Yamaha Montage Vs. Roland Fantom: Need Players Perspective for Purchase Advice:


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Hi Guys,


Time to update my Keyboard selection: "NEED ADVICE"......

I have been looking into the Yamaha Montage & the Roland Fantom. I have previously owned several keyboards brands, Roland, Korg, Moog & Arturia. I have never owned a Yamaha. So first things first, I believe that the Layout & the Logic to how everything is laid out and connected thru keyboard controls ex. Oscillators, Filters, Faders, ADSR are important as to the how friendly & easy the work flow can be in 2 aspects.
1. How you get around in creating actual Sounds & Scenes.
2. How the workflow works while actually using the keyboard in live situations, ex. pulling up sounds & patches for the next song on the "Set-List" etc.

I do not have any experience with the Logic & Workflow in Yamaha Keyboards. I do have decent knowledge with Roland & Korg using these keyboards, and keep in mind the boards I am referring to are either a combination of Analog & Digital or totally Digital. I have to admit, I find the work flow a bit easier on a Roland. To me the Logic just seems to work with my brain better...LOL... Now Moog on the other hand ex. Minimoog, Moog Prodigy, are fully fledged Analog Synthesizers. In some case I prefer the use Digital or Digital/Analog and some cases, the use of Completely Analog Synthesizers, but that's another discussion for another Post...LOL....

I like the Sounds of both keyboards so far that I have heard on YouTube online demos. I have had a chance to play on a Montage over at Sam Ash for about an hour, but for the first time I feel I only got a slight taste for it, which was very tasty....LOL.. The Roland Fantom I have not been able to try out yet.

The Yamaha “Montage”: I like the features it offered and the "Superknob" which I like the idea of connecting it to a Pedal. One thing that concerns me and you will understand when I get to the Fantom is that on the right side there seems to be an abundance of buttons that are small and trying to read them was difficult in the store. But I think I prefer actual analog knobs as well. Both keyboards seem to have awesomely Great sounds. So if we get past the Sounds and focus on the Layout & Logic, I think that's where I get a bit Hung up. I also like the feature is the ability to synchronize the input of an Audio signal coming into the Keyboard. Ex. a mic placed in the Kick Drum allows the Montage to Sync up the Sequencer (tempos) together for pre-programmed type music with a live drummer.

The Roland “Fantom”: I like the fact that after owning several of Roland's Drum machines, that they have incorporated the same type of button set up for use with Drums & for Sequencing, known as TREC. They also have incorporated on the right side of the Keyboard what appears to be a decent amount of Analog control knobs like for ADSR Filters etc. The Pads are a nice touch, but I am not sure how useful they could really end up. I own an Arturia MkII Kybd with 16 Pads and I rarely if ever use them if ever. Also having a Pitch Bend and the Wheel is nice but adding the second Wheel opens up other possibilities.

Some Concerns:
Maybe someone who have played one or the other or both, can help me answer some of these concerns of mine.

1. The size of the Display Window. Is one bigger and easier to read then the other? The eyes are not what they use to be...LOL..

2. The Keyboard Beds themselves: I played the Montage but not the Fantom. The Kybd bed on the Montage seems OK, Typical, decent maybe a cut above some of the older type of Kybd beds. I also own a Korg M1 and it seemed close to the same with after-touch, but without having them side by side I cannot fully compare them.

3. Does the Fantom also have the Audio input ability like the Montage to Sync its internal Sequencer (Tempo) with a Live Drummer? I could not find that info. anywhere.

4. Can anyone explain or compare the 2 boards, as to which one is more user friendly as compared to the Logic & Workflow as I mentioned before above? If you have played on both kybd's, which do you prefer? Being fairly New here I see that when posting there's a choice for a "Poll". Maybe a "Poll’s” is in order?

5. Then there's the $Price. As a reference, I will use the 61 key versions of both kybd's.
The Yamaha "Montage-6" generally seems to sell currently at $2,999.99.
The Roland "Fantom-6" generally seems to sell currently at $3,399.99. ($400.00 more)
The prices go up equally the same for these kybd's in all sizes at all of the big Music retailers.



If anyone who has experience with one or the other, or both. Please advise as to which keyboard you feel meets the needs of your playing style and leave some info. as to why you feel that way.

"Thx a Bunch"

ElectricEddie
 
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happyrat1

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My $0.02 worth of opinion on Yamaha is never buy one.

Their user support truly sucks and they tend to require buggy proprietary drivers which don't work with anything but Windows and Apple and their suggestion when it comes to alternative workarounds is "go pound sand" :p

Nothing about Yamaha is USB MIDI Class compliant nor shall it ever be.

My advice? Look at a Fantom, look at a Kronos, look at a Kurzweil but don't waste your money on a Yamaha.

Gary ;)
 
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I disagree with Gary.

I find Yamaha's support to be among the best. If you have any question about how to do something with your Montage, you can post (and also search) on yamahasynth.com and probably get the answer. Yamaha themselves have reps on the board answering customers. Roland has nothing comparable. (Nor Korg, for that matter.)

Yamaha's gear seems to be class compliant... it works on iPad/iPhone, no custom driver (custom drivers can't even be installed on those devices in the first place). In fact, the MODX works on iOS for both MIDI and audio, while Roland FA only works for MIDI (audio requires a custom driver, so that function is Mac and PC only).
 

happyrat1

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Rtoland Juno DS allows you to select between Vendor and Generic Driver for USB. Generic is fully class compliant.

Meanwhile my $500 Yamaha mixer has a sound card which is NOT Class Compliant.

And my experience with Yamaha? Their CSRs make no apologies for their non functional gear.

Gary ;)
 

happyrat1

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BTW, here on the forums we receive at least one or two queries per week about installing Yamaha drivers that failed to work properly. Just scan back thru the Yamaha threads here on the forum..

I don't have to make this stuff up.

Gary ;)
 
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Rtoland Juno DS allows you to select between Vendor and Generic Driver for USB. Generic is fully class compliant.
Maybe I wasn't clear enough in my post. Whether the DS you mention or the FA I mentioned, Roland's Generic setting (required for iOS where you can't install drivers) is MIDI only. For audio compatibility, you have to use a driver, so that functionality does not work on iOS. The MODX does MIDI *and* audio on iOS, no driver required. So this is a case where class compliance (or more specifically, lack of need to install custom drivers) favors the Yamaha over the Rolands, AFAIK.

MODX/Montage does have drivers to permit additional functionality on Windows/Mac. I've never had reason to use them. But my computer connection needs are minimal. A quick search didn't turn up reports of people having problems with them, though.

Meanwhile my $500 Yamaha mixer has a sound card which is NOT Class Compliant.

And my experience with Yamaha? Their CSRs make no apologies for their non functional gear.
Of course I can't speak to every piece of Yamaha gear in existence. But the OP asked about the Montage, and Montage support is excellent, and Montage works well with no driver installation on an iPad.

The Fantom may very well be the better choice for the OP, I just disagree with your reasons.

"Their user support truly sucks"?

Montage support is better than Roland support.

"tend to require buggy proprietary drivers"?

Unless that applies to the Montage (which I haven't seen) AND the OP has need to install said drivers, this doesn't necessarily seem relevant.

"which don't work with anything but Windows and Apple"?

Not an issue for anyone except Linux users, I guess. Worth noting if he's a Linux user. Not a reason to not buy one if he's not.

"Nothing about Yamaha is USB MIDI Class compliant nor shall it ever be"?

Yet Montage/MODX work better (with no driver installed) on iOS than Roland's FA and DS do. (I don't know about Fantom.)

Lots and lots of people are very happily using their Montage and MODX keyboards.

I'm happy with my MODX. I'd consider a Fantom, except they're too heavy for me to gig with. They do seem impressive!
 
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happyrat1

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BTW, here on the forums we receive at least one or two queries per week about installing Yamaha drivers that failed to work properly. Just scan back thru the Yamaha threads here on the forum..

I don't have to make this stuff up.

Gary ;)
This ^^^
 
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BTW, here on the forums we receive at least one or two queries per week about installing Yamaha drivers that failed to work properly. Just scan back thru the Yamaha threads here on the forum..

I don't have to make this stuff up.

Gary ;)
I searched this forum for Montage + Driver, no problems came up. I searched for MODX + Driver, one came up, but the OP didn't return after some basic troubleshooting guidelines, so we don't know whether the problem was or was not fixed, nor whether or not the problem was related to the driver.

I'm not saying other models might not have issues (some older models seem to have problems related to active sensing in particular), but as far as I can see, there don't appear to be issues with model the OP cares about. Considering that these are major products from the biggest manufacturer, I think if there were chronic issues with the drivers for Montage/MODX, it would probably be a widely reported and widely known issue.
 
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HI Guys,

Thx for the insight.

I do not bother with the lower end of any keyboards or any products for that matter. I prefer to buy the best since the best usually preforms better in the long run and lasts better over time since they give you a bit more of a kybd, of course that's why they have different models at different price points...LOL... Plus you only live once....LOL...

I have owned several Korgs & few Roland products and have had them for years. I take good care of my equipment and have played many a gig. Some of the kybd's which are showing now some basic issues like for instance, I had 2 Korgs memory died because the internal battery died. Then a Roland JX-3P the 1st Octave died which looks like the circuit under the rubber pads that the keys make contact with when played died. All of these 3 boards are 30-40 years old, bought new (original owner). I never really had any issues with any of them other then a splash or two of Rum & Coke on the keys...LOL... and maybe a little dust...

Yamaha is a big name and I believe they stand behind their products and for a Flagship Keyboard, especially at the price they are asking $$$$. Same with Roland. My biggest concern really is more from the creativity side of things and how the workflow lays out getting in & out of parameters while creating sounds and or writing songs.

ex. The Roland has a bit more of Analog controls. I prefer to have some physical knob to turn rather than going into a parameter on a screen and making an change. What's nice about multiple Analog knobs is you can change 2 or 3 parameters at the same time. You can not do that with a digital parameter on a screen.

" I am Still on the Fence"....LOL...

PS.
I am on Long Island, If you guys know of any reputable Authorized Service locations that you have had work done at them, or know someone who did, I would love to hear how it worked out and if Good, where the Service Center was.


Thx
ElectricEddie
 
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Hi Guys,


Time to update my Keyboard selection: "NEED ADVICE"......

I have been looking into the Yamaha Montage & the Roland Fantom. I have previously owned several keyboards brands, Roland, Korg, Moog & Arturia. I have never owned a Yamaha. So first things first, I believe that the Layout & the Logic to how everything is laid out and connected thru keyboard controls ex. Oscillators, Filters, Faders, ADSR are important as to the how friendly & easy the work flow can be in 2 aspects.
1. How you get around in creating actual Sounds & Scenes.
2. How the workflow works while actually using the keyboard in live situations, ex. pulling up sounds & patches for the next song on the "Set-List" etc.

I do not have any experience with the Logic & Workflow in Yamaha Keyboards. I do have decent knowledge with Roland & Korg using these keyboards, and keep in mind the boards I am referring to are either a combination of Analog & Digital or totally Digital. I have to admit, I find the work flow a bit easier on a Roland. To me the Logic just seems to work with my brain better...LOL... Now Moog on the other hand ex. Minimoog, Moog Prodigy, are fully fledged Analog Synthesizers. In some case I prefer the use Digital or Digital/Analog and some cases, the use of Completely Analog Synthesizers, but that's another discussion for another Post...LOL....

I like the Sounds of both keyboards so far that I have heard on YouTube online demos. I have had a chance to play on a Montage over at Sam Ash for about an hour, but for the first time I feel I only got a slight taste for it, which was very tasty....LOL.. The Roland Fantom I have not been able to try out yet.

The Yamaha “Montage”: I like the features it offered and the "Superknob" which I like the idea of connecting it to a Pedal. One thing that concerns me and you will understand when I get to the Fantom is that on the right side there seems to be an abundance of buttons that are small and trying to read them was difficult in the store. But I think I prefer actual analog knobs as well. Both keyboards seem to have awesomely Great sounds. So if we get past the Sounds and focus on the Layout & Logic, I think that's where I get a bit Hung up. I also like the feature is the ability to synchronize the input of an Audio signal coming into the Keyboard. Ex. a mic placed in the Kick Drum allows the Montage to Sync up the Sequencer (tempos) together for pre-programmed type music with a live drummer.

The Roland “Fantom”: I like the fact that after owning several of Roland's Drum machines, that they have incorporated the same type of button set up for use with Drums & for Sequencing, known as TREC. They also have incorporated on the right side of the Keyboard what appears to be a decent amount of Analog control knobs like for ADSR Filters etc. The Pads are a nice touch, but I am not sure how useful they could really end up. I own an Arturia MkII Kybd with 16 Pads and I rarely if ever use them if ever. Also having a Pitch Bend and the Wheel is nice but adding the second Wheel opens up other possibilities.

Some Concerns:
Maybe someone who have played one or the other or both, can help me answer some of these concerns of mine.

1. The size of the Display Window. Is one bigger and easier to read then the other? The eyes are not what they use to be...LOL..

2. The Keyboard Beds themselves: I played the Montage but not the Fantom. The Kybd bed on the Montage seems OK, Typical, decent maybe a cut above some of the older type of Kybd beds. I also own a Korg M1 and it seemed close to the same with after-touch, but without having them side by side I cannot fully compare them.

3. Does the Fantom also have the Audio input ability like the Montage to Sync its internal Sequencer (Tempo) with a Live Drummer? I could not find that info. anywhere.

4. Can anyone explain or compare the 2 boards, as to which one is more user friendly as compared to the Logic & Workflow as I mentioned before above? If you have played on both kybd's, which do you prefer? Being fairly New here I see that when posting there's a choice for a "Poll". Maybe a "Poll’s” is in order?

5. Then there's the $Price. As a reference, I will use the 61 key versions of both kybd's.
The Yamaha "Montage-6" generally seems to sell currently at $2,999.99.
The Roland "Fantom-6" generally seems to sell currently at $3,399.99. ($400.00 more)
The prices go up equally the same for these kybd's in all sizes at all of the big Music retailers.



If anyone who has experience with one or the other, or both. Please advise as to which keyboard you feel meets the needs of your playing style and leave some info. as to why you feel that way.

"Thx a Bunch"

ElectricEddie
I love my Korg Kronos and many downloadable user banks with great sounds. Very good help and manuals and user friendly.
 
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Hi Guys,
Unfortunately my experience with KORG SERVICE WHICH SUCKS..... They do not answer the phone and you get a standard thank you for being interested in KORG Products as a return e-mail. I am trying to find a local KORG Service center and I have tried several times to get info. from as I live fairly close to the Farmingdale Center, and I get no help at all. I may just have to go there. But that's another topic.

I am really stuck at a crossroad of trying to decide on getting a Fantom or a Montage and Nord C2 is sneaking in the backdoor with the dual Kybd synth.

Thx
ElectricEddie
 
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There is only ever a need to contact the manufacturer if you have a physical issue with the keyboard.

Every Yamaha I have looked at and tried has an OS that sucks and is far from user friendly.

Korg’s take some learning but the Korg Forum is great at helping solve learning issues.

Korg support seems to vary considerably, I asked a question about an OS update and the tech support responded saying its under development. A few months later he send another eMail with links when the update was released. Best that Yamaha.
 
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This may be a bit too old topic, but here are my two cents anyway.
I will admit I am Yamaha guy, has been one for over a decade and never had an issue that required using their official support anyway. Their forums are great for anything else, from features and functions questions, to fixing user introduced problems and misinterpretation.
Of course, when we talk about Montage, this is a deep synth engine and will have a learning curve. Once you get your head around the structure, it becomes quite intuitive. I guess the same goes for any synth/workstation out there. They all have deep functions and some limitations.
The Roland Fantom is very tempting indeed and I have been considering adding one for quite some time, but while Yamaha Montage is focused on giving you new ways to entertain your music ideas and performances, Fantom is relying much more on it's legacy. All the model expansions and so on... and if you are into having a virtual version of your favorite Roland synths into your Fantom that's actually great! Honestly, if I was about to choose now between purchasing Montage or Fantom, I might have went for the Fantom, but since I have been with Yamaha for so long, I don't see myself giving up on the Montage/MODX to replace it with Fantom.
Many people mentioned Korg and their Kronos has been the main Motif/Montage competitor for quite some time. The problem is, Kronos is now unofficially retired and they have replaced it with nautilus, which is nowhere near the same level... Sadly, it is absolutely unclear what Korg are trying to do at this time, having no actual flagship tier offering at this time.

And about the haters who saturated the topic with their bs.... I would not take a keyboard advise from someone who failed to install a mixer drivers. On the contrary, I have never experienced any issues installing Yamaha Motif, Montage or MODX drivers on any system, PC and Mac alike. IOS, as mentioned already, does not require any drivers.
 
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Every Yamaha I have looked at and tried has an OS that sucks and is far from user friendly.

Korg’s take some learning but the Korg Forum is great at helping solve learning issues.

Yamaha and Korg both have models that are pretty user-friendly, and models that are less so.

Comparing like-to-like, I'm not sure the same manufacturer would come out ahead on ease of use in all their market-competitive models. For example, I think it's arguable that, overall, the Yamaha is easier to use than the most comparable Korg in these face-offs:

Korg PA700/PA1000 vs. Yamaha PSR-SX700/PSR-SX900
Korg SV-2 vs. Yamaha CP73/CP88
Korg Vox Continental vs. Yamaha YC61
Korg Micro-Korg vs. Yamaha Reface CS

though of course the comparison may shift depending on exactly what it is you're trying to accomplish! And there are certainly cases where the harder-to-use model can do things that can't be done at all on the easier to use model, and if that's a function you need, then the relative ease of use may be moot. When it comes to technology, "more functional" and "easier to use" are often at odds, after all. But if you just compare the typical widely used functions that can actually be done by both boards in each of the board pairs above, and looked at, for example, how far you'd likely get without opening the manual at all, I think I'd get farther on the Yamaha. And I say that as someone who owns three of those four Korgs (and an older version of the fourth, as I have the SV1 and have at least spent some time with the SV2 as well), so I'm not coming at this from the perspective of favoring what I own.

As for Korg Forum being a great help, I agree that it can be, but I find the Yamaha Forum better, in terms of how likely a question is to get well answered (or answered at all), largely because there's a rep from Yamaha who is very involved there. It probably comes from the fact that the Yamaha forum is actually run by Yamaha, while Korg's forum is not actually run by Korg. However, the Yamaha Forum doesn't cover their arrangers, unfortunately.
 
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Hi Guys


First off, let me say that I really like Montage & the Fantom both.

I am still not sure after months of researching the Montage & the Fantom which one I like better. However taking that long I think just shows you how much I like both. I can tell you that I have a good amount of experience with Synth's. Now while shopping for a new board I have compared the Montage & the Fantom. From a person who has not done a Deep Dive into either and approaching the 2 Kybd's for the first time, I found the Fantom is much easier to understand. At least it was for me standing there in the music store for a few hours comparing both. Also I found that the screen on the Fantom was clearer and sharper and just looked more impressive with its styling and color's. It had an easier "On Screen Workflow". I felt the workflow was easier than the Montage. The Montage I was kind of disappointed since I like it a lot, to find the screen to be a bit blurry and confusing and some of the parameter terms were not as familiar to me as the terminology on the Fantom. So for ease of use and Screen clarity, it goes to the Fantom.

Having owned the TR-606, TR-707 & TR8 Drum machines. I like the Similar programming buttons on the Fantom which have multiple uses. Recording and building songs seems to be easier as well on the Fantom. One drawback is the 32 bar length on songs, it should be longer maybe 64???. As for the Montage the "Beat Sync Audio" feature sounds like a nice feature to sync the sequencer with a Mic in the Kick drum to keep the drummer and Sequencer in time. However, I hear it does not work 100% all of the time. It been brought to my attention that anything other than a "4 on the Floor" beat it will lose Sync. Odd time signatures are possibly an issue for it to stay in time with as well. Beat correction needs to be applied, just something else to keep an eye on in a live performance, as if there's not enough other things going on.. LOL...

As for Sounds:
Put aside the Zen-Core & V-Piano AWM & FM-X engines etc. The bottom line is how does it sound? Are the sounds useable and in the style of what music you are creating? I feel that they both have some great sounds. I have seen YouTube comparisons in where comparisons are made between 2 similar sounds from each Kybd's. ex. Brass to Brass , Rhodes to Rhodes, Pad to Pad etc. and they try to find the most similar sounding patch on each Kybd. The DKS Web site has a Very Good comparisons on YouTube. The end result is ex. Strings to Strings, in your ear may sound better on the Montage while the Brass to Brass may sound better on the Fantom. Its all subjective.

Sound to Sound both keyboards sound Great. So workflow becomes a deciding factor, I think at least for me. If you can't manipulate the Menu's well enough or fast enough to get thru them, you will not be happy and will get frustrated and may not get the desired results. So Workflow starts to become a critical point. Remember Workflow is very important since creativity waits for no man. If you have to interrupt the creative flow by figuring out how to do this, or how to do that, than by the time you do make the desired change in the Menu, the creative energy is diminished (No Pun intended). For that reason I think I am leaning towards the Fantom 7. Ed Diaz has some Great YouTube Clips available for learning on the Fantom, approx. 61 Clips and most are fairly short (3 to 6 mins.) & to the point which is nice, better than some that are 45 to 60 mins long and do more selling than explaining as I found with a few of the Montage Clips on YouTube.

However one of the things that keeps pulling me back to the Montage is The "Superknob" which I think is way Cool.... The Montage also has a few sounds that I was very impressed by. Also the Scene "DJ Montage" and several others were awesome. I am not sure if there are some Scenes like "DJ Montage " already set up in the Fantom or rather you need to build them yourself. In the Montage, I believe you may be able to take the structure of the "DJ Montage" and use it and substitute other sounds in its Zones to create your own Scene, sort of use it like a Template.

Also I like the location of the Zone buttons closer the the Key bed on the Montage. On the Fantom they are located above the the Zone Faders, further from the Key bed. Closer makes for easier & faster changes during a live performance. Another thing to consider is that the Montage has a little brother, so to speak, The ModX. Instead of lugging around a 37lb. Montage, I was thinking since they are similar with the same sound engines, that sounds (to an extent) could be built at home on the Montage and transferred to the ModX for playing out live, therefore hauling around a keyboard that weighs half of the weight. So why not get both the Montage & the ModX.

Still on the fence, but the pickets are starting to hurt and I am starting to fall off the fence for the ..................................Fantom7.


Thx
ElectricEddie
 

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