With NAMM 2018 now in the rear view mirror we take a look at our favourite releases amongst Synth & Keys from the show as well as some of the curious contraptions that took our eye.
STAR OF THE SHOW: Korg Prologue 16
Winner of “BEST in SHOW” award NAMM 2018
Although there where a ton of great new products at this years show we just couldn’t go past Korgs 16 voice beast of a polysynth! With multi timbral capabilities, an onboard LF compressor, one knob per function front panel and unique oscillator architecture — four oscillators; two analog oscillators, one sub oscillator and a multi engine that essentially allows users to create their own oscillator via open source software — the Prologue seems to strike the perfect balance between usability and raw synthesis muscle.
For more info: http://www.korg.com/au/products/synthesizers/prologue/
HONOURABLE MENTION: Arturia Minibrute 2 / 2s
We at Noisegate have always been big fans of the original brute series so when Arturia announced the Minibrute 2 and 2s, naturally we were primed with wallets at the ready. Admittedly, there were things we didn’t like with the original brute; naimly the keybed and its rather dull appearance. That said, the goal of revising any great product is to keep the essence of what made it great and improve any underwhelming features; thats exactly what Arturia have done here. The drab plastic casing of the original is replaced with metal and wood. The keybed has been updated and for those who don’t need or want a keyboard there is a sequencer option. Midi/USB connectivity paired with an extensive CV patchbay allows the Minibrute 2 to competently straddle both digital and analogue domains. This aside the new Minibrute is still very much a brute at its core with the iconic wave-shaping oscillator and brute knob remaining central features of the design. All-in-all we think it’s a winner!
WIERD & WONDERFUL: Panoptigon
Those who lived through the early 70s may briefly remember a device known as the Optigan – an “optical organ” that operated by playing samples of real instruments that were encoded on celluloid discs. If all this is unfamiliar it’s probably because, as provided by optigan.com ‘it was crappy sounding and soon forgotten by the world at large.’ Nonetheless, the concept of the optigan/orchestron has been revived as a new MIDI-controlled disc player created by Robert Becker. You can check out the original 70’s Optigan commercial as well as a demo of the new Panoptigon below.
Other Key Products:
Moog – DFAM: DFAM is the first addition to the Mother ecosystem of synthesizers and presents an expressive hands-on approach to percussive pattern creation.
Korg – Volca Mix : Korg is aiming to simplify the process of creating a live rig out of multiple Volcas instruments with the release of the Volca Mix, a 4-channel analogue performance mixer.
Waldorf – Streichfett Keyboard: The Streichfett Keyboard builds on the capabilities of the company’s Streichfett String Synthesizer, adding vocoding capabilities and more
Korg – KR55 Pro: The new KR-55 Pro is a multi-function rhythm machine that’s also equipped with mixer/recorder functionality.