Was at the local Sam Ash dealer today, playing with the Roland FhantomXR and the Yamaha MOTIF-RACK. Boy I would LOVE to have both! I know this site is mostly dedicated to sample libraries, but I respect the opinions on this board a lot and would love to hear from people who have tried both.
My personal research seems to indicate that the Yamaha MOTIF-RACK is the stronger unit (in spite of being $300 cheaper), and was ready to go that route until I was playing with the Roland Fantom in the store- it has a lot of really great sounds!
On the other hand, I have 4 PLG boards (I'm a Yamaha S80 guy) that could easily pop into the MOTIF-RACK, and the MOTIF has 128 polyphony (add another 128 to that if I put my two PLG-150PF piano boards in it in expand mode).
Well, at the end of the day it's all about which one has the sounds you like! I haven't dug under the hood of either unit, but when I test drove them I felt the MOTIF had an edge on classic sounds like Rhodes pianos, Hammonds and such which is mainly what I'm after. Of course, in the end I bought a PC and Native Instruments B4 and the Arturia CS-80V and MiniMoog V
If you happen to love arpeggio/sequencer patterns then the MOTIF, with its 1700+ patterns, is the indisputable winner (I think Fantom has 128). But Roland has more synth sounds and they're great. Personally, other then the guitar patterns on the MOTIF, I don't really care for the acoustic sounds on either of them. They can't even begin to compete with that what's on your hard drive. I bought a fully-fledged ES8 for its weighted keyboard.
Motif: Great sounds/effects, poorly desined "performance" (layered sounds/MIDI setup) mode. Weird MIDI timing issues (that may have been fixed in later models, but I gave up trying).
Fantom: Great sounds, better interface. Easier to use/program from interface.
I have both -- prefer Fantom as far as rack mountable units go. Especially with the quality of the expansion cards that are available for the Roland X-series.
*(Sold Motif rack to buy MOTIF ES series, however and am VERY PLEASED with keyboard sounds/performance and generaly usefulness -- in case you care. Better ROM samples, better arpeggiator presets and no MIDI lag issues)
Yes I've heard the demos of the PLG-150AP boards, but I already own two PLG-150PF piano boards in "link" mode for 128 polyphony- they reside in my Yamaha S80. They are nice but the piano libraries out there for software samplers are better and I don't see any reason to keep throwing money at hardware that limits the piano sample ROM to 24 MB.
Which is one nice thing about the MOTIF-RACK, I could make use of all these PLG boards I have.
The possibility of a MOTIFRACK-ES has been kicked around for a while- it seems like if they were going to make this they would have come out with it by now. It doesn't seem like a big enough step about the regular MOTIF to justify an all new device.
In fact, anyone notice how 5 years ago each manufactuer had multiple tone generator rack mount offerings? Now even the biggies seem to only have one.
Anyone else out there who has tried both the Fantom and the MOTIF and can comment? Or, can offer a good 3rd alternative?