Yamaha Motif Xs Series As Control Surface

Objective: Use the Yamaha Motif XS series keyboards as a control surface for your DAW. Background: Yamaha’s Motif XS series of keyboards includes a USB interface, Mackie Control compatibility, and control surface templates for Cubase 4/Studio 4/AI 4, Sonar, Digital Performer, and Logic Pro 7. This lets you use the Motif XS’s eight faders, eight knobs, and more to control your host of choice. We’ll use Sonar as an example; other DAWs work similarly. Start by downloading the latest USB driver software from www.yamahasynth.com, then hook up a USB cable between the Motif XS and the computer running your host.

1. On the Motif XS, press the Utility button then press the F5 button. Press the SF2 button and in the display, under Interface MIDI In/Out, select USB using the data wheel.

2. Next press SF1 and use the data wheel to choose your host of choice (in this example, Sonar). Press the Store button to save these settings.

3. In Sonar, go Options > MIDI Devices. Check “Yamaha USB In 0-2” under inputs and “Yamaha USB Out 0-2” under outputs (the Motif XS communicates control surface data over the second of its four MIDI ports).

4. In Sonar, go Options > Controllers/Surfaces. In the Controllers/Surfaces dialog box, click on the “Add new Controller Surface” Button.

5. For the three fields, going from top to bottom, select Mackie Control, Yamaha USB In 0-2, and Yamaha USB Out 0-2. Click on OK, then close the Controllers/Surfaces box.

6. On the Motif XS, press the Remote On/Off button. The Motif faders (visible toward the lower left) will now control Sonar’s level faders.

7. Check out the tabs toward the bottom of the Motif XS display to see more options of what you can control (sends, EQ, plug-ins, etc.).

• You can use the Motif XS with other Mackie Control-compatible devices, even if they aren’t “officially” supported. However, there may be some idiosyncrasies. For example, with Ableton Live the faders work, you can use the data wheel to select Scenes, etc.; however, the panpots don’t cover the full travel of Live’s panpots.

• In Step 3, also check Yamaha USB In 0-1 and Yamaha USB Out 0-1 if you want to use the keyboard as your MIDI master keyboard.