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Yamaha MODX #2902004
10/19/19 09:41 AM
10/19/19 09:41 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,339
Sofia, Bulgaria
CyberGene Offline OP
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CyberGene  Offline OP
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Sofia, Bulgaria
In another thread I mentioned I started playing in an amateur band, mostly new-wave, pop, electro, chill-out stuff. My duties are synth pads, leads, etc. I've gradually went through using my Studiologic SL73 hooked to iPad running Korg Gadget 2, then AUM with plugins, then switched to my Macbook running Apple MainStage. With every switch I got even more options, sounds and capabilities, but it was getting even weirder to program...

So, after a lot of research I finally decided to purchase a Yamaha MODX 6. First impression is that this thing can really produce every possible sounds and has a lot of controls and millions of effects.

And the second impression is that either I'm old, or probably too brainwashed by playing only classical and jazz acoustic piano all my life, or the MODX is a brain puzzle, or everything of the above but I simply can't grasp anything about how to use it and program it frown Where's the problem? Are there any people on this forum who own a MODX? What's your pattern of using it? I think I may use it as just an instrument with ready patches that I select and use, probably would be able to layer two patches together. However I think I might be only scratching the surface and wold benefit much more if I am able to program more complex stuff like motion sequences, arpeggios, effects, etc but the menu system is ridiculously non-intuitive, at least to me. Any advices? Is this a real problem with MODX or that's how things are with all workstations? In that case, any advices on how to penetrate that brain barrier of mine? Like, MODX for dummies (classical pianists)? smile

P.S. Yeah, I've been reading through the manual. I already went through it twice and even started the reference manual.

Last edited by CyberGene; 10/19/19 09:44 AM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
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Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2902020
10/19/19 10:11 AM
10/19/19 10:11 AM
Joined: Jan 2016
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Yamaha threw a lot of their pro workstation stuff into the MODX but you can't use it all.

My Korg analogue synth has lots of knobs so is more intuitive on the fly, but the big MODX screen provides lots more options. In a live situation you can't be menu diving on a screen so need to adapt your workflow.

A British PSR guy living in Sweden named "Woody Piano Shack" has a few MODX YouTube videos focused on performing that might get you going.

Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2902034
10/19/19 10:46 AM
10/19/19 10:46 AM
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 239
Canada
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Abdol Online content
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
In another thread I mentioned I started playing in an amateur band, mostly new-wave, pop, electro, chill-out stuff. My duties are synth pads, leads, etc. I've gradually went through using my Studiologic SL73 hooked to iPad running Korg Gadget 2, then AUM with plugins, then switched to my Macbook running Apple MainStage. With every switch I got even more options, sounds and capabilities, but it was getting even weirder to program...

So, after a lot of research I finally decided to purchase a Yamaha MODX 6. First impression is that this thing can really produce every possible sounds and has a lot of controls and millions of effects.

And the second impression is that either I'm old, or probably too brainwashed by playing only classical and jazz acoustic piano all my life, or the MODX is a brain puzzle, or everything of the above but I simply can't grasp anything about how to use it and program it frown Where's the problem? Are there any people on this forum who own a MODX? What's your pattern of using it? I think I may use it as just an instrument with ready patches that I select and use, probably would be able to layer two patches together. However I think I might be only scratching the surface and wold benefit much more if I am able to program more complex stuff like motion sequences, arpeggios, effects, etc but the menu system is ridiculously non-intuitive, at least to me. Any advices? Is this a real problem with MODX or that's how things are with all workstations? In that case, any advices on how to penetrate that brain barrier of mine? Like, MODX for dummies (classical pianists)? smile

P.S. Yeah, I've been reading through the manual. I already went through it twice and even started the reference manual.


Your best bet is to ask your problems at:

https://yamahasynth.com/forum

Bad Mister (Phil Clendeninn) is there, in addition to a few other Yamaha professionals. They are all very knowledgeable.

The learning curve of Yamaha synths is known for being steep compared to other synths. It's not the consumer's fault but it is Yamaha's poor design problem.

Once you learned how the brain of the engineers at yamaha worked 30 years ago, you'll pick everything up super quick.

*PS: There are many tutorials and articles. I highly recommand you to browse it thoroughly.

Last edited by Abdol; 10/19/19 10:52 AM.

Kawai MP7SE, Yamaha MOTF XF6, Yamaha WX5, Yamaha Pacifica 112v
Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2902061
10/19/19 12:05 PM
10/19/19 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene

And the second impression is that either I'm old, or probably too brainwashed by playing only classical and jazz acoustic piano all my life, or the MODX is a brain puzzle, or everything of the above but I simply can't grasp anything about how to use it and program it frown


It's not you, it's Yamaha frown

I don't recall, have you ever owned a Yamaha stage piano? The interface is ridiculously non-intuitive, in a way that only a purely-Japanese-designed electronics product can be.

There are button presses, long-presses, long-press-with function-alt presses, long-press-until blinking, and so on. Incredibly non-intuitive and non-discoverable at times. A lot of functions are assigned to buttons that don't really make sense and just need to be memorized. You simply need the manual, and beyond that, a community of knowledgeable peers who can explain how the esoteric access methods work.

Seems like they may be turning the corner with the Nord-like "direct access" of the CP-88, which is a good thing IMO.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2902075
10/19/19 12:48 PM
10/19/19 12:48 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,339
Sofia, Bulgaria
CyberGene Offline OP
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CyberGene  Offline OP
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Regarding the Yamahasynth forums, yes, I’ve followed some of the tutorials by Bad Mister and while they show how you can achieve unbelievably good sounds and control, they totally don’t make sense to me and I fail to see the logic behind all the terminology and concepts. Admittedly, I have spent only two hours with the MODX, so I have to allow more time for my brain to get used to these awkward workflows.

Last edited by CyberGene; 10/19/19 12:48 PM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2902088
10/19/19 02:12 PM
10/19/19 02:12 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 27
Virginia Beach, VA
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I have a MODX7, but I'm afraid I can't be of much help. The menu-diving complexity is high on this instrument and a bit daunting to me as well. I can't imagine that will be any less complex when the next OS update adds pattern sequencing ability.


Living the dudely way through learning and playing the piano.
Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2902122
10/19/19 04:32 PM
10/19/19 04:32 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 5,121
Richmond, BC, Canada
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Charles Cohen Offline
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FWIW --

Originally Posted by CyberGene
. .. Admittedly, I have spent only two hours with the MODX, so I have to allow more time for my brain to get used to these awkward workflows.


ROFL !!!!!!!

Come back after you've banged your head for days or weeks -- things should make sense by then.

Originally Posted by CyberGene
In another thread I mentioned I started playing in an amateur band, mostly new-wave, pop, electro, chill-out stuff. My duties are synth pads, leads, etc. . . .

So, after a lot of research I finally decided to purchase a Yamaha MODX 6. First impression is that this thing can really produce every possible sounds and has a lot of controls and millions of effects.

And the second impression is that either I'm old, or probably too brainwashed by playing only classical and jazz acoustic piano all my life, or the MODX is a brain puzzle, or everything of the above but I simply can't grasp anything about how to use it and program it frown Where's the problem? Are there any people on this forum who own a MODX? What's your pattern of using it? I think I may use it as just an instrument with ready patches that I select and use, probably would be able to layer two patches together. However I think I might be only scratching the surface and wold benefit much more if I am able to program more complex stuff like motion sequences, arpeggios, effects, etc but the menu system is ridiculously non-intuitive, at least to me. Any advices? Is this a real problem with MODX or that's how things are with all workstations? In that case, any advices on how to penetrate that brain barrier of mine? Like, MODX for dummies (classical pianists)? smile

P.S. Yeah, I've been reading through the manual. I already went through it twice and even started the reference manual.


One of the things you bought, with the MODX, was all those pre-programmed sounds -- and the capability of tweaking them, if you choose to.

I don't see any shame in just using it as a "performance instrument" -- pre-programmed sounds, layers, maybe splits. That much should be relatively easy to do. I'm not saying "intuitive" -- nothing about a computer wrapped up to look like a musical instrument is "intuitive" -- but you should be able to set them up fairly easily (once you know the magic spells), save them, and recall them with a small number of keystrokes.

. . . If the engineers and sound designers did good work, that might be all you need.


FM synthesis has been notoriously difficult for most people. "User-friendly tools" are becoming available -- there are favorable reviews of the Elecktron Digitone -- but that's probably the _last_ thing you should try to master.

I don't know what's available on the MODX for tailoring the built-in sounds, but you will have _at least_ ADSR envelopes, and various modulators, de-tunes, and effects to play with. It takes a while to get your head around those (unless you have previous synth experience), but they're within the grasp of normal humans.

It's possible that, as a classical pianist, you might be comfortable doing a lot of arpeggiation yourself, rather than using the machine's software. That depends partly on what you're playing. If there's a three-octave repeating pattern, and you're filling in stuff over that -- yes, the arpeggiator will be your friend.

So it's not that you're dumb, or that your brain is old. It's that nothing about the MODX is "intuitive" for you yet, except pressing a key to generate a note. I expect the rest of its functions will become "intuitive" slowly, over time, with growing experience.

I sympathize with you, from a different starting point and a different target. I was able to get my head around my microKorg without much suffering. But my Korg Volca Drum -- a tiny drum-machine synth, where every button does at least two things, and there are several "modes", and the display is tiny -- is proving difficult to master.

. . . Mostly, I need to dedicate a lot more hours to learning its mysteries.

Have fun (if you can call it that!) --







Last edited by Charles Cohen; 10/19/19 04:33 PM.

. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2902160
10/19/19 07:23 PM
10/19/19 07:23 PM
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I don't own a MODX (have no fear, I am not hijacking the thread smile ). The only DP I have every owned is the NU1X and as you know that has probably the least amount of options of any current DP for sale. Sometimes you have to accept that there is no logic, that the interface will never make sense. I liken it to the Nintendo Mario games. Some things if you jump up and hit them spit out a gold coin, others don't. As far as I know there is no way to tell in the game, you just keep trying until you figure out what works. Good luck!


Yamaha NU1X, Sennheiser HD 599 headphones, dabling with PianoTeq
Formerly known as oneilt130
Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2902179
10/19/19 09:21 PM
10/19/19 09:21 PM
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I have one of the predecessors, MOX8. To this they added the 8 operator FM and 16 parts instead of 4 parts for performances for the MODX line. The basic architecture is pretty much the same. A voice or part is made up of up to 8 elements with filters, envelopes, and effects included. You can then combine multiple parts, up to 16, to make up larger patches called performances.

Each element in a voice is essentially one type of sound, be it a synth sound, an orchestral sound, or it can be one velocity layer of a piano. For the CFX, each of the elements can be one of the velocity layers of the piano. For more than eight, you just combine two parts. The FM is made up of 8 operators or oscillators. Usually the oscillator is a sine wave. You set with the different modes how you want these to interact. The magic comes when you set different ratios and apply different envelopes to the different operators as they interact. There are a lot of resources on the web to better explain FM synthesis and some great youtube tutorials.

If you want to get really into programming, I highly recommend the Melas tools at the link below. In the screenshots, you can begin to wrap your head around the architecture. I use these with my MOX8. Yamaha also provided a great on screen editor with the MOX8, but seems to have dropped this thinking the touchscreen is good enough with the MODX series.

http://www.jmelas.gr/montage/bundle_scr.php

Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2902198
10/20/19 01:33 AM
10/20/19 01:33 AM
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How are the pianos on the MODX8? Do they have sympathetic resonance? Or more generally: How do the pianos compare to digital pianos in this price range?

Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2902206
10/20/19 02:52 AM
10/20/19 02:52 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,339
Sofia, Bulgaria
CyberGene Offline OP
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Thanks for all the replies. I’m not a total newbie. I’ve worked with a Moog Model 15 on my iPad and think I’m pretty familiar with most analog synth concepts and modules, I know how to patch my own sound, I know what’s a filter, an ADSR envelope and how to apply it to amplitude or pitch, I know how to use a LFO, I’m familiar with most type of effects including more modern ones such as sidechaining. I know how FM synthesis works although I don’t know how to achieve a particular sound, that still new to me. I understand all the concepts of a workstation like performance, parts, etc. I think I also understand basic stuff about AWM2, waveforms.

However when I try to apply all that to MODX it all makes no sense laugh

Let me give you an example. On the MODX there’s the so called superknob which is just a knob that can be programmed to simultaneously tweak multiple parameters. Like, with just turning a single knob you’re actially turning multiple other knobs. And there’s an example given in the user manual on how to program the super knob to create a crossfade between two parts. In theory the knob should only do a very simple thing: increase the volume of one part and at the same time decrease the volume of the other one. Now, let’s see how that’s actually done:
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

It’s excruciatingly non-intuitive smile I think I started somehow getting it already but I think I might have been wrong about the purpose of the MODX. I thought it would be very easy to do that type of programming while at a rehearsal but that seems like a rather impossible thing. Instead the MODX programming seems to be rather a homework task where I read the manual and watch videos in order to be able to do simple things such as blending two sounds smile

Last edited by CyberGene; 10/20/19 02:53 AM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2902218
10/20/19 05:34 AM
10/20/19 05:34 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 7,954
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
Tyrone Slothrop  Online Content

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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Let me give you an example. On the MODX there’s the so called superknob which is just a knob that can be programmed to simultaneously tweak multiple parameters. Like, with just turning a single knob you’re actially turning multiple other knobs. And there’s an example given in the user manual on how to program the super knob to create a crossfade between two parts. In theory the knob should only do a very simple thing: increase the volume of one part and at the same time decrease the volume of the other one. Now, let’s see how that’s actually done:
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Wouldn't that have just been two lines of Python? laugh laugh


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2902301
10/20/19 11:03 AM
10/20/19 11:03 AM
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Start here: Yamaha Montage MODX - The Super Knob & How to Use it to Transition & Crossfade Between Parts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRF_Ye6rBFw&t=614s

Youtube videos are going to be the best way to learn this stuff. Again, the Melas tools make doing this stuff a lot easier including programming the super knob and motion sequencer.

Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2903227
10/22/19 04:44 PM
10/22/19 04:44 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,339
Sofia, Bulgaria
CyberGene Offline OP
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I have this (annoying) quality to not find peace on earth until I know how something works in details and can be as stubborn as it is required to achieve that.

So, three sleepless nights later I have a fairly good overview of how to program this d*mn thing and I still hold my view it’s very non-intuitive. Whoever designed it is a non-human being or someone who hates humanity.

Anyway, the MODX is really a very powerful machine. I like it more and more.

Last edited by CyberGene; 10/22/19 04:45 PM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2904649
10/25/19 11:48 PM
10/25/19 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I have this (annoying) quality to not find peace on earth until I know how something works in details and can be as stubborn as it is required to achieve that.

So, three sleepless nights later I have a fairly good overview of how to program this d*mn thing and I still hold my view it’s very non-intuitive. Whoever designed it is a non-human being or someone who hates humanity.

Anyway, the MODX is really a very powerful machine. I like it more and more.


this reminds me of my experience with my Yamaha XF8.
super very challenging.
I like my XF8 alot!!
but, for me, not easy to figure out how to do stuff.

Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2904654
10/26/19 01:10 AM
10/26/19 01:10 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,339
Sofia, Bulgaria
CyberGene Offline OP
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CyberGene  Offline OP
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BTW they released firmware 2.0 last night. Adds new effects, performances, etc and most importantly a pattern sequencer.


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2914164
11/20/19 09:12 AM
11/20/19 09:12 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,339
Sofia, Bulgaria
CyberGene Offline OP
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So, after a month I already feel comfortable with the awkward Yamaha synth architecture and it doesn't seem like a brainf*ck anymore.

Or so I thought wink I had a jam on Monday and decided to split the keyboard in two parts: an arpeggiated synth on the left, a pad on the right. It's a pretty straightforward process: you set the upper and lower limit for each part and that's displayed nicely as colored bars on the display: one on the left touches the other on the right at the split point. I did this many times before. And then I realized I can hear the left part arpeggios being triggered by pressing keys in the right part shocked So, I had a lengthy conversation with Bad Mister from YamahaSynth forums and I was 100% sure it was a bug! And then after another lengthy consultation with the long version of the user manual it turns out that:

Splitting the keyboard is not actually splitting the keyboard! It's actually a weird concept that determines which notes are allowed for a part. In other words a part will receive key presses from the entire keyboard but only the allowed notes will sound. And since the left part is an arpeggiated one with a pattern that goes an octave below the pressed keys, the left part received all key presses from the right part and some of the pattern notes went into the allowed (left) region and so were audible laugh So, in case of split with an arpeggiated parts, you don't use the usual note ranges. You go into some buried menus to change "another" note limit setting. One that's not visible on the main performance screen.

Can you comprehend that? I couldn't. This is not made by human. This is not made for human. This is inhumane!!!

OK, now that I know it, it's OK, I'm a software engineer and I like solving puzzles. And BTW, the MODX is absolutely fabulous synth, the other guys compliment the quality of sounds every time. But geez, Yamaha engineers are out of their mind.


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2914167
11/20/19 09:18 AM
11/20/19 09:18 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 7,954
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
Tyrone Slothrop  Online Content

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Originally Posted by CyberGene
But geez, Yamaha engineers are out of their mind.

The Yamaha User Experience (UX) engineers were busy designing the UI for the N1X. 😶


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2914168
11/20/19 09:20 AM
11/20/19 09:20 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,339
Sofia, Bulgaria
CyberGene Offline OP
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CyberGene  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by CyberGene
But geez, Yamaha engineers are out of their mind.

The Yamaha User Experience (UX) engineers were busy designing the UI for the N1X. 😶

You naughty guy! laugh


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Yamaha MODX [Re: CyberGene] #2914371
11/20/19 06:20 PM
11/20/19 06:20 PM
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CyberGene,

I here ya! Years ago I used to have a MOX6. Got it after seeing that famous Yamaha guru demonstrator Bert Smorenburg play it. My conclusion is that such instruments are designed only for people who have chosen playing music as their primary occupation. Or, teens who have extraordinary amounts of free time. Whatever. Sold it ar 60% loss, and the guy who bought it from me sold it in a month due to the very same reasons you’ve stated here.

I reverted to composing music using a Yamaha PSR workstation. These, of course, have their own set of “goodies” but at least the user interface is very simple and the sound patches are ok (the expansion packs less so).

In short - if you want to make old-fashioned traditional music, you get a PSR. If you want to create something yet unseen or unheard - you get a music production synthesiser. In the end I got tired of both and now I play the Viola - an instrument with a very simple user interface, no keys, no knobs, just 4 strings and a bow. I haven’t touched my Clavinova for 3 or 4 years now. I don’t sell it because, in my opinion, there should be a piano in every home.

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