Music Tech News – NAMM 2015 Preview w/ Akai, Pioneer, Moog, Waldorf, Dave Smith Instruments +

NAMM officially begins on Thursday of this week and in usual fashion there are a lot of rumors, teasers, and leaks happening in advance of the big day. We’ve collected some of the leading music technology news leading up to NAMM 2015. Read more about  in our first preview HERE

Akai Advance

akai_advanceAkai made waves in the industry this week when they unveiled the Akai Advance, a new MIDI control keyboard that looks and performs a lot like the new offerings from NI. With a 4 inch display, color coded pads, stand alone operation and VST support, this looks like a serious contender to the MIDI controller market.

Akai explains the following in a press release this week: The Advance series features an integrated high-resolution full-color 4.3-inch display, providing real-time control and feedback of all virtual instruments. The screen instantly adapts itself to the selected plugin’s controls, delivering immediate 1:1 access to the instrument and various editable functions. 

Create Digital Music‘s Peter Kirn takes a deeper look at this keyboard in an in depth article this week where he concludes,”I’m glad to see AKAI enter this market. It shows they’re still committed to making mid-range, serious MIDI controllers to follow up the MAX, not just entry-level keyboards branded Alesis, Akai, and M-Audio. And there’s a chance to provide some of what Komplete Kontrol does, but without being locked in to one brand’s. And the pricing is aggressive: US$399.99 for 25 keys, $499.99 for 49, and $599.99 for 61 keys, with loads of software.” Read more at CDM.

Pioneer XDJ-RX

Pioneer is bringing many new products to NAMM 2015 that are based on expanding their Rekordbox software to more hardware platforms. The Pioneer XJD-RX in particular looks like a groundbreaking product that will provide a screen and track waveforms without the need for a computer. We’re also excited for the XDJ-1000 which offers digital media support without a CD reader at a lower price point than we usually see on these devices.

pioneer-XDJ-RX_large-e1421765320860-640x373Press release: The XDJ-RX is Pioneer DJ’s first product to feature a single LCD screen that displays information from both players simultaneously, including dual waveform display, playback position, BPM and beat grids. DJs can quickly browse and select tracks using the large dial and Load buttons. The two CDJ-style platters have a familiar club-standard layout and give DJs instant access to pro-DJ performance features including Beat Sync, Slip Mode and Quantized cues and loops. Pads add a physical element, with instant access to Hot Cues and Auto Beat Loops – or DJs can choose to slice loops on-the-fly with the new Loop Slice function. The XDJ-RX will be available from late February 2015.

Dave Smith – The Past is Prologue

dave-smith-instruments-namm-2015We’re not exactly sure what Dave Smith Instruments’ latest teaser means, but some clever people online are speculating that this is a Shakespeare quote that may indicate a new Tempest-related product. DSI have been big contenders at NAMM over the past few years with the Prophet 12 and Pro 2. We’re eager to see what this company has on display for 2015.

Moog Modular

Press release: On January 19, 2015 Moog Music Inc. announced their plans to recommence a limited run manufacturing of three of their most sought after 5U large format modular synthesizers: The System 55, the System 35 and the Model 15. These three modular synthesizer systems were originally created and manufactured by Moog in 1973.

Waldorf Eurorack Module, New Soft Synths

Waldorf-nW1-Wavetable-ModulePopular synth designers Waldorf have announced a few new products to debut at NAMM this year: the nW1 Wavetable Eurorack Module, Nave virtual instrument as a proper plug in for your computer, and the Attack drum synthesizer for the iPad.

Regarding the nW1 module, synth blog speculates,”note it has parameters that come from the Nave (App., Plugin), so that switch labelled “record” might be the audio analysis tool, also the routing for CVs is easy to understand – that speech tool might be the classic one “1-2-3-4-5″ which was part of the software that created the first Microwave’s speech wavetables. User Wavetables and USB may look like there is an editor for your own stuff. Possibly the Plugin may be used as an editor!?”

Rise of the Modulars

jomox-t-rackonizer-eurorack-moduleOne thing is for sure this year: modular synthesizers are massive market that is growing exponentially. Popular synth designer Jomox has announced “a complex time-woven filter matrix” in eurorack format that will be released in May of 2015. Doepfer have also announced the A-100 Starter System for beginner builders.

Something New from Teenage Engineering?

teTeenage Engineering have promised “something new for NAMM 2015” and we’re eager to see what it is. Some people online are speculating that the new product will be a more developed version of their PO-12 drum machine that was announced earlier this year.

Grendel RA-9 Grenadier Synthesizer

Rare waves makes some beautiful equipment and the new Grendel RA-9 Grenadier synthesizer is no exception. The company calls this new instrument ”a unique semi modular CV-Gate synthesizer with analog sequencer and filterbank.”

Press release: The Grendel RA-9 Grenadier is a 1-oscillator analog monosynth with CV-Gate control.  It has a semi-modular design in a tabletop enclosure with 1/4″ audio output.  The Grenadier can be played stand-alone by using its keypad with 4 independently tuneable keys, or you can activate its onboard sequencer for minimal rhythm loops and tone sequences. Patch in a 1v/oct MIDI-CV converter (not included) and the Grenadier can play sequences from a MIDI workstation or computer.

The Grenadier’s unique palette of analog tones comes from its triple bandpass filterbank with syncable modulation. Its voice is designed for electronic basslines and melodic sequences, as well as slow drones, electro percussion loops, bass drums, and more. The filterbank can also become a tone source by setting it to self-oscillate with warm low frequency overdrive.

Read more about what is happening at NAMM 2015 in our first preview here