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!

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Teenage Engineering Announces New Pocket Synthesizers

When most musicians think of Swedish startup company Teenage Engineering, their flashy, upscale OP-1 synthesizer likely comes to mind, as well as the OP-1’s high cost. However, Teenage Engineering has announced that they will be breaking out of their high-end niche with the new miniature, battery-powered synth line: The Pocket Operator.


The Pocket Operator is a line of three battery powered synthesizers, all priced at only $59. It includes the PO-12 “Rhythem” drum machine, the PO-14 “Sub” bass synth, and the PO-16 “Factory” melody unit. Each unit is equipped with 16-step sequencing, 16 sounds to choose from, and 16 other effects. Each unit is also equipped with built in speakers, 3.5mm in and outs, parameter functionality, and sync functionality.

“It has never been this easy, fun and affordable to create electronic music.”


While these machines are essentially just circuit boards with a small display and some switches and knobs, Teenage Engineering has kept them looking sleek and stylish without driving up the costs.

To help market the new Pocker Operators, Teenage Engineering is teaming up with Swedish clothing brand Cheap Monday, whose logo is featured on each unit. Additionally, Cheap Monday is producing a stylish, functional case for the synths as well as releasing a line of graphic t-shirts and pins to help promote the Pocket Operators.


The Pocket Operators are available on January 22, 2015, and the full line can be purchased for $177.

For more information on the PO-12, click to view the video below.

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