Yamaha MODX8 Review

Add to wishlistAdded to wishlistRemoved from wishlist 0
Add to compare
9
Expert ScoreRead review

We rated the Yamaha MODX8 a 9/10. We love how powerful, versatile, and portable this instrument is. While we wish the chassis felt a bit more heavy-duty.

Overall I was really pleased with this synthesizer. It’s like getting 2 instruments in one- very portable- package. The Super knob was a lovely touch in regards to the design- a knob that can control other assignable knobs makes transitions during live performances much, much easier. 

All in all the MODX8 is sort of like a budget Montage- and that’s a great thing. From the 10,000 arpeggios to nearly 3,000 tones in the sampling engine, I believe this to be one of the best and most unique synths on the market at the moment- especially for the current price point.

Category:

We rated the Yamaha MODX8 a 9/10. We love how powerful, versatile, and portable this instrument is. While we wish the chassis felt a bit more heavy-duty.

Overall I was really pleased with this synthesizer. It’s like getting 2 instruments in one- very portable- package. The Super knob was a lovely touch in regards to the design- a knob that can control other assignable knobs makes transitions during live performances much, much easier. 

All in all the MODX8 is sort of like a budget Montage- and that’s a great thing. From the 10,000 arpeggios to nearly 3,000 tones in the sampling engine, I believe this to be one of the best and most unique synths on the market at the moment- especially for the current price point.

Yamaha MODX8: Overview

Yamaha MODX8 review

In this MODX8 review, we will be checking out a weighted, graded 88-key synth. 

First made available in 2018, the Yamaha MODX8 is a synthesizer workstation keyboard designed to make music- in both a live setting and for pro-level recordings. The MODX8 is based on the (flagship) piano called the Montage. The Montage runs on advanced wave memory 2, which is a newer tone generator with 16-bit sampling (as opposed to the regular AWM’s 12-bit).

Some people refer to the MODXs as a less expensive Montage, and I’d say that that’s approximately accurate. 

Here’s the description from the manufacturer: 

“Empower your creativity, take control, and stand out from the crowd with MODX: a compact, lightweight synthesizer designed for inspired music-making. The power of the MODX synthesis engine allows unlimited potential to create your own unique sound demanded by any artist. The MODX sound engine is based on the same technology powering the flagship MONTAGE: AWM2 (Advanced Wave Memory 2) sample and synthesis engine and a pure FM-X (Frequency Modulation) synthesizer modernized for amazing sound playback and complex sound design. Take control and stand out from the crowd. Bring the sophistication of music production automation to real-time live performance with Motion Control.” -Yamaha  

Features

The Yamaha MODX8 makes performing live a breeze with its live sets feature. It has not one but two sound engines, a nice selection of FX, and functions that allow you to make musician transitions with ease. 

Live Sets 

The live sets feature lets performers set up their sound without all the hassle. According to the manufacturer, it allows “Performance organization without copying, changing order, or renaming” which is extremely convenient! 

2 Sounds Engines 

There are 2700+ tones, called performances inside of the instrument- But you can also download even more from the Yamaha site. The two engines inside are called FM-X and 

FM-X 

The range of timbres you can get with the frequency modulation on the instrument is excellent. This sound engine is where the FM- Aka frequency modulation- all happens. The FM-X sound engine is based on much, much older models of Yamaha synths- you can think of it as a juiced-up version of the older models.

The MODX8 allows you to take a basic, rounded tone and add rich harmonics to it/modulating it. 

AWM-2

Advanced Wave Memory has more polyphony than FM-X.  Basically, this one is a sampling engine. The engine has keyboard sounds, and loads of woodwinds (flute, bassoon, pan flute, whistles) drums, and thousands of others. Multiple sounds can be loaded at once, which is also really cool! The piano tones generated in this area were as lovely as I expected they’d be. 

This is likely the area of the instrument where you’d want to upload sounds of your own. 

FX 

The effects available on this model include:

  • Reverb
  • Delay
  • Flanger
  • Phaser
  • Rotary
  • Distortion
  • Compressor
  • Lo-Fi
  • Wah

The Lo-Fi FX piqued my interest, as it’s not a common/standard effect. 

Soundmono Network

The Yamaha MODX8 is compatible with Soundmono, which is a website designed for ‘social sound sharing’. You can get it on either IOS or on your computer. 

Switch Sounds With Ease

The MODX allows for 4-Part Seamless Sound Switching. You can switch performances while holding notes at the same time- so your notes and effects won’t get cut short. 

Rhythm Pattern

Rhythm pattern lets you add a rhythm to any pre-existing performance/arpeggio at the push of a button. The drum grooves inside of the instrument have arpeggios, plus you can choose from a variety of different kits. This article by Blake Angelos details how this feature works in depth (If you ever read this, Blake, hello from a fellow Yamaha suite writer!) 

Envelope Follower

Automatic wahs and vocoders often have a tool called an envelope follower inside- This control has to do with dynamics. To learn more about the feature, I’d highly recommend checking out this article by the pros at Noise Engineering. 

Send and Receive with Just 1 Channel

According to the manufacturer, one can “Send 10/receive 4 audio channels plus 16 channels of MIDI via a single USB cable”(Amazon). 

The “Super” Knob

The super knob is a brightly lit control on the left side of the instrument. The super knob can control the other knobs- hence making it super! Another nifty feature is that it glows to the beat of whatever you are composing. The LEDS around this control not only look lovely but also denote where the knob is positioned at. One application of the super knob is to gradually blend one sound into something else. 

Arpeggiator

It is capable of running 8 parts– simultaneously! There are thousands of options to choose from- 10,000, to be exact.  

The arpeggiator section can be searched on the LED screen. There are options like piano arps…and many, many more. The sections of instruments included in the arp section are as follows: 

  • Keyboard
  • Organ
  • Guitar
  • Bass
  • Strings
  • Brass
  • Woodwind
  • Synth Lead
  • Pad/Choir
  • Synth Comp
  • Chromatic Percussion
  • Drums/Percussion
  • Sound FX
  • Musical FX
  • Ethnic

Below the instrument arpeggios, you choose your subsection, which is the genre (think rock, R&B, Funk, Latin, Pop, and so on). 

Other Features

  • 1.75 GB internal flash memory
  • VST and DAW control
  • Internal vocoder
  • USB to device port onboard
  • Pitch bend and mod wheels
  • Thousands of presets
  • Real-time overdubbing 
  • Internal songs 

Specifications

Yamaha MODX8 keyboard

Color Black
Brand Yamaha
Model Name MODX8
Item Dimensions LxWxH 52.48 x 15.91 x 6.3 inches
Item Weight Aprox. 30 Pounds

Number of effects: 27

Inputs: 2 x ¼ inch

Outputs: 2 x ¼ inch

Live Sets: 256 

Note capacity: 130,000 notes

Resolution: 448 parts per quarter note 

Internal songs: 128

Reverb types: 12

Variations of reverbs: 76

 

Who is it suitable for?

The Yamaha MODX8 is best suited for those looking to produce music professionally and perform live with. The instrument can be used with either MAC or PC, and it’s really handy that it’s optimized for both. 

The MODX in Action: 

All playing no talking from Tamir Orkoby’s Piano Channel

Amazon/Buyer Reviews

The Yamaha MODX8 was rated 4.5/5 stars on Amazon. So let’s take a peek at some reviews of the Yamaha MODX8 and see what they found.

Positive excerpts of reviews/comments:

  • “Great value for the money”
  • “Has a large library of voices”
  • It’s fast to get productive on it
  • Best synth for the money
  • It’s a fun instrument
  • “Top of the line”

Many of the positive comments I read about the Yamaha MODX8 were repeated over and over again– like how easy it is to operate, how excellent the value is for the price point, and the quality. Overall, I’d agree with the consensus of the buyer’s reviews. 

Constructive reviews: 

  • Some people have reported that, after several months of owning it, the instrument goes out of tune if the pitch wheel goes awry
  • Another verified buyer wished the quality of the power supply was sturdier 
  • “Cheaply designed, won’t last for years” 
  • “Headphone output not working”
  • “Keys rattling”

One other customer on a forum had issues hooking up their piano to Cubase, but then again I don’t enjoy Cubase as much as say, Logic so it could be the DAW itself. 

In the constructive reviews, there seemed to be some confusion as to which keyboard was the newest Montage- there is some (or rather, a lot!) of misinformation out there. The Yamaha MODX8 is the newest MODX on the market. Typically, instrument models go up as the models in a series continue. However, when it comes to their MODX, the MODX6 is the 61-key version, and the MODX7 is the 76-key version- and they were all released in September of 2018. If you see any Amazon reviews saying the MODX6 or 7 is newer or better or void of faults this is simply misinformation!

I wasn’t a huge fan of the fact that more than one person had issues with the keys/tuning as well as the chassis, but these reviews were not the majority, so perhaps these were the odd keyboards that were shipped out with pre-existing faults. It’s hard to say since I’ve not spent enough time with this model to say whether it would last years and years- I do wish the frame was a heavier plastic, though. 

Pros and Cons

Yamaha MODX8 keyboard review

Pros

  • Lightweight enough to be portable
  • The sounds are highly editable– from velocity to range, the samples can be adjusted however you like
  • Performances can have up to 16 parts
  • Excellent for music production or live performances 
  • It has loads of functions– so you’ll only ever need one keyboard 
  • Supports aftertouch 
  • Everything can be done from the touchscreen
  • It supports MIDI
  • All the FX are can be used at the same time– the instrument is truly that powerful
  • Has a sustain pedal input that supports half-pedaling  
  • It has more flash memory than the MODX7
  • Both sound engines integrate/ can be combined together really easily 
  • The sound engine is the same as more expensive models like the Montage
  • It’s a synth with GHS variable weight 
  • The MODX OS 
  • The price has come down almost 2k since its release, meaning it is more affordable than ever before
  • It’s extremely easy to use with- and as some say, without a lot of having to ‘fiddle’

I was very surprised with how light the Yamaha MODX was- I always imagined it as being a heavy synth, for some reason. When the MODX8 first came out, it was going for nearly $4,000. Luckily, it has come down to about $2,200, which feels a lot more reasonable! 

Cons

  • It doesn’t have gobs of polyphony 
  • No speakers
  • It doesn’t feel quite as expensive as it is (in regards to the shell/chassis)
  • By extension, there are other keyboard synths out there in this price range that feel more solid (however this means you’d compromise portability)
  • Some buyers have had pitchwheel issues– but luckily this isn’t probably going to cost that much to fix 
  • Side note: The weight listed on Amazon is incorrect
  • The instrument is reportedly a bit buggy when used with Cubase

“MODX features 128-note stereo AWM2 polyphony and 64-notes of FM-X polyphony.” I found it odd that it has 192 notes- this number is rarely seen in polyphony, usually it’s 128 or 256, but this is the result of the combination of the two sound engines.

Like many workstation synths, you’ll need to plug this instrument into external speakers in order to play out loud.

One thing I was a bit disappointed in was how light the chassis was- While I understand it was made with portability in mind, it didn’t feel quite as hardy as it looked. The con to having such a powerful portable 12-pound instrument is a bit of sturdiness it has to compromise in the process. If you were so inclined, you could certainly find a synth that felt more sturdy for this price.

One small thing worth noting, if you’re going to buy on Amazon, is that the weight is not what it says it is- This keyboard weighs a tad over 30 pounds, not 12 pounds like one of the descriptions says. 

Comparable Models

  • Other MODX’s: 61 ($1,499.99) and 76 key ($1,699.99) versions 
  • The flagship Yamaha Montage
  • Roland Juno or Phantom 7
  • Yamaha’s PSRX900
  • MOXF instruments 
  • Korg Kronos- If you want a high-quality instrument but don’t need portability

There is an option on Amazon to get either the 61, 76, or 88-key version of the MODX8. There’s also an option to get a soft carrying case for a small upcharge. The other MODX’s all have the exact same knobs and functions. 

MODX6

MODX7

The Yamaha Montage is another excellent option if you like the idea of the MODX8, as it runs on the same sound engines. The Montage 6 and 7 both have the same 10,000 arp. presets, the same note capacity, and an 8-part simultaneous arpeggiator overall. All of the MODXs have a very similar (if not the same) 7-inch touchscreen that helps you to navigate all of the settings with ease. However, the Montage is much more expensive- costing about $4,000+.

Yamaha Montage

If you’re a Roland fan, the Juno or Phantom are worth checking out- though a lot of people prefer the MODX over the Phantom from what I’ve heard. And for another Yamaha in a similar price range, try the PSRX900! 

The MODX takes some features from Yamaha’s MOXF instruments, so this line is also worth looking into. You may be able to find the earlier MOXF6 on the used market for a reasonable price. 

Lastly- The Korg Kronos is an extremely solid keyboard synth- If you want something heavy-duty and don’t need it to be portable, try that one out.  

Quick View 

Keys 88 full-sized keys (weighted, balanced hammer action keyboard) 
Touch sensitivity  Velocity sensitive
Sounds Over 2700 preset sounds 
Recording capabilities  CUSB to MIDI
Metronome Yes
Polyphony  192 notes

FM-X polyphony: 64 notes

AWM2 polyphony: 128

Speakers No
Headphones Input: One ¼ inch headphone jack
Accessories Power supply, user manual
Price point  $2,199.99

MODX8: Conclusion

Thanks for sticking around until the end of our Yamaha MODX8 review! In conclusion, the Yamaha MODX8 is a phenomenal instrument to have by your side if you’re interested in live performance and or recording high-quality music. 

Music quote of the week:

 “This world is not conclusion. A sequel stands beyond Invisible, as music But positive, as sound. –Emily Dickinson

A Note from our writer: 

Hi again! I’ve got just one last thing for you before you go- I wanted to share some of the music I’ve been making on Spotify with you! My first EP “Festive Flute” (for harp, flute, and a touch of electronic piano) was recently released, and I’d love for our readers to check it out. 

9Expert Score
Yamaha MODX8 Review We rated the Yamaha MODX8 a 9/10. We love how powerful, versatile, and portable this instrument is. While we wish the chassis felt a bit more heavy-duty. Overall I was really pleased with this synthesizer. It’s like getting 2 instruments in one- very portable- package. The Super knob was a lovely touch in regards to the design- a knob that can control other assignable knobs makes transitions during live performances much, much easier. All in all the MODX8 is sort of like a budget Montage- and that’s a great thing. From the 10,000 arpeggios to nearly 3,000 tones in the sampling engine, I believe this to be one of the best and most unique synths on the market at the moment- especially for the current price point.
PROS
  • Lightweight enough to be portable
  • The sounds are highly editable- from velocity to range, the samples can be adjusted however you like
  • Performances can have up to 16 parts
  • Excellent for music production or live performances
  • It has loads of functions- so you’ll only ever need one keyboard
  • Supports aftertouch
  • Everything can be done from the touchscreen
  • It supports MIDI
  • All the FX are can be used at the same time- the instrument is truly that powerful
  • Has a sustain pedal input that supports half-pedaling
  • It has more flash memory than the MODX7
  • Both sound engines integrate/ can be combined together really easily
  • The sound engine is the same as more expensive models like the Montage
  • It’s a synth with GHS variable weight
  • The MODX OS
  • The price has come down almost 2k since its release, meaning it is more affordable than ever before
  • It’s extremely easy to use with- and as some say, without a lot of having to ‘fiddle’
CONS
  • It doesn’t have gobs of polyphony
  • No speakers
  • It doesn’t feel quite as expensive as it is (in regards to the shell/chassis)
  • By extension, there are other keyboard synths out there in this price range that feel more solid (however this means you’d compromise portability)
  • Some buyers have had pitchwheel issues- but luckily this isn’t probably going to cost that much to fix
  • Side note: The weight listed on Amazon is incorrect
  • The instrument is reportedly a bit buggy when used with Cubase

Videos: Yamaha MODX8 Review

User Reviews

0.0 out of 5
0
0
0
0
0
Write a review

There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Yamaha MODX8 Review”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Best Piano Keyboards
Logo
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Compare
0
Shopping cart