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Rating and Reviews: Yamaha MOTIF XF8 Keyboard

Get creative! Produce tracks from start to finish with Yamaha's huge soundset and 88 hammer-action keys -- or easily integrate the MOTIF XF8 with your DAW.

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"The Only Workstation You'll Ever Need" submitted January 14, 2015

By Kurt N in Robbinsdale, MN
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Musical Background: Former professional, current active hobbyist. 40+ years experience with synthesizers and electronic music.
Music Style: Pop, jazz, electronic and light classical.
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
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Sound: The sound quality is excellent. The concert grand piano samples are so good, I feel like I'm sitting at the real thing. I wouldn't have a problem soloing with this on a recording. I've had good sampled grand pianos in workstations for 25 years, and none of them have the responsiveness, detail and nuance of this. Without going into too much detail, the other acoustic instruments, electric instruments and sound effects meet this same standard. Many of the acoustic instruments feature realistic articulations controlled by velocity sensitivity. I especially like the bass response on a lot of the sounds. It can go very deep and smooth. My subwoofer gets a good workout! It's also completely silent when you're not playing. No hiss or hum, even at really loud volume levels. Feature: It's jam packed with features. Beyond the excellent sounds, it has a terrific user interface bristling with enough assignable knobs, buttons and sliders to keep the work flow smooth and easy. They exercised good judgement on the preset functions of these controls. The LCD screen is a bit small and not touch sensitive, but that can be overcome to an extent by downloading free control apps to an iPad if you have one. The Motif screen provides more than adequate visual feedback. The built in arpeggiators are impressive, offering thousands of performances in a variety of musical styles and can be a great resource for generating ideas. They're even good enough to be used for professional arrangements. I try to avoid using them on recordings just because I feel like I'm cheating if I do. When I use them, I usually customize them in some way. Ease of Use: Like any workstation, you have to read manuals. Even though I bought this to replace an earlier unweighted keyboard Motif, I still have to refer to the various manuals bundled with the instrument on CD-ROM. The manuals can also be downloaded from the Yamaha website. That being said, it's easy to use. It has a sequencer which can be used in both pattern and song modes. Having the pattern option is very important for me. Not all workstation sequencers feature it. The sequences can be saved internally and recalled easily. You don't have to deal with file menus. I also consider that an important feature. Due to their complexity, workstations aren't my favorite tools for sound design, but you get plenty of control with the Motif. The samples and preset programs are so plentiful and good, you might not find the need for creating your own programs. There are plenty of user presets which can be overridden with new programs. For me, it's usually tweaks on existing programs rather than creating something new from scratch. I'm not going to address the bundled Cubase software. It's a great value, but a whole separate issue. For my style of working, I'd prefer a more basic sequencing and voice editing system for the computer. Quality: It's built like a tank. The controls are all firm and sturdy. I expect this to last a long time. I had my previous Motif for 6 years. It still felt and worked like it did the day I bought it. This is one huge, heavy brick of a keyboard. I bought it strictly for studio use. If you are taking it on the road, it will take a very strong person or two people to carry it. The weighted keyboard is the best I've experienced. It has just enough heft to keep my piano and percussion performances nuanced and not sloppy on fast passages, but light enough for rapid fire playing. The keys aren't bouncy which is a problem I've encountered on other weighted keyboards, and they're very quiet. You just hear a soft thump. Other weighted keyboards I've used were clunky sounding. Yamaha has been making pianos for over 100 years. They know how to make a keyboard. Value: The Motif is a very good value. The bundled Cubase software sweetens the package. The closest competitor would be the Korg Kronos X. The Kronos X is much more expensive. It supposedly has the most cutting edge technology, but cutting edge isn't the whole picture. I've owned a couple of Korg workstations and I find them much more difficult to use. I like the way the Motif is designed. It offers everything I need and then some. Manufacturer Support: Yamaha provides a wealth of information on their website. It's easy to register your warranty. I haven't dealt with them recently, but got quick answers and service when I had trouble with a Yamaha stereo receiver a few years ago. The Wow Factor: This instrument has a huge wow factor. It looks like the mother ship has landed in my studio! The overall feel of the keyboard and controls along with the outstanding sound quality and ease of use make this a real winner. Yamaha has been making this workstation series for well over a decade. The feedback they've used from musicians is very apparent. I feel like I'm playing an instrument, not simply triggering sounds, which is how I've felt with most other workstations. Overall: This is a superb music production tool which offers everything you could want right out of the box and can be expanded with additional non volatile RAM and FireWire connectivity. I purchased this to replace an earlier version (SX series) which didn't have the weighted keyboard.
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"I really do love it!!" submitted February 22, 2011

By a customer from att.net
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Musical Background: Hobbyist and Active Musician
Music Style: Rock, Blues, Classical, "Pink Floyd"
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Sound: The sounds are unmatched! And the weighted keys even make it feel just like an acoustic piano. Add the Yamaha FC3 foot half dampening pedal and close your eyes. Feature: Sooo many voices, performances and arpegios to choose from. Easy to connect to a computer for 16 chanel multi-track recording or for loading MIDI files, which can also be done from a usb thumb drive. Ease of Use: So easy even I can do it. Quality: I haven't found a flaw yet. Value: This is my second stab at a synth (I still have the first, a Yamaha Motif XS8) and there really isn't anything out there now to compare it with. Kurzweil had something with the K2600 but it is now discontinued. Is the Yamaha worth it? I believe so. but if it were a thousand dollars cheaper, I would have two more! Manufacturer Support: Yamaha has all product upgrades right on their website. All system, program and driver updates are there and free, too. I recommend you don't read the book unless you are in need of sleep. The Motifator.com website has all the answers you could ever think to ask a question about. The XF is a very updated version of the XS. But Yamaha came out with new version software for the XS even after the XF was up and running. AND they are already looking at the next one for the XS. The Wow Factor: The LCD screen is easy to see and to use. I wish the rest of the keyboadr had backlignting or two more usb ports (one at each end) for those flex-arm lights
50 of 55 people (90.91%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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Yamaha MOTIF XF8 Keyboard Customer Review submitted December 23, 2010

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Sound: Thoroughly realistic analog sounds. Pads are excellent. Will easily compete with Korgs in the hip-hop ablilities.
35 of 39 people (89.74%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Motif XF8" submitted January 16, 2015

By Anthony P in Houston , TX
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Musical Background: I've been playing since I was in elementary,I play keys,organ & drums....yes I play at home,church,lounge,birthday parties & mor
Music Style: Christian,Gospel,R&B,Jazz,Pop,Old School
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Overall: I've always been a Yamaha fan & when they came out with the motif series I love them even more! The only thing about Motif is choosing which 1 to get! I had a hard decision to see which board I was gonna get but I finally decided & I love my new board & everyone around me loves it too! I'm very excited to have another Motif product on my hands
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"Is the XF8 the best production workstation available?" submitted February 26, 2013

By DC Marshall
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Music Style: Contemporary Jazz, orchestral & world music.
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Overall: Probably the best all round studio production and recording system available. The S6 iGrand is fantastic but, ..........certain intervals can result in very odd and unwanted harmonics below middle C. If there was a Fizolli Grand, Steinway Model D, a Yamaha C7 and a Bosendorfer Imperial Grand available, for upload into the sample memory (like and a s good as the Nord HA88/Piano 2) then the XF8 could be the only machine you'll ever need, but its not. The underside caberboard base also lets the over all build quality down. The overall synth sounds are fantastic. Shame about the Pianos. My advice, buy the XF7 and use something else for grand piano, i.e. a Nord HA88/Piano 2.
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"Motif fx" submitted April 4, 2013

By Val K in BattleGround, WA
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Music Style: Classic
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Overall: Love the sound
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"Motif: mo' better!" submitted August 2, 2011

By a customer from live.com
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Musical Background: Active musician and producer
Music Style: rock plus
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Sound: Yamaha's entire Motif series excels! I own an S90ES keyboard, with essentially the same sound engine as Motifs. I love the sounds, and the modulation wheel adds badass flava! I want a Motif for its production capabilities. I worked with a super-talented keyboardist who jammed CONVINCING "guitar" leads, right down to the overdrive and distortion effects' tones, which is RARE! If I ever get a motif, it'll be a Mo6 because of my finances. In the meantime, I want to dig deeply into my S90ES, especially for recording. I write a lot of music (albeit slowly), and these keyboards will help me with orchestration and arranging ideas and their execution. another great advantage/plus about Yamaha/ Motifs is that so many players own them or at least know their ways around them. My keyboard wish list is lengthy, but, in addition to classic axes, I want: a Motif or MO6; any Korg with Karma capability; a Bit One Systems vintage Bit One keyboard (designed and created by Roger Powell of Utopia, these are great tools/toys!); and a superb gutiar-to-MIDI interface for my epiphone Les Paul-copy Ultra-II acoustic-electric giutar. I also want an ART Nightbass effect rack, and a J.L.Cooper MSB (MIDI Synapse Brain) 20 interface. The motifs have their complexities (I need a butt-simple start on a product, or I get frustrated, such as with my tascam 2488 Mk II multitrack recorder)< but I can comprehend Motifs (and my S90ES). Ease of Use: as easy as turning the keyboard on!
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