January 25, 2014

Another One Down... (NAMM Report 2014)

by Chris Randall

Another January, another winter NAMM. Thoughts, in no particular order:

1. Once again I'll state the obvious: Anaheim hates you if you're not there to go to Disneyland. I will again propose that NAMM move to the LA Convention Center, where at least if we have to put up with bad food and no parking, we can do it somewhere we don't have to drive two hours to get to.

2. The little synth pictured above. This is the Murmux Semi-Modular, a new product from Freaqbox, who are nominally guitar pedal people. Bog standard, mediocre silk-screening, a case that is way bigger than it has to be, and tweed, of all things. Somehow, that combo works. There is also a non-modular version called The Initiate, and one with a big ol' foot-pedal keyboard, if you're in to that sort of thing. There is zero shortage of simple analog desktops, and this is one of them, but the filter is to die for, and the big-ass knobs... PEW PEW PEW!!! No idea what the MSRP is, or availability. But me likey.

3. The Waldorf 2-Pole. Mono I/O, no MIDI, no USB, no runs, no hits, no errors. Another box that is way bigger than you'd think. It sounds farking awesome. $250-ish. Outstanding.

4. Bitwig Studio. I'm now running this jank. Haven't dove in to it in detail yet (i.e. made a track with it) but it shows promise early on. It's good Ableton has some competition now. All consumers benefit.

All in all, NAMM 2014 was exactly like NAMM 2013, only more so. A good time was had by all. Anything you see in the firehose of social and normal media that caught your eye?


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Jan.25.2014 @ 6:59 PM
That which caught my eye:
~ Moog Sub37. Everyone talks about the paraphonic thang but only shows like, two seconds of it in action. Give me a 4 minute minimum vid of just the paraphonic in action, please
~ Arturia BeatStep sounds awesome, especially at its price point
~ Moog Theremini... not sure if it'll make me truly interested in the theremin or not. But dang, MIDI and USB and pitch correction? :) I'm probably in.
~ Admittedly, I am interested in the Nord A1. I'll stop there, before I admit I wish the new Korg keytar were cheaper.

Jan.25.2014 @ 7:55 PM
This caught my eye. A must if u still have the CMU. The price is so low it'd be a crime if ya didnt... link [beatnic.jp]

Jan.25.2014 @ 7:56 PM
yes the CV gate will still work...
no you dont have to open it up and play operation with it... ribbon cable plugs right into it...

Jan.25.2014 @ 9:07 PM
Subchubby ladder 37: paraphonic is not two complete voices. it only allows varying the oscillator's pitch.. same filter etc. so, 2 oscillators w/different pitch but all else is the same. interesting.

somehow the future-retro stuff slipped by everyone.. (Zillion) algorithmic midi sequencer.. probably based on the remix function in the future-retro Revolution.

some midi/din sync thru boxes and a sync shift type of thing.

link [25.media.tumb]

it's all kinda interesting but details are slim.

i'm interested in the eurorack stuff: Verbos Electronics harmonic oscillator, makenoise mystery module (wave guide oscillator), erbeverb possibly, serge/tiptop WAD, the SNazzyFX Telephone Game analog looper thing and lastly the SSF/WMD random module...

soooooo much eurorack stuff. ridiculous amount of things. awesome

still waiting for someone to get on the ball release a small 25 key knobby full featured FM synth. they could have gotten in the game 5-10 years ago with the analog stuff and done just fine in the market. they were late to the game! and now they're sleeping at the wheel when they could be cashing in with an FM hotrod.

or perhaps that's just what i say because i'd love one that is covered in knobs and fits in my lap. Korg could slice off the FM bit of that kronos and package it up nicely for those of us who don't want cadillac sized $7k workstations that have every possible type of synthesis under the hood.

semi rant.

the waldorf filter does sound damn good btw. the demos are good.

Jan.26.2014 @ 12:00 AM
The 2-Pole is pretty much a no brainer. Going to end up with one of those. The BeatStep is also probably going to end up in my kit. At that price, I almost have to get one. I use a padKontrol a lot when I'm out of the house and holed up in hotel rooms. To have that with a few knobs and have it also work as a simple cv/gate sequencer is nice. I've got an extra 32hp cube that I've been contemplating making into a tiny portable monosynth for taking on trips. The Arturia pads will add to that nicely.

I missed that Murmux synth. Looks great. I'm sold on it just because it says "Black Science" on the side right underneath what looks to be a sigil from the Clavicula Salomonis (or some such related mediaeval grimoire). It'll probably cost $2000 and break my heart. Oh, well. I've got eurocrack to buy anyway.

I was instantly geeked about the Sub 37 until I realized that it wasn't a full divide-down architecture, just dual paraphonic. Yawn. And also, psht. A full 37 note paraphonic Moog box would have interested me greatly, but this thing makes no damn sense to me. Who is it for? But, it's nice to see a board with aftertouch, I guess.

Speaking of which: the Korg Taktile controllers looked fairly nice. But, for that money I'd rather by an old synthesizer off of eBay so that I can get aftertouch. Not to mention a bonus synthesizer that is more interesting than a cut down Triton. If the Taktile had aftertouch (even just channel aftertouch, I've given up on affordable poly aftertouch), I'd be all over it.

The only other thing that I saw that looked interesting to me was the Livid/Dubspot mixer style MIDI controller. I have been thinking about DIYing up a controller for live work, and this thing is roughly 90% of what I'd really want. Livid makes solid kit and the MSRP seems reasonable. I might have to stretch the budget and get one before the summer gig season. I'll want to try one out first, though.

Overall, though. Yawnsville all around.

- William

Jan.26.2014 @ 7:03 AM
Chris Randall
The reason there are no more extensive videos of the Sub 37 is that the unit they had at NAMM was only partially working. Hard to do a demo of something when only half the features work. That said, yeah, it's just a Sub Phatty with all the possible parameters sent to the front panel. Take that as you will.

As for the theremin, aside from its major failing of being a theremin, something that is quite difficult to overcome in and of itself, it's basically the Animoog code in a big plastic box. YMMV.


Jan.26.2014 @ 8:47 AM
The Sub 37 is everything I would have liked the Sub Phatty to be, and I'm really impressed that Moog actually went through with it and didn't say "gotcha" on any point. The paraphonic feature doesn't really interest me, but if I find $1500 under a rock somewhere and decide I need a (basically) mono synth from Moog, this is way more appealing to me than essentially any other Moog of recent history.

If the Beatstep delivers at $100 then that's a no brainer. Any idea on if it has tap tempo?

Jan.26.2014 @ 8:48 AM
Also is it just me or does Amos from Moog look a lot like a taller, skinner, younger, Bob Moog? Not only how he looks, but he seems to have a very similar way of speaking.

Jan.26.2014 @ 9:41 AM
I want to see someone who can actually play a theremin, playing that theremin. In a place that is not a crowded, noisy show floor. Somebody to prove it's not just a toy.

And I want more details: MIDI in as well as out? (That'd make it unique among theremins, even if it is just Animoog inside.) With calibration stuff buried in menus instead of a big fat knob on front, does that mean it's more or less set-and-forget instead of constant fiddling like my Etherwave?

Bitwig is intriguing, but I'm such a Maschine convert right now that I'll just hold off. It's probably best not to go for version 1.0 anyway.

BreakTweaker or BeakTwerker or whatever from Izotope is sad. At $20 I'd pick it up and use it once or twice. At $200 I'm just shaking my head.

I am not the target market for the Sub 37; it just seems like too much scratch for too little synth, but then I'm not big into analog fetishism anyway. 2-Pole is pretty sweet though.

Jan.26.2014 @ 1:28 PM
Duke Fame
If Waldorf offers up the 2-Pole at $200 I think it's a shoe-in. You're talking about $170 shipped post 15%-off coupon from one of the major retailers.

Now if Peter and James would just ship my damn Anode.

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