Thursday, 27 March 2014

Messe14 Roundup

Now that the dust is well and truly settled on the Frankfurt Musikmesse 2014, its probably a good time to take stock and see what was interesting during the show. Notably, there was nothing new from Moog, though as they tend to blow their budgets and big announcements at NAMM, this is to be expected.

Waldorf Streichfett

Another very desirable little box of tricks to follow from the green Rocket bass synth and orange analogue filter is this pink coloured string synth. Not just for string sounds, Streichfett has quite a few more tricks up its sleeves, featuring clavi and harpsichord sounds as well as a mixer between the two plus some built in chorus and reverb effects - sadly not adjustable but still good to have. In their own words, this is a throwback to the first string synths of the 70s that gave rise to porn groove, hence the garish colour scheme, and despite the lack of adjustable synth parameters, the Streichfett is an attractive offer at its sub £200 price point and might fill a niche for those looking for a specialised synth. 

Korg Oddessey

Interestingly, Korg announced that they will be making a close clone of the old ARP Oddessey synthesiser in line with their re-released MS-20 mini. I expect that, in the same way, owners of the original won't suffer as the components will likely be different to create those nuances in sound over a new version, but it is good to see that this new Oddessey allows a new generation to use these older analogue sounds and I do have to applaud that.

I must admit that I am starting to get sceptical. I wasn't all that familiar with the ARP Oddessey before I heard the press releases but I understand that it was a contender for the Minimoog in its day. This lead me to wonder why the something like a Minimoog re-release hadn't been considered, given this appetite for all things vintage analogue, but then I realised that the Moog Voyager and Minimoog tribute are both clones of the original and this has already been done. However, I do realise that there are differences and Moog at least where see to be developing their instrument with new features to build on the sounds that the older machines were capable of. Quite simply, they aren't just rebuilding 
the whole machine again and adding USB and MIDI ports to keep up to date and I do have to question Korg's business plan to keep rereleasing old gear. I want to see new kinds of machines as well, like the Korg Volcas.

Nord A1 

Another bright red synth from the Scandinavians, complete in either rack or keyboard varieties. Every time I see these new keyboards I wonder whether they really are any better than before but I remain suitably impressed from the demos I have seen. Still far too expensive for just a humble amateur though!