Musikmesse Frankfurt 2015 Report – Part 1

Let’s start our stroll through the Musikmesse Frankfurt at the very heart of the MODULAR SYNTH section, there, where the knob-tweakers are at home. First and foremost, MOOG deserves mention, not so much because of their unique range of modules, as on account of their magic name.

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Moog Modular Systems create furore all around the world, even though their prices are not on the modest side. Be that as it may, the visual effect of this “mother of all modular systems” remains highly impressive …

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And on to Andreas Schneider’s Booth (Schneiders Laden). Even at first glance – by chance or not by chance – the VERBOS ELECTRONICS modules are eye-catchers. Blue-bloods of the modular world, if you will …

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Part of that eye-catching quality results from the color RED, the large potis, the faders and the silver-black design. More or less trademarks of Verbos …

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It’s not exactly surprising to find an exorbitant DOEPFER system waiting to be tested. The monster instrument affords respect by all means. And the insider will discover special new modules, such as the trigger-sequencer (seen here in the back part of the picture).

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Andreas Schneider and Dieter Doepfer readily agree to an impromptu photo shooting. The two gurus of the Eurorack universe showed up personally on the last of the fair (in good spirits and sympathetic as ever).

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One of the secret corners in Andreas Schneider’s domain yields classic (high quality) Analogue Systems modulars …

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… as well as The Harvestman modular systems …

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… and also including modules from the Italian firm Soundmachines. Their representative was extremely kind, but his Italo-English explanations weren’t sufficient to really reveal the modules’ features … (Italien and English – two separate worlds :o) …

However, the modules are Performance Controllers, such as the LP1lightplane: “TOUCH ME – I’m the first and only three axial CV generator and gesture recorder”.

… and the RC1radiostar: “You always dreamed of an easy way of driving your modular with plenty of CVs and Gates from your tablet, or your smartphone. Without a PC. This is how you do it.”

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It comes as quite a surprise to meet Jörg Schaaf of Radikal Technologies here in this corner. His Accelerator Synthesizer – now equipped with OS 1.90 – continues to yield creamy sounds (above all, vivid sequencer-sounds and cutting Vangelis lead-sounds).

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But it’s actually the new RT-451 Module, which has brought Jörg to the Doepfer corner.  It’s a stereo multimode filter based on the famous Spectralis filter.

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We’ve discussed Studio Electronics (and their new modular systems) in our latest blog. The appearance of the following MODSTAR system is noble, of course. But we are just as attracted to  the handy BOOMSTAR Desktop Synthesizer, which sounds excellent …

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Those of you looking for the tried-and-true Minimoog in 3 Eurorack-Format (and as a modular system) are recommended to take a look at the modules of AJHSynth. That’s the proud Allan J Hall in the pictures below next to his masterpiece. According to him, these Minimoog modules are the only real (Eurorack) “Minimoogs” when it comes to sound …

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Mind you, that would mean sacrificing the beautiful wooden case of the original Minimoog. Since haptic perception and especially natural wood play an important part in the world of vintage synths, BASTL Instruments has probably found a nice little niche here in the Eurorack world.

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“Bastl Modules available at Kitchen Music” … hand-made, no doubt about it!

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VERMONA is again good for small, fine modules. Whereby (aside from the new TwinCussion Drum-Module), the small Dual Buffered Multiple / Inverter and the neat mixer module appear to be good a supplement to many modular systems …

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We can’t leave out KORG. The new MS20M Kit Module is well-thought-out …

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And then there’s Roland, which, with its AIRA MODULAR, is on the way to becoming part of the Eurorack community. The whole package consists of: System-1m (with cv/gate), effect-modules and sound-modules.

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The 500 series modules seem to be a reproduction of the legendary System-100M:

  • Module 512 – Dual VCO
  • Module 521 – Dual VCF
  • Module 530 – Dual VCA
  • Module 540 – Dual ENV + LFO
  • Module 572 – Phaser + Delay + LFO

To cap it all off, here are some pictures of the incredibly beautiful KOMPLEX Sequencer by KOMA ELEKTRONIK

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… and further diverse impressions of other things …

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Our Messe Report part 1 closes with a side-trip to the modular (and non-modular) world of Bernd-Michael Land (Aliens Project). We took advantage of our stay in Frankfurt to visit him at his SynxsS Studio …

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Part 2 will be devoted almost entirely to SYNTHESIZERS / KEYBOARDS and some interesting developments in the world of E-PIANOS …

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