Remember hardware? Seems this year is all about trying to
cash in on budget virtual instruments. M-Audio has now "released" (I
think that means shippin!) Key Rig and Drum and Bass Rig, as promised
at NAMM. Think bread-and-butter virtual instruments.

Key Rig:

  • "Stage keyboards": grands, Wurlitzers, electric pianos, FMs, clavinets.
  • Polyphonic synth
  • Hammond organ + rotary simulator, "pre-mapped to M-Audio brand
    USB MIDI controllers." (Plug in an Edirol keyboard, just to get them
  • Biggest news of all: a General MIDI module and drum kit! Party like it's 1990, baby!!

Drum and Bass Rig:

  • Loop player/creator with 250 loops (but no ReCycle or ACID or Apple Loops support?!)
  • Monophonic Bass
  • Drum Kit library, GM-compatible (okay, I am all for GM mapping on kits, I'll admit)
  • Electric bass model

Whoever writes M-Audio's press releases sounds like they've never used
a synth before. Behold this breathless prose: "Each preset consists of
sub-presets for each major section: filter, amp, mod and FX. Creating
new sounds is as simple as combining these sub-presets in different
ways and tweaking any associated  parameters from there as

Wow. I've never been able to do THAT before.

But, okay, I'm giving M-Audio a hard time, but the big story here is
flexibility. Unlike GarageBand, which locks you into Apple's apps,
M-Audio's software works as standalone, AU, VST, or RTAS on Mac, VST
and RTAS on Windows. And at US$129.95, that's cool.

This is a simple, cheap way to round out your instrument collection. It
just lacks some of the personality and originality of some of its
(admittedly pricier) competitors. Think of it as the economy station wagon of soft synths. (and other
that, I'm still waiting to hear the thing, at which point I could
change my tune in either direction)

No link yet at M-Audio; read the Harmony Central post of the press release with pictures.