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Yamaha MOTIF XF8 Synthesizer Workstation Reviews

5.0 stars based on 22 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Rob Parker

    The Yamaha MOTIF XF line is truly an endless source of inspiration, regardless of the style of music I'm working in. It has not only vast and varied electronic sounds, but also incredibly realistic and expressive acoustic sounds. It is a top-notch workstation - I've even composed entire soundtracks with the MOTIF alone!

  • from January 3, 2017Music Background:
    Keyboardist and bass player

    The number one keyboard at this time

    This instrument is incomparable. I think this version is the best of Yamaha regarding keyboard. I have the 88 keys that is very acoustic and..........

  • from Wilmington, North Carolina May 28, 2016Music Background:
    Guitar, Bass and Keyboards

    Yamaha Motif XF8

    This keyboard is amazing, much more than I thought it would be. It can do anything and has a great feel to play as well. It's definitely worth the money I paid for it. I bought a Fender amp to go with it.
    I want to thank Anthony Jenkins my sales engineer. Anthony worked with me to find the right package. I worried him alot before I bought and he always was very polite and very helpful. I will use Sweetwater from now on because of great customer service and prices!

  • from Bad Vibe Studios in Lytle, Tx May 6, 2016Music Background:
    Professional Engineer/Producer

    The Best

    This is hands down the best keyboard workstation i have ever used (and ive used a lot) and the best workstation on the market (in my opinion). You shouldn't even be reading this right now, you should've already entered your credit card info. GO....NOW

  • from Stoneville, NC March 8, 2016Music Background:
    Contemporary Christian Keyboardist

    Awesome Keyboard

    This Keyboard has Killer sounds straight from the factory and to me it is easier to control than some other workstations, I also have the Korg Kronos X88 and I like the Motif better and this is not to sell the Kronos off as being inferior because it certainly is not. The Motif is also built like a tank so it should certainly be road worthy. The action on the XF8 is really good also, not sluggish at all. Many thanks to Arend Raby at ext 1276 for all his help and advice on all my musical and keyboard purchases, he's really good and knows the technical things about high end and professional keyboards etc. You won't go wrong with this instrument...

  • from Hinckley, MN January 5, 2016

    Motif XF8

    After a lot of research the XF8 won. I have had this keyboard for a few months now and I cannot find anything that this keyboard cannot do. The guitar sounds are amazing. The design is very intuitive. Yamaha has thought of everything I needed. But this keyboard is a beast in the weight dept. 64lbs + 35lbs Gator case leaves this older musician with a lot to carry especially on stairs

  • from South Carolina November 16, 2015

    Motif XF8

    Couldn't be happier. Made me a rock star.

  • from Chicago, IL. February 14, 2015Music Background:
    Musician, songwriter/composer

    Motif XF8 short comings

    My first Motif was the ES and I can see some difference between the two. There is not a lot though, it has the same drum arpeggios and arpeggios in general. They have better preset songs on the MO. The arpeggio record to song and pattern are great. And the set up has been rearranged so you have to get used to it if you are a former Motif user. But overall it is a great workstation.

  • from San Francisco, CA August 29, 2014

    Best 88-key action

    I owned a Fantom X8 for 10 years, and more recently an Integra-7. I sold the fantom and switched to this and I could not be happier. This is the best action on an 88 key board you can find. It's "hard" enough to feel like playing a piano, but "soft" enough to play fast synth lines.

    Another thing I noticed is Yamaha has higher quality acoustic instrument patches than Roland. Roland seems to be focused on electronic music.

    Also, the flash board ROM expansion is a clever idea. Well done Yamaha!

  • from December 11, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    An Inspiration for Composing & Playing Good Music!

    Hi There,

    I was always inspired by the quality of sounds on the Yamaha Keyboards & Workstation. I started my gear with a Yamaha PSS Series Keyboard which is even today in pristine condition. I moved to the Middle East & had an opportunity to attend the Musical Festival in Dubai & Yamaha were showcasing their Motif ES8 Workstation. I played the Piano on the Motif ES8 and felt instantly connected to the Workstation and it brought instant creativity to compose Music. Today, I am a very proud owner of Yamaha Motif XS 8 which is my Master Keyboard and a MIDI Controller for my DAW. I do own Korg Kronos & Roland Fantom G6 however, the Motif is very close to my heart. I would love to get the Yamaha Motif XF as well one day.

  • from Gold Beach, OR USA May 13, 2013Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Jazz Aficionado

    Awesome Keyboard

    After a lot of research, I had narrowed my choice down between Yamaha's Motif XF8 and the Kronos X. I chose the XF8 and I'm glad I did. The guitar and synth sounds are excellent - and I love Chick's Mark V voice. Sound quality is perfect!

  • from February 10, 2013Music Background:
    Hobbyist keyboardist, recording engineer and producer.

    Gotta be the best

    I own a Motif XS8, not the XF, but if I had the money I'd get this one too. The key amazing. I play in a worship ministry and there's always somebody that comes to me and say something nice about the Motif. And if I'm away like for a moment someone WILL go and play it. I rarely write a review. But watching the Grammy's tonight and seeing both the XS and the XF on stage made come here and write something about it. Steve Wonder played an XS8 in the Eddy Murphy Tribute the other night. So, yeah I get exited to see the Motif on so many stages and performances (and who knows how many recordings) and knowing that I own one of the best keyboards ever. Si, if you're thinking about buying one, just GO for it! People will respect you. lol (seriously)

  • from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands November 9, 2012Music Background:

    The Church 101

    This product is amazing! We love it...

  • from Baltimore, MD USA October 19, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Motif XF8 nears perfection!

    Looking for an amazing, do everything instrument to add to your arsenal? Look no further this baby does it all and more. Moments after unpacking I had the flash board installed and the system updated thanks to the easy to follow instructions provided by Sweetwater. I then plugged in a powered monitor and was glued to the keyboard for hours. Great sounds, great action, easy to understand and navigate presets but beware! If there are other musicians around you may never get another chance with this beauty!

  • from Wasilla, Alaska October 10, 2012Music Background:
    Professional Musician

    Motif XF8

    This is a solid piece of keyboard gear. It is well designed, has many useful features, and great sounds.

  • from South West, MI April 14, 2012Music Background:


    I wanted a great foundation for piano sounds both instrument based and virtual "THIS IS IT"! Goes great with Synthogy IVORY II! Like pretzels and beer. The key bed in my opinion is even better than the Kronos 88 but I like my Kronos overall a little more because the sound engine and interface is more advanced. The worst thing about the XF8 is changing programs during live performance it can't be done without losing sound.

    The stock arpeggios are fantastic; the fidelity is absolutely amazing in fact it needs to be tamed with outboard gear to save your speakers from destruction. This is a workstation so you can create almost any sound imaginable with this thing. If you're looking for rock solid performance and future sound expansion possibilities and are a piano player at heart, this is your instrument you won't be disappointed.

  • from Camden Maine March 29, 2012Music Background:
    musician/singer/songwriter wannabe


    Have been learning/playing on a yamaha psr260 for several years, as well as taking song/lyric writing courses, and vocal courses. Wanted to reward myself with an upgrade, Want to be able to write and arrange my own songs and this appeared to be one of the best.
    Balanced hammer keys are taking some getting used to, paper manual is really just a quick start guide, and it wasn't clear that the brightness adjustment knob for the LCD screen was on the back of the unit (seems dumb, you can't operate the knob while seated looking at the screen.) Also, what is so difficult about putting an on/off button right on top of the unit? Granted, you have to go across the room and turn of your amp (fortunately I already had one, didn't know the motif xf8 didn't have any built in speakers,)before you can turn of the motif, even still the small black button (why not white or red so you can see it?) is difficult to see. I have to turn on the unit, then the amp, then I go behind it to turn on the reading lamp that sits over the keyboard. The buttons for selecting voices seem a little off. Select voice, then press keyboard or organ I can't remember exactly, but up come guitar options. The voices are all there, but not like you'd expect/the way they are labeled. The accompanying disc was labeled with a vague term like "reference guide" I didn't realize that it was actually the complete manual until a couple of weeks later. Had to print off the, I forget 150? 200+? pages for handy reference. Can't include a printed manual for 3500 bucks? All knobs are black with white lettering, a little color around various blocks of buttons might make it easier to quickly find things. So far, I have just experimented with voices, I can see that it will be a monumentally huge task to begin learning how to lay down vocal, drum, and voice tracks to form a song. Unit is huge and heavy! I had hoped to have an all in one unit to take to weekly jam sessions this summer, I still may, but can barely fit this in my ford fusion, with or w/o my german shepard/husky that goes everywhere I do. I'm not sure this is everything it's cracked up to be! Oh, and forget about the motifator forum, that was no help to me when I was searching for answers to my questions. Maybe after I fully learn how to use this thing I will have a better opinion. Right now I am focusing on completing my lessons for my current level. If anyone knows of online tutorials on how to use the motif's functions, i'd love to know. All I see are people playing the unit, or demoing i'ts functions, not explaining step by step how to perform them.

  • from Waxahachie,Tx USA February 3, 2012Music Background:
    Professional Musian

    Wow!! Best Keyboard I ever heard

    I have been playing piano since the late 70's and I have to say that this is the best electric I have ever heard. I am curently an Roland owner and I realy enjoy playing it, but after hearing this Yamaha MOTIF XF8, I was blown away. I have never heard such clear sounds and rythms . This should be a big and best seller.

  • from Hudson Valley January 7, 2012Music Background:
    determined freelancer

    Only one thing missing

    The sounds are spectacular. Probably the best rompler available today (until TheNextBigThing comes along, at least,) but it is, still, just a rompler. Not my style, but I would not say no if anyone wanted to donate one to my stable (such as this contest, heh.) The only thing I would consider lacking is a second set of MIDI ports. I don't count the USB/MIDI as real MIDI, since it doesn't really count for connecting different instruments together, but only one instrument to a computer. I'm a traditionalist and use MOTU MIDI buses and audio buses throughout my rack. Every one of my keyboards is connected to ever other through several different DAWs, including the MOTO control software. Maybe physical modeling would have been nice, too. With AWM2, this Motif XF probably doesn't sound too much better than my SY85. It just has more samples. So, for a machine of this size and price, I would say, another set of MIDI ports and physical modeling, and it would be the most perfect Yamaha for the money. I think I'll stick with my Technics WSA1 and Kawai MP8 II, among others.

  • from Tampa, Florida October 19, 2011Music Background:
    Composer, Lyricist, Comedy Writer, Vocalist, Musician, Actor.

    Yamaha and Sweetwater... The Leaders.

    The overall rating above says it all.
    'WOW! Blown Away' !
    There is not much to add about Sweetwater that all of their previous reviewers haven't already said, but I'll try.
    Customer service, exceptional.
    Competitive pricing, willing to match other sellers.
    (especially those sellers that do not allow customers security enough in them to have confidence buying from them.)
    Sweetwater Customer service needs a second mention! ... possibly a third!
    Shipping, the quality of the packaging of the Yamaha Motif XF8
    I received was very high quality as with the FedEx Air delivery that was used!
    Lastly, but certainly not least, YAMAHA!
    Yamaha was selected from their reputation, the exact product that I saw locally before purchasing, the list of major writers, publishers, and recording artists that suggested to try, as Yamaha is the leader.
    These choices were made simple from just a few discussions with the above mentioned two companies.
    Thank you very much.

  • from Iran September 17, 2011

    Best sounds ever !!!

    I have 12 years of experience in the music field. I started to learn music when I was a kid using YAMAHA PSS680. Then I changed my keyboard several times(PSR 500-PSR 740). In 2005 I went for total software solution( DAW- VSI). During the last 5 years I lost a lot of my creativity and productivity since the work flow was not convenient( PC crashes- software incompatibility -low quality samples-.......) and I did not realized that until I bought MOTIF XF8 in 2010 and the pains gone for ever!!!!!

    It is an incredible device. Before my purchase I did an extensive research to find out which brand has the best sounds. I checked the Roland Fantom G / Kurzweil PC3X / KORG m3 and Yamaha MOTIF XF.
    The motif was a head and a shoulder above all of them regarding the sound quality. Recently I tested the Motif XF against the Korg kronos
    (patch comparison) and the quality of the Motif sounds were better. Of course I know that this quality thing is totally subjective.

    But I want to say that Don't believe the hypes. The specification is something on the paper but you have to listen to the sounds. Motif is a deep machine and you can tweak the sounds and you have limitless options.

    Buy the motif and five years later when you feel the sounds are dated(which won't) you can buy 2GB flash ROM and suddenly you have a new synth !!!

  • from NY, USA January 31, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Hobbyist

    Amazing Synth

    I am usually too busy to write reviews of products, but this time it is something different.

    I was always "Roland guy" and liked their synths a lot, and still do, but when I got my Motif XF8 and played it for a while, I feel that I am converted...

    This instrument is absolutely unbelievable. The quality of sounds is top notch. All the sounds of Motif XS and then some...

    The arpeggios are incredible and matched to instrument played. I am a Cubase user, and even though you can't use the synth the same exact way as software VST instrument it does integrate with Cubase nicely.

    You can control things in software from synth and it is pretty convenient, also you can manipulate the sounds the synth produces in your PC and sync it to the Motif.
    I must warn you on one thing I misunderstood when got it. The USB connection transfers ONLY MIDI (between PC and Synth and back) so if you want to record separate audio tracks that synth outputs, you will need the FireWare expansion board for that.

    The keys feel very natural and allow great control of velocity and expression.

    In comparison to Roland G6 it has smaller screen, but in my case it is not used that much anyway, since I control everything through VST Editor Software.

    88 keys is huge difference from 61 keys I had before. Now I can finally have convenient full range control over my software VST Instruments.

    I would guess the only disadvantages for some would be its weight, but since I use it in studio it's not a disadvantage for me.

    Do you really need that expensive synth? I guess only you yourself will be able to answer this question, as for me, I feel it worth every penny.

  • from Birmingham, AL usa September 10, 2010Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Songwriter, Semipro Musician

    Perfect Incarnation of the Motif...

    Ok. This is it. The one.

    Yamaha took what was ALREADY arguably the best workstation (and most certainly they best sounding) in the world (I'll qualify this by saying I own or have owned ALL of the previous Motif's, Tritons, Fantoms, and even the Korg fancy pants OASYS), and made it a WHOLE LOT BETTER. Impossible, you say? That's what I thought, but...

    #1) It's black.

    OK. Cosmetic issue, sure. But you have to admit the black looks MUCH better onstage than that sickly gray green color the old Motif's had. Cool.

    #2) A WHOLE lot more memory.

    Like about double (741MB vs. 355 in the XS). LOTS more room for waveforms and MANY new ones to build on. the XS had 2670, the XF has 3977 new waveforms!

    #3) Extra bank of memory and drums...

    Yup. A whole new set of 128 voices, and 8 new drumkits...

    #4) new performance set...

    128 more of these!

    #5) 1248 cool new arpeggios! (relative to the XS) LOVE these!

    And more and more.

    This thing is absolutely unbelieveable. It already sounded GREAT, and all the "newness" just puts the frosting on the cake, but it also certainly propels it to the very top of the workstation pile with no peers...

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