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Thread January 24, 2015 editorial: comments

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1 January 24, 2015 editorial: comments

NAMM 2015: Synths Gone Wild

It’s been a very busy NAMM show so far, both in terms of attendees in the convention center, and new products. Mirroring what’s going on in pop music production, the once-mighty guitar seems relegated to second-class status (boo!), with synthesizers now commanding the lion’s share of attention.

Many new synths have been introduced. Here are some highlights: On the digital synth side it’s the Clavia Nord Electro 5D , which appears to be a worthy successor to earlier Electro models. In the analog world, a couple of standouts are Korg’s reissue of the Arp Odyssey (I saw Stevie Wonder at the Korg booth yesterday, and though I couldn’t get close enough to see for sure, I’m guessing he was there to check out the Arp Odyssey) and Dave Smith Instrument’s Sequential Prophet 6. Smith just got the rights to the Sequential name back from Yamaha, who were the previous owners of it.

Speaking of analog synths, there’s a booth in Hall A — the hall where most of the computer music companies and many of the recording gear companies showcase their wares — that is populated by a half dozen or so small modular synth makers. It was a very cool sight to see so many different modular synths together in one little area — colorful patch cables were everywhere.

Another notable synth release is a hybrid analog/digital instrument, the Modal Electronics Modulus 002. In the software synth market, the big news was the release of Omnisphere 2 from Spectrasonics. I haven’t had a chance to see the full demo yet, but what I did see was quite impressive.

It hasn’t been only synths making news, however. Avid has made a big splash by announcing the release of Pro Tools 12, which will be available either as an outright purchase or via a $29.99 per month subscription (an annual subscription option will also be available). I’m not at all surprised to hear this, as it seemed like Avid was leaning towards the subscription model for a while.

I will find out more when I meet with Avid today, but from what I’ve heard, it doesn’t appear that Pro Tools 12 will offer a lot of new production features. It will introduce a number of cloud collaboration capabilities, and, offer the ability to buy plug-ins from within the application. Avid will also be releasing Pro Tools First, a free, but feature-limited (16-tracks maximum, for one thing) version of Pro Tools.

I don’t have time or space to go into more detail, but check out our NAMM coverage for more product videos and info. We’ll be adding more videos as the weekend progresses.

If you have comments on these or any other NAMM developments, we'd love to hear them.

Have a great week.

Mike Levine

U.S. Editor, Audiofanzine

Quote from Mike:
Mirroring what’s going on in pop music production, the once-mighty guitar seems relegated to second-class status (boo!), with synthesizers now commanding the lion’s share of attention

My worst fears are coming true. Soon, the analogue vs digital world is going to destroy the future of guitars and all guitars will be midi controllers with the 'best' amp simulation software :(((:(((

[ Post last edited on 01/24/2015 at 12:55:59 ]

I don't think it will get to that point. Hopefully guitar will make a comeback sometime soon. I don't want to give the wrong impression, it's not like there are no guitars here, but they're not front and center as the had been in the past.
I wanted to add a quick addendum to my list of synth news, which is that Moog is reissuing a limited number of three of its large-format modular synths: The System 55, System 35 and, Model 15.