Best configuration and production workflow for Yamaha Montage\Cubase Artist 10?

Hi everyone!

I have just switched over from Cakewalk Sonar Pro to Cubase Elements 10, largely due to the extensive integration between the Yamaha Montage & the Cubase software.

I am wondering if anyone has some tried & true recommendations on the following topics:

  1. “Correct” configuration\setup for Cubase & the Yamaha Montage.
  2. General recording\production workflow advice, given that the Montage was designed in a way that doesn’t necessarily work the same as “old school” synths which pretty much used 1 midi channel for each instrument sound.

I’ve been through a lot of the content on the Yamaha forum, and seen many of the “Bad Mister” YouTube videos, but much of this information is based on Cubase 9.5. It seems that several significant changes have occurred to the menu & layout between v9.5 & V10.

I’m currently running Cubase Artist 10.0.10

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I’m getting back into the music after being dormant for the last few years. I need to refresh myself on the newest methodologies.

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I just ordered PRO 10 and had 9.5 Elements. I think with Pro there are a few workflow differences, such as how sysex track works. I was an ol Cakewalk User and worked with Elements to get multi channel midi and audio working well for me. I tended to use the Montage stand alone, using the onboard recorder for audio recordings. I got the Pro as I wanted to try vari-audio so I went for it. I should have it in a few days, I suspect the setup will be similar, and since I am a newbie the new Interfaces wont slow me down. I have played with the remote DAW on the Montage and it is cool, and I am watching some videos on youtube on the new features and basic features of cubase and I am very excited. I am most excited about using a chord track and using vari-audio to create harmonies :slight_smile:.

Version 10 Pro went in pretty cleanly, I had to unpack the zip in order to get the addl content to load. Here is a post from Yamahasynth forum Bad Mister on some key configs for Montage. I found Pro 10 did more stuff automatically for me, having a blast with vari-audio and the chord chart, and the auto harmonies. In terms of the work flow, I found that everything works on the Template out of the box and I record multiple midi tracks and 1 audio track as a scratch track to start…and then my work just flows as I find more stuff to play with.

MIDI Setup
In the column labeled “In All Midi Inputs” mark “MONTAGE 1” Only.
Click OK
MONTAGE MIDI Port 1 will do all the communicating between the MONTAGE and your Cubase MIDI Tracks.

On the left side of the screen… select the REMOTE DEVICES folder
If it does not appear, click the “+” to add “Mackie Control”
Set the MIDI In to “MONTAGE Port 2”
Set the MIDI OUT to “MONTAGE Port 2”
MONTAGE will do all Remote Control commands to start/stop/arm tracks, etc. etc., on MONTAGE Port 2
Click OK
That completes the MIDI setup.

Audio Setup
On the left side of the screen… select VST AUDIO SYSTEM
This is where you can set the ASIO DRIVER…
If you have a Mac select the “MONTAGE”
If you have a Windows PC select the “Yamaha Steinberg USB ASIO driver as the ASIO Device. If you have more than one device connected that uses this driver pick the MONTAGE.

Just below the VST AUDIO SYSTEM is your selection (Montage) and on the right side is “Control Panel” this is where you can set your Buffer Size. Set this according to your computer’s ability to process data… initially set this to 128 or 192. This should give a single digit latency. Cubase will tell you exactly how long it will take signal to arrive and leave the computer. As long as you are getting no clicks and pops you’re fine. When recording you will never have to deal with Latency because you can monitor your hardware direct (zero latency). More on that at a later time.

Click OK

CLOCK Settings
This setting will make Cubase the clock master. You will set the Tempo in Cubase, and all MONTAGE Tempo driven functions will follow the Cubase tempo. This includes all Arpeggios, all Tempo driven Effects and LFOs, all Motion Sequences set to reference Tempo, etc.

Using the MONTAGE multi channel recording Template
Let’s launch a NEW PROJECT TEMPLATE that will automatically setup Audio and Midi Tracks, assigned to your MONTAGE; and it will setup the MONTAGE CONNECT as a VSTi within Cubase… here’s how:
Click on FILE > New Project…
The Steinberg Hub appears
Select “Recording” > “Yamaha MONTAGE multi channel recording”
Choose to Activate this Project

This opens the MONTAGE CONNECT, it creates 17 MIDI Tracks (one for each channel and one for Sysex Data), it creates 16 Audio Tracks.
Use them as you require. Midi Track assigned to Channel 1 is selected…

Setting a Default Preset for Cubase
Touch “Init”
Select “Multi/GM”
This is the basic starting point for 16 Part Multi-timbral Recording (traditional sequencing).

We will set this as the initial start point for each time you open a New Project…
In Cubase on the MONTAGE CONNECT panel find the Cubase Sound Cube - it is a small cube icon located just below the MONTAGE CONNECT title.
If you click on that and select ”Save as Default Preset”, Cubase will remember this… as it does it’s thing you will see your MONTAGE bulking the current settings to Cubase. Cubase will memorize the MULTI/GM settings and restore them for whenever you open this Template

On the MONTAGE CONNECT front panel activate “Auto Sync” (green) = ON

On the Cubase menu bar click on FILE… and near the bottom of the drop down, click on “Save as Template…”
You can Overwrite the “Yamaha MONTAGE multi channel recording.cpr” or give it your own Name…
Click OK
This is the template you will use whenever you start a new Project.

Searching and Substituting
When using the MULTI/GM template you want to first SELECT a PART:
Press [Part Select 1]
This launches the “Part1 — Category Search”
Very important: the top line of the MONTAGE screen will always tell you where you are “Part1–Category Search” is telling you that the item you select will replace just Part 1. If it doesn’t say PartX, you are going to replace something else…

Set the Bank = All
Set the Attribute = Single
The grid will now show you all appropriate instrument sounds to fill “Part 1” of your Multi/GM
Each composition will have different instruments… but you can place whatever instruments you want in each Part.
Set the Main and SubCategories to narrow your search…
Select an instrument and begin your recording to Cubase.
Part 1 to Track 1
Part 2 to Track 2
and so on…

Do a test recording — the Key here is it doesn’t matter what you are recording, I usually suggest C major scales… the thing to concentrate on is the logistics of “selecting a Part”, “arming the correspondingly numbered Midi Track”, “recording something”, “playing it back” and then moving to the next one and repeating… then Save the Project… giving it a Name. Close Cubase… change the Performance on the MONTAGE… Then open Cubase, open the Project that you saved and play it back… Cubase should restore everything! You, literally, should be able to click to open it and immediately hit the Spacebar to play it back. Let us know.


These will differ from user to user. If you find yourself wondering what advantage Pro has over the entry level AI/LE/Elements, you probably are not quite ready. But the elegance of operation and the features in Pro will have different appeal based on what else you do. If vocal recording is a thing for you, living without “Vari Audio” becomes impossible… this is the pitch correction software built-into Cubase Pro… you can correct pitch, create vocal harmonies as easily as dragging and dropping notes. Multiple levels of undo (I cannot stress enough, when working with any vocal processing, pitch correction tools, experimenting is important, the way Undo works makes Vari Audio superior to plug-ins that do pitch correction, in my opinion.

The “Chord Track” (which I believe is available in AI) allows, especially when you record with Arpeggios, the software to suggest chord changes based on your ideas. In fact, the Chord Track feature used with the chord intelligence of eight Arpeggiators, I’m finding can become a massively useful tool when composing songs. The Chord Track is also crazy useful in turning your vocal into harmonies… (Vari Audio + Chord Track becomes essential)… you can even add/remove vibrato from sung notes, it will create harmony parts based on your chords… too much fun!!! …it can even “make suggestions” - (that blew me away)… you played a bunch of tracks, you can have Pro change all the musical tracks so it shifts the notes to the chord quality — say at Measure 36 you want to change the tense of the chord you played from Fm7b5 to F9, you can have it adjust all the tracks to accommodate the change… including the chords you played, the lead line, the vocals, wow, so cool.

The “Arrange Track” lets you develop a workflow where you create a Multi Part Performance using MONTAGE Parts… transfer your basic groove to Cubase Pro, Setup several different combinations of instruments and grooves… record your ideas… the Arrange Track lets you quickly grab the “best of” sections (regions of measures) and create Play Order commands. Turn long jams into tight arrangements quickly, easily… with the draw pen.

“Groove Agent” arguably one of the best drum track creation tools, ever is built in…

The event “List Editor”… I find that I use this often. Some prefer the piano roll Editor, but often seeing the Event List is helpful.

I know there is a sysex track, that is only in the Pro version, but I don´t really know what I can do with this sysex track. Can I for example edit recorded superknob automation in this track?
I could just answer yes here, because you can… but that’s only something you ask about doing when you don’t understand the impact of the Super Knob and the data trail it creates.

The Super Knob itself, in theory, could be changing 1 or more parameter destinations (as many as 128 Destinations simultaneously). You don’t wind up “fixing” things at the DAW end, by editing the Super Knob movement (although, you can)… you more likely wind up editing the synth (so much more musical)… Example: _ if the Super Knob is panning, changing volume level, and closing the filter (simultaneously)… if you don’t like the speed of the pan movement, you’ll actually want to edit the synth’s (MONTAGE) response to the data, rather than the changing the DAW data itself.

What having the Sysex on a separate Track does for you that is so very useful… is you can independently have the Sysex Track active along with any individual Part’s Track. Say you have the Super Knob changing multiple parameters across multiple Parts. It’s opening the filter on your Keyboard Sound, and morphing your strings from small ensemble to large ensemble, etc., etc., …simultaneously. Say you want to hear just the Strings… if you solo just the String Track, you’ll hear just the Strings but no movement of the Super Knob… by having the Super Knob Sysex on a separate Track, you can isolate the Strings + the Sysex Track… allowing you to hear the just Strings as they morph from small to large ensemble. Invaluable. And when you solo the Keyboard sound + the Super Knob you’ll be able to hear what movement is caused to the Keyboard sound… it’s very elegant. And once you have it, you’re spoiled.

Without this Sysex Track, in order to ‘hear’ the Super Knob playback, you’d need to keep Track 1 always active — because typically all the Super Knob and Scene change messages are merged with Channel 1 Data. (so it’s always Strings + whatever is on Track 1 + the Super Knob movement).

You’ll really appreciate the workflow when you are transmitting on multiple MIDI Channels, simultaneously. Each Part goes to its own Track (without the routine of recording to one track set to “Any”, then using DISSOLVE PART by channel to separate the data)… everything goes nice and neatly to its own Track automatically and the Super Knob and Scene events appear on that separate Sysex Track… ah, heavenly. (This will spoil you right away)! Oh yeah, SCENEs, having the Scene commands on the Sysex Track means you can hear any Play FX (timing, swing Quantize, or other offsets you are applying) when soloing a Part. By soloing both the Sysex Track and the Part’s MIDI Track you can hear how the Scene changes affect that Part isolated from the rest of the Tracks!!! Invaluable when truly using the Motion Control Engine.

“External Instrument” feature: Advanced VSTi audio routing… allowing you to use multiple instances of your MONTAGE. When recording MIDI if you wish to use more than 16 MONTAGE Parts in a MIDI session, only Cubase Pro lets you setup the External Instrument routing scenario where you can utilize the external synth hardware in the same manner you do plug-in VSTi synths… multiple instances (by using the Freeze function) you render temporary audio tracks, you get to reallocate your hardware for 16 more Parts… you can open a second, a third, a fourth MONTAGE. Each having 16 Part multi-timbral capability. The advantage here is that you have all your MIDI tracks so you can make changes — invaluable on large projects. If ever you wished you had a second or third MONTAGE, “External Instrument” routing is the way to go!

This routing scenario allows you to process your MONTAGE Parts with plug-Ins (not possible otherwise when the synth is external)… since Audio is returned to Cubase via a virtual Audio Lane, you are free to process its audio same as you would a VSTi soft synth. You can use Freeze, Export Audio Mixdown and other features usually reserved for plug-in synths!

Or draw in my automation later? Or what else?
Any other mindblowing advantages for the Monatge in Pro?
Elegance of operation. A car can get you from point A to point B. And that’s cool, you really feel alright about everything while on the trip. But when you are taking a long trip cross country, and you get that luxury car, you get from point A to point B, but now you’ve got the good seats that don’t make you stick to the upholstery, you’ve got air conditioning, great shock absorbers, a smooth elegant ride. You wind up challenging yourself to do more because you have more tools in the arsenal.

Hope that helps. If all you do is Record, Playback, you probably don’t need Pro… but if/when your ready to expand… the Pro version is like having a musical partner… you can “ask it’ll for assistance (the first time it offers you a suggestion for a possible chord change and it’s one that makes you smile, you’ll never regret upgrading to Pro. It depends on where you’re at… when you’re ready, you’ll know…

Visit YouTube (Steinberg Channel) and explore Cubase Pro… there’s so much more that Pro does…


I see you got Artist, and I got PRO… the configs are the same. But you will need to record on track 1 and set input literally to “any”. After recording you can highlight and use MIDI tool to Dissolve the track and it will create the separate midi channels and the sysex for you.

Well Done.

Where does the Steinberg UR44C fit into the signal flow? Is it only used for recording audio, i.e. non-Montage parts?

I’m going to double check all my settings and re-read your forum, I can not get my mac and montage connect to “connect” at all, like the software not seeing hardware or the hardware not seeing mac, however cubase and montage working great for recording multitrack midi and audio.

link to my forum post here

Your thoughts, if you have time?
Thanks, Rob