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Winter NAMM 2014 Reports


Geoff Grace

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The PianoArc is pretty cool, but the lack of practicality for most of us really hits me. I'd rather use the space at home for a smaller grand piano. And most stages we play on don't have nearly enough space. It's great if you're playing at Gaga's level, though.

There might be a secondary market for a SemiArca third of the PianoArc. As they pointed out in the video, a curved keyboard is more ergonomic. I think that an 88-note segment from the thing would still look cool and not take up too much space in club setups. If it were affordable for club musicians, it might be a good seller.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

 

Ditto that. Showing up to a gig with a semi-circle curved 88 key weighted controller -- now, that would be cool. Although hauling it around might be a pain ...

Life is too short to be playing bad music.

 

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Contrary to their earlier Apollo models which used the firewire protocol over ThB for audio IO, the new Twin actually uses PCIe audio.

 

Best news is that the PCIe audio will be made available for existing Apollo owners with a firmware update this Spring.

 

Is Apollo Twin "True Thunderbolt"?

 

"True Thunderbolt" is a made-up term. Having said this, Apollo Twin uses PCIe audio drivers and PCIe drivers for UAD plug-ins; it does not use FireWire. PCIe audio drivers will be coming to the Apollo DUO/QUAD and Apollo 16 as a free firmware update in Spring 2014.

http://www.uaudio.com/interfaces/apollo-twin.html

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although he doesn't explain what those audio inputs are for, since it doesn't record samples

As with other Elektron boxes - it is for processing incoming audio, with its inner filters and effects. Since it has the ability to change any parameter on a per step basis (what Elektron calls :"P-Locks"), it makes for an interesting sound processor.

Vermona Perfourmer mkii, Nord Stage 3 76
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My favorite part of NAMM, Seeing old friends. Here with Jim. Also saw Jerry K. and several other buds..

 

http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff374/hammonddave/image_zps4a6cb8b0.jpg

'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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A few of my favorite products. Most are from the lower level (where the real creativity is displayed).

 

If I were a guitar player, I would play this. Made from 100% recycled material.

 

http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff374/hammonddave/image_zps1807833f.jpg

'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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This is cool. An iPad keyboard that folds up into an iPad case. The keys are spring loaded and become flat when they are in the closed case position.

 

http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff374/hammonddave/image_zpsdeeb6456.jpg

 

http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff374/hammonddave/image_zps031bb920.jpg

'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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What did I like? Some quick highlights.

 

Roland's RD800. Pianos sounded fantastic. Organs and Leslie sim sounded like shite!

 

Hammond SK1/73. Sounded great, good feeling keyboard, and a really nice sized keyboard for organ and piano. I would gig with this board.

 

Korg Kronos 88. Really nice new organs and Leslie sim. Great work, Jerry!

 

Moog sub37. I like it. However, why are we still playing monophonic (or duo phonic) synths? The Dave Smith booth is right next to the Moog booth, and the Prophet 12 is still the most playable synth out there. Anyone selling a used one? Call me.

 

The new Yamaha stage piano. Sounded and felt amazing! Heavy as hell.

 

The new EV powered speaker line. They sound great, but the weight and price returns to the SXa range. The 12" goes for $1000! Amps designed in Germany and built in China, drivers built in Mexico, and all assembled in the US. The 12" weighs 50lbs. I think I will keep my ZLX's.

 

Everything downstairs... like I said above, this is where the real creativity is displayed. Don't miss it!

 

 

'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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the assignable out [...] I'll be curious to see whether the Ocean Beach drawbars can be made to work on it and whether you can send the organ out the assignable out to a Vent.

 

Wow! Where did you read about this? I do a lot of LH bass gigs, and if I could route the bass patches to a separate output I'm getting one of these.

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I think I was pretty specific in identifying this as a board for a weekend warrior which to me means someone who needs to cover APs, EPs, organs, strings, brass, pads and a variety of synth sounds with no artificial limits on layers/splits. And as someone who just spent weeks putting together a collection of synth cover sounds using the Kronos VAs, I can say without hesitation I would rather work with Roland VA than any sample-based alternative. Considering FA06/08 has modeled analog, modeled B3, EPs, APs, and the quasi-modeling with SN sounds + sampled sounds, if this is just another ROMpler, then I guess I don't understand the meaning of the term ROMpler. And considering the RD300 (with the same action) sells for the same price and has no where near the sounds nor capabilities as a controller, yes I think it's an excellent value. And yes I would gladly take the Roland weighted action over similarly priced Yamaha, Korg, Kurzweil or the Nord HA.

 

I think the totality of the sounds, the interface and the weighted action is better than what's out there in this price range.

 

Busch.

 

I'm with Busch on this one, though opinions will vary - as our experiences and ears differ.

 

Having had a JP50 since 2012, and being aware of the sonic similarities between it and the FA's, I suspect that this new offering from Roland will be a solid, gigging keyboard. While my JP often does 2nd tier duty, I have also gigged small stages with it as my only instrument, and it covers single keyboard gigs extremely well - probably the strongest at that of anything I've owned. The JP TW engine, while not the top clonewheel resource on the block, is still far beyond Yamaha's ROMpler organ Voices. The Rhodes tones are capable ( I still prefer Yamaha in that dept.), but the Wurli 200A model nails it. SN piano ? The core model is great for ballads - smooth, rich, and expressive. The trick to getting that Steinway based tone to cut through is to tweak it; I started with the 'gig piano' Live Set, then adjusted to taste. The vast amount of bread n' butter tones and Live Sets amply cover whatever else is needed. And a lot of on-board, sonic shaping can be done.

 

So an 88 key instrument that expands upon the core soundset of the JP50 - at 36 lb., no less - seems like a jobber's dream; especially so at that price point. And it has a lot more front panel control options. I suspect that Roland will do well with the FA series.

 

Meanwhile, my dream, performance keyboard from Roland: Take the FA front panel control design, add 9, multi-use draw-sliders, then combine that with a JP50 sound engine - all with expanded controller features. Round that out with a 76 key action w/aftertouch, and it would be unbeatable. Perhaps we'll see something close to that for NAMM 2015 :cool:

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Any sign of KeyB organs?

 

Elvio is not here and I'm pretty sure DMI is defunct. I did bump into some friends of Elvio's, and they said he's doing well with the production of KeyB products back in Italy but there's no US distributor as far as they know.

 

They were showing a dual manual controller called the Orla JamKey C. 61 keys up top, 73 below. No internal sounds - it's designed for use with VST organs. The prototype at the show uses Fatar TP80s but they're considering hammer action and other controllers for the lower manual.

 

Samick booth 207C.

 

http://oceanbeach.com/temp/orla.jpg

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I have finished reading the details about Arturia BeatStep and can't believe this is coming in at just under $100 and is already available (on some sites).

 

As I have been impressed already by my keyboard controller from Arturia and its deep and accurate MIDI implementation, this is a no-brainer for me. Pads with aftertouch, which is a big step up from Korg's padKontrol (though I may retain that one for different functionality and/or get a larger KaossPad), and even C/V input to boot!

 

I also compared to Spark LE (I only have the software version of Spark) and there really isn't much overlap with BeatStep. The industrial design is of course consistent between all three controllers.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Korg Gadget Review.

[video:youtube]

Best Regards Paul.

Kurzwei PC3xl Pc2x , K2600x, fender Rhodes, Novation xio, Novation x station, Yamaha sk20, Yamaha motif rack es ,plg-150 vl . Virus ti Polar, Korg M3 76, Yamaha s90xs, Hammond Sk1

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Meanwhile, my dream, performance keyboard from Roland: Take the FA front panel control design, add 9, multi-use draw-sliders, then combine that with a JP50 sound engine - all with expanded controller features. Round that out with a 76 key action w/aftertouch, and it would be unbeatable. Perhaps we'll see something close to that for NAMM 2015 :cool:

 

I'd buy one of those! :wave:

Michael

Montage 8, Logic Pro X, Omnisphere, Diva, Zebra 2, etc.

http://www.youtube.com/keybdwizrd

 

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Any sign of KeyB organs?

 

Elvio is not here and I'm pretty sure DMI is defunct. I did bump into some friends of Elvio's, and they said he's doing well with the production of KeyB products back in Italy but there's no US distributor as far as they know.

 

They were showing a dual manual controller called the Orla JamKey C. 61 keys up top, 73 below. No internal sounds - it's designed for use with VST organs. The prototype at the show uses Fatar TP80s but they're considering hammer action and other controllers for the lower manual.

 

Samick booth 207C.

 

http://oceanbeach.com/temp/orla.jpg

 

I'll probably be doing some youtube demos of the JamKey... Cool concept!

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This is cool. An iPad keyboard that folds up into an iPad case. The keys are spring loaded and become flat when they are in the closed case position.

 

http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff374/hammonddave/image_zpsdeeb6456.jpg

 

http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff374/hammonddave/image_zps031bb920.jpg

 

This is the Miselu C.24 which comes from a Kickstarter project that was funded last year. It's been much delayed but initial backers (like me) should get their C.24's in about a month (so they say). It's supposed to simulate weighted action using magnets under the keys, and you will be able to expand the keyboard by attaching multiple C.24's together. Clever device... hopes it lives up to it's potential.

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This is cool. An iPad keyboard that folds up into an iPad case. The keys are spring loaded and become flat when they are in the closed case position.

 

http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff374/hammonddave/image_zpsdeeb6456.jpg

The C-to-B layout opens up an interesting possibility. It would be very cool if you could buy a second identical keyboard surface and latch in to the right of the first, so another easily portable attachment would connect to turn it into a 48-key board (or add yet another one for a 72). I don't supposed they mentioned any such possibility?

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Let's not forget this cute little thing from Korg: the tinyPiano.

 

http://s27.postimg.org/cw8grtf3n/redtoypiano.jpg

 

 

I'm pretty sure there's someone in the Korg product division who wakes up every morning with the thought: "mini keys are awesome; what can I design around mini keys today...?" :P

 

- Guru

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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Hammond SK1/73. Sounded great, good feeling keyboard, and a really nice sized keyboard for organ and piano. I would gig with this board.

I'm really curious to hear some reports about the feel of the SK1 88 (which is different from the 61 and 73).

 

Moog sub37. I like it. However, why are we still playing monophonic (or duo phonic) synths? The Dave Smith booth is right next to the Moog booth, and the Prophet 12 is still the most playable synth out there.

Well, the Moog is half the price. And presumably sounds more like a Moog.

 

The new Yamaha stage piano. Sounded and felt amazing! Heavy as hell.

Which model is this? Is there a CP300 replacement?

 

 

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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