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Yamaha MOTIF-RACK XS Reviews

5.0 stars based on 9 customer reviews
Questions about the Yamaha MOTIF-RACK XS?

Questions about the Yamaha MOTIF-RACK XS?

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  • from Brooklyn, NY April 18, 2014

    Oustanding Sounds - Warm and Edgy!

    Yamaha Motif Rack XS excellent sounds blew me away. Surprisingly it has a very warm sound quality, perhaps because of the VCM (virtual circuit modeling) based effects. Drums are really punchy. It's also a lot of fun to jam with the MULTIs - 4 simultaneous combined voices, each with its own arpeggio and settings. Love it !!

  • from SW Michigan January 11, 2013Music Background:
    Play in worship band; guitar & keyboard, hobby


    I've had this two month's now and still have not heard every sound. And the sounds that I have heard sound so real! - (The one's that are suppose to sound like orchestra instruments)

    I purchased it to go with the Yamaha Wind controller, WX-5. I'm getting ready to retire and need a hobby, so I'm going to teach myself how to play it!

  • from Gadsden, Alabama September 13, 2012Music Background:
    Arranger, Keyboardist, Sound & Video

    MOTIF-RACK XS . . . Hard to beat for it's Size

    There's alot of sound power packed into this little unit. The volume of sounds alone is quite astounding! And these are professional sounds, not all will be "useable" for every musician of course, but I can not imagine that any musician will not be able to find a vast abundance of great sounds and performances capable of putting just about any kind of lead or backup at their finger-tips. Yamaha is noted for making well built products. This one is no different. The only thing you might find a bit annoying is the size of the data on the front panel readout area, but this is in no way a deal-breaker. So if you are looking for a one rack unit with an abundance of sound and performances, most very quite usable, and with editing power to boot, you won't regret your purchase. Great quality for the dollar.

  • from Houston,TX August 29, 2011Music Background:
    live sound, hobbyist, praise & worship

    Very Nice Rack Synth

    1. Many very useful voices right out of the box.
    2. Very flexible and easy to maintain favorites list. Understand they are sorted by bank plus voice number.
    3. With 5 encoders * 4 groupings, you can access 20 key parameters at performance time. 2 of these are assignable.
    4. Category search is good but a properly maintained favorites may be faster for performance use.

    5. I do not yet see a method for control input of Leslie speed from the master controller. There are no hardware control inputs on the rack that can be used. This is where the Motif or S90 would have an advantage.
    6. The MIDI filters could be expanded / enhanced. Even though Program change is disabled, some parameters are changed with changes from the master controller.
    7. This rack does not have a feature called patch remain. I.E., the currently sustained chord will drop out when switching voices.

    Overall, this is great way to add voices to any configuration you may have. Most voices are good without any edits. This little box may make me into a pure Yamaha convert with regard to keyboards.

  • from Toledo, Ohio April 18, 2010Music Background:
    Hobbyist, someday-recording-engineer

    BUY THIS....

    The title says it all. The motif rack is just as good as the full sized motif: you get all the patches, effects, and MIDI latency is pretty much nonexistant. The instruments sound great, especially the guitars.
    And the effects are amazing. I don't think most people realize how realsitic the effects are on the motif, but the vcm compressor and EQs are dope. It actually sounds like I'm patching through an 1176 or 550: for example, driving the compressor hard will cause a nice distortion if you're looking for that.

    Trust me, if you're looking for a keyboard, BUY THE MOTIF RACK!! You'll get the best features of the full size version for a third of the cost.

  • from Houston November 27, 2009Music Background:
    better that you hear it for yourself-> www.myspace.com/settexasfree

    This Rack Has Exceeded My Expectations

    I had an Oxygen 61 Midi Controller and wanted to get a new sound module. I like to keep my studio as compartmented as possible so I can switch out pieces rather than buy entirely new units. This way when I bang on the keys, if the keys break I can just go get a new Midi controller for about $200 instead of buying a $2500 keyboard.

    I sequence and record with Pro Tools 8 LE and use the Yamaha software interface that comes with to control the Motif Rack. Long gone are the hours of trying to call up presets or save things manually, now I just conveniently call up any multi-voice setting whenever I want and save them as a file into a folder on my computer.

    The voices and the sounds are really good. As with most modules or boards I've used there's that group of quality sounds you'll be attracted to. This rack has plenty. The Motif Rack XS is good for the electronic musician, great for techno, rap, hip-hop, and even can be used in rock music too.

    I don't usually write reviews so it really takes a lot for me to say all this- but I feel obligated from my positive experience and the value which far exceeds the price tag.

  • from Philippines January 20, 2009Music Background:
    Arranger, Producer, etc.


    Just got mine yesterday. Extremely useable sounds. Get yourself one. It's not very likely that you'll regret it.

  • from Washington, DC November 7, 2008Music Background:
    engineer, producer, pro-musicians


    Man this is Sweet... I was told that this wasn't all that but it's nice.. I know there are the Fantoms and the M3's out there but if you already have a keyboard and looking to get some dynamite sounds then I would recommned this.. I went through all the sounds and they are unbelievable (in a good Way)... I love it and I'm glad to have it.. get one and enjoy...

  • from Boston May 20, 2010Music Background:
    pro musician

    Amazing stuff

    This is my 7th sound module. I do a lot of sequences monthly for several groups. The motif offers the best pianos I have tried. The grands and the acoustic guitars sound very real and the list of basses is pretty long. The effects are very accessible with the knobs on the case. I can apply most of needed effects from the rack, if I dont want to use other hardwares. This module works flawlessly with Digital Performer. It amazes me every time. Glad I bought it.


  • Lynn Graber

    Simplicity and flexibility without compromise. This MOTIF-RACK XS comes loaded with plenty of presets and is absolutely ready to rock out of the box. The quick category search feature is absolutely genius! You can quickly sort through sounds and preview only the ones that are relevant to what you are doing. Editing a patch is fast and easy via the five rotary encoders located right on the front. You have the most important parameters right at your fingertips without having to dig through layers of menus. Tweakheads need not fear. You can edit even deeper by connecting this box to your DAW and using the included editor software. As if all that was not enough, you can add the optional FireWire card and stream up to 16 channels of audio back to your DAW while simultaneously sending MIDI data to the MOTIF-RACK XS.

  • Scott Barefield

    The emergence of the "refined" keyboard workstation in the late 1990s opened up a whole new set of doors for musicians everywhere. Not only was the sound quality impeccable, but the multi-voicing and sequencing capabilities provided the convenience of working entirely within the keyboard. Following the immense success of Korg's Triton series, Yamaha took a shot at the keyboard workstation market in 2001 with the first series of MOTIFs. The result was a list of critical acclaim that has continued for the past eight years.

    The emergence of MIDI in the modern recording studio has popularized rack modules of keyboard workstations, to consolidate space and to provide a less expensive alternative. At $1,299.99 the MOTIF XS Rack is more than 1K less than the base MOTIF XS6 keyboard workstation. There has to be some significant sonic quality I am going to be giving up, I thought as I was unboxing the XS Rack. This was absolutely not the case. In fact, it uses the exact same tone-generation architecture that the XS workstation does, complete with 1,152 voices and 65 drum kits.

    As I scrolled through the different presets in the module, I was immediately struck with how versatile the XS Rack truly was. Terrific sounding pianos, any orchestral instrument you can think of (or not think of), accurate vintage keyboards, guitar, bass, brass, and drums that would appeal to any genre. You truly are working with a blank canvas that could be applied to any style of music.

    Aside from the superior sound quality the Motif Rack XS possesses, it is also incredibly easy to use. Often when I am using a module or keyboard workstation I like to tweak and alter the presets to work with my mixes better. This usually consists of navigating through endless display pages on an LCD screen with a jog wheel. The XS Rack easily bypasses this mess by including 5 knobs where you can access an array of effects (EQ, Chorus, Reverb, etc) in real-time. Total convenience.

    The MIDI communication with my DAW was made extremely easy with Yamaha's inclusion of a USB port in the back of the module, and with the optional addition of the mLAN16E2 FireWire expansion interface, I can record 14 individual parts along with the main stereo output from the instrument directly to my computer. Not too shabby at all!

    The MOTIF XS Rack has proven itself as one of the best keyboard modules on the market in its price range. The tremendous sound quality and powerful multi-voicing capabilities coupled with its embarrassingly easy controls make this module a worthy addition to any studio environment or live rig. Yamaha hits another one out of the park.

  • Kevin Robery

    I've always appreciated the workmanship that Yamaha puts into their pro audio gear, and the Yamaha MOTIF-RACK XS is no exception... and all in one rackspace. Incredible. It comes fully loaded from the factory with awe-inspiring sounds, drum kits, effects and arpeggios. You can't help but just be creative right away with the MOTIF-RACK XS. This instrument is ready to go right out of the box, and the ease of front-panel stand-alone editing is remarkable.

    If you really want to hear what this baby can do, just fire up the factory-loaded demo songs. You can even audition each of the 1,000+ voices as to how they sound or how they should - or could - be played.

    Link this up with a full load of effects, over 6,000 types of arpeggios, and drum kits. Yamaha has created what are called "multis:" performances that use all the tools of the MOTIF synth engine to create practically any musical style or genre, including ambient, orchestral, rock, R&B, blues, dance, trance, hip hop and house, film-scoring, Latin, world... well, you get the idea.

    One way-cool thing about any rackmountable gear is that it's cheaper than having to buy the version that includes the keyboard. If any serious musician, from hobbyist to pro, has a keyboard that he or she have been playing for years, it's a whole lot cheaper to by the rack unit. And this rack is all (and in many respects even more) than the keyboard versions in the MOTIF Series.

    I used my "vintage" Yamaha KX88 in my home studio, and it was like being re-introduced to an old friend. My experience with the Yamaha MOTIF-RACK XS is almost that it "guides" and inspires you to go out on musical adventures you never dreamed possible... and you're the one doing it. I'm still looking for the bottom of this thing and I haven't found it yet!

    And this is just for the rackmount all by itself. I can only imagine what it will be like to drill down into the inner workings of the MOTIF RACK XS hooking it up to a computer-based DAW... endless possibilities.

Questions about the Yamaha MOTIF-RACK XS?

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