The Rest of the Messe

MacBeth M5NAs you know, the Frankfurt Musicmesse opened on Wednesday the 28th. There were quite a few exciting announcements including the Nord Wave, Arturia Origen Keyboard, the Dexter and of course the biggest announcement in my opinion, the Solaris hardware synth by John Bowen Synth Designs. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the interview by James here. Aside from the major announcements there was quite a bit more worth checking out in the synth world including this gorgeous MacBeth M5N, a white version of the M5 with a few updates including snappier envelopes, greater signal to noise ratios for the filters, and more. You can find links to more Messepics here, many courtesy of, a great synth site based in Germany. Some of the synth related gadgets include the Tiefenrausch monophonic analog synth, the Anyware Instruments ClockBox, the SteckBox (an EMS style pin matrix with light risters), and more.

Fairlight Series IIIx

Rarities Set Loose

Fairlight Series IIIx

A Fairlight Series IIIx and MFX is up for auction with a whopping Buy It Now of $11,900 US.

Some details:
“Offered for sale is a very rare fully functional vintage rack-mount Fairlight CMI III computerised musical instrument workstation in excellent condition. Also fitted is Fairlight MFX2 capability, which adds a 24 track direct to disc recorder / editor. The system is a late model, and as such has the latest and best in technical innovations, whilst still retaining the classic legendary sound of the CMI.

The system has 16 voices, 16 Mbytes RAM, colour graphics card, digital sampler and 24 output router. It also comes with the later MFX alpha-numeric keyboard, and a proper weighted action music keyboard. A 15” LCD screen (not the one illustrated) is included. There are two 4 Gbyte hard discs, one empty for disc recording, and one full of the following libraries:

Complete Fairlight library, Prosonus Strings, Brass, Percussion, Sound
Genesis strings, plus many libraries collected over the last 20 years
dealing with top producers and musicians. These include libraries from: Pet
Shop Boys, Trevor Horn, Hans Zimmer, Frankie goes to Hollywood, Art of Noise
and many, many others. The complete Fairlight IIX library is also included.”
Yamaha FX-1

Yamaha FX-1

Next up, a Yamaha FX-1 for auction. The Yamaha FX-1 was an FM based Yamaha Electone behemoth with motorized sliders. Think DX7/DX1 on steroids. There are very few of these known to exist. There is one known model in the UK according to this Sound on Sound article and until this auction, only one that I was aware of in the US, owned by a dying breed, a one man club act from the 60s, Jimmy [BTW, Jimmy’s story is pretty fascinating].

Via the SOS article:
“Lest you think that (other than the DX1) all FM synthesizers were small, neat affairs, let me tell you about the FX1. This was a huge three-manual beast very much in the mould of the GX1, but based entirely on FM synthesis. If you’ve never heard of it, I’m not surprised. Costing £36,000 in 1986, there’s only one working example in the UK, and not many more elsewhere.”

MOOG Model 12

MOOG Model 12

Finally, a MOOG Model 12 modular recently went for $5100 US. The unit was sold as is from The University of Wyoming. You can see the auction here. I also backed it up on Matrixsynth for when it disapears. The price may seem high considering what you can get from current modular synth manufacturers, however this is part of history. You can barely make it out, but there’s a handle at the very top of the modular and latches to the site. The modular is was built into is own carrying case.

The Non-MOOG Modular

Below is a video of some MOOG modulars manufactured by Don Martin. If you remember from the March 16 Week In Synths, Don Martin owned the Moog name in the US after MOOG music went under. He released a Model E Minimoog commonly referred to as the Donimoog. In addition to the Mini, he also release a number of MOOG modules. Cary Roberts posted the following video on AH along with more pics you can find here. You can find a list of the Don Martin MOOG modules here. BTW, word is they actually sounded good. Note: unfortunately there is no audio in this video, but I prefer it a bit more to just the static shots.

Tie-Fighter Cockpit and Willy Wonka’s Music Box

Finally I leave you with two Buchla videos:

Buchla 700

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Video by Electric Parade.

The Buchla Music Easel

Note the Music Easel video is from the Analog Heaven Midwest synth gathering. You can find more videos from the event here.

BTW, credit for the Tie-Fighter analogy goes to Wingo Shackleford via the comments of this post.

For daily synth-related posts check out Matrixsynth.

  • Theo

    I was hoping for more from Frankfurt Musicmesse. An update/demo/announcement from Apple regarding Logic would have been really nice especially since many in the Logic community are expecting something soon. However it is probably all tied in with the upcoming OS X update.

    With AudioMidi doing big discounts on Reaktor there may be a new version on the way. Purely supposition but not long after discounts on Absynth and Traktor were on offer new versions were realeased.

    Software ftw

  • Really, Theo? Normally Messe is comparatively small as far as announcements. This one wound up including an enormous number of hardware synths, something we've generally come to expect would be at NAMM — if at all. There's unusual new hardware like Bowen's Solaris, which is a rare announcement in today's market.

    This definitely wasn't a big software show, but Messe usually isn't.

    There's one major point I'll agree upon: not knowing what's happening with Apple Logic is trying everyone's patience. 🙂 But if my bets were on one show this spring, it would be the broadcasting shindig NAB, not Messe or even NAMM, because then it could be announced alongside Final Cut Studio. And even having said that, don't be surprised if Apple just picks a time and announces it on their own schedule, which is also something they like to do.

  • Damon

    "Agent Q, there is a green a blue and a red wire. We only got 1 chance to get this right. Ok, say a prayer and tell me which 1 should cut?"

  • bliss

    I was just over at looking at the MessyMusic pictures, and, man, look at all those hardware modular synths! Is this a trend or is market demand really growing again for those things? Very nice stuff! I really need to hit the lottery, or find a duffel full of cash on Rte 130 in New Jersey. It happened but the guy that found it turned it in. It was money on its way to be destroyed, there would been no way to trace it had he kept it. Doh!

  • I believe it's been growing considerably over the last few years. Cwejman, Plan b. Livewire are all relatively recent in that the formed within the last few years. MFB just announced that they will also be coming out with modules. When considering a modular I think the first thing to get over is the initial hump of buying a base system. At $1000 to $2000 you might question if it's worth getting over a stand alone keyboard synth, but once you get past that, the individual modules are fairly affordable. I've avoided a modular because of the initial price for some time now. What's interesting for me though, is a modular has become much more attractive to me now that I've cut down my synth obsession budget. Why? Because I think satiating my gear lust by buying a $200 module or so is much more affordable than lusting after the next $1000 synth. I personally think the best bet is to buy a bread and butter synth (or two) and adding a modular. This is after going through 60+ synths or so. : )

  • bliss

    LOL! 😉

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