Effects have always been a Motif strong suit and the XS has a full complement of effects, both insert (Insertion) and send (System), plus a special set of VCM (Virtual Circuitry Modeling) effects like those found in the DM2000, that model the elements in analog circuitry, recreating the warm characteristics of vintage processing gear.
Rather than attempting to re-create a desired sound using conventional digital audio methods, Virtual Circuitry Modeling actually models the analog circuitry; right down to the last resistor and capacitor.
This technology was originally developed at Yamaha by Toshi Kunimoto and his group, the same sonic wizards who created the VL1 and VP1 — the world’s first physical modeling synthesizers. VCM technology goes well beyond simply analyzing and modeling electronic components and emulating the sound of old equipment. It is capable of capturing subtleties that simple digital simulations cannot even approach, and in fact creating ideal examples of sought-after vintage gear. This includes not only studio effects like vintage compressors and EQs, but also vintage pedal effects including flangers, wahs, phasers, etc.
There is no PLG facility in the XS but ‘older’ technology is still available if you need it. For instance one of the effects is a 10-band Vocoder. The Vocoder allows up to 128 notes of harmonies to be created from the keyboard and also is of course useful for cool synth effects as well. It can be used in Voice and Performance mode and recorded directly into the Integrated Sampling Sequencer.
If you want to read more about VCM you can check out Yamaha Pro Audio’s website:
Reverb is an essential tool in any production and the XS reverb is taken from the SPX2000 and is derived from the same algorithm (REV-X) found in your most expensive (and now Grammy nominated for Technical award) digital mixers.
As with the Motif ES the XS lets you utilize 2 inserts per voice and 8 voices with their dual inserts can be used in song/pattern mode.
VCM effects can comprise both of these voice inserts giving you a total of 16 simultaneous effects if you need. For example you could use a vintage compressor based on the Urei 1176 and a Phaser based on the Mutron III at the same time.
Number of Effect Types
One question people seem to be wondering about is the number of effect types. The catalog says that the XS has 53 effect types and the ES had 116 effect types. Huh? Actually this is really comparing apples and oranges.
On the ES, there are many effects ‘types’ that were more parameter variations of the same core algorithm. For example, there may have been a small hall effect type and a large hall effect type. These were actually the same effect algorithm with different parameters. On the XS all of the different parameter presets are combined in a smaller number of types. In reality there are more effect presets (all editable, of course) in the Motif XS.
Making the categories more distinct makes it far easier to find what you’re looking for — kind of important seeing as the XS actually has 320 effects presets to the ES’s 116!