Monday, 19 January 2015

NAMM 2015 predictions

On a day that is supposed to be the most depressing day in the calendar (so-called Blue Monday - when the brain figures out that going to work for a third week after Christmas isn't a temporary thing - you're stuck with it until spring), I have taken to listening to long stints of Robert Wyatt and plenty of Dark Side Of The Moon to keep the demons away.

However there is plenty of good news this week with NAMM coming up in Anaheim and the promise of lots of news stories with new videos and technology. I had the good fortune to speak with John Price of Kenton Electronics over the weekend, who will be exhibiting alongside Andreas Scheider and the Schneidersladen - it seems that like most exhibitors they have new products to show off, which strangely enough is the topic of this post. So after sifting through all the pre-NAMM articles in the press what am I most looking forward to?

Roland's new synth

Thanks to Attack Magazine
It's funny how much hype you can produce from just a single leaked photo from a Japanese artist that seems to show a new Roland synth. From the front panel it is definitely not an existing Aria (unless they are going to expand on the series) but to me it reminds me very much of the Gaia synth they released ages ago. And if the Gaia and the Aria series is anything to go by we can expect another virtual analogue synth with some of the excellent analogue emulation technology packed in, though it will take a bit of convincing with quite so many other VA-synths but I am still keen to see - and hear - what it's like.

Korg vs Behringer ARP Odyssey

Thanks to Synthtopia
It's been a long running understanding that Korg had been working in a modern recreation of this classic analogue synth but it's only fairly recently that Behringer had announced that they would be throwing their hat into the ring and looking at an Odyssey all of their own. If sales of Korg's other analogue gear is anything to go by there is definitely a market for all analogue synths without damaging the price of the original units but I am not certain that it needs two companies making the same machine. Either way I reckon Korg have been at it for a lot longer than Behringer so it might be the time when we get to see the fruits of their labour.

Arturia's interface

Arturia have been making a big song and dance about how they think they have cracked audio interfaces for multiple device inputs and PC /Mac compatibility.

Speaking as someone who found having a USB mixer a revelation and will be buying a whole new computer soon, this sort of thing may have come at just the right time in my hardware upgrade cycle but it all depends on the actual unit and driver support for Windows 8, 10 and Bigwig.

Highlighting lots of problems without providing a lot of concrete answers to these questions is frustrating to say the least, but hopefully we'll finally get an answer by the end of the week.

Expert Sleepers FH-1

Surprisingly, modular synth maker Expert Sleepers dropped the news story on their new module slightly early, the FH-1 USB MIDI interface. Finally a convenient module for adding connectivity to a modular synth over USB and nary a DIN SYNC plug to be seen - perfect for the modern music maker who just wants to plug in and go. A unit like this will mean much more straightforward integration with modern DAWs and modular setups and I can definitely see myself getting one if I ever went down the Eurorack route and not just for the amazing, fading bi-colour sockets.

And then there's also...

And this is not even scratching the surface of all the exhibitors, let alone all the guitar section, so there's plenty to keep busy with come January 22nd.

What are you looking forward to the most?