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January 24, 2006

NAMM 2006 Part 1

Complete NAMM 2006 Picture Set

Jeff Kellem's Picture Set

- Nothing new at the Moog booth, contrary to rumors before the show. I gave the new Voyager 3.x software a whirl. The new data entry knob function is a welcome addition and the octave transpose shortcut is nice as well.

- The Crewjman eurorack format modular stuff looks killer. It's very shallow so you could do a EMS style modular in suitcase sort of thing. Hopefully the production units will have the spelling errors corrected.

- Paul Schreiber's new MOTM frac-rack format modules look great, and existing MOTM owners will be jealous of the looping and manual trigger features on the MOTM-1800 ADSR module. Modules at the show included the MOTM-1490 Moog style ladder filter ($199), MOTM-1485 Yamaha GX filter ($229), MOTM-1190 dual VCA ($249), and MOTM-1800 looping ADSR ($139). Other modules promised for 2006 are the MOTM-1650 MIDI to CV converter ($429), MOTM-1510 wavewarper ($299), MOTM-1475 diode bandpass filter ($249), and MOTM-1300 VCO ($299). The frac-rack modules will the sold through Analogue Haven.

- Jared's new Future Retro XS sounds great. He's put a good bit of effort into the prepatched routing and this synth can do some neat tricks. Target price of $600ish seems high to me compared the great value of his other products but isn't out of line when compared to purchasing individuals modules from modular manufacturers. I really liked the sound and attack/decay accent feature.

- New Buchla modules. The 250e Arbitrary Function Generator (sequencer) with knobs for each step instead of single knob data entry as on the 249e. The 261e Complex Waveform Generator (VCO) is an analogue oscillator with built in audio rate modulation source and voltage controlled waveshaper. I liked the idea of the 256e Quad Control Voltage Processor but was disappointed that is only has a single break point. I would much rather be able to load complex transfer functions (even 7 bit would be fine) from MIDI or USB. And finally, the coolest new addition to the 200e line is the combination Thunder/Lightning module pair. The Thunder control surface is installed in the bottom boat, and the I/O module in the top boat. There seemed to be a good bit of flexibility in assignments and the ability to do two polyphonic groups. I thought it was fun to play and would enjoy checking out a full fledged Thunder now.

- The Metasonix S-1000 tube based modular synth was on display in not one, but two booths. Interesting sounds and textures. A bit more controllable than previous Metasonix synth products with quite a few modulation routings built in. I was even tracking over a two octave range.

- Dave Smith's new mono Evolver keyboard is a welcome addition to the Evolver family. Editing is much easier than on the original Evolver (but not as swift as the poly Evolver) and sequence editing is only a single button press away. I was disappointed to see that the sequencer knobs do double duty with the filter and VCA parameters although in actual use it was effortless to switch between the sequence edit and patch edit mode on the fly. Street price will be around $1200 and I'll likely be selling off my original Evolver to partially finance the

- Korg was showing their new Radias concept synth. It appears to be the replacement for the MS2000 line and had an interesting (although not so well-engineered or sturdy) tilt up panel. The synth itself is a shallow 4U rackmount device, and the keyboard and supporting frame are designed to be generic so as to support other modules down the road.

Posted by cary at January 24, 2006 03:23 PM