[Ed. Note: Yamaha's MODX family has been replaced by the upgraded MODX+ family, with updated specs matching those found in MONTAGE.] Building on the technology of their flagship MONTAGE series, Yamaha has introduced the new MODX synthesizer series.

The Yamaha MODX family includes three separate synthesizer models. These models are the Yamaha MODX6, Yamaha MODX7 and Yamaha MODX8.

With an aim towards mobility, Yamaha has taken the heart of their flagship MONTAGE synthesizer, the AWM2 and FM-X sound engines, and distilled them into the lightweight and compact MODX. MODX also features Yamaha’s proprietary Motion Control, controllable via the Super Knob.

MODX Synth Engines – AWM2 and FM-X

As mentioned, Yamaha’s MODX synths feature their Advanced Wave Memory 2 (AWM2) and Expanded Frequency Modulation (FM-X) sound engines. This gives you fantastic sounding sample-based sounds as well as the complex sonic qualities of FM synthesis. The AWM2 engine provides 128 notes of polyphony while FM-X provides 64 notes of polyphony. 

Taking a closer look at the AWM2 engine, Yamaha uses a proprietary data compression scheme to offer an incredible palette of sounds with no discernible loss of sonic quality. The resulting sound sources, known as Elements, can be stacked and layered, offering a rich, vibrant stereo sound.

The second synth engine we mentioned is Yamaha’s FM-X engine. The FM-X engine utilizes Frequency Modulation, made famous by Yamaha’s iconic DX-7 synth, to generate sounds. Boiled down, FM synthesis utilizes one sound source (oscillator) to modulate the frequency of another sound (oscillator). This results in incredibly harmonically rich sounds, particularly suited for generating bells, keys, basses and more.

Inherited from the flagship MONTAGE, MODX features Yamaha’s impressive Motion Control technology, which adds life and unifies the AWM2 and FM-X sound engines. These two engines can be freely zoned or layered across eight parts in a single MODX Performance.

While Motion Control is quite deep, it can be controlled in real-time via the Super Knob. As you turn the Super Knob, multiple elements and sound parameters are manipulated, resulting in incredibly expressive and dynamic sounds.

How Are Sounds Made on Yamaha MODX

Let’s take a closer look at how sounds are created within MODX. A MODX Performance can have up to 16 unique parts, zoned and/or layered. Each part can be a stand-alone instrument, that when combined create a complex sonic landscape. Alternatively, you can use it to layer different components of a sound for additional realism. This could manifest itself as pedal noise, key noise or other environmental sonic cues that make up the total experience of a particular instrument.  

MODX – A perfect keyboard for a gig

Designed with the gigging musician in mind, MODX is incredibly versatile in its sonic capabilities, covering sounds across all genres and categories. It also offers 1 GB of Internal Flash memory, so that you can install your own samples and expansion libraries to make a completely personalized sound set. It also features their Live Set mode, so you can conveniently organize your Performances without having to worry about copying, moving or renaming any of them. 

In addition to all of its gigging-friendly sounds and workflow, MODX is lightweight and compact. How lightweight are the MODX keyboards? MODX6 weighs 14.6 lbs., MODX7 weighs 16.3 lbs. and the 88-note weighted Graded Hammer Action MODX8 weighs 30.4 lbs.