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NAMM 2017 or What You Might Have Missed (Part I)

NAMM 2017 or What You Might Have Missed (Part I)

NAMM 2017 took place in Anaheim again keeping its status of the most valuable venue in the world of music gear. Tens of thousands visitors familiarized themselves with all the synths, pianos, guitars, drums, studio and DJ equipment and might have already fallen in love with them and some of them might become legendary. Some day.

Analogue Solutions Polymath

Analogue Solutions has been making analog synthesizers for about 20 years and now NAMM 2017 presents the company's new module synthesizer called Polymath. Tom Carpenter who’s always been fond of vintage synths said that every time he’s inspired with old-school synthesizers which ensues in unique design of new devices. So back to Polymath: it’s a powerful paraphonic analog synthesizer which contains 4 VCOs, built-in step sequencer, arpeggiator, mixer, multimode VCF based on Oberheim SEM, 2 envelope generators, VCA and bulit-in reverb. The release date is unknown but the price is already given - $2800.

Standalone synthesizers (Eurorack friendly) are nothing new: Roland AIRA System 1m and Moog Mother 32 used to be “ultimate best”. But Malekko Heavy Industry demonstrated 3 hybrid instruments which seem to be true innovation. Manther is inspired by Roland (MC-202), Mr. D. is a drum machine with one of Malekko modules’ technology for adding random effects to the sequence. BFF was introduced together with Industrial Music Electronics – poly/monophonic 4-voice (each of individual shape) synthesizer. Malekko had only representational kind of prototypes but they promised to reveal some details of their devices. If you’re tempted with modules but don’t happen to have $4000 at your disposal to acquire a complete module system these modular synths for $600 won’t disturb your account supplying almost everything you expect from modules.

PGH Lifeforms Foundation Evo

PGH Lifeforms Foundation 4

Pittsburgh Modular tried to surprise NAMM 2017 with 2 module systems: Lifeforms Foundation Evo and Lifeforms Foundation Four. First one is about Double Helix dual oscillators, binary filters, dynamic impulse filter, ADSRs, analog replicator, Distro module. We should also pay attention to the 6-channel system interface with built-in amps which can process external devices (for example, drum machines). While Foundation Four is more of a simplified version with less control comparing to EVO but expandable if necessary. It also sports Double Helix oscillators and that same filter. EVO will be available for $3800 and Foundation Four - $2599.

Make Noise offered to NAMM 2017 Show just one new module but it’ll surely become a top buy among Eurorack fans. Make Noise developers created Morphagene, a so-called microsound and tape music module, keeping in mind Phonogene and with the intention to improve it. One of these improvements is an SD memory slot allowing it to upload up to 87 seconds. Morphagene is also capable of granular sound processing, has morphing function, stereo Ins/Outs and clock In. It will appear on the shelves in March 2017 and will require you to pay $529.

Intellijiel

NAMM 2017 was affluent in good new Euroracks but Intellijel brought the widest range to boast of – 10 products. Plonk is a percussion synth created in collaboration with Applied Acoustic Systems to emit anything from hi-hats to marimbas. New touch controller Tetrapad and Quad VCA (this one can serve as a mixer, amplifier and VCA module). Intellijel also introduced us to Shifty surely imbued with classic Korg MonoPoly sequencing abilities and redesigned Springray module. Plus there were 5 new 1u-modules presented alongside.

Fabulous Silicon Paradigm

Fabulous Silicon has been puzzling over their latest development for 5 years. Paradigm is based on dynamically programmable analog signal processing technology. This synth can dynamically restructure its own circuitry in real-time making traditional analog instruments a tiny bit jealous because lacking such a unique function they can’t reach the flexibility and control degree of Paradigm - four “Apex” programmable analog chips (Anadigm Corporation’s third generation of this kind of devices) made it possible. So basically Paradigm is an analog/digital hybrid synthesizer. Analog section is fully monophonic and comprises 3 VCOs, noise, oscillators sync, FM, PWM and multimode filter - lo-pass, hi-pass, band-pass and bandstop. The digital polyphonic part has 2 digital wavetable oscillators per note, multimode filter (+ stereo analog multimode filter) and overdrive amp. It’s worth getting much closer to it but you can’t approach to Paradigm without paying $1250 – it will be available on Kickstarter in a few weeks.

Roland RD-2000

Roland used NAMM 2017 as a platform for its addition to the RD digital pianos – RD-2000. There is no doubt it’s the most remarkable stage piano from Roland. It comprises 2 sound cores: first one is responsible for acoustic piano and is based on V-Piano technology, second one is of SuperNATURAL origin and concerns piano library: classic 70s EP, RD-1000 and MKS-20 recall from 80s and many others (1100 programs). Besides you’ll get an 88-note revolutionary hammer action keyboard (wooden, ivory feel keys). The rear panel features USB-audio/MIDI so that you could integrate it with VSTi and therefore control both internal and external zones. Main stereo outs: XLR and 6.35mm jack. RD-2000 will cost you $2500.

KORG ARP Odyssey FS

In 2015 Korg issued a reduced version and now they give us a rethought one which we actually expected. Korg finally rebuilt one of the well-known synths of the 70s – ARP Odyssey, and this time KORG ARP Odyssey FS has 37 full-size keys and almost exact appearence of its progenitor. ARP Odyssey FS is assembled in USA as well. Limited series will offer 3 variants: Rev1, Rev2 и Rev3 which have the identical structure, colors are the only difference. It sounds just like the original Odyssey and offers the same features: fully analog signal path, 2 VCOs, elaborate filters and envelope generators. They promised to give it for about $1500 but Sweetwater’s already selling ARP Odyssey FS for $1600.

KORG Grandstage

Korg made us really happy this year presenting its second star of the event – Grandstage. The new stage piano operates with 7 sound engines taken from mega workstation Kronos. 8 sound sets include various piano, electric piano, organ, clavesin, harpsichord, clavinet sounds as well as the sounds of analog synthesizers. The prototype drew enormous attention but the details haven’t been announced yet.

Dexibell Classico L3

Dexibell introduced us to its new Classico L3 organ. Classico L3 is a combo organ based on 7 different integrated modelling methods. Plus to authentic organ sounds its modeled core (on Dexibell’s T2L technology) offers others high quality instruments as well: music box, harpsichord, piano and strings.

Pioneer DJ Toraiz AS-1Everybody knows that Pioneer DJ and Dave Smith Instruments first cooperated while developing Toraiz SP-16 which was equipped with DSI analog filter. Now they demonstrated Toraiz AS-1, monophonic analog synthesizer with architecture adopted from famous Prophet~6. The instrument has 2 VCOs, LFO, 2 VCFs and 2 envelope generators. The keyboard is implemented in the form of touchpad-style keys which can be used also as step sequencer's pointers. Toraiz AS-1 monosynth features an arpeggiator and Scale Mode, 495 factory and 495 user presets while its Dual FX core combines 7 effects, 6 of which are straight from Prophet and the effect number 7 is a completely new distortion. We wait Toraiz AS-1 to come out in March and to cost us $500.

Dave Smith Instruments REV2Toraiz AS-1 is definitely good news but Dave Smith was busy with his own creature as well. Hard to believe but it’s been 10 years since Prophet `08 saw the light and now it’s time for a new and more affordable instrument. Dave Smith Instruments REV2 is kind of a logical reboot and despite the fact that according to Dave Smith Prophet `08 has been a “real road warrior” for 10 years it was time for technology updating and cost lowering. He also added, “The REV2 is essentially the result of our effort to enhance and improve everything we could about the original Prophet ’08 and, in many cases, double its power.” Polyphony is clearly one of the main feature differences – now there are 16 voices which is a double number of those in the predeccessor. REV2 is bi-timbral which allows to stack and split different sounds assigning them to two keyboard zones. Sound core is made up of 2 DCOs + sub-octave generator (Osc1) with 4 waveshapes (sawtooth, triangle, sawtooth + triangle, and pulse) and resonant Curtis filters (one per voice, 2/4 pole low-pass). REV2 offers a unique waveshape modulation: you can dial a desired waveshape width manually or you may let LFO/other mod source vary the waveform parameters. Effect section consists of reverb, chorus, delay (standard and BBD), phase shifter, ring modulation, and distortion. Different effects can be applied to each layer and modulated through the mod matrix offering more sources and destinations than Prophet `08 and 8 individual slots. Polyphonic step sequencer is another nice feature of REV2 – it creates a different sequence for each layer. We should also note a separate gated sequencer and an arpeggiator. The semi-weighted 5-octave keyboard supports velocity and channel aftertouch. The 16-voice REV2 version will cost $1999 and the 8-voice one - $1499. New DSI synthesizers keep us waiting till April.

Published: 21:59 26.01.2017
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