial S/PDIF)
    • Phones
    • Foot controller 1,2
    • Footswitch x 2 (Assignable, Sustain)
    • MIDI In/Out/Thru
    • USB 2.0 to Host, to Device
    • AC In
    • Ethernet
    • FW16E (optional FireWire connectivity)
    • Optional 512MB and 1024MB FLASH cards for storage of sample data (2 GB combined max)
  • Sounds: 741MB (when converted to 16-bit linear format), 3,977 waveforms
  • Weighted Keys

The main improvement over the MOTIF XS is the use of non-volatile flash memory for samples and sample libraries. Instead of DIMM memory modules, the XF uses proprietary flash cards. While more expensive than DIMM modules, the flash cards can permanently store sample data (volatile DIMM modules, used in all previous models, are unable to store data after being powered off.) This means that, once initially loaded, the sample data does not need to be reloaded every time the keyboard is powered on. The MOTIF XF is also the first in the MOTIF series since the MOTIF Classic to have standard internal SDRAM for sampling built into the keyboard.

As with the MOTIF XS, the MOTIF XF is not compatible with the PLG expansion cards.

Notable Users: Stevie Wonder, Thomas Dolby, Gary Numan, Ron Mael, Billy Currie (Ultravox), Craig Burrows, John Foxx, Mark Ronson & The Business INTL

Timeline of Yamaha MOTIF series[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "YAMAHA MM8". Retrieved 13 Mar 2011. 
  2. ^ [1] [2] [3]

External links[edit]