Destination -

One day, Yamaha decided to make a workstation-type of keyboard. Now, they'd tried this before, with the SY-99 series, and of course it sold it's usual million, but it did not make it's claim in the professional everyday user market.

This new keyboard is called the Motif, and what a wonder it is. It not only has an integrated sound module that sounds fantastic, but it has some incredible sequencing abilities and performance tools that have really raised the bar. They've called the main features the Integrated Sampling Sequencer.

The Motif seems to be more successful than the previous sampler incarnations. It can load all types of things and has an open architecture. It's slick interface and marketing toward MPC-types seem to secure it's place in the market.

In 2004 Yamaha pumped up the Motif's feature set and put out the Motif ES, which increases the memory capability and some other things. However, the basic programming and sample feature set remains the same.

In 2007 Yamaha upped the ante with the XS series. This speeds up the sample loading, adds a "Patch Select" feature where you can turn on/off Elements in real time (similar to Keyswitching), and sports a fantastic new interface.

2010 brought the innovative Motif XF, which replaces most the RAM memory (cut down to 128mb) with the potential of 2GB of flash memory, which retains thedata upon turning off the machine.

In this document, the term "Motif" refers to all Motif incarnations, since they are all similar.

Architecture Description
Yamaha uses samples in groups they call "Waveforms." (This is a misuse of the term; ignore it, and think of it as a collection of samples. They call samples "Keybanks"; again, not common terminology). A "Waveform" is a collection of samples that can be placed in any sort of 3-dimensional outlay - each sample has it's own low key and high key, and low velocity and high velocity range. These can overlap as well.

The only catch is that each sample reference (Keybank) always contains its own data. So there is the potential in conversions that samples have to be replicated, thus wasting disk space, memory, and loading time.

Anyway, what you play on a Motif is a "Voice," which can contain up to 4 "Elements" (is the terminology making you dizzy yet?). Each Element can reference a... "Waveform"! Also, an Element can reference an internal sample and well as a user-loaded one, thus making the Motif similar to the Kurzweil in it's hybridness.

The Motif's limit is 64mb, which isn't too bad. The Motif ES and XS expand this with 1gig maximum.

File Format
The Motif reads and writes to regular Memory Cards, cranking it up to modernity. The Classic had SCSI, and read Akai S-1000/3000 disks and the proprietary A-Series Programs and Samples too. The ES and XS did away with this.

After you play around with the Motif it grows on you and you really start liking it. It is fully capable in making complex keymaps and references. Easy access to creating them... well, it's not that good. (Most hybrid synth/samplers are that way.) The Motif has USB and an editor, but whaddya know - it doesn't support the sampling/mapping areas.

But the Motif sounds great and it is plenty capable. Worth the money!

Motif Translation Status
This translation code has been released, with the conversions at Level 3.
Currently supported source formats
Akai MPC Series
Akai S-5000/Z Series
Alesis Fusion
Apple EXS24
Digidesign Structure
DLS (Downloadable Sounds)
Emu Emulator-X
Emu E4/EOS
Emu E3/ESi
Emu Emax II
Ensoniq EPS/ASR
Ensoniq ASR-X
FXpansion DR-008
Korg Triton/M3
MOTU MachFive
NED Synclavier
NI Battery
NI Kontakt
NI Reaktor
Propellerheads Reason
Propellerheads Recycle I & II
Roland Fatnom-S/X/G
Roland MV-Series
Roland S-7x
Roland S-50/550/330/W30
Roland XV-5080
SampleCell I & II (PC/Mac)
Speedsoft VSampler
Steinberg HALion
Steinberg LM-4 mrk I and II
Stylus RMX
Unity DS-1/Session
Yamaha A-Series
Source Formats in Development
Cakewalk DS-864
Peavey DP-Series
Seer Systems Reality
Yamaha EX-Series
Yamaha Tyros