Musikmesse Frankfurt 2014 Report – Part 2

Picking up where we left off with the “Buchla” theme (Report Part 1), lets stay in the good old USA and dedicate a few moments to MOOG. The booth of the German distributor EMC is like a beehive and especially the new SUB 37 attracts people like magic. But all the other Phattys are there, too, and the Voyager and – you guessed it – the powerful Voyager XL.

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EMC is a point of interest not only on account of all the Moogs standing around, but also because of the SCHMIDT Synthesizer, now in its 3rd presentation year.

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The model here pictured is in fact – after all those prototypes of the past years – the first real series model.

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And then there are the Mellotrons (M4000D), of course …

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And the new Rhodes Instruments! VINTAGE VIBE PIANO rebuilds classic Rhodes in the USA. They are available as 44- (!), 64- and 73-key models, whereby the littlest model is really a cutey.

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Plug & Play instruments à la Rhodes – sorry: Vintage Vibe Piano – have clear advantages over synths. They are simple electro-acoustic instruments (no technical problems here) …

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… just sit down and play …!

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From the good old USA back to good (and very) old Europe. ARTURIA has fullfilled itself a dream by implementing the practical step sequencer of the MicroBrute – with some additional little goodies – into the new MiniBrute SE. Frédéric Brun (Arturia) and Frank Orlich (Tomeso) – and many others – do a good job of presenting the latest Arturia setup …

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So, and now from France to Sweden. Red color, great design, clear sounds: that’s CLAVIA! The Nord Lead 4, introduced last year, is already well known …

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… new, on the other hand, is the Nord Lead A1. “A” stands for (you’re right) ANALOG.  Whereby we’re talking about virtual-analog, of course …

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The corner with the electronic drums attracts a lot of attention. Especially Nord Drum 2 with its Nord Pad never seems to be without visitors …

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From Sweden to Scotland. Ken MacBeth is one bundle of scottish energy. Its impossible, for example, to get a good photo of him together with Andreas Schneider. Actually, that pretty much sums up the engaging character of that congenial Scot.

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Ken MacBeth’s new Elements synthesizer is stunning. A noble instrument out of a fairytale. A Must-Have …! We’re looking forward to more information about this exceptional synth …

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And then there are other highlights at Schneiders Büro (and distributor Alex4). The MFB Dominion 1 has made exceptional progress. This extended keyboard version of the desktop synthesizer Dominion X should go into production soon. The Dominion 1 is probably – along with the new Moog Sub 37, Arturia’s MiniBrute SE and MacBeth’s Elements – THE analog synth highlight of the year 2014 …

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And what about WALDORF? People have been very busy in the laboratories of that German synth forge. After the arrival of Rocket’s little sister 2-Pole (remember – Rocket – the synth from another star), there has been another addition to the family …

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Streichfett imitates the vintage sound of the old string machines from the 70s. Pure nostalgia: you have 4 memory buttons and a little 3-position switch, giving you a spectacular 12 memory locations …

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PINK seems to be “in”. Big pink surfaces are definitely an eye-catcher. BUT … having that pink Zarenbourg in your studio for days and months and years may be something else again …

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If you’re not into pink, then there’s a special edition of the Zarenbourg in BLACK (limited to 100 units).

But speaking of E-Pianos and gaudy colors, CASIO has come out with two special models of its PX-A100. Metallic RED and Metallic BLUE. Very beautiful, very noble. And amazing, the huge performance potentials of these modern E-Pianos in relationship to their moderate price …

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As to synthesizers, CASIO is what it was: the Casio XW-Series is still in the race …

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With this little side trip to CASIO we end our Messe Report 2014. At least two big companies weren’t taken into consideration this year. YAMAHA, because the world-largest producer of musical instruments hasn’t come up with anything new in synths. 10 years of MOTIF, the MX-Series … we’re acquainted with all of that.

And we didn’t have time for KORG this year. The developments of the Volca Series, MS-20 Reissues, King-Korg, Kronos, Krome and Kross are all already well-known so far. That David Friend will advise the company (KORG!) in building the new Odyssey is – to put it mildly – a very strange idea. Friend, Pollock and Pearlman were the three big managers of ARP in the 70s, Friend himself president of the company from 1977 ’til 1980.

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David Friend was responsible not only for early ARP success, but also for some fatal decisions during his presidency. To be read in Mark Vail’s Book “Vintage Synthesizers” under “The Rise And Fall Of ARP Instruments. So the inclusion of David Friend in the new Odyssey project looks a little like a marketing gag. Although – to be fair – Friend was later (and still is) a successful entrepreneur.

So we’ll let things take their course. The KORG Odyssey is supposed to come onto the market in September 2014 …

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Link Musikmesse 2014 Report Part 1

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