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What a week it’s been. Musikmesse in Frankfurt, one of the world’s largest gatherings of the music instruments industry, was host to a range of new gear, new technologies, and new revelations.

I decided it’s finally time to crown my own picks as the most significant appearances at the show. Not because I have any particular right to do so, but I felt strongly enough about who was deserving.

First, some honorable mentions:

TC Electronic (and The Guitar.) Musikmesse’s guitar presence may not be at its peak in terms of floor space. But the standouts of guitar technology are looking brilliant. TC Electronic has a big range of new products, including a very clever looper – their overall latest range of new digital vocal and guitar effects was to me the most impressive. Roland’s BOSS division has a great new guitar synth called the SY-300 (which garnered nearly as much attention from guitarists as Roland’s AIRA did for synth lovers). Orange had an overflowing range of products. Gibson is coupling their guitar stuff with production from Cakewalk, Tascam, and others (making use of those recent acquisitions, in stark contrast to 1990s Gibson). There are even beautiful new Marshall amps.

Roland, for AIRA Modular. This hardly needs an introduction at this point. Roland’s all-in strategy will give us a new SYSTEM-1 with loads of patch points and rack-mount-ability, a bunch of new effects that work standalone or together on a tabletop or in a Eurorack modular, and a 500 series analog series made in collaboration with Malekko. The digital stuff sounds great – wild and unruly, not tame and boring, whatever word association you may have with “digital.” And the analog line with Malekko is also excellent. It’s too soon to judge the finished product; these were prototypes. Several people noted concerns about power draw from the digital units, and I wasn’t very happy with the feel of the controls on the units on the floor. But I’m glad to see Roland be this agile and ambitious, and I look forward to doing a thorough review of the finished models to give them a proper test.

Elektron. Also worth a call-out are Elektron for their approach to Overbridge integration of their analog gear and computers. Yes, it’s over a year since they first promised Overbridge at the last Musikmesse. But I’d rather wait for something done right than used something rushed, and the first look at what’s coming in the summer is promising. Overbridge really makes the line between hardware and software all-but-invisible. The Elektron standalone is as good as ever, but now you can route audio in and out as easily as if it were an extension of your DAW, and dive into deep editing options that are more intuitive and visible onscreen. What wasn’t yet available to demo was the sample loading interface, which on the current Analog line is fairly clumsy. But there’s clearly appetite for this.

Erica Synths. I thought maybe the modular scene had made its big product announcements in January at NAMM. But then makers like 4ms managed to finish still more modules in time to demo prototypes or make announcements this week. The biggest news, though, came from Latvia’s Erica Synths. Even more than Roland, Erica had a complete picture of how their synth line fits together, from DIY kits and weird sounds made from resurrected Soviet-era Polivoks tech to a fashionable “black” line of modules, graphical units, and a case. We’ll have a video walk-through of everything with Erica captain Girts.
oSo, those are the honorable mentions. But who was surprised to win the Golden Nerd Princess, the hitherto-unknown but soon-to-be-coveted prize awarded to the best of the show? (And yes, that trophy is full of bubbles. Seriously.)

Without further adieu, the winners.

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CDM BEST OF SHOW: MIDI Polyphonic Expression – Bitwig, ROLI, Roger Linn, et al.

For all the wonderful things happening with modular, it’d be a sad world if our only interface idea were 1960s telephone patch cords. And that’s why MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) matters. It’s not a new spec, per se – everything it does it does with the existing MIDI protocol. And it still leaves room for HD MIDI and OpenSoundControl.

But what MPE does finally do is standardize on a way of adding expression to polyphonic controllers. It works with creative new hardware – initially, the LinnStrument, Haken Continuum, ROLI Seaboard, Eigenharp, and SoundPlane. It works with software, like ROLI’s new Equator soft synth.

And I was impressed that MPE has a lot of backing, including the likes of Apple (Gerhard Lengeling) and Moog (Amos Gaynes) – not just the usual alternative controller scene.

I eventually took the trophy over to Bitwig for the simple reason that there, you could see the technology in action even outside something like the ROLI booth. A Roger Linn Linnstrument was connected to a Bitwig Studio beta, where it was able to easily control a built-in instrument. Bitwig can record and edit the controller data seamlessly.

And being able to play this sort of data – not just draw it with a mouse – to me really humanizes the performance possibilities. It was also nice to see Bitwig showing a product that was not their own, demonstrating the sort of historical connectivity that marked the first connection of MIDI between Dave Smith’s Sequential Circuits and Roland back in the 80s.

So, to all the folks behind MPE – and particularly Bitwig, ROLI, and Roger Linn for making it visible at Messe as a possible future for music making – I’m pleased to award a Best of Show.

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CDM BEST OF SHOW: SCHNEIDERSBรœRO.

Roland may have made a big leap into modular and Eurorack. But the company did so right next to the Schneidersbรผro “superbooth,” home to Andreas Schneider and his long-running Berlin synth boutique and more recent ALEX4 distributor. There, all manner of synth wildness spilled over table after table of wacky gear. Roland themselves almost seemed like they wanted to crowd in on the action; they were spitting distance from Eurorack originator Dieter Doepfer himself. It seems some Roland product rep even appropriated a large number of colored knob caps out of Dieter’s gumball machine to liven up one of the AIRA demo units.

And at the center of all of this is the legendary Herr Schneider and his team. They have been boldly championing the work of brave independent synth builders on both sides of the sea to anyone who will listen – perhaps over one of their infamous glasses of absinth-plus-bubbly that start to get poured more briskly toward the end of each trade show day. And it seems that even industry heavyweights are now considering the impossible, embracing ideas that were once far too niche, too difficult, and too weird.

The AIRA modular was undoubtedly the most talked-about product of the show. But then it has to be observed that even the AIRA was in orbit around the Schneiders’ booth – and that, invariably, it was that booth that attracted the greatest wide-eyed crowds. There, they got to see devices that would never make it to mass-production, down to even breathalyzer-to-CV inputs or KOMA’s “quad” hat, a construction helmet with portruding speakers.

Full disclosure: CDM’s own MeeBlip is distributed by ALEX4; I’m fortunate to play a duo with Andreas this Thursday in Berlin at the unofficial post-Messe get-together, one spotlighting a lot of the American builders visiting for the show. But then, what I’m describing – this ability to draw people in – is something I’ve experienced first-hand. Andreas is one of the loudest voices (literally) for the industry, to buy stuff that’s lovingly made, that’s weird and wild and not boring.

If you see the trend as Eurorack, you’re missing the point. Schneiders proves again and again that music gear that’s fun and weird and cool can win out in the end. And for creating what was unquestionably the center of gravity in all of Hall 5.1, Andreas and company fully deserve a Best of Show.

And congratulations to Malekko, Endorphin.es, Analogue Systems, Sound Machines, Fraptools, Make Noise, Soulsby, Vermona, E-RM, Tiptop, Verbos, Doepfer, 4MS, Abstract Data, Kenton, Polytec, Pittsburgh, Koma, Haken, Macbeth, Abstract Data, I’m forgetting some and the orchestra is about to play me off — all of the folks who make being in this booth so interesting. (Plus a shout out to our neighbors at Moog, as we’re all continuing a very long legacy.)

http://www.schneidersbuero.de/

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CDM BEST OF SHOW: Bastl Instruments.

I don’t know how to put this: Bastl deserve a Best of Best of Show.

Let’s keep this simple:

The Czech-based Bastl Instruments had the single best booth I’ve ever seen at a music trade fair – complete with mechanical, robotically-driven percussion.

They’ve built an entire line of modules in no time flat.

With wood panels and meticulously handmade metal knobs and even a modular wooden booth assembly that would make IKEA jealous, they’ve returned the notion of hand crafting to the world.

Their stuff fits together, works together, and anyone can understand why it exists in the world because – well, it’s fun.

And isn’t that was musical “play” is all about?

bastl-instruments.com

And they were apparently glad to win, as this is what happened moments after the awarding of the trophy:

We’ve still got more to share from Messe, but thanks to all of you for giving us a great reason to be there. And of course, stick around CDM to celebrate invention all year round.

Got some picks of your own? Let us know in comments!

  • chaircrusher

    GEIL!

  • chaircrusher

    GEIL!

  • chaircrusher

    GEIL!

  • Chris Stack

    The good stuff!

  • Chris Stack

    The good stuff!

  • Chris Stack

    The good stuff!

  • Chris Muir

    TC leads the Looper category much like McDonalds leads the burger category.

    • I realized I worded that wrongly … I think TC’s overall lineup of new stuff at Messe was impressive. The looper was more of a curiosity. It’s fairly clever for a simple unit. It can’t compete with some other more sophisticated loopers, but I don’t think that is its category…

  • Chris Muir

    TC leads the Looper category much like McDonalds leads the burger category.

    • I realized I worded that wrongly … I think TC’s overall lineup of new stuff at Messe was impressive. The looper was more of a curiosity. It’s fairly clever for a simple unit. It can’t compete with some other more sophisticated loopers, but I don’t think that is its category…

  • Chris Muir

    TC leads the Looper category much like McDonalds leads the burger category.

    • I realized I worded that wrongly … I think TC’s overall lineup of new stuff at Messe was impressive. The looper was more of a curiosity. It’s fairly clever for a simple unit. It can’t compete with some other more sophisticated loopers, but I don’t think that is its category…

  • Cross Cruiser

    That Bitwig note expression looks nice but also completely unusable from the UI point of view.

    • The UI is similar to the one for note expressions in Cubase, actually.

      To be honest, I’m not convinced about edits – not yet. But even if you don’t edit, you can record and play back this control data, and easily host compatible software instruments.

      That’s already a huge deal. As for editing, I’m going to lock myself in their office for a bit and give it a go.

      • Gary

        Look at the amount of nodes it generates on the velocity area, a total nightmare. The solution is way worst than the problem itself.

        • Well, put it this way – it may be worth rethinking the interface, yes.

          To be honest, I’m happy just to record and play it back, without editing.

          But think about this — you can still scale nodes, delete ranges, etc. – you’re not necessarily working with each node individually, any more than you do that with CC.

          And the argument you’re making could just as well be levied against pitch wheel data, but we’re not dumping that from the DAW. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • lala

            Polyphonic aftertouch – great,
            polyphonic finger vibrato – meh

          • Gary

            Hmm, I think a feature has to be rounded and make sense from the design pont of view. IMHO, this is not a good one. That’s why you don’t see things like this one on most music applications. If your solution adds unnecessary mess, then is clearly not a good design and it’s better to avoid it.

    • wetterberg

      I remember this being the argument against poly aftertouch from Abletons spec guys back in the day – I believe it was frank hoffmann (sp?) saying that implementing it would mean giving us deep editing capabilities, and that was way impossible for a UI.

      For Live, well, what if we say “I want to be able to cut and paste a segment of it, like I would an audio stem, but I don’t need to set individual points? I can adjust the amount with a single automation line, and I don’t need to micromanage it after all”?

      That gives us – the end users who actually *want* the feature – at least the ability to experiment with it.

      • Right, exactly. A lot of the time, you don’t edit CC data, either, but that doesn’t mean you want to skip recording it or make it invisible. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Cross Cruiser

    That Bitwig note expression looks nice but also completely unusable from the UI point of view.

    • The UI is similar to the one for note expressions in Cubase, actually.

      To be honest, I’m not convinced about edits – not yet. But even if you don’t edit, you can record and play back this control data, and easily host compatible software instruments.

      That’s already a huge deal. As for editing, I’m going to lock myself in their office for a bit and give it a go.

      • Gary

        Look at the amount of nodes it generates on the velocity area, a total nightmare. The solution is way worst than the problem itself.

        • Well, put it this way – it may be worth rethinking the interface, yes.

          To be honest, I’m happy just to record and play it back, without editing.

          But think about this — you can still scale nodes, delete ranges, etc. – you’re not necessarily working with each node individually, any more than you do that with CC.

          And the argument you’re making could just as well be levied against pitch wheel data, but we’re not dumping that from the DAW. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • lala

            Polyphonic aftertouch – great,
            polyphonic finger vibrato – meh

          • Gary

            Hmm, I think a feature has to be rounded and make sense from the design pont of view. IMHO, this is not a good one. That’s why you don’t see things like this one on most music applications. If your solution adds unnecessary mess, then is clearly not a good design and it’s better to avoid it.

    • wetterberg

      I remember this being the argument against poly aftertouch from Abletons spec guys back in the day – I believe it was frank hoffmann (sp?) saying that implementing it would mean giving us deep editing capabilities, and that was way impossible for a UI.

      For Live, well, what if we say “I want to be able to cut and paste a segment of it, like I would an audio stem, but I don’t need to set individual points? I can adjust the amount with a single automation line, and I don’t need to micromanage it after all”?

      That gives us – the end users who actually *want* the feature – at least the ability to experiment with it.

      • Right, exactly. A lot of the time, you don’t edit CC data, either, but that doesn’t mean you want to skip recording it or make it invisible. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Cross Cruiser

    That Bitwig note expression looks nice but also completely unusable from the UI point of view.

    • The UI is similar to the one for note expressions in Cubase, actually.

      To be honest, I’m not convinced about edits – not yet. But even if you don’t edit, you can record and play back this control data, and easily host compatible software instruments.

      That’s already a huge deal. As for editing, I’m going to lock myself in their office for a bit and give it a go.

      • Gary

        Look at the amount of nodes it generates on the velocity area, a total nightmare. The solution is way worst than the problem itself.

        • Well, put it this way – it may be worth rethinking the interface, yes.

          To be honest, I’m happy just to record and play it back, without editing.

          But think about this — you can still scale nodes, delete ranges, etc. – you’re not necessarily working with each node individually, any more than you do that with CC.

          And the argument you’re making could just as well be levied against pitch wheel data, but we’re not dumping that from the DAW. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • lala

            Polyphonic aftertouch – great,
            polyphonic finger vibrato – meh

          • Gary

            Hmm, I think a feature has to be rounded and make sense from the design pont of view. IMHO, this is not a good one. That’s why you don’t see things like this one on most music applications. If your solution adds unnecessary mess, then is clearly not a good design and it’s better to avoid it.

    • wetterberg

      I remember this being the argument against poly aftertouch from Abletons spec guys back in the day – I believe it was frank hoffmann (sp?) saying that implementing it would mean giving us deep editing capabilities, and that was way impossible for a UI.

      For Live, well, what if we say “I want to be able to cut and paste a segment of it, like I would an audio stem, but I don’t need to set individual points? I can adjust the amount with a single automation line, and I don’t need to micromanage it after all”?

      That gives us – the end users who actually *want* the feature – at least the ability to experiment with it.

      • Right, exactly. A lot of the time, you don’t edit CC data, either, but that doesn’t mean you want to skip recording it or make it invisible. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • The Dude

    Gah! Stop filming in the vertical direction creating black borders left and right of the picture. The reason screens are horizontally wider is because our eyes field of view is broader horizontally than vertically. Of course you know that already so why not stop doing it!!??!

    • kaden

      From 4 days of comprehensive coverage about the *very* coolest stuff at the ‘messe, what matters to you is whining about the video framing?

      Priorities, dude… priorities.

    • Actually, two things:

      1. That’s a limitation with YouTube (Vimeo I think does this correctly)
      2. This video is a terrible video shot terribly by me… I think the less of it you see, probably the better it looks ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • The Dude

    Gah! Stop filming in the vertical direction creating black borders left and right of the picture. The reason screens are horizontally wider is because our eyes field of view is broader horizontally than vertically. Of course you know that already so why not stop doing it!!??!

    • kaden

      From 4 days of comprehensive coverage about the *very* coolest stuff at the ‘messe, what matters to you is whining about the video framing?

      Priorities, dude… priorities.

    • Actually, two things:

      1. That’s a limitation with YouTube (Vimeo I think does this correctly)
      2. This video is a terrible video shot terribly by me… I think the less of it you see, probably the better it looks ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • The Dude

    Gah! Stop filming in the vertical direction creating black borders left and right of the picture. The reason screens are horizontally wider is because our eyes field of view is broader horizontally than vertically. Of course you know that already so why not stop doing it!!??!

    • kaden

      From 4 days of comprehensive coverage about the *very* coolest stuff at the ‘messe, what matters to you is whining about the video framing?

      Priorities, dude… priorities.

    • Actually, two things:

      1. That’s a limitation with YouTube (Vimeo I think does this correctly)
      2. This video is a terrible video shot terribly by me… I think the less of it you see, probably the better it looks ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Virtual Flannel

    Great stuff Peter, thanks for showing us the Modular kit. Looks really cool! The mechanical snare drum shown in your video looks really impressive!

  • Virtual Flannel

    Great stuff Peter, thanks for showing us the Modular kit. Looks really cool! The mechanical snare drum shown in your video looks really impressive!

  • Virtual Flannel

    Great stuff Peter, thanks for showing us the Modular kit. Looks really cool! The mechanical snare drum shown in your video looks really impressive!

  • heinrichz

    AIRA modular certainly got my attention..when is it going to be released in the US?

    • I’m talking to the US team this week, so expect more details when we have them…

  • heinrichz

    AIRA modular certainly got my attention..when is it going to be released in the US?

    • I’m talking to the US team this week, so expect more details when we have them…

  • heinrichz

    AIRA modular certainly got my attention..when is it going to be released in the US?

    • I’m talking to the US team this week, so expect more details when we have them…

  • Martin WheelerNotWalker

    Because you asked ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Hardware
    Bastl new stuff (especially the motor modules)
    Erica Synths new stuff (especially the Fusion line)
    4ms Spectral Multiband Resonator and 4ms Dual Looping Delay (just plain wonderful)
    Koma Komplexsequencer (of course)
    Macbeth Elements (totally killer bass etc. unfortunately, if understandably, at totally walletkiller price)
    A whole new generation of low cost, high quality outboard ( 500 series and other) from Lindell, Warm Audio, Golden Age etc
    RME Babyface Pro ( portable quality I/O with all important ADAT optical for Expert Sleepers / Modular)

    Software
    Zynaptiq Unmix:Drums (as with much Zynaptiq stuff, revolutionary potential for creative abuse)
    Softube Heartbeat (nothing revolutionary here, but much thought has gone into providing this precise combination of (killer) sound, particular features and simplicity/practicality of workflow, making it, at least for me, the first interesting drum softsynth in years, and probably the new ‘go to’ for ITB ‘dance’ production.)

    Anyway, I agree with most of your picks, although (despite all the buzz) nothing in the Aira/System 500 modules ( or what I could hear of them in the noise of the show) struck me as being particularly interesting.
    I really hope MPE takes off and is adopted everywhere, it’s crazy that it has taken this long. Unfortunately, two of the main movers in this, Roli & Bitwig, both seem (IMNSHO) to get as much wrong as they get right. Roli’s “Seaboard” wants to ‘extend expressivity’ by ignoring the Y axis, (becoming the best commercial yet for the Haken Continuum) while Bitwig make a sequencer jam-packed with innovative features made in heaven for composition/sound design for picture, in the only DAW on the market with no video support. Oh well, maybe next year.

    Anyway Peter, as always, thanks again for your excellent reporting and for drawing attention to interesting stuff from wherever it comes, whether that be mainstream or boutique.

    • Great comments!

      Yes, hoping to check in more with some of the new modules (4ms) this week at Schneider’s! (The KOMA actually was a NAMM intro, but I’m still bugging Wouter and KOMA to work on a new video with them… just makes *way* more sense to cover it in Berlin rather than on a noisy show floor since we’re neighbors!)

      And agree on these other picks; you’ll see some more of them soon! So thanks for the reminders!

      I’m maybe more optimistic about the AIRA line as I spent some time with the SYSTEM-1 synth engine, and I think it’s actually pretty unique in its sound – grungy in a really nice way. But my point there is more to do with Roland going all-in with both the 500 analog and a modular AIRA. These were prototypes and while I’m familiar with some of the sonic elements, usability will have to wait for a review. I’m a bit concerned about the physical build quality of those prototypes; I do hope they get that sorted by production.

      Don’t worry so much about MPE. I took home the spec; we’ll talk about this more – and I definitely want to involve Roger. I think you’ll be using it in Cubase and Logic, too, not just Bitwig Studio. I’m mainly puzzled why no one has done some iPad apps that send MPE – that’s an easy way to prototype stuff without requiring specialized hardware.

  • Martin WheelerNotWalker

    Because you asked ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Hardware
    Bastl new stuff (especially the motor modules)
    Erica Synths new stuff (especially the Fusion line)
    4ms Spectral Multiband Resonator and 4ms Dual Looping Delay (just plain wonderful)
    Koma Komplexsequencer (of course)
    Macbeth Elements (totally killer bass etc. unfortunately, if understandably, at totally walletkiller price)
    A whole new generation of low cost, high quality outboard ( 500 series and other) from Lindell, Warm Audio, Golden Age etc
    RME Babyface Pro ( portable quality I/O with all important ADAT optical for Expert Sleepers / Modular)

    Software
    Zynaptiq Unmix:Drums (as with much Zynaptiq stuff, revolutionary potential for creative abuse)
    Softube Heartbeat (nothing revolutionary here, but much thought has gone into providing this precise combination of (killer) sound, particular features and simplicity/practicality of workflow, making it, at least for me, the first interesting drum softsynth in years, and probably the new ‘go to’ for ITB ‘dance’ production.)

    Anyway, I agree with most of your picks, although (despite all the buzz) nothing in the Aira/System 500 modules ( or what I could hear of them in the noise of the show) struck me as being particularly interesting.
    I really hope MPE takes off and is adopted everywhere, it’s crazy that it has taken this long. Unfortunately, two of the main movers in this, Roli & Bitwig, both seem (IMNSHO) to get as much wrong as they get right. Roli’s “Seaboard” wants to ‘extend expressivity’ by ignoring the Y axis, (becoming the best commercial yet for the Haken Continuum) while Bitwig make a sequencer jam-packed with innovative features made in heaven for composition/sound design for picture, in the only DAW on the market with no video support. Oh well, maybe next year.

    Anyway Peter, as always, thanks again for your excellent reporting and for drawing attention to interesting stuff from wherever it comes, whether that be mainstream or boutique.

    • Great comments!

      Yes, hoping to check in more with some of the new modules (4ms) this week at Schneider’s! (The KOMA actually was a NAMM intro, but I’m still bugging Wouter and KOMA to work on a new video with them… just makes *way* more sense to cover it in Berlin rather than on a noisy show floor since we’re neighbors!)

      And agree on these other picks; you’ll see some more of them soon! So thanks for the reminders!

      I’m maybe more optimistic about the AIRA line as I spent some time with the SYSTEM-1 synth engine, and I think it’s actually pretty unique in its sound – grungy in a really nice way. But my point there is more to do with Roland going all-in with both the 500 analog and a modular AIRA. These were prototypes and while I’m familiar with some of the sonic elements, usability will have to wait for a review. I’m a bit concerned about the physical build quality of those prototypes; I do hope they get that sorted by production.

      Don’t worry so much about MPE. I took home the spec; we’ll talk about this more – and I definitely want to involve Roger. I think you’ll be using it in Cubase and Logic, too, not just Bitwig Studio. I’m mainly puzzled why no one has done some iPad apps that send MPE – that’s an easy way to prototype stuff without requiring specialized hardware.

  • Martin WheelerNotWalker

    Because you asked ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Hardware
    Bastl new stuff (especially the motor modules)
    Erica Synths new stuff (especially the Fusion line)
    4ms Spectral Multiband Resonator and 4ms Dual Looping Delay (just plain wonderful)
    Koma Komplexsequencer (of course)
    Macbeth Elements (totally killer bass etc. unfortunately, if understandably, at totally walletkiller price)
    A whole new generation of low cost, high quality outboard ( 500 series and other) from Lindell, Warm Audio, Golden Age etc
    RME Babyface Pro ( portable quality I/O with all important ADAT optical for Expert Sleepers / Modular)

    Software
    Zynaptiq Unmix:Drums (as with much Zynaptiq stuff, revolutionary potential for creative abuse)
    Softube Heartbeat (nothing revolutionary here, but much thought has gone into providing this precise combination of (killer) sound, particular features and simplicity/practicality of workflow, making it, at least for me, the first interesting drum softsynth in years, and probably the new ‘go to’ for ITB ‘dance’ production.)

    Anyway, I agree with most of your picks, although (despite all the buzz) nothing in the Aira/System 500 modules ( or what I could hear of them in the noise of the show) struck me as being particularly interesting.
    I really hope MPE takes off and is adopted everywhere, it’s crazy that it has taken this long. Unfortunately, two of the main movers in this, Roli & Bitwig, both seem (IMNSHO) to get as much wrong as they get right. Roli’s “Seaboard” wants to ‘extend expressivity’ by ignoring the Y axis, (becoming the best commercial yet for the Haken Continuum) while Bitwig make a sequencer jam-packed with innovative features made in heaven for composition/sound design for picture, in the only DAW on the market with no video support. Oh well, maybe next year.

    Anyway Peter, as always, thanks again for your excellent reporting and for drawing attention to interesting stuff from wherever it comes, whether that be mainstream or boutique.

    • Great comments!

      Yes, hoping to check in more with some of the new modules (4ms) this week at Schneider’s! (The KOMA actually was a NAMM intro, but I’m still bugging Wouter and KOMA to work on a new video with them… just makes *way* more sense to cover it in Berlin rather than on a noisy show floor since we’re neighbors!)

      And agree on these other picks; you’ll see some more of them soon! So thanks for the reminders!

      I’m maybe more optimistic about the AIRA line as I spent some time with the SYSTEM-1 synth engine, and I think it’s actually pretty unique in its sound – grungy in a really nice way. But my point there is more to do with Roland going all-in with both the 500 analog and a modular AIRA. These were prototypes and while I’m familiar with some of the sonic elements, usability will have to wait for a review. I’m a bit concerned about the physical build quality of those prototypes; I do hope they get that sorted by production.

      Don’t worry so much about MPE. I took home the spec; we’ll talk about this more – and I definitely want to involve Roger. I think you’ll be using it in Cubase and Logic, too, not just Bitwig Studio. I’m mainly puzzled why no one has done some iPad apps that send MPE – that’s an easy way to prototype stuff without requiring specialized hardware.

  • pinta_vodki

    And don’t forget the T-Rex Tape Delay stomp box with freaking REAL TAPE HEADS INSIDE.

  • pinta_vodki

    And don’t forget the T-Rex Tape Delay stomp box with freaking REAL TAPE HEADS INSIDE.

  • pinta_vodki

    And don’t forget the T-Rex Tape Delay stomp box with freaking REAL TAPE HEADS INSIDE.

  • Oh I want to try this Linnstrument SO BAD!

  • Oh I want to try this Linnstrument SO BAD!

  • Oh I want to try this Linnstrument SO BAD!