Monday, January 21, 2008

NAMM post mortem

So besides the Solaris, the most interesting I saw in the NAMM videos was the Arturia Origin. Basically, it's a sort of soft modular system that is loaded up with all of the classic-analog emulations that Arturia is known for, such as Minimoog-V and CS-80V, along with the ability to cross-patch them in any way desired. VAs aren't really my cup of tea, but if I were into it, I would definitely be looking at the Origin. Other bits that jumped out at me: G-Force's M-Tron Pro, which looks like it is poised to go beyond just being an amazingly accurate Mellotron emulation (even though that's an impressive accomplishment in itself), with the addition of Opitgan and Birotron sound banks. Dave Smith Instruments showed a rackmount/tabletop version of the Prophet 08, and Access had their bite-size version of the Virus TI. For those who can't stand even the slightest hint of digital circuitry in their synths, there was the appropriately-named Moog Voyager Old School. Akai brought a newly expanded version of their very good MPD drum pad controllers, the MPD-32, with more faders, dedicated DAW controls, and a neat tempo generator that can create a master MIDI Clock from a tap tempo.

There don't seem to have been a lot of really innovative or out-there products this year. The Solaris was probably the most advanced synth present, but this wasn't the first time it has been exhibited (it was at Musikmesse Frankfort last year). An outfit called Sonivox announced a software package called Anatomy. I've read the description twice now and I'm still not quite sure what it does; it's a package of vocal samples with processing options, or a physical model of the human voice tract, or possibly both. In another example of the recent throw-objects-on-a-table-and-interpret-it-as-a-drum-pattern school of synthesis, an outfit called Percussia exhibited a product called Audio Cubes. They sense each others' presence, where they are in relation to each other, and which sides are facing which way. They connect to a computer using USB, and with an included appliction, they can be induced to either play loops, or send MIDI data to external synths and applications.

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