I believe that this review also applies to the newer Yamaha MOXF6.
I bought the MOX6 many years ago, way back in 2013, just before stores had stock of the MOXF6 which was to replace the MOX6.
When I first had a play with it, the sound quality was so bad I put it back in its box and just left it in storage to collect dust. I couldn't believe Yamaha did what they did. I was a fan of the Yamaha DJX and I couldn't believe Yamaha made the sounds this bad.
Now in 2020, I thought that it was time to sell my MOX6 but I noticed that some people were talking online about bad A/D and D/A converters which might be the cause of the bad sound quality.
I managed to get the schematic of the MOX6 and I noticed that Yamaha are using a Cirrus Logic WM8740 DAC chip. This chip is used in high quality DAC gear so I don't think it's the chip.
I attach two sound files.
The first sound file "Song 1 Through Main Outs" is Song 1: Club WorX played through the main outputs of the MOX6.
The second sound file "Song 1 Through USB Port" is Song 1: Club WorX played through the USB port of a computer running Logic Pro using the Yamaha Steinberg USB drivers. A cable connects the USB port on the MOX6 to the USB port on the computer. No processing or effects whatsoever was added to the song in Logic Pro. The song was played through the USB port into Logic Pro using the driver and straight out again through the headphone port of a Mac Laptop.
Notice that the second sound file sounds a lot better than the first one. The sound in the second file did not go through the DAC and associated output circuitry of the MOX6. From the schematic, the sound in the second file only had to pass through a USB Audio chip which was connected directly to the output of the WAV sound library stored in the MOX6.
So I think that the sound in the second file would be what you would hear on the Motif XS, though I cannot confirm this because I don't have one.
The sound in the first file had to pass through the WM8740 DAC chip and associated output circuitry, but not the USB Audio chip.
It is clear that if you just plug in speakers or headphones into the MOX6, what you will hear is absolute crap. But it might pass in a lively disco party.
If you want to hear quality sounds, you have to use a computer and use USB Audio drivers to listen to it. I believe for the MOXF6, you can use an iPad or iPhone with the Camera Connection Kit but I don't think you can with the MOX6.
What is Yamaha trying to do? Are they trying to make you think that the MOX6 is crap so you have to buy a Motif to get the quality sounds?
The technical description is available at Yamaha/mdownload, etc....
So, in short:
- 61 truly synth-like keys, almost like an organ, but what can you expect for the price...
- Almost 1200 presets
- Maximum three dual insert effects per channel, one EQ per channel, 2 x sends (reverb/chorus for example), one Master Fx, and one general EQ.
- 2 x 4 pot matrix, 2 x assignable function buttons, 1 pitch bend wheel + 1 modulation wheel and 2 x footswitch inputs (I think) + 1 x sustain/hold...
- 64 notes maximum polyphony for simple mono sounds (careful!!!).
It's not such a great stage keyboard, it's more functional, I think Yamaha conceived it with Home Studio owners in mind ─ do correct me if I'm wrong!!!
The overall design is very simple.
It's not easy to edit sounds with the small screen, but the PC editor makes it easier. I've been using workstations since the '90s, some of which were like Rube Goldberg machines, and it's not my thing!! I kept a Korg EMX-1, which I also use as an "expander" for electronic/analog sounds. The interface is perfect for that.
Th menus system provides an intuitive browsing of the parameters and effects at different levels.
Likewise, the music production workflow is pretty well implemented: Ever since the Motif 6, Yamaha has really evolved its sequencer and right now it's simple AWESOME. It's fast, creative, it makes you want to play more, make songs, play covers...In short, you have a blast with it! Ah!! If I had had it ten years ago instead of the Motif 6....
I have liked Yamaha sounds for a long time because I think the Yamaha sound is always a bit better than before, there's always something to arrange/compose/play in different music styles. It doesn't limit me, it sounds good.
With a 800/1600W PA System it really rocks, with great dynamic response, sound might seem a bit cold but a bit of EQ will allow you to color it to your taste. There's plenty to do...
There are not many Yamaha sounds that I don't like, maybe the synth sounds, but I have a supernova and/or EMX Korg for that, so.....
The controllers allow you to do great things in Song and Pattern mode, it's good to create Fx/wooshes.
I didn't buy it: The MoxF came out when I wanted to buy it but I went to the store at least three times to test it properly.
I kept my Rack ES equipped with two PLG-150-AP and PF cards. I had a Motif ES6 and an XS, which I sold.
It might fall short in terms of polyphony for someone who does arrangements or composes with it, and it only stores three insert FX in multitimbral mode.
Its main advantage is the built-in audio/midi interface and its PC integration: It's awesome!
But even better is that it has the exact same engine as the XS but with half the polyphony....): Direct recording in performance mode of four Arps with chord recognition at this price...Simply put, it's a unit to make music with ease!!!
Given its price, I recommend it to beginners, arrangers, composers, etc. It's a formidable practice tool and a superb stage instrument, too!!!
Don't think it twice: At this price, specially secondhand, GO FOR IT!!!!
Setup: I had to take a couple of peeks in the manual
Sound editing: I haven''t really used it...
The performance creation function deserves a point: In Split or Layer, you look for the starting sound, press Split or Layer, choose the second sound and you're done (and you can edit it right away).
It saves you a lot of time!
I have never really used the sequencer nor the pattern mode (only to fool around a bit, but nothing serious).
I use it live with a cover band, so I need a bit of everything, but I always find what I need. However, I think Yamaha plays the card of overabundance of sounds, not always justified... Because, you always end up playing the same sounds, and some others are completely useless. It's a pity, because you can get easily lost in the 8 sound banks plus the GM.
In terms of electric organs, it's a pity that the AS 1 and 2 (assignable buttons) aren't systematically linked to the same function... and the parameter assigned isn't written anywhere! Not very useful...
When it comes to basic sounds (acoustic piano, EP, electric organs and clavinet), it's quite limited. Especially since they are somewhat "slim," which means they don't take up too much space in the soundscape. I know there's an "Easy sounds" library that seems all right... I'll have to test it!
From what I've used up to now (pianos, EP, clavinet, strings, organs and some synths), I don't have too much to say in terms of quality and realism.
I've been using it quite intensively for +/- 6 months
I used to have a first generation motif rack together with a master keyboard.
I regret not having kept the rack, especially for some sounds that I have never found on the MOX (not with the same quality, at least).
But when it comes to ease of use, I don't regret a thing!
What I like the most: The ease and speed with which you can create a performance (split or layer), the overall quality of the sounds, the controls.
What I like the least: The lack of consistency of certain sounds (which you can get around by making a layer with another sound, like a pad or synth strings), the manufacturing is a bit cheap...
Brief update from 01/24/14: With the sounds of the Easy Sounds libraries (Live Instruments and Organ Session) the sounds are more complete... and you can make better use of the workstation's audio engine.
There's no point in me going into the details, Yamaha does that much better than me! However, it's true that the weight is surprising for such a device. The plastic finish doesn't annoy me, even the carved edges hold up.
I use it basically in the studio and, sometimes, for "easy" gigs. I don't usually take it in the trunk of my car to a barbecue...
Connections: That's an easy one, it's great! You surely have an entire computer music setup, but on the road, a power outlet, a laptop pc with the CUBASE DAW version included, you place your shure beta58a on a mic stand and your' ready to roll.
Very low latency, which is pretty good (-14ms in windows 7 64bits on an Asus with I7 and 8 Gb ram).
User's manual?? Help!
The MOX is my first workstation, I always plugged my former keyboard (a Tyros 3) via the direct output with cubase.
But with this one, I really need some help...after three days, 6 hours per day, I haven't been able to edit the voices the way I want!
(I can hear the sneering laughs already: But no, I'm a newbie, but I'm not a fool and I can assure you that you really dive into the innards of a workstation!!)
Lots of shortcomings in the manual. Every technical answer raises yet another question, which is not answered.
It's a pity, really.
The sounds...I can confirm that they are awesome, other reviewers have summarized that pretty well.
It's an atomic bomb. Maybe the pianos are below my expectations. But hey, I'm not a pianist ^^
For a knowledgeable fan, a prolific composer/performer dreaming about tossing all his creations at once (which are called performances in the mox6) and being able to listen to them right away, it's a true monster!
Sound libraries, immediate settings, an entertaining sequencer (other people say that, I have just starting using it), and arpeggiators and rhythms that will immediately satisfy your musical creativity.
I would go so far to say that even the shortest "standard" chord that goes through the arpeggiator will make you want to immediately grab a pen and start writing some lyrics.
With the tyros 3 you get immediate "pop," while the MOX6 cools you down because it's a bit more complex. But its "motifs" are IMPRESSIVE, way better than anything I have heard up to now.