Best of NAMM 2016

Best of NAMM
Every January the music tech world descends on Anaheim, California to show off its new gear at the annual NAMM show, and while the past few years have seen companies like Korg release compact synths, and Roland and Yamaha revive classic hardware in new forms, the overriding trend at this year’s event was modular synths – and lots of them.

Formerly a niche concern, Eurorack format modular gear has been growing in popularity with affordable, entry level systems like the AIRA System-1m being released over the past year.

As well as all the Modular offerings, there were plenty of other unexpected announcements: Korg’s Minilogue, Arturia’s MatrixBrute and Teenage Engineering’s intriguing audio and video synth, the OP-Z to name a few.

Probably the most talked about announcement at NAMM was the MatrixBrute from Arturia. The MatrixBrute is an all new 100% analog synthesizer, featuring a 49-key keyboard, 3 “brute” oscillators, Steiner-Parker and ladder filters, 3 envelope generators, and an outlandish modulation matrix that aims to make patch-cable systems obsolete. The matrix features 256 buttons, and allows you to route any of 16 modulation sources to any of 18 modulation destinations, as well as functioning as a sequencer and preset selector. You can watch Arturia’s new promo video below.

Another new release that looks as though it will have big implications in the future is the new wireless MIDI adapter from Yamaha. The release date is still TBA, however it should retail for $50, making it an affordable way to clear up clutter from wires in the studio.

Head on over to FACT Magazine for the full scoop on the best offerings from this year’s NAMM conference!

Interested in Synthesizers? We have a Synthesis program that allows you to work hands-on with professional hardware! If you have any questions, make sure to send me an email!

FYI: Hack Arturia’s MiniBrute / MicroBrute for More Synth Options

Looking to get more out of your Arturia analog synth? Hacking is definitely the way to go.

Both synths are of great quality out the box. They are also set at a good price, ranging from $350-400$ US Dollars. The “Hack-a-Brute” website gives great instruction on hacking these synths. What’s cool about the website is that it not only gives you blueprints and schematics for these synths, but it also comes in different languages!  You can even add wooden parts to your synth to give more of a homemade kind of feel.

You can Learn how to add a step-sequencer to your synth by clicking here.

The MiniBrute is already a nice synth. Sure, it’s not as compact as the more recent MicroBrute and lacks that synth’s cute little modulation patching section, but you also get full-sized keys, and it’s still a lovely instrument.

Below is a video of the MiniBrute being tested with Arturia’s BeatStep Pro.

Here is a comparison of the two synths side-by-side.


Thanks to Create Digital Music for bringing this to light.

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Inside BeatStep: $99 Step Sequencer and Controller plus Arturia Q&A

Every new season brings new music tools. Some of these designs, salve of course, order are splashy and grab headlines. Some just look like no-brainers that will see heavy use in your work.

Arturia’s BeatStep stood out at the recent NAMM trade show as just an insanely-great use of a hundred bucks, mind in a tiny box that sort of does everything you’d want.

It’s a pad controller. But it’s also a step sequencer. It connects to your computer via USB. But it also does analog CV and MIDI (via breakouts) when your computer isn’t around. It works as a controller. It works with an iPad. It can be a clock source.

In short, it’s mobile control and step sequencing for pretty much anything you own, with or without a keyboard.

Read more at Create Digital Music.

Learn how to use this new technology inside our laboratory.