Sure, you could read dry press releases on other sites (I'm working
through my stack and will be posting through the weekend), but CDM
correspondent Lee Sherman has been prowling the NAMM show floor for
some insider info. (Thanks, Lee!) -PK

Overheard at Nord: A Nord employee with a decidedly Swedish accent confirms that the
company will finally be upgrading its Electro 2 keyboard with more
realistic acoustic piano samples, answering the one complaint Electro
owners have. Also coming from Nord is a Mac OS X version of its Modular
G2 editing software.

Dave Smith on PolyEvolver: Synthesist pioneer Dave Smith says he is still deciding what color to
make the end caps on the forthcoming PolyEvolver keyboard, seen in
public for the first time here at NAMM. What has been decided is the
price, which will be a letdown for those hoping to see it come in at the
sub-2K mark. It ships in April for $2695.

More Keyboards in the Key of X: Tucked away in a corner of the
Alesis booth is a 49 key version of the company's Photon X USB/MIDI
controller. It lacks audio I/O but does add an array of sliders which
can be used as drawbars for organ simulations. It ships in April for
$349. (Ed: More on this soon; this keyboard has all the features I
loved on the smaller Photon, like a theremin-style Axys control dome.)

E-MU Keyboards, Proteus Sounds: E-MU is back in the hardware
keyboard business with its XBoard Professional USB/MIDI Controllers.
The XBoards feature a choice of 25 or 49 full size velocity sensitive
keys with aftertouch, 16 programmable real-time control knobs, six
function buttons, pitch and mod wheels, and a data slider. Included is
XBoard editing software, and E-MU's Proteus X LE Desktop Sound Module
with over 1000 sounds. Unique to the XBoards are a latch mode that
allows a section of the keyboard to be assigned to trigger drum loops
and a snap shot feature for instantaneous program changes. The XBoards
ship in April, price TBD. (Ed: I feel some classic E-MU sounds
coming on. Despite all those X's, though, E-MU has generally lacked Mac
support, so let's hope the editor software is cross-platform.)