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The Audio & Musical Gear that Made the Show

Best of Musikmesse 2010: The Top 11
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They came to Frankfurt, Germany, showed their stuff, we looked, touched and video taped. Now with everybody back home, it's time to make sense of the best gear presented at Musikmesse 2010.

Wrapping up a trade show like Musikmesse is no easy feat.  The editorial purpose here is not to declare that such and such product is the best, because as we all know it's comparing apples to oranges in most cases.  For us here at Audiofanzine is it an opportunity to give a congratulatory nod to the products that we felt stood out in the crowd and did something for us.

Audiofanzine's Top 11 picks from Musikmesse 2010 is presented in no particular order.

1.  RME Babyface:

Equipped with 192 kHz AD- and DA-converters and two microphone preamps the bus-powered Babyface uses the USB 2.0 high-speed bus and has been optimized under Windows and Mac OS. The Babyface combines analog circuit design with AD/DA converter chips of the latest generation. On top RME’s SteadyClock is designed to ensure an AD- and DA-conversion. Both digitally controlled preamps provide individually switchable 48V phantom power.  The Interface allows to record multiple channels and it's still very simple setup. It is very small and actually fits in a laptop bag. Most other small interfaces are a lot bigger...

2.  Line 6 Variax James Tyler:

james tylerThis new line of guitars is designed to ''deliver the feel of the finest boutique instruments and the optimal tonal performance of Line 6 guitar modeling technology,'' the company says.


Variax guitars are designed to reproduce the sounds of a collection of 25 vintage electric and acoustic instruments, and a dozen custom tunings. The modeled instruments include solid-body, semi-hollow guitars and hollow-body electrics with a variety of pickup configurations, six- and twelve-string acoustics, and other guitar-related instruments including a resonator, banjo, and an electric sitar.  This new line of guitars will be available in three styles, said to reflect the designs of James Tyler in each curve, component and control.



3.  Roland GAIA SH-01: triple-stacked engine of this synthesizer features a "fun, friendly and inviting" designed to attract first-timers, according to Roland. The signal flow is said to be simple to grasp, with logically arranged knobs, sliders, and buttons.


This instrument is designed for music students, songwriters, session players, and live performers of all styles and skill levels and features, among others:


  • Three virtual analog engines onboard, each with a dedicated oscillator, filter, amplifier, envelope, and LFO
  • Layer up to five simultaneous effects, including distortion, flanger, delay, reverb, low boost, and more
  • 64-voice polyphony for massive sounds without note drop-out Elektron Octatrack:

Recording sounds is a designed to be easy, but the fun really starts once the samples are inside the machine. Loops are now completely elastic, the company says:  "Cut up and rearrange them in real time. They will always stay in sync no matter if they are pitch shifted or if the tempo of the sequencer is changed. Single sounds can be molded into any shape or form. The static nature of samples is finally a thing of the past."  The Compact Flash card is designed to allow for big amounts of samples to be constantly accessible. The USB port is ideal when transfering sample libraries between your computer and the Octatrack. The optical fader can be assigned to any of the parameters.


5.  Korg Monotron: by two alkaline AAA batteries, the compact Monotron can be held in one hand. The Monotron ribbon controller keyboard is designed to take ease of use further. Simple finger gestures can produce expressive effects such as vibrato and glide, the company says. Used in a band, you can expand your possibilities by harmonizing with another instrument or taking center stage for a monotron solo.


The Monotron's circuit is simple: one voltage-controlled oscillator, one voltage-controlled filter, and one low frequency oscillator. Since each knob directly applies a specific change to the sound, the process of sound creation is intuitive, and instantly understandable, Korg says.



6.  Adam Monitor AX Series:


The new AX-Series monitors from ADAM Audio feature the company's X-ART tweeter, new woofers and amplifiers, and re-designed speaker cabinets.  ADAM'S smallest monitor, the A3X is designed for applications where space is limited such as desktop and other home monitoring situations.  The A5 has now been reborn as the A5X with the proprietary X-ART tweeter, a 5.5" mid/woofer to reproduce frequencies below 2.5kHz and twice the power.   The new A7X features the X-ART tweeter, a newly designed 7" mid/woofer featuring a larger 1.5" voice coil.  The A8X is equipped with the X-ART tweeter and an 8.5" carbon/Rohacell/fiberglass mid/woofer that combine to produce a "very deep yet exceptionally tight bass response," according to the company.






7. Flux:: & IRCAM - IRCAM Tools:


traxThe IRCAM Tools product range is the result of over twenty years of fundamental research within the realms of music related digital signal processing.  They present a series of products evolved from two fields of technology, Acoustic & Cognitive Spaces, and Sound Analysis & Synthesis.


Acoustic and Cognitive Spaces

The reproduction and synthesis of a sound environment depends on both techniques of signal processing, controlling the manner sound is diffusing from the speakers, and on physical/perceptive models of the spatial properties of the room's sound sources.

  • SPAT Multi-format Room Acoustic Simulation & Localization Processor.
  • VERB Room Acoustic & Reverberation Processor.

Sound Analysis and Synthesis

The analysis of sounds includes methods enabling the permanent extraction or automatic structuring of diverse sorts of information given off by a signal, such as the fundamental frequency or the spectral evolution determining the pitch and timbre of a perceived sound. Information outside what is strictly musical is also taken into consideration, notably concerning industrial acoustics, sound design and multimedia as well as the automatic indexing of recorded sounds. The methods used are based on signal processing, statistical analysis, information theory, machine learning and recognition techniques, but also on knowledge of auditory perception and acoustic system sound production.

  • TRAX Real-time Voice and Sonic Modeling Processor.
  • Cross Synthesis Spectral Envelope Morphing Processor.
  • Source Filter Enhanced Sound Filtering.
8.  SPL DrumXchanger:

DrumXchanger is designed to optimize drum sounds in the mix or replace them.   It features:

  • Replaces samples phase-accurately.
  • Transient Designer technology for level-independent recognition.
  • Recognizes all drum hits faithfully, including the faintest ghost notes.

9.   Zoom H1:

The Zoom H1 handy recorder features the following:

  • Uses only one AAA battery! Which should enable it to record for up to 10 hours.
  • Records in 24bit 96kHz PCM and Mp3.
  • Lowcut filter
  • XY Mic capsules
  • USB 2.0
  • External mics and audio device in-outputs

10.  Visionary Instruments Video Guitar

Well, you have to see it to believe it.

11.  Gibson Slash Appetite For Destruction

slash gibsonAnd finally, the long awaited for Slash's signature guitar.  Who can forget that guitar solo outside the church in November Rain (Guns n' Roses)?  The guitar is equipped with features associated with a Gibson Les Paul, and the added punch of Seymour Duncan Signature Series Alnico II Pro Slash humbucking pickups.  It features a Grade AAA figured maple top with nitrocellulose "Appetite Amber" finish, "Gold" volume and tone top hat knobs, rosewood fingerboard with traditional trapezoid inlays, specially requested Orange Drop capacitors, a Slash headstock graphic, and enhanced resonance from a TonePros Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece at one end and a high-density Corian nut at the other.


The Slash Appetite Les Paul features a solid one-piece Grade A quarter-sawn mahogany neck with a slim ’60s profile, a 12" fingerboard radius and 22 jumbo frets.












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