NAMM 2016: What You May Have Missed But Shouldn't Have

US A selection of the weird and wonderful      02/02/16

Buying Choices
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The big hitters from NAMM, everyone knows about - the Arturia Matrix Brute - a massive beast of a synth, the Dave Smith/Tom Oberhiem OB-6, of course the Korg Minilogue analogue (<- note the spelling!) 4 voice poly, Yamaha Montage - AWM2 and 8 Operator FM monster workstation. But there are many other items that perhaps while not stealing the headlines, are of great interest.

Here's a selection of our favourites from the show:

Korg Volca FM

The Volca version of the classic 6-op FM synth (DX-7 etc). It's  three voice FM synth with the Volca note and parameter sequencer. It's even got a nod to the colours and data sliders of the DX styling. Very cheeky, surprised they didn't call it the Volca DX.

With an easy edit front panel, you can go all the way into the depths of FM synthesis too. Reads DX SYSEX patches so you can load plenty of classic FM voices. We were lucky enough to get some time with the developer Tatsuya.

Coming soon, price TBC - though expected to be usual Volca pricing

Zoom ARQ

A bit of classic bonkers concept product here. As well as the bizarre detachable doughnut pad and shake ring thing (connected by Bluetooth), the ARQ has in-built sample playback, effects and we think will be able to record loops from the stereo input. Could be a new kind of "thing", but good to see someone doing something really different.

Price around $599, April 2016

Bitwig 1.3.6 TouchScreen

With the latest update to Bitwig, the touchscreen has become far more integrated. Good news if you are running this on a Surface Pro. Makes the computer more of a performance instrument for creative process rather than something you just hunch over for editing.

Really nicely integrated with the Windows Multi-touch. Also available for touch equipped Linux. Though Mac OSX users will have to wait until the desktop OS supports touch natively, as it doesn't run on iOS.

Make Noise 0 Coast

Could be the first forray into West Coast synthesis, although titled the 0 Coast (eg, neither East nor West) the voice structure is not your classic subtractive format. Make Noise are pretty innovative when it comes to module design and this one is no different. We got to play with it off camera and were blown away by the sonic fullness available - one to watch for sure. Available in the Spring $499

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