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#122765 - 04/17/07 05:24 PM Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
George Kaye Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/24/99
Posts: 3295
Loc: Reseda, California USA
Yesterday I received my first Motif XS6 keyboard. I will attempt to explain why I think this keybaord deserves to be talked about on this arranger keyboard forum.
First, because of the way Yamaha has developed their XS (intellegent) arpeggios, we have the possiblilty of playing up to 4 arpeggios at once with chord intelligence. I had my Jazz Piano teacher at my store try all the complex chords he could think of and the Motif XS played them correctly.
A performance in the Motif XS can play up to 4 voices and each can have it's own arpeggio playing in perfect sync with the rest. One example is a R&B performance called "Double Dip The Funk". This has a drum, Bass and Guitar in the intelligent left hand and a seperate electric guitar voice on the right hand with it's own arpeggio. Each Performance can have up to 5 different arpeggio patterns, each with up to 4 different arpeggios, so in this way, these become the "variations" within the style. Yamaha has arranged these where "arp 1-4" are style variations and "arp 5" is usually a fill in.
Yamaha has given the keyboard over 6,000 arpeggios of which hundreds are intelligent types. They have catagorized the performances in 8 catagories called:
Rock,R&B,Electronic,Jazz, World,SpLyr and FX.
Each of these are broken down into sub groups. As an example the Jazz Catagory has swing, modern,smooth, jazz funk and club.
You just call up a performance and play.
I've always had a problem with keyboards that don't play styles because I'm a arranger kind of guy. But this keyboard is amazing.
Also, I can call up an empty pattern, give it a 16 measure (up to 256) and choose a performance, and hit the record button and my entire performance is recorded. Just like a backing sequencer on Korg, Yamaha or Roland. Then when finished, this Pattern will just keep looping and I can either play any sound over it or keep recording one track at a time. Remember that the Motif has 16 sections with 16 tracks each to record in this loop mode with up to 256 Measures per section and then I can select the song record mode and either step or play in real time these patterns by section and make up a song. It's really cool because each section in the pattern can have totally different arpeggios, so in my arranger world of thinking, they are all different variations of the style or even different styles.
Wow......I hope this makes sense!
Here's what I found out from Yamaha today...
These Motif XS Performance arpeggios are programmed by Yamaha and although you don't make them yourself, Yamaha has 256 user locations and they will have custom intelligent arpeggios available. I spoke with a friend of mine today who is making custom arpeggios to work with their middle eastern drum kits and ethnic sounds. I'm happy to know Yamaha can make custom intelligent arpeggios.
The Articulated sounds are great. Unlike the Tyros2, Yamaha has gone to two switches they call "Assignable Function" switches. These can be latched or unlatched. They do not use the "breath" sound as on the Tyros2 from a pedal but do use the two switches for legato mode and many other parts of the articulated sound or mega sound.
The sounds are nothing less than steller in my opinion.
I also noticed that some of the performances allow me to play with a single finger and have the chord play or just add a minor third and have a minor chord.
I'm really excited about this new keyboard. I think it will bring alot of arranger folks over to the Motif way of doing things for the musicians who want a combination of Synth power/sampling and some arranger type functions.
It is not an arranger, but Yamaha has given us the ability to make music easily in a recording studio production keyboard.


------------------
George Kaye
Kaye's Music Scene
Reseda, California
818-881-5566
www.kayesmusicscene.com
_________________________
George Kaye
Kaye's Music Scene
Reseda, California
818-881-5566
www.kayesmusicscene.com

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#122766 - 04/17/07 05:36 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 41402
George thanx for the review...although a bit confusing at first its does sounds very interesting kb......how about a few demos?

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#122767 - 04/17/07 05:44 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
ianmcnll Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 10597
Loc: Cape Breton Island, Canada
It sounds like quite an instrument George...thank you for the great review.

I'll be on the road this weekend, travelling to the largest music store in my area, and I'll get a chance to play with some toys I haven't tried yet...hopefully they'll have one of these in stock.

Ian



------------------
Common misconception...size and weight equal quality and performance. Don't be fooled.
_________________________
Yamaha Tyros4, Yamaha MS-60S Powered Monitors(2), Yamaha CS-01, Yamaha TQ-5, Yamaha PSR-S775.

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#122768 - 04/17/07 05:48 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
squeak_D Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/08/00
Posts: 4650
Loc: West Virginia
Sweet! It's nice to see someone else sees the potential in the new Motif line to arranger players. I can't wait to try one out Just three more days and I'll be baning on an XS...

Squeak
_________________________
GEAR: Yamaha MOXF-6, Casio MZX-500, Roland Juno-Di, M-Audio Venom, Roland RS-70, Yamaha PSR S700, M-Audio Axiom Pro-61 (Midi Controller). SOFTWARE: Mixcraft-7, PowerTracks Pro Audio 2013, Beat Thang Virtual, Dimension Le.

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#122769 - 04/17/07 08:09 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
miden Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 3353
Loc: The World
thanks for your initial thoughts george..
they hit our shores in may, and if it works out okay, im trading my s90es for the motif-xs8..just on the hype it seems the 4 arps are just the thing for those that don't want the full 4 variations and fills on styles...bit of a wait and see, but who knows...one thing for sure, add the SA voices to the already astounding ES voices and this thing is gonna rock..
dennis
BTW squeak, i would be very happy to hear your initial thoughts on the arps, they are the reason i am seriously considering this board over a "normal" arranger....

[This message has been edited by miden (edited 04-17-2007).]

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#122770 - 04/17/07 10:07 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
TommyF Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 648
Loc: Copenhagen, Denmark
George,

Great review! I am very interested in the Motif XS but mainly as a sound expansion to my arranger setup. What I really want to know is if the Xpanded Articulation voices on the Motif XS are just as easy to play as the Super Articulation voices on the Tyros 2. When you play a Super Articulation voice on the Tyros 2 the keyboard will constantly analyse your playing style. By example, it will automatically detect if you play in legato style and modify the sound accordingly. Will the Motif XS work the same way or do you have to press the assiginable switches to modify the sound?

Kind regards,
Tommmy
_________________________
Yamaha PSR-S770, Korg Krome 61

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#122771 - 04/18/07 05:24 AM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
Nick G Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 1042
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
i cant wait to have this Motif XS sitting next to my T2 ultimate combo hehe
_________________________
Roland G70 / Roland BK9 / Yamaha Motif XS6 / Logic Pro X

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#122772 - 04/18/07 07:16 AM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
George Kaye Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/24/99
Posts: 3295
Loc: Reseda, California USA
Tommy,
I'm not as up on the way the technology works as some but I did see that when playing the articulated sounds, the keyboard still responds like the Tyros2 with the exception that one of the two function switches changed from mono mode to poly mode and the other did something like adding growl, etc.


------------------
George Kaye
Kaye's Music Scene
Reseda, California
818-881-5566
www.kayesmusicscene.com
_________________________
George Kaye
Kaye's Music Scene
Reseda, California
818-881-5566
www.kayesmusicscene.com

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#122773 - 04/18/07 07:46 AM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 41402

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#122774 - 04/18/07 08:10 AM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
TommyF Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 648
Loc: Copenhagen, Denmark
George, that was exactly what I had hoped to hear Now I have to wait patiently until Yamaha releases a rack version. Unfortunately this normally takes 1-2 years

Kind regards,
Tommy
_________________________
Yamaha PSR-S770, Korg Krome 61

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#122775 - 04/18/07 08:29 AM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
George, I am interested in using a MotifXS (either Rack or 61) as a 'virtual' T2 for my G70 to drive. As such, I am interested in whether there are close approximations to the Mega and SA voices of the T2, for my G70 to play some Yamaha styles, and route the guitar parts to the Motif.

It's primarily the guitar voices I'm interested in, but other direct comparisons would be helpful. Do you think the Rack is able to be used this way?

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#122776 - 04/18/07 08:31 AM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 41402
Diki this might help.....
http://www.motifator.com/racks/rack.php
http://www.motifator.com/motifxs/motifxs.php

[This message has been edited by Dnj (edited 04-18-2007).]

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#122777 - 04/18/07 10:20 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
http://files.keyfax.com/MP3s/motifator2.0/xs/Demo_Funkalicious.mp3

Basically, if this don't blow you away, nothing will...

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#122778 - 04/19/07 01:13 AM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
Nick G Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 1042
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Diki,

The Motif XS is AWESOME! i feel that by sacrificing certain tweaking features that other brands may have, you are getting in exchange an AWESOME sound bank...

you really cant imagine sound getting more realistic than the level it is at now...

i am still waiting for my freakin aussie dealers to get the XS in stock!!! i want one dammit!! lol


[This message has been edited by Nick G (edited 04-19-2007).]
_________________________
Roland G70 / Roland BK9 / Yamaha Motif XS6 / Logic Pro X

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#122779 - 04/19/07 02:25 AM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
Bluezplayer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2195
Loc: Catskill Mountains, NY
I was considering an upgrade from the ES, but I believe that the XS does not have the expansion slots for the plug in boards. If this is so, it will make my decision an easy one. George, can you or someone else confirm if this is true ?

Regards,

AJ
_________________________
AJ

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#122780 - 04/19/07 03:14 AM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
Nick G Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 1042
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
go to this link and scroll down
http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/CDA/ContentDetail/ModelSeriesDetail/0,,CNTID%25253D544448%252526CTID%25253D206400%252526ATRID%25253D20%252526DETYP%25253DATTRIBUTE,00.html
doesnt look like it has any slots for plugin boards...
_________________________
Roland G70 / Roland BK9 / Yamaha Motif XS6 / Logic Pro X

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#122781 - 04/19/07 03:18 AM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
TommyF Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 648
Loc: Copenhagen, Denmark
Yes, it's true: The PLG boards are not supported by the Motif XS. Here is what Yamaha have to say about this (originally posted on the Motifator forum):

*** Citation Begin ***

Okay, now for some news that may stir up some posts. The Motif XS does not support PLG boards. We looked at this long and hard. We supported the forum when there was a call for a new Piano PLG card and got Yamaha Japan to develop it. However, the PLG cards were not particularly successful in the market. The basic architecture was developed almost 10 years ago and had certain inherent limitations. The ones that some people are most passionate about (the VH and VL boards) were not that successful partly because they need more expertise to use (knowledge of vocal harmony settings in the former and use of a breath controller in the latter). The VL which focused on solo wind and brass is partially addressed by the new 8 element voices with note offs and legato.

The VH is replaced by an on board, built in 10 band Vocoder. The Vocoder allows up to 128 notes of harmonies to be created from the keyboard and also is of course useful for cool synth effects as well. It can be used in Voice and Performance mode and recorded directly into the Integrated Sampling Sequencer.
We realize that the decision to stop support for PLG cards in the XS will not sit well with some people, but we always have to balance legacy support with the need to move forward.

*** Citation End*

Kind regards,
Tommy
_________________________
Yamaha PSR-S770, Korg Krome 61

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#122782 - 04/19/07 05:55 AM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
spalding4 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 113
Loc: england
Although i have not played the XS myself i have read a number of user reviews on the Motifator forum od individuals who have auditioned the instruments side by side through the same sound systems and watched all the demos of the XS on that forum. I have also seen and heard all the demos of the motif ES and really cant see the great advantage if at all in moving to the XS. The XS has the expanded articulation on some voices and has more intelligent arps than the ES but thats really all i can pick up as being significantly diferent. If i had the ES i would need far clearer musical reasons to trade up/sideways to the XS.

It may well be that the OS system is more intuitive or integrated but is hat enough of a reason to switched boards ? I am just throwing that question out there....

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#122783 - 04/19/07 06:23 AM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
Bluezplayer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2195
Loc: Catskill Mountains, NY
Thanks Tommy. That confirms what I had suspected. I guess I understand why they chose to do eliminate them from the new series, but it makes the choice of whether or not to upgrade from the ES an easy one for me.

Regards,

AJ
_________________________
AJ

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#122784 - 04/19/07 07:31 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
beachbum Offline
Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 641
Loc: Austin
thanks for the post.. this looks like a lot of fun... May be pickng one up since I'm a studio guy anyway...

Thanks again
_________________________
I don't steer the ship... I bail out the water...

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#122785 - 04/19/07 07:36 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
Nick G Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 1042
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
my local in Sydney still has them on order... they should be arriving within 2 weeks now...

the RRP AUD is about $4,500.00 inc Tax for XS 6. that works out to be about $3,960.00 USD

they said they will be able to do better pricing on that.. does that kind of pricing sound right???
_________________________
Roland G70 / Roland BK9 / Yamaha Motif XS6 / Logic Pro X

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#122786 - 04/19/07 09:06 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
miden Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 3353
Loc: The World
to spalding...its not just an arpeggiator, its four, yes 4 of them all playing there own arps at the same synced time..the es has only one arpeggiator...add chord recognition and its essentially a quasi-arranger..another benefit is you could change the feel of a piece simply by changing the drum arp, and the new arp is played in perfect sync with the existing arps...same goes for any of the other arps too...then add the SA voices to the already superb ES voices, vocoding harmoniser built-in, bigger brighter colour screen, there is more, but thats for another place...imho the hype for the XS is well justified...as soon as it hits Oz i will be demoing one, with a view to trading my s90es for it..
to nick...that price is high..U.S. prices are marked at about $2900, so out here about 3300-3500 i would imagine, my rep at music store where i shop at called yamaha and they said they had no firm pricing for Oz as yet...prob early may..
cheers
dennis

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#122787 - 04/20/07 04:01 AM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
spalding4 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 113
Loc: england
Thanks for that Miden. doesnt the Es have chord recognition too ?

Also with the XS can you programme your own Arps/styles that will follow your chord changes just like an arranger ?? This would make the XS very much different to the ES.

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#122788 - 04/20/07 12:05 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
miden Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 3353
Loc: The World
hi spalding, actually the es does have a sort of chord recognition, in that the arp follows the chord you are playing, but from what i have read, the XS improves on this...for example check out the demos of the MM6 (i reckon the chord recognition will be the same as that)i believe it also adds that ability to bass, so you get intelligent basslines to go along with the chords you are playing,you know, with bass voice leading and fills to the next chord etc etc, i can say more when i demo one in may...as for programming chord changes, it has its "pattern mode" which is where i guess you could program chord progressions..i am trying to interpret these things from the information at other forums, and again once i have got my hands on one, obviously i can provide a more "informed" opinion....on paper at least, it seems like a big step forward,,,
cheers
dennis

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#122789 - 04/20/07 04:24 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
George Kaye Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/24/99
Posts: 3295
Loc: Reseda, California USA
Yamaha sent one of their best keyboard guys out to my store today and I really learned alot about the XS today.
First, yes you can make your own arpeggios and these can be used just like the ones from the factory. And all the arpeggios except for the drum type allow chord recognition.
Next, I learned that the Effects processor in this new XS is of the latest and highest quality Yamaha offers. Way more powerful than the ES. Also, the ES only had four elements per voice and the XS has up to 8. The acoustic grand piano for example now has 8 elements including key off sample and a 1/2 damper pedal function and it's own sample.
The user interface is also way more intuitive than on the ES.
You can also copy a performance with 4 arpeggios to tracks 1 through 4, then copy another performance from 5 -8 and so on up to 16 tracks so that you can compose by using nothing more than performances with all arpeggios. Or you can record each track with different arpeggios, one at a time.
I also tried out the vocoder mode and it's really great. There is an insert effect you must assign to the vocoder presets or one you make and once assigned I could play keys and my voice would be assigned to the pitches I played and sounds were mixed in as well.
I also got a preview today of the new PSRS700 keyboard. It looks and feels great and although this is not the 900, it has mega voices and 96 notes of polyphony. The speakers were loud and I was really impressed with the looks. It looks more like it should be in the Tyros type price range rather than the PSR3000 range. It was also really light for how big it is. The buttons are now rubber instead of plastic with little lights in the center of the switches. Unfortunately, this was just a sneak preview as it was still a prototype and these products will officially make their introduction here in the USA at the summer NAMM show and should be available for sale in August.


------------------
George Kaye
Kaye's Music Scene
Reseda, California
818-881-5566
www.kayesmusicscene.com
_________________________
George Kaye
Kaye's Music Scene
Reseda, California
818-881-5566
www.kayesmusicscene.com

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#122790 - 04/20/07 04:35 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 41402
Thanx for the update George....I still think Yamaha has to make it simple to understand for the new XS buyer or Arranger converts before its a Hugh success.....many people have NO idea what the XS acually does and how it does it vs an arranger KB....

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#122791 - 04/20/07 06:11 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
beachbum Offline
Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 641
Loc: Austin
Yeah Donnie.. IF I get one of these and if it is like the motif I will be knee deep in the manual for a good month...

George, How is the interface?

Thanks
_________________________
I don't steer the ship... I bail out the water...

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#122792 - 04/20/07 06:50 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 41402
Quote:
Originally posted by beachbum:
I will be knee deep in the manual for a good month...


Beach Bum....And WAY beyond that if they dont offer some serious easy to understand media instructional material for newbies and pros alike...those silly funkasized Bert XS demos just dont cut it for the general masses at all...let us know if you get an XS I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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#122793 - 04/20/07 07:56 PM Re: Yamaha Motif XS First Thoughts
George Kaye Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/24/99
Posts: 3295
Loc: Reseda, California USA
I've sold the Motif, the MotifES and now the MotifXS. Of course, since Yamaha is aware of what consumers have been asking for, this new interface is the easiest of them all. The large color screen and the number of controllers and sliders make this the easiest of all.


------------------
George Kaye
Kaye's Music Scene
Reseda, California
818-881-5566
www.kayesmusicscene.com
_________________________
George Kaye
Kaye's Music Scene
Reseda, California
818-881-5566
www.kayesmusicscene.com

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