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!

Korg Unveils New FM Synth at NAMM 2016

KorgVolcaFM
Over the weekend at NAMM 2016, Korg previewed an unreleased FM synthesizer, which will eventually become part of their Volca line of cheap and portable hardware.

The Volca FM is a 6-operator FM synth that can read and play DX-7 patches. It also offers an enhanced version of the Volca sequencer.

The new synth will feature six operators, three voices, a revamped Volca sequencer, memory for 32 patches and 16 sequences, a built-in chorus, as well as compatibility with Yamaha DX-7 patches.

Though we have no word on an official release date, the folks over at Synthtopia have a preview of its sound:

We’re expecting that the Volca FM will retail for around the same as others in the Volca line, and should be released in the next few months.

Have a passion for Synths? Take a look at our synthesis course for the chance to work hands-on with our amazing gear!

A Rebirth: The MS-20M Module Synthesizer Kit

korg-MS-20M1

Legendary synthesizer company Korg has resurrected one of their most powerful and popular synths, the MS-20M, into a compact new kit available for your desktop. Minus the keyboard, it still has all the same functions as the original M2-20M plus a handful of new features like MIDI In and USB connectivity. At nearly 9 pounds and two feet in length, the synth isn’t particularly heavy, yet its size could translate to a tedious assembly process. That’s right: you have to put it together yourself.

You really can’t do better than this.

In regards to sound, the MS-20M has a versatile spectrum of sounds it can produce, from rumbling bass to punchy drum sounds and euphoric leads. The HP and LP filters sweep a huge frequency range, allowing intricate and detailed fine-tuning of its many sounds. Its sonic ability is a definite selling point. Press play on the video below for a nice introduction to this wonderful synthesizer.

You can read the original review of the MS-20M on XLR8R here.

Don’t forget to consider our synthesis courses as well!


Top 5 Mini Synths

Synths are a producer’s best friend that hold many capabilities including sequencing drum machines, performative effects, sampling etc. These small pieces of hardware are extraordinarily versatile with any studio set-up and are not going to break the bank either. Through our advanced Synthesis Course you can learn the ins-and-outs of synths to expand your scope of music production/Djing.

…it’s become increasingly apparent that it’s not necessary to spend a small fortune to buy yourself a small, yet highly functional piece of hardware. -Junodownload.com

This post is inspired by the famous Junodownload.com, for all synth specifications click here.

1) Korg Monotron series

Korg series
Small, practical, and powerful. These analog synths by Korg are battery powered that feature built-in speaker and mini jack audio output. The Original, Dual oscillator, and Monotron Delay synths all have their own distinctive personality which adds to the uniqueness of the Monotron collection. Watch the video below to learn the exact differences between the Monotron Synths.

2) Bleep Labs Nebulophone Synthesizer

Bleep Labs Nebulophone Synth
This synth Bleep Labs is small, but do not let that fool you. This synth packs a punch, with its 10 individual keys it spans the capabilities from switching between chromatic modes to modifying between eight different wave lengths. For more information watch the video below.

3) Gakken Analogue SX 150 Synthesizer

Gakken Analogue SX 150 Synth
Simple and affordable, this Gakken Analogue SX 150 Synthesizer uses the sylus to control the pitch. Some criticism is that, with the stylus, you are limited, but with a few cords you can attach this cool synth to a MIDI controller and have no limitations. Watch the video below for a quick demo on the capabilities of this synth.

4) Korg Volca Series (Volca Beats, Volca Bass, Volca Keys)

Korg Volca Series (Volca Beats, Volca Bass, Volca Keys)

This version of Korg Volca Series comes in there different forms. The Volca Beats, Volca Bass, and Volca Keys. Below is a video that demonstrates and explains the differences between the three designs.

5) Mutable Instruments Shruthi 1 Kit Synthesizer

Mutable Instruments Shruthi 1 Kit Synthesizer
This synth is a hybrid that blends digital with analogue in the form of a simple box. Along with these features this synth has a 16 step sequencer, a comprehensive arpeggiator and modulation matrix. Watch the video below to get on in-depth idea into this hybrid synth.

Learn the techniques behind using synths and broaden your music production/Djing horizon by taking out Synthesis Course.

Contact Sarah at 617.849.9321 for more information regarding enrollment and availability.