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!
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After being rejected from music school, creator Pieter-Jan Pieters decided to take matters into his own hands. He then created OWOW. The controllers come in 5, each having their own functions from making drum samples to playing a synth sound from a line drawn on a piece of paper. This kind of creativity and innovation is bound to add a new aspect to live performances.
Watch the OWOW Midi Controller in action below.
The controllers come in two varieties. One has an aluminum case and another just includes the bare circuit board, the idea being that those who want to customize it can make their own case. 3D files are also available online if you want to print your own casing for free.
British-born, Kyoto-based Ally Mobbs has hacked the inexpensive Teenage Engineering PO-12 drum machine into a full-sized box. With it’s nice-looking wooden case and jack connector also comes with big arcade buttons.
To download to draw a line under ep by Ally mobbs, click here.
Ally has also made an exhibition of works made for kids, including a kid-friendly MIDI controller.
And here’s some excellent music to listen to!
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