Yamaha Motif ES

8 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Yamaha Motif ES отключены
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Music Production Synthesizer


Photos: Mark Ewing

Yamaha’s Motif family of sampling, sequencing, synth workstations was launched in 2001 (and reviewed in SOS in September of that year see www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep01/articles/yamahamotif7.asp ). Since then, the range has carved quite a niche for itself in a market that has just a handful of major players the various flavours of Korg’s Triton and Roland’s recent Fantom S come to mind. Now that Yamaha have decided it’s time to upgrade the range, it would seem that they’ve preferred to take advantage of public familiarity with the Motif name rather than launch a completely new range. Enter the Motif ES (or ‘Expanded System’).

In response to user requests, many extra features were added to the original Motif over time by way of software updates. But some of the requested facilities required hardware changes that would be impossible to retrofit to an existing instrument. Having made the decision to produce a ‘next generation’ of Motifs, it was a logical step to develop a new chipset that would make these enhancements easy to implement.

There wasn’t a whole lot wrong with the original Motifs, and the technology is still appearing in new gear such as the S90 88-note synth I reviewed last month (albeit with the benefit of the aforementioned Motif software updates built in). But we’re nearly three years down the road, and technology has moved on. Hence, ES offers 128-voice polyphony (more than double that of the original), redesigned effects and EQ, even more pattern-generation capability from the arpeggiator, and an operating system that seems generally smoother and faster. More fundamentally, perhaps, there is also a new synth engine. Subjectively, the filters seem to me to have a more ‘analogue’ feel more than the average sample-based synth and the EGs are very responsive.

And there’s a much larger waveform ROM on board; it’s equivalent to 175MB, with 1859 waveforms. Many offer specialised, performance-based samples (for example, guitar string squeaks and harmonics) which are combined in the factory presets to provide voices that produce many of the signature effects of the instruments being simulated (more on this later). Also more numerous are the factory Voices: 768 presets in six banks, and 64 factory drum kits, plus a General MIDI sound set and 256 user Voice memories (and 32 user drum kit locations).

That’s a lot more Voices than on the original Motif!

Strangely, for an enhanced instrument, a number of features have gone missing, the most odd of which (on UK-bought instruments, anyway) is onboard sample RAM! Yes, in order for your new sampling synth workstation to sample, you’ll first have to buy some RAM. To be fair, RAM prices are volatile in the UK at the moment, and it must have been tricky for Yamaha to work out costings that included RAM, but it still feels like an expense is being passed on to the customer so the price of the ES can be kept down.

Mind you, I should point out that unlike Yamaha’s last few rounds of sample-based products, the ES’s onboard sampler benefits from using standard, widely available and affordable DIMM RAM modules to a total of 512MB.

Other features such as the option to add Yamaha’s PLG synth-expansion boards and the ability to use the ES as a sophisticated master keyboard or real-time control surface remain from the original Motif, albeit with subtle enhancements here and there.

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