NAMM 2016 conclusions

NAMM 2016 conclusions
« on: January 21, 2016, 05:32:33 PM »
I know it's still a bit early, but I was just curious what your conclusions are so far.

For me the biggest surprises are the OB6 (although most of us interpreted the teaser correctly) and the Arturia MatrixBrute. Another surprise was that Moog didn't announce anything more - I guess I was expecting a Voyager successor. In general, I have to say that it was probably wise from Korg to announce their Minilogue early.

Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2016, 05:40:57 PM »
In general, I have to say that it was probably wise from Korg to announce their Minilogue early.

Exactly… who could have thought that the minilogue would turn out to be one of the less exciting new instruments? Still very interesting, but not as much as OB-6 and the MatrixBrute. I'm also amazed by the new OP-2x series by Teenage Engineering; as soon as it's available in my local store I'll go get the OP-20 Arcade at least.
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Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2016, 05:42:43 PM »
Forgot about the OP. Yes, definitely another surprise.

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Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2016, 06:32:35 PM »
Conclusions? Analog continues to roar back into the mainstream as the major makers seek to solidify their claims on various pricing strata, with DSI going "Make no mistake about us being high-end." Will an aging stable of lower-cost DSI instruments like the X4 even be able to withstand the Minilogue onslaught? It probably doesn't even matter anymore.

Also, not all new products are announced at NAMM. While it's surprising that Moog hasn't announced a Voyager replacement, maybe it's already been around for a while as the Sub37. They can't seem to build enough of those instruments, so they have the luxury of analyzing the market for a while. And they probably suspected that the Dave and Tom show was going to straight pwn the weekend.

One of my favorite new products (and I don't know whether it was announced today, or I just noticed it today) is the Korg nanoKEY Studio. A little Bluetooth combination micro keyboard-slash-control surface could be a fun road warrior combo with Gadget. I haven't totally fallen in love with Gadget, but it's good enough to keep trying.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2016, 06:34:16 PM by chysn »
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Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2016, 10:26:58 PM »
So far, I'm disappointed with Korg and Moog, impressed with Arturia, and thrilled with DSI.  Although I like the Prophet 6, I'm immediately impressed with the OB-6 to a degree I wasn't with the P6.  We've heard a mere three or four videos of the OB-6 so far, and already it's obvious that the sound is exceptional.   

Of course, soon NAMM will be over, the mental dust will settle, and we'll all get logical again. It will be interesting to see who buys what.  But obviously, DSI is going in my kind of direction.  The funny thing is, I was considering a Prophet 6/SEM combination.  It's already been done in the new instrument.  But I need to read more about the stereo aspects.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2016, 10:35:25 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

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Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2016, 02:04:40 AM »
Well... my conclusion is that I'm going to be saving a lot of money. There were lots of exiting new good sounding synths, but none who offered anything revolutionarily new, exept maybe the MatrixBrute, but the low price it has, has made quite a few people worry that it's build may be compromized... will just have to wait and see what the impressions are.
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Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2016, 02:30:45 AM »
Another surprise (at least to me) is the Korg Volca FM 6-Operator synth. Usual Volca layout and (motion) sequencing, but with a full DX7 implementation, albeit only three-voice polyphony. Interesting mapping of the most crucial parameters to the few knobs which drastically simplifies sound editing, while retaining full compatibility with all pre-existing DX7 patches which can be loaded onto this thing.

Nice to see the return of FM; first in the Korg Gadget app, then the 4-Op Yamaha Reface and now this and the Montage. Will people be using it, though, with all the analog goodies out now?
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Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2016, 04:10:58 AM »
Another surprise (at least to me) is the Korg Volca FM 6-Operator synth.

Wait, wait, what now? How the heck did I miss this? I was specifically looking for new Korg stuff just yesterday.

but the low price it has, has made quite a few people worry that it's build may be compromized... will just have to wait and see what the impressions are.

You'd want to see some reports before buying, but there's probably no need to worry that much. The build quality of the MicroBrute is one of the reasons I wanted it. The case doesn't flex, the knobs and sliders are solid, the whole thing is put together pretty well for the price point.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2016, 04:59:53 AM by chysn »
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Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2016, 05:00:23 AM »
If that Volca FM thing had an analog filter per voice, as an extra, I'd have been all over it.... but as only a digital synth with 3 voices... no thanx  :) ... I'll do with the P12 FM capabilities.
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Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2016, 05:31:49 AM »
If that Volca FM thing had an analog filter per voice, as an extra, I'd have been all over it.... but as only a digital synth with 3 voices... no thanx  :) ... I'll do with the P12 FM capabilities.

Each Volca is like a Greek hero, with one stand-out, killer feature and one boneheaded, crippling flaw. The FM Volca's stand-out feature is that it's compatible with DX7 sysex files, suggesting that its FM implementation is at least as complete as the DX7's. Whether it's worthwhile in light of other options (like some pretty incredible iOS FM synths) is a YMMV thing. I'm seriously mulling it over, but I always remember that an FM synth is basically a soft synth, and do I really need it as a hardware instrument.

Of all the stuff at NAMM, it's not the best, but it does win the "most likely to be bought by me" award.
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Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2016, 06:10:38 AM »
DSI going "Make no mistake about us being high-end."

Good point! Its sad to see and the reason why my confidence in DSI being an interesting supplier of well sounding complex voices in a manageable price range is steadily declining. Fine with going for the high end as they got the experience and tools to make it happen. In fact I want them to do that. But if they are not willing to make an effort to serve more affordable slices of their signature products then their mass appeal drops significantly over time.

Another thing with being a high end only supplier is the irony of their sysex specifications being incomplete and their software updates being served noticeably slowly. If going high end only then quality matters on all fronts and great charm cannot do it alone.

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Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2016, 06:18:08 AM »
On a more constructive topic Modal Electronics went eurorack at this NAMM:
https://youtu.be/cNzA9BHrf5I?t=14s

Classic Emu features have returned in form of Rossum Electro-Music:
https://youtu.be/RQUZewgqFD8?t=14s

Both looks interesting!
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Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2016, 06:19:20 AM »
Wait, wait, what now? How the heck did I miss this? I was specifically looking for new Korg stuff just yesterday.

Same here! I specifically checked out Korg's New Products page and did not find it there. Instead I saw it on Sonicstate's YouTube channel…

but I always remember that an FM synth is basically a soft synth, and do I really need it as a hardware instrument.

FM is in principle just software, but the specific hardware implementation on the DX7 and related instruments is riddled with peculiarities that are non-trivial and do have a pronounced effect on sound. Just take a look at this GS thread on that topic (it gets interesting on the second page): https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-electronic-music-production/897756-only-reason-people-prefer-sound-dx7-fm8.html

How faithful will this Volca FM be?

Quote
Of all the stuff at NAMM, it's not the best, but it does win the "most likely to be bought by me" award.
My award goes to the OP-20, hands down. One of the things I like about the DX7 is its immense capability of expression, which is lost without at least velocity and a few more voices. But I don't know, this Volca FM still seems intriguing, even though the only Volca that I see personal need for is the Beats, which I've already bought. The sequencing on these is really fun and seems to be the main selling point besides their compact size, but I wouldn't use it as much as to justify buying them.
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Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2016, 06:46:56 AM »
Another surprise (at least to me) is the Korg Volca FM 6-Operator synth. Usual Volca layout and (motion) sequencing, but with a full DX7 implementation, albeit only three-voice polyphony. Interesting mapping of the most crucial parameters to the few knobs which drastically simplifies sound editing, while retaining full compatibility with all pre-existing DX7 patches which can be loaded onto this thing.

It's definitely a slap in the (Re)face. I'd be interested if one can poly-chain the Volca FM.

As for FM, the Montage's 8-op engine looks nice as well. If only they would separate that engine from the rest.

Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2016, 07:01:15 AM »
For all that missed it, the Volca FM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6JYELE0aVA

Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2016, 07:04:06 AM »
For me DSI wins with the OB-6. I asked support if they had any plans to release a monophonic version called OB-1 (just for the name :D) but they had no plans yet.
The Matrixbrute was a bigger surprise, though, but I am only curious about it until I have seen it and know that it works and sound good.
Oh, I like the look of the new Doepfer modules in the "vintage" style but I still try to resist the urge to start with modulars.

Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2016, 07:10:11 AM »
On a more constructive topic Modal Electronics went eurorack at this NAMM:
https://youtu.be/cNzA9BHrf5I?t=14s

Classic Emu features have returned in form of Rossum Electro-Music:
https://youtu.be/RQUZewgqFD8?t=14s

Both looks interesting!

Missed the Modal stuff, thanks for the link.

The Emu Z plane is on my want list!

Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2016, 06:46:00 PM »
The Rossum modules look great and it's almost unbelievable what Modul Electronics have released already in their short history.

Something else I'm quite interested in is this one (and not only because they chained it to a Pro 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3SH_RyxkNg

Sacred Synthesis

Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2016, 08:54:33 PM »
I was quite surprised and disappointed that DSI did not issue a Sequential monophonic synthesizer of some configuration - mono, duo, para, etc.  I still think it may be coming.  With the large staff that Dave now has and the number of instruments being retired, I would expect a new instrument to come out within the next six months or so.  I don't think winter NAMM will remain the only time each year when they announce new pieces.

The build-up to NAMM is always exciting, but I'm also glad when it's over.  One day or so, and I've had enough of all the marketing and hype.  A couple of days of relentless bouncing back and forth between the various synth sites and forums to gather up all the available news and information, and I'm done with it.  Whew!  It's good to get back to the ordinary.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2016, 08:56:09 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: NAMM 2016 conclusions
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2016, 09:34:46 PM »
Words of wisdom, Sacred Synthesis.

I'm still somehow baffled by the OB-6, though. Mainly because if I were Dave, I'd be concerned about whether this release will affect Prophet-6 sales. Sonically, they're totally different instruments, sure. But at the same time two instruments have never been that close in the DSI/Sequential catalog - at least not in terms of features. That aspect is probably what's most unexpected to me.

I do agree that we are probably going to see something else before the next Winter NAMM takes place. For quite a few people (myself included) I truly hope that it's going to be a bit more affordable than the recent products.