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Yamaha MOTIF XS8 88-Key Workstation

Everything you need to make professional quality music. (124) Read 8 reviews for this product | Rate and review this product
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Yamaha MOTIF XS8 88-Key Workstation

The problem with most keyboard workstations? They feel like work stations! But making music shouldn't feel like a chore, and a keyboard workstation shouldn't feel like a cumbersome implement. Your keyboard should feel like an instrument of musical inspiration. The Yamaha Motif XS8 is such an instrument, sure to become the core of your studio or stage rig and the centerpiece of your creative process.

The successful keyboard workstation must excel as both an integral component in a professional studio and as an expressive digital instrument on stage. With impressive ease of use, intimate feel, and amazing sounds, the Motif XS8 is the right instrument for both environments.

Ease Of Use
Power is useless unless it's easily accessible; both in setup and in operation, the powerful Motif XS8 is a walk in the park. The eight layers of simultaneous playback are represented as eight physical sliders and knobs along the left side of the control panel. They offer instant mixing access, or reassign them to tweak effects, EQ, or any other aspect of your sound. As you change parameters, all adjustments are displayed graphically on the Motif's luxurious 5.7-inch backlit LCD screen. This 320 x 240 resolution, full-color display makes even the most complex and advanced functions on the Motif simple to access. It also makes composing in the workstation's 32-track sequencer a blast. Transport controls and other sequencer functions are clearly labeled and cleverly positioned, making the Motif XS8 an intuitive songwriting and sound designing tool. Dedicated buttons activate the effects modules and arpeggiator; two incredible functions that wouldn't be so fun if you had to wade through menu after menu to get to them. The Yamaha Motif is also easy to set up as the cornerstone of your studio. USB and dual FireWire ports allow the Motif to integrate seamlessly with your computer recording rig; use the keyboard like a plugin with your favorite DAW, as a MIDI controller to trigger software instruments, or even as a control surface, triggering record and playback functions remotely. Computer connectivity also means easy access to Motif voice-patch editing, via the free MOTIF XS Editor software.

Intimate Feel
Aside from its sequencing and arranging functions, the Yamaha Motif XS8 is a stunningly expressive instrument. Its 88 semi-weighted, "Balanced Hammer" keys give the feel of a real, mechanical piano without having to worry about keeping the tuner's business card on file. The keys are responsive to attack velocity, aftertouch and key-off actions, adding lifelike articulation to the uncanny acoustic piano voices. For added expression, the Motif features a set of Expanded Articulation voices, emulations of stringed instruments like acoustic guitar, and woodwinds like saxophone that add glissando, fret noise, reed bends, muted notes, and trills. These articulations are easily accessible using either the dedicated "XA" buttons or by assigning those functions to foot pedals. Four pedals--two sustain style and two footswitch style--can be connected to the Motif for hands-free control over stylized playing techniques. The Motif XS also makes for an unbeatable digital grand piano, supporting half-damper functions when you add a Yamaha FC3 sustain pedal. This brings an additional level of realism and expression to your acoustic piano patches. The pitch bend and mod wheels offer just enough resistance for musical operation, and a premium ribbon-controller provides yet another dimension of expressive instrument interaction. The Yamaha Motif feels like a real acoustic instrument, and it's sure to inspire authentic performances from you or anyone in your studio.

Amazing Sounds
The real test for any workstation, whether it's your main touring instrument or the core of your production studio, is how good it sounds. The Yamaha Motif XS8 sounds second-to-none. Thanks to the implementation of the AWM2 processor and a sound bank totaling 355MB, the Motif is capable of amazingly nuanced instrument voices. Some instruments have up to eight layers of samples for each note, delivering complex attack, sustain, and decay behavior. The eight sliders can be used to instantly drop out or highlight each element in real time; providing sophisticated expression and unparalleled on-the-fly sound sculpting for playability that's impossible with the real instruments it's modeling. The XS8 includes hundreds and hundreds of voices, from acoustic and electric pianos and organs, to guitars and basses, acoustic and electronic drum kits, single woodwinds and brass sections, string instruments, and full orchestras. Then of course there's the unreal synthesizer sounds: thick, cutting, warm, intense, and infinitely adjustable. There's literally no style or genre of music the Yamaha Motif can't tackle. There's even a vintage vocoder emulation, a must have for today's cutting-edge producers.

And let's talk about effects: the Motif XS8's effects engine doesn't just model the sound of classic stompbox and rack effects, it uses Virtual Circuitry Modeling to emulate the individual transistors and capacitors that make up those effects' character. Whatever source voice you use, it'll be like you're running it through a real, vintage flanger, wah-wah, reverb, envelope follower, or distortion. It isn't just the resultant sound that's mimicked, it's the intrinsic behavior of the circuit that's accurately recreated.

If pure sampling is your thing, the Motif XS can do that too. Using the workstation's built-in analog input, you can sample any sound, from an audio recording to your own guitar playing or voice. An automatic Slicer function splits your recorded loops into individual notes for rearranging and pitch-stable tempo adjustments. The Motif XS8 can support up to 1 GB of sampling memory, plenty of room for multiple sample sets for multiple songs or projects. Layer various sample elements in one instrument, and add effects into the patch like any other voice on the workstation. An advanced arpeggiator is also a single button-press away, and its over 6,000 arpeggio patterns are sure to inspire new grooves and new song ideas. When the arpeggiator is combined with one of the Motif's "Mega Voices," subtle playing nuances like guitar hammer-ons and pull-offs are triggered. It's like handing the world's greatest guitarist your sheet music and having them play the part perfectly, instantly. It's not hard to see where the XS8's arpeggiator will come in handy in every aspect of the creative process, from initial creative spark all the way to recording and performing. All sound is reproduced in high-definition thanks to the Motif's 24-bit, 128x oversampling digital-to-analog output converters. The benefits of the Motif's audio quality in performance and production are obvious, but it will also have an impact on your creative process; think how much richer and complete your compositions will be when you're able to write with an entire orchestra at your fingertips. It's like having a team of crack session players at your beck and call.

Every step of the way, from moment of inspiration, through production, to performance, the Yamaha Motif XS8 will make you, simply, better. Arrangement tools to make you a better songwriter, extraordinary instruments to make you a better producer, and expressive feel to make you a better performer. Once you experience the full power of the Motif XS8, you'll wonder how you got by without it.

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Sounds
Tone Generator: AWM2 with Expanded Articulation

Polyphony: 128 notes

Multi-timbral capacity: 16 Parts (internal)

Wave ROM: 355MB (when converted to 16-bit linear format)

Voices:
1,024 Preset (64 drumkits)
128 General MIDI (1 drumkit)
128 x 3 User

Performances: 128 x 3

Master Memories: 128 User (8 Zones available)

Effects:
Reverb (9 types)
Chorus (22 types)
Insertion (A, B, L) x 53 types x 8 blocks

Master Effect: x 9 types, Master EQ (5 bands), Part EQ (3 band stereo)

Sampling
Samples: Up to 1,024 waveforms (multi-samples)

Sources: Analog input L/R, stereo out (resampling)

A/D Conversion: 24-bit, 64x oversampling

D/A Conversion: 24-bit, 128x oversampling

Sample Data Bits: 16

Sampling Frequency: 44.1kHz, 22.05kHz, 11.025kHz, 5.5125kHz (Stereo/Mono)

Sampling Memory: (Optional) Up to 1GB (512MB DIMM x 2 slots) can be used.

Sample Length Mono: 32 MB

Sample Length Stereo: 64 MB

Sampling Time: 44.1kHz: 6 min. 20 sec. 22.05kHz: 12 min. 40 sec. 11.025kHz: 25 min. 20 sec. 5.0125kHz: 55 min. 40 sec.

Sample Format: Original format, WAV, AIFF

Sequencer
Pattern (looping): 64 Patterns (x 16 Sections)

Song (linear): 64

Phrases: 256 per Pattern

Note Capacity: Approx. 130,000 notes

Mixing Templates: 32 for all Songs and Patterns

Note Resolution: 480 ppqn

Recording: Real-time replace/overdub, punch-in

Tracks: 16 Phrase Tracks, 16 sequence tracks (in Song mode)

Formats Recognized: Original, SMF

Arpeggiator
Preset Arpeggios: 6000 (approx.)

User Arpeggios: 256

Controllers
Pitch Bend wheel

Mod wheel

Ribbon Controller

Assignable Control Sliders x 8

Assignable Knobs x 8

Assignable Function buttons x 2

Physical

Display: 320 x 240 dot, 5.7 inch graphic color backlit LCD

Outputs: L/Mono, R (standard phone jack), Assignable L, R (jack), digital, phones

Inputs: A/D input L, R (jack), foot controller 1, 2, foot switch x 2

MIDI: In/Out/Thru

USB: To Host, To Device

Ethernet

IEEE1394: (MOTIF XS8 only)

Dimensions
MOTIF XS8 (LxWxH): 58.28 x 18.64 x 6.72 in. Weight: 28.6 kg
If you have additional warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer at 714-522-9011

Yamaha MOTIF XS8 88-Key Workstation

High Quality Sounds to Spark Your Creativity
The MOTIF XS provides an exceptionally broad selection of realistic sounds to spark your creativity, with a massive 355 MB of high-quality waveforms and samples on board. A single Voice can have up to eight separate sound Elements, enabling composite sounds of remarkable complexity and nuance. Among the standout Voices is a resonant, meticulously recorded concert grand piano sound that is practically worth the price of admission by itself. New acoustic piano, electric piano and orchestral samples - not to mention the richly textured and distinctly electronic synthesizer waves -- give you the sonic tools to fully realize virtually any style of music and any instrumentation.

Another new feature is the Expanded Articulation (XA) tone generation system. Using the 8 available Elements, XA allows you to more effectively recreate realistic sound and natural performance techniques -- such as legato, staccato and key release sounds -- often used on acoustic instruments but unavailable or difficult to realize on electronic keyboards. It also lets you assign Elements to on/off panel switches, and change sounds within a Voice in real time -- for example, playing a classical guitar voice and switch between playing normally and playing high harmonics. XA also offers other unique modes for random and alternate sound changes as you play.

A wide selection of special Mega Voices provide even more expressive nuance, when used with sequencer tracks or the special Mega Voice Arpeggios. Mega Voices are not meant to be played from the keyboard because of their complex velocity layers, but have special expressive sounds that are designed to be precisely triggered by recorded data -- for example, letting you create an acoustic guitar track with authentic sounding muted playing, slides and bell-like harmonics.

Other Voice-related features include a uniquely natural "half damper" effect for acoustic piano sounds. This gives you nuanced control over the sustained sound when pressing the damper pedal, depending on how far down you press the pedal. The MOTIF XS has a full complement of effects, both insert (Insertion) and send (System), and includes a special set of VCM (Virtual Circuitry Modeling) effects that authentically model the elements in analog circuitry, realistically recreating the uniquely warm characteristics of vintage processing gear. Speaking of "vintage," the instrument also includes a sophisticated Vocoder effect that produces classic robotic synthesizer sounds, molded by your speaking or singing voice through a connected microphone.

Ideal for Live Performance, Song Creating and Arranging
The MOTIF XS has so many sophisticated features that help jump-start your creativity and live performance potential. One of the most powerful of these is Arpeggio, which lets you trigger a variety of sequenced phrases from the keyboard. There are approximately 6,000 different Arpeggio phrases on board, and you can have four different Arpeggios, playing four different instrument parts, running simultaneously-in perfect sync, of course. The music making possibilities are virtually endless. Have a drum Voice play an automatic rhythm, add an Arpeggio bass phrase, and fly in other instrument phrases as the inspiration hits you. Everything stays in sync, and everything follows your chord changes.

While you experiment and play around with Arpeggios in the Performance mode, the song ideas will come fast and fierce-maybe too many to remember. No worries, though. You can capture them easily and directly by recording them to a Song or Pattern (which can be stored to the built-in flash memory). Since the data is MIDI, you don't have to worry about running out of recording space. You can record your keyboard playing, freely calling up various Arpeggio types as you improvise, then edit the Song later as necessary. You may even want to 'keep the recorder running' as you play, then listen back later and pick out the best parts to create your final composition.

Another powerful feature is the Integrated Sampling Sequencer, which seamlessly combines audio and MIDI recording. Simply install optional DIMM modules (up to 1 GB) and record the audio directly to tracks on the MOTIF XS. Record your vocals or acoustic guitar (with a microphone), electric guitar or bass, or even short rhythm loops from a sample CD.

There's also a Slice feature that automatically chops up your rhythms and riffs into their individual beats and notes, letting you manipulate the component parts of your sample loops as MIDI data -- giving you the power to easily change tempo and rhythmic feel, without disturbing the pitch or sound quality.

Intuitive Interface, Easy Operation
Despite all the advanced technology and wealth of features packed tightly into the instrument, the MOTIF XS is exceptionally intuitive and easy to use. It gives you a large, full-dot color LCD that lets you see multiple parameters at a glance, and has clear, high-resolution graphics with virtual sliders, knobs and more.

The panel of the MOTIF XS provides an amazing level of control and flexibility. Eight knobs and 8 sliders let you instantly tweak a variety of parameters and effects as you play. The eight knobs are especially versatile, letting you use the knobs to independently control eight different parameters (out of 24 selectable), or use them to control a certain effect setting (reverb, chorus or pan) for up to 8 different parts (in a song, for example). The knobs can also be used to change the rhythmic feel and other settings of Arpeggios and Patterns while they play back. Two Assignable Function buttons give you added control over the sound of the new Expanded Articulation (XA) Voices, letting you change sounds within a Voice in real time.

Other convenient operation features include the improved Category Search function, which now is organized with Dual Categories that help you find the Voice you want. Calling up the Guitar category, for instance, gives you access to the Dual (sub) Categories, such as Acoustic, Electric Clean and Electric Distortion. The Mega Arpeggio Voices also have their own Dual Category for easy selection of those unique Voices.

The MOTIF XS is not only exceptionally intuitive and easy to operate, it's a true joy to play -- right down to the newly designed expressive keyboards. The MOTIF XS6 and XS7 have a new, natural FSX keyboard (61/76 keys), while the MOTIF XS8 features the grand piano-like BH (Balanced Hammer) keyboard (88 keys).

Computer Integration
A full-featured music production synthesizer in every way, the MOTIF XS comes equipped with a variety of connectors and interfaces-for virtually any application and any studio situation. These include independent Assignable Outputs, A/D Inputs (for recording external sources), S/PDIF Digital Output, MIDI, Ethernet, IEEE1394 (standard on the MOTIF XS8 and available on the MOTIF XS6/7 with the IEEE1394 optional board) and two USB connectors, compatible with the high-speed USB 2.0 standard.

The comprehensive set of connectors -- Ethernet, IEEE1394 and USB TO HOST -- make interfacing with computers and your favorite software exceptionally easy. In particular, the new Ethernet connection gives you fast transfer of your MOTIF XS files to and from a computer on the same network. IEEE1394 interface gives you a one-cable, one-network solution for high-speed, realtime transfer of multi-channel digital audio and MIDI data over a 1394 FireWire connection.

Software Integration
Today's music production is highly dependent on software, and the MOTIF XS is designed to work seamlessly and transparently in your computer-based environment. The Remote Control mode lets you control your DAW software right from the panel of the MOTIF XS -- for example, starting and stopping playback/recording with the special transport buttons, changing track levels with the sliders, and tweaking parameters with the knobs.

The MOTIF XS is also compatible with the MOTIF XS Editor -- a comprehensive, easy-to-use editing software program that lets you edit (via USB connection) the Mixing setups and Mixing Voices to be used for Song/Pattern playback directly on your computer. The MOTIF XS Editor is free and can be downloaded from the Yamaha website. Naturally, the editor can be used within Cubase as part of Studio Connections, and all settings can be saved with each project for instant recall.

If Cubase is not yet part of your software arsenal, a copy of the new Cubase AI is bundled with the instrument, letting you dive in and start using the versatile features of Studio Connections right out of the box. Cubase AI is a full-featured music production software that integrates fully with the MOTIF XS, and can easily be upgraded to Cubase 4. It gives you all the tools to produce professional level recordings -- quickly and easily -- with a system that you can expand into the future.
Customer Reviews
5 out of 5 (124 ratings) Rate and Review This Product
"This is exactly what I waited for, and it's been well worth the wait"
Sound: I hope to answer all the important questions I had before buying the XS8. The sounds are increadable weather your after the great pianos, or want to produce any style of music that is out there now, or has been out there in the past. Check out the Yamaha XS on You Tube and expect to be blown away. Although there may be a set number of sounds in the presets, you can change any one of the instuments in the performance mode-usually made up of four individual parts, and that includes changing the arpeggios on each individual instrument as well. What that means is you have an infinate number of choices to mix together and become a one man band. If that still isn't enough, you can load more samples into the XS through the USB port. You would be hard pressed to find anything out there that even comes close to this work station. A friend of mine traded in his Kurzweil PC3X after playing on the Motif and never looked back. Feature: One of the most usful features included with the Motif XS is the on board sequencer which runs a 16 track recorder. You can over dub and even chain your tracks together in both voice and performance mode, then edit your mix with a virtual mixer right on the LCD screen. Ease of Use: Single voice instruments are very real sounding, but if you want your mix to sound like the beetles back in the 60's, you grab something in performance mode that comes close and change a guitar for instance, and the baby boomers will be asking for your autograph. Quality: The Motif XS is built solid like all Yamaha's professional instruments, definately buy a case for it if you plan to take it on the road. There are a lot of knobs and sliders that you want to protect when moving it around. With a little care the XS should last a life time. Value: For the money, this is the best synthesizer out there. Manufacturer Support: Never had to contact service for repairs, and that goes for my ten year old S80 too. The Wow Factor: Usually I never get sexually arroused by mechanical objects, but the Motif has good styling otherwise. Overall: I don't think I'll ever wear this thing out, and you can add or change sounds forever!
Style of Music: Jazz, Rock, Country, Classic
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This review has been selected by our experts as particularly helpful. "Best. Keyboard. Ever."
Sound: If there's one thing you should buy the XS series for, it's definitely the sound. The Motif has the most organic sounds of any board I've ever heard, and I feel like if I wanted to make a hit record or something, I wouldn't even need live instruments. Some people complain about the piano (which is really amazing) being too sterile or dry but the sounds are so modifiable that you can create ANY piano sound based on that template. The vintage pianos and eps are just beautiful. A million out of 10 in this category. Feature: You can see the incredible list of features on this page.. that really can't touch what this keyboard can do. Just pages and pages of features when you get into the operating system, and I'll be amazed if I ever even FIND them all, let alone use them. Ease of Use: 9/10 mostly because of the operating system. I think it's a hundred times easier to use than the terrible Roland G8 or anything else, but it does take a ton of getting used to. Mainly, this is because there are just so many features, you have to learn where they all are. Mainly, though, everything is a couple of buttons away. The XS does outperform mostly everything else in ease of use when it comes to its hardware interface, though. The buttons and knobs and faders make modifying voices a breeze, which is the real power of the XS. By the way, I love the manual, but expect to ask it a simple question and get WAY more than you asked for. It will refer you to many other pages to explain a simple question, but you will know the keyboard like the back of your hand afterward. Quality: The keys are the main part of quality for me. I've had a Yamaha Graded Hammer keyboard since like 2001, in the form of a Clavinova, and this is exactly the same. Perhaps I'm just used to them, but I find the GH keyboards to be the closest anything comes to an actual piano. The Roland just feels cheap. There's another one I tried, but I forget. They all just feel horrible to play on. I recommend just going to a store and trying them all out. Plus the XS has super nice construction, and really solid, too. Value: I got this for half the price of my Clavinova, and it does 1000 times more. Other products in the price range simply can't compete, so I would have to say value is as high as it gets. It's an expensive board, but I guarantee you will never look back once you have one. It opens new musical doors, and provides TONS of inspiration, and I think that's a valuable thing to have at any price. The Wow Factor: Wonderful touch, awesome looking with a freakin mixing board on the top, cool dark colors in the display. This thing doesn't look like a toy. I do wish it came in black.. Overall: Absolutely the greatest thing I own. I'm taking it to college with me, where I will be the luckiest kid in the entire world. I expect this board to last me years and years, and be just as fun then as it is now.
Style of Music: Funk, Jazz, Alt Rock
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