Yamaha gets back into the virtual analogue synth game with the Montage M: new AN-X engine joins enhanced AWM2 and FM-X sound generators in flagship workstation keyboard

To no one’s great surprise, Yamaha has launched the Montage M, a new flagship workstation synth. Like its predecessor, the Montage, this looks to be aimed at the ‘serious’ gigging musician, and combines multiple sound-generating technologies into one keyboard. 

The highlight for many will be the new AN-X engine, an attempt by Yamaha to capture the warm sound and feeling of real analogue synths. This (sort of) takes its name from the AN1x, a fondly-remembered Yamaha VA synth from the late ‘90s, and offers three oscillators with a choice of five waveforms (two saws, triangle, square and sine), a noise generator, two filters with a choice of ten filter types, ring modulation, pulse width modulation, a waveshaper and more.

If you want your synth to sound a little more ‘vintage’, you can dial in some voltage drift or make use of the ‘ageing’ functions.

Despite this new analogue-esque engine, like the previous Montage, The Montage M is very much an ‘all-rounder’, and other types of sounds are covered off by improved versions of Yamaha’s pre-existing AWM2 and eight-operator FM-X engines. The end result is up to 400 notes of polyphony.

As you’d expect, Montage M offers USB audio and MIDI connectivity, and Yamaha tells us that a ‘Softsynth’ plugin that enables you to navigate the instrument from your DAW will be released in 2024.

There are three versions of the Montage M: the 61-note M6 and 76-note M7 are designed for ‘synthesists’ and ‘keyboardists’ respectively, while the enhanced 88-note M8x promises to give pianists what they need. The action is ‘weighed’ rather than ‘hammer’, as far as we can tell, and you get polyphonic aftertouch for enhanced expressive control.

Indeed, Yamaha claims that it’s “reviving the expressiveness of the legendary CS-80 and DX-1,” both of which had polyphonic aftertouch keyboards.

Other spec sheet highlights include 9.97GB of preset WaveROM, 16 libraries (with 640 performances per library), 3.8GB of user flash memory and a VCM rotary speaker emulation.

The Montage M is available for pre-order now. Prices are set at $3,500/£3,219 for the M6, $4,000/£3,629 for the M7 and $4,500/£4.049 for the M8x. Find out more on the Yamaha Synth website.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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