As the industry trends toward digital sound and plug-ins (or so we were told), we increasingly have . . . wha? More hardware emulating old analog classics? And now at prices under US$1000?

Believe it. Creamware has previewed two new hardware boxes, the Minimax ASB and Profit-5 ASB. They don't mention the Minimoog or Prophet-5
by name, but the boxes rip off knob layout and even the typefaces of
these classic analog synths. Creamware's plug-in versions of the same
have earned some kudos, but the company is now packing the sound into
compact, inexpensive hardware.

Availability: June (Minimax); August (Profit-5) projected
Cost: US$899 (Minimax); US$999 (Profit-5)
Compatibility: Remote control software appears to be Windows-only, but USB and MIDI interfaces should make them universal
Specs: 6 voices, 128 factory presets, 128 user presets, stereo analog audio I/O
(PDF info)

That's right — a Minimoog clone with USB under a grand. This is all-digital emulation, not real analog, but the price is right.

So what's next for Creamware — a lawsuit? Roland has already sued Behringer over cheap clones of its Boss effects pedals (see Music Thing story),
but Creamware appear to be erring on the careful side. Not to mention, this is no Minimoog Voyager — though it's also half the price. Your landlord would prefer you get the Creamware, thank you.

What's weird here is that, swapping one German manufacturer for another, this story
was almost exactly predicted by Music Thing's April Fool's joke.
Tom at Music Thing tells us "I had to read the date on the Harmony
Central story three times." Tom's imagined product wasn't far off, though Tom's Synthi clone and US$475 price tag won't be out any time soon. Next year, Tom, go more absurd. Or, er, watch out, Cakewalk; Toyota may well be hungry. (And Bob Moog better hope no one rips off his brilliant silence generator.)