Purchase upcoming, opinions requested. Would you bother with another hardware synth?


Hi, Terry

Sorry for the delay in replying. I seem to have issues with this website on my iPAD (been away from home all week) - sometimes it is fine and other times if refuses to load, despite other sites being fine.

Yes, I also love layering to create all sorts of interesting textures, and I envisage some electro music shows later in the year that will just be me.

Just to add a response to all of the interesting perspectives in this thread. Whilst I will be moving to more dedicated computer ( the “brick” we talk about above) to get the best horsepower possible, I still do not think I am ready to go all PC. I just don’t have the confidence yet, hopefully the new rig will give me that over time. But I also want a few good boards for the times when I just want to take a single board out for low key stuff (and nothing else), but then going a little stupid with layers as well.

At present my setup will be (when maxed out) new PC with Cantabile and VSTs, Nord G2 engine, Kronos and “whatever I replace the Yamaha EX5 with”.

I will be auditioning EX5 replacement candidates a week Saturday (will be driving past civilisation and a few music stores along the M4 corridor in England/Wales after taking my niece back to Bristol airport (nearest decent music shop is a five hour round trip away!), so interesting to see what I end up with! :slight_smile:

I hadn’t thought about using Cantabile and VSTs for effects processing of external synths, but something to think about. :slight_smile:


Cantabile is a terrific host for effects VSTs, that much is certain! Very easy routing as well.

Good luck in your shopping excursions! Keep us posted! :slight_smile:



Hi, all

Thought it was time for an update. :slight_smile:

For the past three weeks I have been the owner of a Yamaha Montage 7 which has now replaced my Yamaha EX5, so the Montage is now my lower tier 'board.

I couldn’t find a 76 note MIDI only controller that I liked, and I really wanted 76 keys on the bottom tier (Kronos X61 on top). Not being a trained piano player, I have never been fussed on 88 keys and weighted action. And the Montage sounds great, so it gives me the controller I want and another sound source. Given I had my EX5 for 17 years, if I get similar mileage out of the Montage then the investment is not too bad overall.

I have also gone for it with flexibility in mind for doing different things. E.g. I will be doing a small “chill out” set down my local music venue with nothing but the Montage this week. I could go out with just the Kronos, or maybe both of them if that is all that is needed. But in the next few months (once I have the pennies saved up again :slight_smile: ) I will be investing in a “BRIX” type PC to go into my rack and the fun will really start then when that and Cantabile opens up the VSTis I can use live in combination with the two boards and a Nord G2 Engine.

I also reckoned that with the Kronos and Montage available, I can have one or two real CPU hogs going (like DIVA) going on and I am not worried about trying to run all sounds via PC whilst that is happening. And of ocurse there are sounds in the Kronos and Montage I really like and wish to use.

Thanks for all of the advice and opinions it was really interesting to read them all. I am happy I have a solution (once that BRIX PC is built and installed) that gives the best of all worlds. :slight_smile:


Yeah, CPU-Hogitis is what drove me to drag my old hardware synths out of mothballs, as I mentioned above.

Thanks for another prod/push/nudge toward the Montage 7 as my next serious purchase! That thing is an amazing beast. Congratulations on the purchase! :slight_smile:



Yes, it is very good. Here is a cut and paste from what I wrote about it on Korg Forums.

Just thought I would pass by and say I have purchased a Montage 7 to replace my Yamaha EX5 as my lower tier keyboard for live use, and I think it nicely complements my Kronos X61 on the top tier.

Experience so far is very positive.

I was quite critical of Yamaha when I saw the Montage on paper, as whilst I applauded the return of FM, I would have loved to see them go further with AN and VL engines for example. And it is criminal that FDSP only ever appeared on the EX5. I was hoping with the Kronos as the competition that Yamaha would do the EX5 as it should have been done. As much as I am now a Korg fan with the Kronos, I still love the Yamaha sound.

I was disappointed when I saw that the Montage “only” had AWM2 and FM-X, and whilst I have been a vocal “paper critic”, I always knew one day I would have to replace my EX5 and that I would go and demo the Montage to hear it for myself, once I had the budget ready to replace the EX5.

So, why did I pull the trigger on it?

Simple, it sounds fantastic, and the performance focus is well thought out, and gives you lots of inspiration. I never use a Workstation sequencer for any recording work, so the fact it does not have a full blown sequencer is not an issue for me personally. All my studio recording is done in Cubase and if I need a backing track on stage I use Cantabile (more later), or I have the Kronos Sequencer.

I think Yamaha score a bit of an own goal when they refer to AWM as AWM2, which has been the name since the SY series. AWM-X might be a more appropriate name, and a more powerful beast compared to the four element AWM in my EX5 and Motif Rack ES.

In fact (RCM notwithstanding) the Montage reminds me of my SY in that here we have a digital workstation that can sound very analog. Its AWM engine has some really good analog sounds and it even does sync lead sounds pretty well (need to dig in and understand how!)

After years of the Korg and the SSD, sample streaming and ease of file transfer via network, I am now back in the world of USB Thumb drives, Yamaha quirkiness and a 1.8GB FLASH limit. It does show that Korg made the right move on the OASYS/Kronos to remove such restrictions, but that does not bother me that the Montage is capped, as I have the Kronos for when I need to do sample streaming.

The MIDI limitation mentioned above is still dumb, but it doesn’t bother me as I am redoing my keyboard rig so that Cantabile has more use. It will be a MIDI hub for the keyboards, so will be my MIDI router/merger/processor. I needed to do something as no board I have on stage can now act as a merger (my EX5 and Novation Remote61 could, which meant no external MIDI boxes required). Cantabile used to sit on the end of a MIDI Chain, but I am now making it the hub, which means that any MIDI limitations in the Montage are moot.

Cantabile is also why I am more relaxed about lack of engines on the Montage (as well has having 9 in the Kronos!). I will soon have an embedded computer in my gig rack (to replace my current aging laptop) with plenty of horse power and memory, and Cantabile will host my arsenal of soft synths, even resource hungry ones like UH-E DIVA, Omnisphere, etc. Oh, I still have my Nord G2 Engine in the rack as well Smile

So with the combination of Kronos, Montage, Nord G2 Engine and Cantabile host (with any VSTi I wish to use), I think that will see me through for a while. Smile

But back to the Montage, it really does sound great, and two weeks in I am glad I purchased it. I’ve had a lot of fun checking out the presets, I got some of the EasySound packs as well for even more fun, and it is now time to get it integrated in my rig.


Being new to C3, and actually midi in general (I’m an old schooler who never saw the need… or possibilities) until recently. I’ve owned a ton of keys over the years from many different manufacturers, and found uses for them all, until something better came along. So, I’d open my wallet and get the next best thing. This got to be a very expensive habit until I finally saw the light and decided to take the chance on midi and C3. With a lot of help (proving an old dog can learn new tricks) I’m glad I decided to take the plunge. With an investment in a good laptop, a nice controller, Komplete 11, and a good interface, I have less $ invested than it would cost for a used keyboard that could do all I can with my current setup. I kept a small multipurpose synth (Yamaha MX49) as an emergency parachute in case of laptop failure. The MX49 only weighs like 11 lbs. and can produce some very decent sounds to get me through a gig if necessary.

I agree with all who mentioned about the weight and time consuming setups involved in hauling multiple keys and stands. I built a custom setup that is as easy as I’ve ever had and I can be set up 10 min after rolling into a room, allowing me time to concentrate on other things. I will never go back to hardware again. For me, I just don’t see the need


Ahh…another convert!! Welcome to the light! :grin:


Even I think meanwhile, that software synths/VSTi have in total much more opportunities as hardware synthesizer stuff…I saw some days ago the Yamaha Montage. I have e.g. an old Motif XS 8…still pretty good. BUT the Montage is really incredible in opportunities for live playing/improvising. Yamaha developed here a really outstanding synthesizer.
I “love”, then stuff is mostly ready to play :slight_smile: The colored knob of the Montage brings absolutly new ways of playing. It recognize your improvisation and changes while playing beats, instruments, parts and so on. And…it fits! Goose bumps guaranteed :slight_smile:
I’m sure, if the budget fits…I’ll buy the Montage in addition.
But…also the new concept of the Montage is on the end limitated.
Until some weeks ago I was for me sure: no hardware synthesizer could do, what in sum the software synthesizers/VSTi do.
So I understand some musicans, which needs only a good keyboard. Native Instruments coming up next year with a 88 keys midi keyboard from their new series. They always work hard on in order to develop “a real good” 88 keyboard with a good “key feeling”.


Yes, I agree, the Montage is a great board, which I have purchased to replace my Yamaha EX5 as my bottom tier controller. The two EX5s I had (main and abckup) are now sold, but not before getting an EX5r for my studio rack. Back to the Motif I went for it as I could not find a semi-weighted controller in 76 key form as good as Yamaha keybeds, and with what I intended doing on stage, I still think I need a combination of hardware and then software to add the icing on the cake, as I don’t think a single computer could handle it all.

In starting this thread I had a lot of good opinions. In the end I went for a hybrid system based on the Montage 7, my Kronos X 61 and my Nord G2 Engine, which still soynds awesome and only takes up 1U of Rack space and adds next to no weight. The missing part of the jigsaw is the computer powerful enough to run even the most demanding of soft synths (my old laptop could not run something like Diva). But that is now close to being sorted. The computer is now built and in the Rack, Cantabile is installed, some basic soft synths are loaded, and I am now optimising the computer. :slight_smile:


I’m sure, even the Montage is really really good structered in sorting you personal patches/presets (also by genre)…I’m glad to have Cantabile, helping me also for the Montage to organise my stuff (and myself) :slight_smile:


This is on of the reasons, why I would never give up my Motif XS 8. The weighted (88) keys comes very very near to a “normal” piano.