Motif XS7 review - Specs, technology
Author: Vedran Dakic
Date: 21 Jan 2007

Everyone who know and use Yamaha's stuff already saw pretty much all of the specs, so let's just do a quick overview:
- AWM2 tone generator, up to 128 voices polyphony
- 5.7" color LCD
- two assignable outputs (L/R), MIDI IN/OUT/THRU, Digital out, two foot switch and two foot controller connectors, OUTPUT L/R, PHONES, two A/D Inputs (L/R), Ethernet, two USB (TO HOST and TO DEVICE) - 24-bit A/D and D/a conversion
- Sampling sequencer with up to 1GB RAM, 16-bit@44.1kHz
- built-in time-slice
- sampling via analog inputs or IEEE 1394 (standard on XS8, option board for XS6 and XS7)
- 355MB of wave memory
- two IEEE1394 400Mbit/s connectors with the IEEE1394 board
- Sequencer - up to 130.000 events, 480PPQ, up to 124 notes, 5-300 bpm
- 5 scenes per song in Sequencer - Remote control mode - you can control your DAW from the XS
- file transfer/backup via Ethernet
- built-in vocoder, nice for robo-alike effects
- around 6.000 arp phrases built-in
- four arpeggiators built-in, can play four different tracks at the same time

Being fortunate to play around with all of the Motifs so far, there are a couple of things that I always say about them - some of them are pretty objective, some more subjective but, then again, opinions count here. The first thing that I dislike very much is the fact that Yamaha still doesn't have a touchscreen on a keyboard. Their way of thinking about the interface is just different which I respect - but having all of these buttons around the screen that are necessary to do the job you can do very easily with a touchscreens is just obnoxius. Next thing I noticed is the fact that there is no DEDICATED tempo knob. You can actually manipulate tempo via one of the pre-assigned knobs left to the screen, but the key has to be in the right mode to do that. This is very irritating when you play around with performances that have any kind of accompainment. The other way is to go through menu, which is really complicated. The screen itself is very nice, I have to say, and the interface with knobs and sliders and SEQ transport buttons is really good and I like it very much, but these little things are just annoying. However, there is one thing that I like, and that's Octave Down/up buttons. Very straightforward and the way it's supposed to be done.

On a more subjective note - I dislike the way Yamaha does interface, but that's purely a subjective comment so - it's a matter of taste. I just don't like having 100 switches and keys on the keyboard all over the place. The Category-Sub_Category-Sound thing is a bit too much for me, although this could be really good for people that aren't so much "into" keyboards.

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