The only good teasers are Malteasers. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Ranma Tim.

Guess who’s gotten really bad at keeping a lid on upcoming product announcements? The manufacturers.

We’re suddenly utterly awash with teasers. Yes, it seems from intentional leaks to advance campaigns, we’re now destined to see every significant new piece of music gear before we see it, cast in shadows and partial photos and more. Apparently, the folks doing publicity think that this will cause people on the Internet to talk about them. They’re … right, in fact. And with the biggest American trade show for music gear landing next week, we’re in a flood of stuff.

I would willfully ignore such things, but I think it’s worth a quick round-up just to remind ourselves which booths we should visit next week in Anaheim at NAMM. And amidst more predictable teasers, the other good news is, the synths just keep on coming and coming. Who would have thought it? 2012 could be the year of the synth – again. (Even with MIDI DIN, no less!)

CDM is proud to bring you all this news, last. (I made the coffee and everything, but then seemed not to actually post this stuff when it arrived.)

Let’s take a sneak peak.

The best teasers:

NI tipped me off to their new @Traktor feed. There, we see, curiously, something resembling the colored buttons on color-mod monomes. And that’s all I can see, but I’m told we’ll see more from NI soon. (Note that NI doesn’t have a NAMM booth, so I don’t necessarily expect a NAMM announcement.)

Oddly, after I made a reference to the StealthMountain account, I see that tweet reads “Sneak Peak.” I’m going to assume that either that was a cheeky attempt to attract the ire of snarky grammar-correcting Twitter bots after I made mention of them, or that I should shut up as a lot of 2012 will be about me utterly butchering the beautiful German language.

Ken MacBeth takes the wraps off his MicroMac on The Facebook. “Micro” for Ken means basically “normal size” for the rest of us – the guy designs Paul Bunyan-style modulars. The Micro looks nice, indeed, three oscillators, loads of CV, and a VCF, plus Ken hopes for portamento and glide. This is still a prototype, but we hope to catch it in person. Compare the earlier proto design, second from top (which I actually quite like – anyone else?):

French synth maker Eowave is definitely on my must-visit list, with not one but two compelling new synths. The Domino (top) is a little more in the meat-and-potatoes category, a lovely, minimal analog monosynth. Koma (second top) is a bit more modern-looking and different, combining an analog bassline synth with a push-button step sequencer.

Koma @ Eowave
Domino @ Eowave [rattle your floors with the sound that autoplays]

More has leaked out about the upcoming Casio XW-P1. And yeah, basically, it sounds like what we’re getting is a general-purpose workstation, more along the lines of what Roland and Yamaha offer than the personality of the beloved CZ series. (SonicState does the math, too – it’s been since 1988.) The bad news: it’s a big workstation keyboard rather than something a bit more unique. The good news: coming from Casio, I’ll bet we see some serious value pricing … and you can still get your CZ on via eBay.

SonicState quotes Keyboard:
“A Mono solo section with up to six oscillators: two virtual analog, two PCM, noise, and external audio. Poly section with wide variety of gig- ready sounds. Drawbar organ mode. Six-way HexTone multis. Nine-track step sequencer with dedicated drum track.”

We’ve also got more details on Akai’s second controller-plus-software combo offering, the MPC Studio. (Curiously, if it’s small enough to carry with you, it’s called “Studio.” If it’s so big, you have to leave it in your studio, it’s called “Renaissance.” Got it?) As with the MPC Renaissance, the big story here is that you get a “dumb” hardware controller that doesn’t produce sound, and the operation itself all happens on your computer via software, a la Native Instruments’ Maschine. Unlike NI, though, Akai doesn’t really have a track record to speak of in software, so the big variable is how well their software works.

The MPC Studio, meanwhile, looks far more luggable and is presumably more affordable than its nonetheless cool-looking, monster truck-style bigger sibling.

It does look very, very slim. Unfortunately, with all those buttons crammed on the right side, it looks like a remote control for a home theater. I’ll be interested to try it in person and see if that’s usable in real life. [yup – URL still looks like “Prom PC” to me]

I’m probably most intrigued by Livid’s latest controller, the CNTRL-R, made in collaboration with M-nus Records and Richie Hawtin. That collaboration is interesting just because of the amount of live parameter control Rich and company are doing live. And Livid and their booth-mates should have loads of good toys. Livid’s Peter Nyboer writes in comments:

We (Livid) are showing with Mode Machines at E1009. We’ll be previewing some eurorack MIDI+analog things that we’ve been working on, the CNTRL:R that ships next month, and all our other controllers and DIY parts. I will also stand in the acoustic center of all the electric guitars and attempt an air guitar performance mimicking all the simultaneous shredding.

Nord has a new organ and a new drum module coming. Sweet. I’m holding out for a Nord Virginal.

The drums of the future come from the past” is the tagline.

Or to put it another way, “The key to saving the future, can be found only in the past.” [1]

Or to put it another way, “The future is history.” [2]

Or to put it another way, “He will erase your past to protect your future.” [3]

Or to put it another way, “Fight the future.” [4]

Or to put it another way, “In the future, one man is the law.” [5]

Or to put it another way, “The people aboard Flight 35 are about to land 1,000 years from where they planned to.” [6, and I hope that doesn’t happen during my Delta connection in Atlanta on the way to LA … again]

If you want to hire me to do your next PR campaign – yes, conflict of interest, blah, blah – give me a call. Several commenters have said I’m a great shill. I think that’s a compliment.

Answers below.

[1] Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

[2] Twelve Monkeys.

[3] Eraser.

[4] X-Files: Fight the Future.

[5] Judge Dredd.

[6] Millenium.

Show of hands – how many of you got them all?

Also on our teaser tracker:
bodo notes:

Loads of new Eurorack by the likes of Pittsburgh Modular, WDM, Syntech, LZX, but the most eagerly awaited modules will probably be the Make Noise Oscillator (yay!) and Echophon (basically +pitchdelay in a Eurorack module)

We know Teenage Engineering is bringing something, and they win the award for most obscure teaser video. (TV dinner, suggests one reader.)

I look at 10 things I’m excited about at NAMM, though I think I may have to remove the one about “surprises.”

See you from Anaheim.

  • Sonuus has been teasing some midi usb guitar thingy:

  • Jamsire Ernoir

    I want everything.

  • griotspeak

    CNTRLR-R looks nice, Though I really think that software is the roadblock with regards to grid controllers. There are so many missed opportunities that have become ignored or overlooked opportunities the lowest hanging fruit is drum machines. Every DAW, at this point, should have a MIDI or OSC api for setting and getting sequences in some basic form… I know it isn't simple, but these controllers have been around for quite a long time now. I look at CNTRL-R and just think about how–short of Max / Max For Live / some other custom solution.. our options are meager for leveraging the possibilities of such a device. </rant>

    • I agree… I would guess the best way to fix this is a vst solution that works for all sorts of grid controllers.

  • freesoul

    I'm a fan of the eowave stuff. The domino looks cute with the "nipple" like knobs on the Koma sending a more primal need to twist to my lower sensibility structure of my brain. This does look like a great year for "synth boxes". Desktop synth moduals have become my latest collectible obsession far greater then any tag line of "gotta catch 'em all" could have ever produced. I am grateful for the mini resurgence from companies like Moog and continued productions from companies like DSI. I hope to see more easy to buy,easy to use modular synth voices to spring up in the market and shortly there after land abruptly on my desk. Never have I been more excited to utter the words,"time to stock up on midi cables". Hope you have a good experience at the show and your time back in the States is worth the trip and hours of air time. I have not had a chance to spend any time abroad (as an adult) but can only imagine what the experience of living two(or more) cultures could feel like. I envy your role in the industry but at the same time feel the comfort in my rooted stability. I would have loved to have a chance to talk with you more about how these things have worked out for you and effected your outlook on American life versus your life overseas. I am still hopeful I might,one day,make it to a Namm show. Maybe next year. Good luck with your endeavors and air travel. Hope to speak with you in the future. Sincerely. A fan and (Internet)friend Gerren (@freesoulvw)

  • Ben Hayman

    Gah, I really don't need any more Traktor hardware lust right now! Also really like the look of CNTRL-R- having a whole bunch of assignable knobs and faders would be really useful for experimenting.

  • Thanks for reminding me about Judge Dredd!

  • Holotropik

    mmmm…Livid looks very interesting indeed 😀

    • Jonjons

      mmmm….Malteasers  😀

  • To bad it’s 2012 and so many controllers are still only offering 0-127 values knobs… usually attached to slow voltage scanners. 

  • Kim

    Casio is the big news.

  • teej

    I love that the Casio has a built-in speaker! Reminds me of my mindless in-store key smashing as a kid, while my parents shopped for a VCR at Nobody Beats the Wiz? Remember the Wiz, New Yorkers?

  • I wonder how much of the "nord drum" is taking from the much beloved clavia ddrum line of not to long ago? Best drum module/trigger system for years. Still is in many ways. ddrum image Never understood why nord/clavia stopped production of that line.

    • CJ Miller

      What I heard was that Clavia sold off the ddrum brand, so they did not intend to do anything more with it. Perhaps that deal never worked out? On a not-quite related note – I was working on my E-mu "E-drum" pads, and saw that the PCBs are from Clavia. E-drum was probably a re-branded ddrum

  • paradiddle

    The drums of the future comes from the past. Maybe an electronic drum clone ala simmons but who would want that. I have 3 of them.
    Unless it’s some physical modeling drum which seems to be the trend.

  • Herbert Veeblefester

    >I love that the Casio has a built-in speaker! 

    Not a speaker… It's a rubberized iPad/iPhone/mp3 player stand with a lip.
    The XW-P1 has an 1/8" Stereo In that can be synthesized as well as a 1/4" Mic In.

  • Yakov

    One more: &nbsp ; — new software coming from us soon.

  • CJ Miller

    [quote]Unlike NI, though, Akai doesn’t really have a track record to speak of in software, so the big variable is how well their software works.[/quote]
    Of course Akai have a track record with software! How about the Akai Professional VST Plugins from about ten years ago? Weren't those supported for a few months?