I’m not that excited by this year’s NAMM. The only really interesting synth to come out is from Korg: The $500 Minilogue is nothing short of amazing. Their 3-voice Volca DX7 also looks interesting, and is more flexible than Yamaha’s disappointing Reface DX.
In terms of the other stuff: Moog didn’t come out with anything new; since they are having a hard time keeping up with demand for their Mother-32, I can see why they haven’t had a chance to do so. They are phasing out their flagship Minimoog and have nothing to replace it yet.
Roland is making modular again, but you’re looking at $2000 for a basic monophonic synth module without patch memory and without a keyboard; the keyboard is a $400 Boutique A01. Speaking of Boutique, I was really hoping for a $1000 or so bigger Boutique with more voices, or a Boutique modeled analog drum machine, but that didn’t happen. Nor did Roland release something like a System-8 ARIA plugout with more than four voices of polyphony. But that talented lady demoing their new Cajón drum unit sure is a lovely latina. Compared to the JD-Xi and JD-Xa which they showed last year this time, 2016 Winter NAMM was a letdown.
It’s nice to see Oberheim’s back, but the $3000 OB-6 isn’t that different from last year’s Prophet-6, and I’m a bit disappointed DSI is phasing out their under-$1000 stuff (Morpho, Tetra, etc.) without coming out with something new at that price point like a Prophet-1.
The Matrixbrute from Authuria looks interesting, but, again, we’re looking at thousands of dollars for a monophonic synth, and with the QC issues they have had with their micro and minibrutes, I’m not sure how reliable these critters will be.
That MakeNoise 0-Coast looks interesting, but we’re looking at paying $500 for a monophonic one trick pony. Teenage Engineering’s three new pocket operators are much more affordable at $100 each (once you get a real case for them), but, again, these are one trick ponies.
The much anticipated Behringer analog synth was a complete no-show.
Last year’s winter NAMM, with Roland making analog again and with Dave Smith making end-to-end analog poly again with the Prophet-6 was, with the exception of this year’s amazing Minilogue, a much more interesting show.
I have made my first 2016 presidential prediction:
I think it will probably be a Clinton-Kasich match; Sanders, Trump, and Cruz all have the problem of appealing to certain groups of loud spoken voters but don’t have enough appeal to win a general election. Kasich is leading in a recent New Hampshire poll, and has the advantage of being Ohio’s governor, which will give the Republicans one key swing state.
If Trump were to get the nomination or run as a third party, it would be a disaster for the Republicans; there would be feasible chance the Democrats would get Texas for the first time since 1976.
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