My favorite synth of all time is the Ensoniq ESQ-1. This maybe only because I do not own a Sequential Circuits Prophet VS. You see there is something amazing about digital oscillators matched with analog filters. In my Eurorack system the best sounds I get are from my Ataraxic Translatron into Toppobrillo Multifilter. When the Prophet 12 came out I assumed it was an all analog affair. I watched a few videos months after its released and fell in love. When I discovered it was digital into analog filters I said, “ah yes of course!!”. So now there is a Dave Smith Prophet 12 module and I am all for it. Give me an 808, ESQ-M and Prophet 12M and see you whenever.
“Introducing the Prophet 12 Module, the same great sound engine of the Prophet 12 keyboard with enough portability to fit in a backpack! At twelve voices, the Prophet 12 boasts the greatest polyphony of any instrument designed by Dave Smith. Each voice features four oscillators capable of generating classic and complex waveforms, a sub-oscillator, resonant analog low-pass and high-pass filters, and analog VCAs. The new Character section adds a variety of wave shaping and sound sculpting options, like Drive, Hack, Decimation, Girth, and Air. Additional features include a tuned feedback path, a four-tap stereo delay per voice, expanded arpeggiator functionality, deep modulation capabilities, and bi-timbral operation. The LFOs, delay, and arpeggiator can all be synced, either to the internal clock or an external MIDI clock.” – davesmithinstruments
This is going to hurt my bank account ($2,000 USD). I really like how you can record real time effects on the two pad strips (link). I hope the included samples don’t ruin a near perfect analog thing. So far the demos sound pure enough for me. Anyone NOT getting one?
“The all-new Tempest analog drum machine (created by none other than the living legends Dave Smith and Roger Linn) is expected to be available sometime in Fall 2011.” – Sweetwater.com
Dave Smith Instruments Tempest. An all new analog drum machine. Awesome. If you listen carefully the demo goes from all the way from 606 to 909ish with some nice Simmons tom emulation and synth stabs. There are a lot of specs but does it matter? A lot of buttons and analog stuff. $2000. link
Avid Torq 2. I secretly always liked Torq better than Traktor. I don’t know why I’ve keep it a secret. It’s just more fun to use and I like the flat interface a lot. I’m not sure 4 decks is better than two. Can you say tiny things to see in a big display? The new Traq Morph feature “blends music tracks in exciting new ways by intelligently applying audio effects during crossfade.”. That could be cool right? Lastly, the software is decoupled from any hardware so you can use it stand alone or with any controller. $250 link
Akai Synthstation 49. I want my car dash to be an iPad. Just the same let’s make my keyboard interface and sound source and iPad too! It’s from Akai so a few MPC pads are included. This will win or loose depending on quality. link
Alesis Studiodock. Professional audio and MIDI I/O for your iPad. Oh… and composite video out. I’m getting very close to being able to play an entire live show off my iPad! link
Izotope Stutter Edit. I love plug-ins like this. Stutter, a Stutter Matrix, Buffer Tricks, Bit Reduction, Pan, Gate, Delay, Filters and more take normal audio and mess it up. $149 link
Arturia Spark. I’m going to tell you right now that this new drum machine from Arturia won’t sound as good as the DSI Tempest. Your going to pay a lot less though and it does have a super fun TR style roll by sequencer. All drum machines are awesome. All of them. $600. link
Rob Papen Punch. I sense a theme at this year’s Namm. I remember it used to be work making killer electronic drum sounds, loops and patterns. Boy to kids have the toys today! If your not an analog purist Dutch Papen’s new VST punch could be of use to you. Will it compete with products like uToniq? Time will tell. link
M-Audio Venom. I wasn’t excited about a new VA synth. Then I learned the price would be $499. I also learned it came with a VST editor. The marketing hype is pretty good for the new Avid synth too. link
MORE UPDATES TO COME. I will be adding things I find worthy to this post as the weekend continues.
The NAMM Show acronym stands for “National Association of Music Merchants”. The event takes place twice a year. There is a summer event in Austin, Texas but the bigger of the two happening this week in Anaheim, California. There are many websites covering NAMM down to the very last detail. I’d like to only list here what I personally think are the most interesting new products. So without further ado here is Wire to the Ear’s Winter NAMM 2010 hot picks:
Soundcloud Integration With Audio Software. I’m a full on web junkie and I like my stuff in the cloud. I think redundant servers spread out around the world are far better places to store my precious files than my own home and Lacie hard discs. I also love to share. That’s the point of being a musician no? Soon you will be able to render and send a file from Ableton direct to SoundCloud. My music from me to you faster than ever. I like it! link
Mungo Enterprises State Zero. A giant hardware interface full of knobs. 8 voice polyphony. Anything to anything patching. Patches store in memory. If this is real analog and less than a price of a car I’m sold. If it’s digital or crazy expensive I’ll play with the one you buy. link
Jomox M.Brane 1_1. Wicked snappy sharp analog snares and percussion. I have the Jomox Mbase 01 kick module and it’s wonderful so as soon as the M.Brain is available it’s mine. I’ll trade gigabytes of snare samples for one real analog snap. link
Dave Smith Instruments Mopho Keyboard. (photo credit: Synthesizers) The spiritual descendant of the Sequential Circuits Pro-One has arrived. The Pro-One was the main keyboard used by Vince Clarke on the amazing Yaz albums so you know the Mopho’s got mojo! Why waste desktop space with a empty Oxygen 8 or like controller when you can slap one of these new Mopho’s in its place? Thanks to internet nagging the price will be right on this new guy too. link
Akai iPK25. A real hardware piano keyboard for the iPhone. If other Apps can access the keys then this is nice. If not it’s a full on dud. link
Teenage Engineering OP-1. Here’s a product that looks like special care has been baked into it’s DNA. A small super stylish hardware TAPE sampler with a FM receiver, G-Force Sensor (Wii), OLED display, speaker and USB connectivity. TAPE mode is awesome. The graphics on the display are awesome. If you’re a musician with a sole you have to want one. If you want to show up your hipster friends with microKorgs this is the guy to do it with. The bad? It’s still away off and who know’s what the price will be. link
So how are you going to spend your money in 2010? Do any of these or other NAMM new releases tempt you?
“I love this powerful little synthesizer and have had more time to play with it since making this video footage last week. I hope you enjoy the sounds, and at $800 for a 4 voice true analog synth, you can’t go wrong. Want more knobs? Use the editor and one of your multiple MIDI controllers.” – djthomaswhite
If you want a true analog multi-voice multritimbral synthesizer your options have been limited and expensive. Today Dave Smith Instruments drops the price of entry into this field to $799. The new Tetra is essential 4 DSI Mophos in a black box.
“Tetra is our next-generation analog poly synth. Tetra takes the award-winning sound and features of Mopho, multiplies them by four, and packs them in a box less than half an inch larger! Tetra has multiple personalities. It is a four-voice, analog poly synth, a sort of “mini Prophet.” It’s a four-part, multitimbral synth with separate outputs, essentially four Mophos in one very compact box. And it’s a voice expander for other Tetras or the Prophet ’08.” – www.davesmithinstruments.com
You can check out the Tetra operation manual: click here
Dave Smith has now officially released his new synthesizer the Mopho. It’s got a 100% analog signal path and it retails for $399. At this price it’s competition for soft synths.
Here are the specs: Two oscillators, One classic Curtis low-pass filter (switchable 2- or 4-pole), Analog VCAs, Three envelope generators (ADSR plus delay), Two sub-octave generators (one octave down and two octaves down), External audio input with feedback, Four assignable performance controls per program, Gated 16 x 4 step sequencer (one sequence per program), Arpeggiator, Fully programmable (includes free downloadable software editor for Mac OS and Windows), 384 programs, I/O: MIDI In, MIDI Out/Thru, Audio In, Left and Right Audio Out, Headphone Out.
Considering the price of this thing if your a person making music with only software you should consider grabbing one of these. Bringing audio into your DAW from the outside world really expands your color palette in interesting subtle ways. I’m going to pick one up for sure.
Look closely here and let’s pick out the synths. I see a Korg Monopoly, Roland V-Synth, Dave Smith Instrument’s Prophet 08 and a Nord Rack. What’s the big white one on the left? A Yamaha workstation? Also there could be a TR-606? What’s the keyboard front, center on the floor? A Yamaha CS? What’s the instrument to the left of it? Oh…
Do you keep one of THOSE in your studio?
If you liked that one here’s another. I didn’t post it here because it’s cruel (it is hilarious though): click here
The NAMM Show acronym stands for “National Association of Music Merchants”. The event takes place twice a year. There is a summer event in Austin, Texas but the bigger of the two happening this week in Anaheim, California. There are many websites covering NAMM down to the very last detail. I’d like to only list here what I personally think are the most interesting new products. So without further ado here is Wire to the Ear’s Winter NAMM hot picks:
Moog Voyager OS. Take a normal Moog Voyager and get rid of its Midi, presets, display and XY pad and you have the new “OS” which stands for Old School. I’m not sure I totally “get” this new synth. Unless the sound quality improves by removing those features what’s the point? Having midi, XY and patch memory has to be worth a few hundred bucks to anyone, no? link
Dave Smith Instruments Prophet ’08 Synthesizer Module. A table top or rack mount version of the Prophet ’08. If you want to play chords and you want real analog it’s either an uber pricey Studio Electronics Omega, something used or the new Prophet 08. The new module will be the least expensive way into the polyphonic analog world. link
Access Virus TI Snow. A small table top version of the Virus TI. I would rather have a real analog synth or a Waldorf Blofeld but I know the Virus sounds great. Somewhat unique in a hardware synth is the new Atomizer utility announced for Virus TI’s which allows for stuttery effects. link
LinnDrum II. Originally called the BoomChick the new MPC killer from Dave Smith and Roger Linn is already making a ton of noise on pro-audio blogs around the world. All drum machines are cool and this one looks meaty! Did I say one? Actually there will be two! The “Analog” edition will sport 4 voice analog synthesis and an extra 27 knobs. link
Future Retro XS. They said it was coming in 2007 but they missed the mark. But the delay doesn’t dampen the excitement. Why not? It’s a real analog monophonic synth with 64 knobs and a MS20 style filter that can self oscillate. It’s semi-modular allowing you to use cables to patch and re-route the signal path. It has Midi and CV. The audio demos and videos sound awesome. $1299 is the right price too. link
Gforce S.O.B. The fine UK software house Gforce that’s responsible for software synths Oddity, impOSCar, Minimonsta and the new VSM have been teasing us with an Oberheim OB8 emulation for some time now. The screenshot below is from a Sonic State video in which Gforce was demoing another product and just so happened to flash the SOB! If it doesn’t appear in 2008 then it never will. link
Ableton meets Cycling ’74. One of the things Pluggo makes is a plug-in called VTheremin. This lets you use your computer’s iSight or chat camera as a virtual Theremin. This is one of the many creative things they do and the reason I am thrilled they have partnered with Ableton. I can’t wait to see what the partnership brings. link
Touch Screen Madness. When I installed the new Mac OS “Leopard” on my computers I was a little bewildered as to why anyone would want Cover Flow in the finder. Then I thought to myself, “This would be cool if I could use my finger and flick through these documents like on an iPhone”. Duh! I had the same thought when using Quickview. People: these are sure signs a Mac “Touch” is coming. I can’t think of another industry that will benefit more than musicians from this technology. On screen controllers, keyboards and mixers and going to be super enjoyable! Invest in Kimberly-Clark now (they make Kleenex): KMB (NYSE) link