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Which has the better FM engine -- Kronos or Montage/MODX ?
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Which FM engine is better: Kronos or Montage/MODX?
Kronos MOD-7 by a mile
43%
 43%  [ 10 ]
MOD-7 is a little better
4%
 4%  [ 1 ]
MOD-7 and FM-X are about the same
8%
 8%  [ 2 ]
FM-X is slightly better
17%
 17%  [ 4 ]
Montage/MODX wins because it is Yamaha
8%
 8%  [ 2 ]
I have another opinion
17%
 17%  [ 4 ]
Total Votes : 23

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psionic311
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 1:05 am    Post subject: Which has the better FM engine -- Kronos or Montage/MODX ? Reply with quote

Not counting FX, I think the Kronos MOD-7 FM engine runs circles around Yamaha's latest FM-X engine.

What do you think? What makes one better than the other?
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psionic311
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right now I have 2 weeks left before I have to decide whether to return or keep a MODX7. I'm no expert at FM, but I can get my way around to make basic sounds. I was expecting FM-X to be at least slightly better than the Kronos' MOD-7, but to my surprise, FM-X is very limited.

I'm curious to hear what others think, especially if you have both a Kronos and a Montage or MODX.
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benny ray
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love my Kronos and have played the Montage and Modx if I were interested in FM mostly I would pick Yamaha. But I prefer old school analog sounds mostly but last week I played the MODX for a long time at GC and was quite impressed. I played the MODX 88 and the keybed was too noisy for me but I liked alot of the sounds.

I have imported many DX7 sounds in my Kronos but the Yamaha just sounded better if you prefer the DX7 sounds. JMO
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DeltaJockey
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have that much experience programming FM, but generally I feel my MODX8 has just a tiny bit more sparkle than MOD7 sound wise. Maybe it comes down to other differences between the boards, I don't know.
The MODX8 keybed seems to be quite variable. Mine got noisy after a few weeks, but has now quietened down quite nicely. Perhaps the lubrication has "bedded in". It's nice to have FM on both. Perhaps in the end there is so little difference that it does come down the to rest of the board for it's FM "differences".
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Rigel
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having a patch bay, where you can connect operators, noise, pcm, filters, mixers in any combination is an indispensible feature. The AMS philososphy of the Kronos is a valuable tool for sound design and is interwoven inside the MOD7. Only these two features are enough for being a better FM engine then the FM-x.
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Mike Conway
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have direct experience with Montage/MODX FM. There are 3 things that make it sound desirable to me - more polyphony, 8 Operators, and Yamaha filters which sound pretty cool.

The biggest minus about MODX FM is that it doesn't truly interact with samples and ROM, other than playing a sample and FM layer. Korg's MOD-7 has capabilities similar to Yamaha's SY99/77, where you can run samples directly into the oscillators, allowing for FM distortion, frequency shifting vibrato, and wave modulation.

I would never give up MOD-7 for MODX, but I would consider adding an MODX.
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kronoSphere
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SY77
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ponkine
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never ever been a fan of digital FM synth engine

It tends to sound digital, thin and harsh

It screams DX7 all over
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PCFREE
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have both

I think the Kronos is warmer.
The montage is brighter and more edgy
The Yamaha has more definition in the bottom end and generally more sparkle

I prefer the warmth of the Korg but the Yamaha seems to have more flexibility
I really don’t know anything about FM synthesis, though. This is just my perception according to what I hear.

To my ears they sound very different. Ultimately, I prefer the Yamaha
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psionic311
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

benny ray wrote:
I love my Kronos and have played the Montage and Modx if I were interested in FM mostly I would pick Yamaha. But I prefer old school analog sounds mostly but last week I played the MODX for a long time at GC and was quite impressed. I played the MODX 88 and the keybed was too noisy for me but I liked alot of the sounds.

I have imported many DX7 sounds in my Kronos but the Yamaha just sounded better if you prefer the DX7 sounds. JMO


The MODX7 build quality is very flimsy, you can even see where the keys join to the main chassis how cheaply the product is made. Still, it does seem sturdy enough to gig, and that is at least part of the market they were aiming at. For $1500 and all the features, it does seem like a reasonable compromise.

I'm not so interested in the DX7 sounds. Besides the iconic sparkly electric tine piano sound, many of the original DX7 sounds, even with modern FX, still have a certain shallowness to them, with few exception. But there is a dynamic element to FM sounds, and it seems Yamaha has chosen to mostly layer FM-X with its AWM2 sounds.
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psionic311
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DeltaJockey wrote:
I don't have that much experience programming FM, but generally I feel my MODX8 has just a tiny bit more sparkle than MOD7 sound wise. Maybe it comes down to other differences between the boards, I don't know.
The MODX8 keybed seems to be quite variable. Mine got noisy after a few weeks, but has now quietened down quite nicely. Perhaps the lubrication has "bedded in". It's nice to have FM on both. Perhaps in the end there is so little difference that it does come down the to rest of the board for it's FM "differences".


I did notice that extra sparkle or wetness to basic FM patches on the MODX7 as I was simultaneously making FM patches on the Kronos. However, being generally another EXi engine with all its added benefits, MOD-7 has tricks up its sleeves to also sound sparkly, or thicker, or more evolving than is possible in FM-X.

But you're right that a lot of it comes down the whole package each keyboard offers. The MODX7 may have some quality factory samples that are better than the Kronos, but that is easily remedied by importing new samples, like those freely available by our good friend Busch. So even putting build quality aside, the Kronos still easily has the better advantage as a whole.
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psionic311
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rigel wrote:
Having a patch bay, where you can connect operators, noise, pcm, filters, mixers in any combination is an indispensible feature.


This! Many more complex algorithms and creative possibilities are open with the modular approach Korg chose with MOD-7. Even if you have a limited understanding of FM, you can custom build just what you need to build a ready to go FM sound from scratch. The end result tends to be a more "mature" or next-generation sound, even before you hit the rest of the engine.

Quote:
The AMS philososphy of the Kronos is a valuable tool for sound design and is interwoven inside the MOD7. Only these two features are enough for being a better FM engine then the FM-x.


This is what I found surprisingly lacking in FM-X. Both FM-X and MOD-7 have a multistage envelope per operator, but even here the Kronos has the advantage because any enveloped can be assigned to any operator, and in differing amounts or even polarity. Try using the same envelope to shape both a modulator and the overall amp envelope, and you suddenly you get a tight, natural integration.

But then that is about it for FM-X possibilities. Yes, you can set velocity to control envelope amount, but besides that there are barely any more modulation possibilities. AMS can be used, and is vital, in so many aspects of sound shaping, esp in FM as it is all about relationships. Even the half dozen alternate waveforms beyond sine somehow have little effect overall in FM-X.

The toolset within FM-X is very lacking compared to MOD-7. I expected much more. FM-X has the reputed ease and "directness" of having a display and controllers compared to the ancient DX7 "peek through a keyhole" approach to programming. But it still pales compared to the Kronos, with its multiple data entry methods, assignable controllers, AMS, free-chained IFX, engine stacking, etc
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psionic311
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Conway wrote:
I don't have direct experience with Montage/MODX FM. There are 3 things that make it sound desirable to me - more polyphony, 8 Operators, and Yamaha filters which sound pretty cool.


Mike, you've been around the block, and you know I have much respect and admiration for your many contributions. So allow me to be a bit playful and play the Devil's advocate.

Operators:
The Kronos has more operators, in effect, than what's available in FM-X. Seeing as how PCM is a real operator in MOD-7, and therefore can be another sine (or other!) operator, the Kronos really has 7 operators compared to the 8 in FM-X. But we both know that even limited 4-operator FM synthesis where the operators are more complex than simple sine waves can go toe to toe with high count sine-only FM operators, as in DX-7 and FM-X. And since for each operator in MOD-7 we have feedback, open routing, live interactive modulation capabilities via AMS, and more, I think it's an easy win for MOD-7 in a spec to spec battle on the sound creation front.

Filters:
Here's an area where I was really hopeful for FM-X. I love filter emulations, such as found in the Micron, KingKorg, and I imagine in the Virus series. But the Yamaha filters found in these latest boards are no special sauce. To be fair, the AL-1 filters are not exactly one big sweet spot either; you have to work to find those good areas. Still, I can't call it a draw either, since you have many more filter options with sound routability between and within Kronos engine filters.

Polyphony: Here the Montage/MODX has an advantage, since, as I read it, each of the 128 voice engines has not only the PCM portion but also a built-in FM portion at its disposal. Limited routability and modulation possibility within each voice, but definitely many more voices than the 52 voice limit of MOD-7.

Quote:

The biggest minus about MODX FM is that it doesn't truly interact with samples and ROM, other than playing a sample and FM layer. Korg's MOD-7 has capabilities similar to Yamaha's SY99/77, where you can run samples directly into the oscillators, allowing for FM distortion, frequency shifting vibrato, and wave modulation.


Yes, as I alluded to earlier, these abilities are what make moot Yamaha's claim to 8 operator versus other counts. FS1r, SY99/77, and MOD-7 are still superior to FM-X in terms of sound creation possibilities.

Quote:
I would never give up MOD-7 for MODX, but I would consider adding an MODX.


This is the crux of my dilemma. Is it worth it to keep the MODX7, or will it be the occasional side-fling rather than my main bread and butter?

There are some pretty samples in the MODX, but then again, the Kronos is *not* locked out of that prize, far from it. In fact, after you remove the reverb that everything is drenched in on the MODX7, it becomes apparent just how dated those samples are. So I can emulate some of my more favorite patches from the MODX7, and with my Integra, the whole AWM2 side of the Yamaha board becomes less relevant.

MOD-7 is superior to FM-X.

Motion sequencing isn't something I use, but if I were to choose to develop this area, the Kronos can do it as well.

Now two areas that the MODX may serve better than the Kronos is in its many arps, which includes drum beats, and its scratch sequencer. But to be fair, I haven't used the Kronos' sequencer as much as I would have liked, either out of (mis)perceived limitations or the lack of discipline to create via technical painstaking versus improvisational free flow. I may be fooling myself that if I just got another easy to use sequencer, I'd sequence more (or at all).

Hmm, after typing all this out, it seems I have already made a rational decision. Now I just need to convince myself emotionally to let go.
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psionic311
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PCFREE wrote:
I have both

I think the Kronos is warmer.
The montage is brighter and more edgy
The Yamaha has more definition in the bottom end and generally more sparkle

I prefer the warmth of the Korg but the Yamaha seems to have more flexibility
I really don’t know anything about FM synthesis, though. This is just my perception according to what I hear.

To my ears they sound very different. Ultimately, I prefer the Yamaha


I stumbled upon something the other day which you might find helpful, especially with regards to FM sounds.

I was going through Kronos combis I may never have listened to, so that I could mark ones I liked as "favorites". I opened up the Category Select and chose Complex. There were a lot of great sounding combis in there, still fresh-sounding to my ears, and many of them had evolving FM programs in it.

On a whim, I tried to do the same in the MODX7. There just aren't many examples of beautiful evolving FM textures in the MODX7. The sound programmers seemingly chose to layer sounds for factory demo patches, which is a touted strength of the Montage/MODX, but is equally impressive in the Kronos as well.

What I'm trying to say is that there are a good deal of bright and edgy, digital and booty-shaking, in your face and ethereal, all in the Kronos. The MODX7 has quite a few great ones as well, but the Kronos doesn't disappoint in this area either.
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19naia
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like some of Yamaha’s more “modern EP sounds”, which are the ones usually made with FM synths on both Yamaha and Kronos.

I know Kronos has EP-1 engine for other EP sounds, along side MOD7 engine.
Also i am not comparing the synth engines either. I simply prefer some of Yamaha’s modern styled electric pianos.
Kronos does have superb quality among old style EP’s going back to the original popular EP’s, and i cannot say i like those better on Montage.

I played a Montage recently, and the EP’s i preferred there, had a more delicate touch response as well as a sound that did more for me than any Kronos EP’s ever did. Maybe it was Montage’s lighter touch key-bed? Kronos key-bed is one of the heaviest pressing keys among the top makes of 88 key synths.
Maybe i could learn to Program Kronos MOD7 to simulate the preferred Yamaha EP’s, but it is a lot of work compared to just turning on Montage and having some very agreeable EP programs set and ready to go.
I have scrolled through Kronos EP options many times, and have never come back easily satisfied with any EP selections in the way i do with Yamaha.
And my EP satisfaction is in a very narrow range of EP type. More modern FM style with a warm yet strong and sharp cut. Also a clear reverb that does not dim, muffle or drown out any parts of the program sound itself.

Of course i am not going to jump to Yamaha just for 2 or 3 EP’s that work better for me than anything on Kronos. I use a software FM option right now for layering into my Kronos sounds.
The truth is i have never gone into Kronos FM synthesis to try to create the Yamaha style sound i like. It may be just be a matter of programming style or tastes rather than capabilities between the two Makes of synths.
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