Yamaha MOTIF XS8 Music Production Synthesizer Workstation  

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The MOTIF XS8 is a powerhouse 88-key synth workstation from Yamaha. It comes with a mind-blowing 355MB of wave ROM which combines with the Expanded Articulation tone generator for previously unheard l... Read More

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The MOTIF XS8 is a powerhouse 88-key synth workstation from Yamaha. It comes with a mind-blowing 355MB of wave ROM which combines with the Expanded Articulation tone generator for previously unheard levels of expression and sound quality. Also key to the XS experience is the easy-to-use performance recording for capturing ideas as you play”voices and effects intact. Over 1,000 voices (plus 64 drum kits), 4 musical arpeggiators, over 6000 phrases, a sampling sequencer, studio-style mixing, a color LCD, and assignable knobs and sliders for hands on control. Computer connectivity via USB, Firewire, and Ethernet. Includes Cubase AI, optimized for seamless integration with the MOTIF XS.

Instant inspiration, infinite possibilities
With the Yamaha MOTIF XS, inspiration is just a key press away. High-quality sounds to inspire you, intelligent arpeggiators to fuel your creativity, recording features to capture every idea, built-in sampling to create full audio/MIDI arrangements, rhythmic Patterns to compose with, studio-style mixing controls, and versatile effect processing to master your final productions. With all this and more, the MOTIF XS will soon be your go”to instrument”whether youre composing at home, recording in the studio, or playing live. It's got absolutely everything you need to make professional quality music.

High-quality sounds to spark your creativity
The MOTIF XS provides an exceptionally broad selection of realistic sounds to spark your creativity, with 355MB 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 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.

The sound engine has been upgraded with the Expanded Articulation (XA) tone generation system. Using the eight 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 realtime”for example, playing a classical guitar voice and switching 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 creation, and arranging
The MOTIF XS has lots of sophisticated features to help jump-start your creativity and live performance potential. One of the most powerful of these is the arpeggio phrase function, 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 phrases”playing four different instrument parts”running simultaneously and in perfect sync. 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 1GB) 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-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 eight 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 eight 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 realtime.

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, its a true joy to play”right down to the newly designed expressive keyboards. The MOTIF XS6 and XS7 have an 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, IEEE 1394 (standard on the MOTIF XS8 and available on the MOTIF XS6/7 with the optional board) and two USB connectors, compatible with the high-speed USB 2.0 standard.

The comprehensive set of connectors”ethernet, IEEE 1394 (FireWire, mLAN), and USB”make interfacing with computers and your favorite software exceptionally easy. In particular, the ethernet connection gives you fast transfer of your MOTIF XS files to and from a computer on the same network. The IEEE 1394 interface (included on XS8, optional expansion for XS6 and 7) gives you a one-cable, one-network solution for high”speed, realtime transfer of multi”channel digital audio and MIDI data.

Software integration
Todays 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 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.

The Cubase Connection”and Studio Connections
The MOTIF XS is specially designed to function seamlessly with Cubase 4 (& 5) Steinbergs powerful DAW software”giving you a comprehensive, all-in-one music production system in which both hardware and software are fully integrated.

With our Studio Connections system (created jointly with Steinberg), you can effectively bring the MOTIF XS into the Cubase environment and use it just as if it were a plug-in software synthesizer”no complicated connections or complex setup necessary. Whenever you open a project, your MOTIF XS is automatically enabled as well, with all the custom settings you previously saved. You can use the convenient panel controls on the MOTIF XS to remotely to control a wide variety of operations on Cubase 4. And since song files on the MOTIF XS are in Cubase format, you can create material on the MOTIF XS and easily import it to tracks in Cubase 4 (& 5) for further editing and mixing.

  • 88 keys
  • 355MB of wave ROM
  • Xpanded Articulation (XA) tone generator
  • Instant Performance Recording
  • Updated interface
  • Large color LCD screen
  • 8 knobs and sliders
  • Studio-style mixing environment
  • Virtual Circuitry Modeling effects
  • 4 intelligent Arpeggiators
  • Integrated Sampling Sequencer with 1 GB of optional memory
  • Total Computer Integration
  • MOTIF XS8: 88 keys, Balanced Hammer Effect Keyboard (Initial Touch/Aftertouch)
    Tone Generator: AWM2 with Expanded Articulation
    Polyphony: 128 notes
    Multi-timbral capacity: 16 parts; audio input parts (A/D, mLAN*) *1 stereo part
    Wave: 355MB (when converted to 16-bit linear format), 2,670 waveforms

    Preset: 1,024 Normal Voices + 64 Drum Kits
    GM: 128 Normal Voices + 1 Drum Kit
    User: 128 x 3 (selected and copied from Preset bank) Normal Voice + 32 Drum Kits
    Performance User: 128 x 3 (up to 4 Parts)
    Filter: 18 types
    Effect System: Reverb x 9 types, Chorus x 22 types, Insertion (A, B, L) x 53 types x 8 blocks, Master Effect x 9 types, Master Equalizer (5 bands), Part EQ (3 bands, stereo)
    Samples: Up to 1,024 Waveforms (Multi Samples), up to 128 Key Banks per Waveform, up to 4,096 Key Banks
    Sampling sources: analog input L/R, Stereo output (Resampling), digital output mLAN (available on the MOTIF XS6 and 7 when the mLAN16E2 has been installed)
    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), via mLAN (when the mLAN16E2 has been installed) 44.1kHz (fixed)
    Sampling Memory: Optionally installed, expandable to 1GB (512MB DIMM x 2 slots)
    Sample Length: 32MB mono, 64MB stereo
    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 block
    Note Capacity: Approx. 130,000 notes
    Note Resolution: 480 ppq (parts per quarter note)
    Maximum Polyphony; 124 notes
    Tempo (BPM); 5 300
    Recording type: realtime replace; realtime overdub (with the exception of the Pattern Chain); realtime punch in/out (Song only)
    Tracks: Pattern”16 Phrase tracks; Pattern Chain”Pattern track, Tempo track, Scene; Song”16 sequence tracks (Loop on/off can be set for each track), Tempo track, Scene track

    Patterns: 64 Patterns (x 16 sections); 256 measures (maximum); 16 Voices per Pattern, up to 256 Voices for all Patterns; 32 mixing templates for all songs and Patterns
    Phrases: 256 User Phrases per Pattern
    Songs: 64 Songs; 16 Mixing Voices per Song, up to 256 for all Songs; 32 Mixing Templates for all Songs and Patterns
    Arpeggio: Approx. 6,000 Preset types; 256 User types (MIDI Sync, MIDI transmit/receive channel, Velocity Limit, and Note Limit can be set)
    Scene Memory: 5 per Song
    Sequence Format: Original format, SMF format 0, 1 (Format 1 load only)
    Master: 128 User (8 Zones (Master keyboard settings), Assignable Knob/Slider settings, Program Change Table)
    Sequence Software compatible with the Remote Control function: Cubase 4, Cubase AI, SONAR 5.2 for Windows; Cubase 4, Cubase AI, Logic 7.2, Digital Performer 5 for Macintosh (Functions to be controlled differ depending on the software)
    Controllers: Pitch Bend wheel, Modulation wheel, Ribbon Controller, Assignable Control Sliders x 8, Assignable Knobs x 8, Assignable Function buttons x 2, Data dial
    Display: 320 x 240 dot, 5.7 inch graphic color backlit LCD

    OUTPUT L/MONO, R (standard phone jack)
    ASSIGNABLE OUTPUT L, R (standard phone jack)
    A/D INPUT L, R (standard phone jack)
    PHONES (standard stereo phone jack)
    AC IN
    mLAN (available on the MOTIF XS6 and 7 when the mLAN16E2 has been installed)
    Power Consumption: 30W
    MOTIF XS8: 1,457 (W) x 466 (D) x 168 (H) mm, 28.6 kg
  • Customer Reviews

Review Snapshot

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YamahaMOTIF XS8 Music Production Synthesizer Workstation

(based on 8 reviews)

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Reviewed by 8 customers

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(1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


Good Workstation, just OK as a digital piano.

By Jason Lavoie

from Raymond, MS

Comments about Yamaha MOTIF XS8 Music Production Synthesizer Workstation:

The XS8 is a good workstation for those who don't prefer a computer sequencer for composing. The sounds are very high quality, making up for a slight lack of variety. It is very large but sturdy looking, although I question the wisdom of using MDF for the bottom and sides. Navigation looks daunting to newcomers, but is actually easy once learned. It's too bad it doesn't have some of the Tyros's nicer UI elements, score view, or arranging capabilities. The buttons and switches on the top vibrate audibly when played through a loud amp. The weighted keys have a light, fast action. Pianists might find it a little bit too light and will probably notice the lack of a graded hammer effect. A built in sheet music stand would be nice, but it's too much to expect on a workstation these days. The MOTIF accepts both switch-type sustain pedals and variable ones for half-pedaling. It takes a long time to boot up, so it's not for the impatient. It's huge! Buy a big case (some 88-note ones won't fit), plus a sturdy stand. It's a fine recording tool for musicians who like to jam, but I think I'll stick to my stage piano for performing and leave the recording to DAW/MIDI sequencing programs.

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(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


MOTIF SX8 In The Studio, Can Do

By Alex Chapin

from Nyack, New York

Comments about Yamaha MOTIF XS8 Music Production Synthesizer Workstation:

As a studio musician I highly recommend the MOTIF XS8. The action on this keyboard is great. Most of the songs that I write are written on the MO-88. The XS8, is a great compliment to the MO-88 and Roland Fantom G-8 that I use in the studio. If your a working studio musician add this to your line up !! You wont regret it.

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(15 of 16 customers found this review helpful)


This is the way to go!

By Jon

from Greenbrier, TN

Comments about Yamaha MOTIF XS8 Music Production Synthesizer Workstation:

I am a very technical person and did a whole lot of research before purchasing this board and have to say after using it for a few months in the real worlds now that I am convinced I made the right decision purchasing it. I was trained classically, so having a reliable weighted bed was very inportant for me- the action is just right- for playing organ however, I still opt to use my Hammond XB-2 with a Pro3 leslise simulator for action/sound. Yamaha is very supportive in keeping sounds up to date, even after you purchase -I downloaded a free, huge sound library from their site- there are so many sounds that it will take forever to go through them all-any genre that you are into is covered here. If not, load your samples into it. Despite what folks have said in many reviews that this board is more complicated to navigate/operate than others, I disagree after my extensive researching before buying it and my hands on experience- Yamaha really thought this out and designed it to be very logical and straightforward for the musician in mind. I do have to admit that I read the manual 3 times (as well as the M3 and Fantom) before buying the XS8 which probably helped me a little! I don't think that you will beat the quality and usefulness of what is provided in the XS8. I have been playing professionally for many years and write all kinds of music including TV production/worship music. My sound needs are very demanding and I am very finicky. This board has not let me down in any aspect. The keyboard market these days can be frustrating when everyone is offering so many things in their products to compete. I won't say that the M3 and Fantom are bad boards because they aren't. Personally, if I was primarily into techno/synth stuff I would like to have the M3, or if I wanted libraries of tons of sounds I would go for the Fantom -when it all came down to my own decision, it was the playing action, the sounds (based on what I need) and the functionality. The other boards mentioned just were not for me. I would encourage you to make the wisest decision possible, not based on what others say but based on spending a lot of time doing your own research as I have done. Pull up the manuals online and read through them- it will take a lot of time, but that will give you a lot of knowlege on how the board operates and what you will have to deal with when using that board. Make notes of the operational things/features in each that you like/dislike, and compare them. That is something that helped me make my decision, but the overall determining factor for me was playing and experiencing the sounds of the XS8. It works perfectly for me.

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(47 of 76 customers found this review helpful)


ranked #1

By George Pettus(G.P.)

from Austin TX

Comments about Yamaha MOTIF XS8 Music Production Synthesizer Workstation:

Hey every one,this is G.P. from the TRACK MAKERS and i must say this board is the thing to get.I wrote a song for Chris Brown called Slide My Way thats gonna be on his next Album on the XS8.Any thing you can think of this board will do.Dont be left behind in the producing world go grab a XS8! Ps to listen to some of the track i did on itgo to Myspace.com/gpprinceofthesouth

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(50 of 53 customers found this review helpful)


Gives me something to do.

By JComeaux

from Beaumont, Tx

Comments about Yamaha MOTIF XS8 Music Production Synthesizer Workstation:

I work at GC, and with a full arrange of workstations in front of me, I couldn't pick another one to spend my spare time on. Perhaps the X8, but the Yamaha XS8 has my undivided affection. It's looping, track editing, and recording features take nothing but common sense to figure out, making it one of the most user friendly workstations I have ever had performed on. Not to mention it has the Hammer action keys and the full orchestra of sounds that Yamaha purists have come to love over the years. If you own a MO8 or ES8, or even a Yamaha Stage Piano, you will not be dissapointed with the XS8

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(13 of 19 customers found this review helpful)


provokes creativity

By blandie

from WPB, Florida

Comments about Yamaha MOTIF XS8 Music Production Synthesizer Workstation:

It makes the best come out of you by giving you serious riffs to build you new song from. Very user friendly as well. i can doa whole composition with all the sounds while sitting in my office in my underwear. I don't have to worry about expensive studio time. This thing records, mixes, samples, loops, and edits.

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(18 of 19 customers found this review helpful)


I knew it would be good but......this is crazy!

By Drycreek66

from Northern CA

Comments about Yamaha MOTIF XS8 Music Production Synthesizer Workstation:

Thank goodness I waited. I was about to buy a competitor's keyboard from Denmark. Everything about the Motif XS8 is great. Perfect touch, easy to navigate, simple to edit, every voice you would need incl strong pianos, elect pianos, B3(s) and Leslies, synths, great guitars and strings. This keyboard is for the true pro. Drawbacks?...none except it is heavy to cart around. Yamaha wins again.

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(24 of 30 customers found this review helpful)


Perfect sounds

By JoeTIF63

from Malverne, NY

Comments about Yamaha MOTIF XS8 Music Production Synthesizer Workstation:

this Keyboard has EVERY single sound you can imagine, and if not, then tweak it until you can find that special sound you were looking for. I've had mine for 3 days now, and I cant stay off of it! Yamaha, you've got my vote!

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