Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Music Production Expo 2015

I just realised that I hadn't posted up some of the photos from the Music Production Expo that took place last month at the London Emirates Stadium. The show has definitely improved over recent years and now sports two seminar/presentation areas and tons of exhibitors, including Korg, Yamaha, Erebus, Roland, Bitwig...and of course, loads of instruments and gear to play. Here's a look at what you missed from this year's show and a tonne of synth spotting to boot.

In London and want to visit next year? Check out for details of the 2016 expo - this usually starts to get interesting around the Spring time.

Greek manufacturers Dreadbox were in fine form this year, with plenty of their Erebus and Hades semi modular synths on the show floor as well as this great stand showing off all of their current lineup. The Erebus' BBD feedback is a lovely, lo-fi, crunchy thing for dub sounds. I got playing with it and suddenly looked around to see everyone in the booth watching with fascination.
Again, more Erebus, Monotribe Beatsteps and more all got put into a great little sequencing station next to the Modal stand. Interesting is the unusual desktop synth above the Beatstep and OP-1, which I have not seen before and have not seen since. Can anyone tell me what this one is? I didn't actually have a chance to try all this 

Modal Electronics

Both of the two Modal Electronics machines were on offer to try out, ably assisted by the amazing Luca Mucci who gave us a quick demo of them. Both machines are impeccably built, the full sized keyboard plays well and the hourglass-sized knobs are unique and feel great to use. Most interestingly, both machines use an RJ45 ethernet cable to connect to a computer, where you can fire up your internet browser and change the synth patch direct from your browser interface - in this case, Safari and Chrome running on a Macbook. This is definitely a different way of doing live editing and patch recall if you need.

Mad Modular Gear

I'm just going to let these photos speak for themselves - loads of cables and loads of modules, plugged into semi modular boxes and splattered everywhere across the showfloor. As you can see, there is a growing interest in modular synthesis and if this show is anything to go by, modular is becoming much easier to get hold of.

And lots more besides:

  • New Yamaha ReFaces (not as bad as they are made out to be, thanks to the guys from Doctor Mix who were on hand to demo them for us). Definitely cemented my opinion that the black DX one was the one to go for, putting useable and editable FM synthesis for the masses.
  • New and old Prophets from Dave Smith and Sequential Circuits. Good to compare the lot
  • A Roland TR-8 modded in 909 livery. According to the guys modding it on the Roland stand, they still need to replace the green scatter LEDs and to sand and paint down the green edges, but there's not much left and the overall job was done really smartly.
  • A real live Yamaha CS80 - a mere snip at £22K and as heavy as was rumoured. Very chuffed to find one of these and to have a play on it. In fact, I was surprised that the legs could deal with the weight and while the sound was everything I had imagined, I think the price tag is a bit overrated for what it is.