As many of you know, Winter NAMM happened this last week. It seems that all the musical instrument companies that focus on keyboards release their best work at this show each year. Here are 10 keyboards (and related keyboard gear) that I found to be awesome, ranked in order of awesomeness:
10. M-Audio’s CTRL 49
M-Audio put out a redesigned midi controller keyboard this year. What makes it different? It integrates well with VIP software, a MainStage-esque live performance app. I was impressed with the build quality, and the way they laid out the midi controllers.
8. Apple’s Garageband App
Apple quietly released an update to Garageband for iPad today, giving it Ableton live-esque clips and loop playback.
7. Roland’s Aira Modular FX Series
Roland has added more tricks up the sleeve of their Eurorack FX units, including the ability to turn them into 16 different units. Analog purists may not be a big fan of this, but it’s pretty handy to have a swiss-army knife in your rack, and they sound great.
6. Dave Smith’s OB-6 Synth
Dave Smith Instruments partnered with Tom Oberheim to release this amazing synth. Check out the videos for more info.
5. ROLI’s Seaboard Rise
ROLI is trying to redefine the synthesizer through this alternative control surface. They took one step closer this week by releasing a 49 key version of their unit. The big drawback? It’s pricey. It’ll set you back $1200 for this controller.
4. Yamaha’s Montage Keyboard
Motif players, rejoice. This is the tricked out version of your Motif, with a dedicated FM synth module on board, better controllers, and a heck of a lot more flash memory (5 gb).
3. Apple’s Music Memos App
This new free app from Apple allows you to make quick recordings of song ideas. Not only that, but it automatically detects tempo, chords, and even can lay down a scratch drum beat with one button press. This thing is incredible for singer songwriters.
2. Korg’s Minilogue 4-Voice Analog Synth
Korg blew everyone’s mind by releasing a 4-voice 100% analogue synth this week, and at the ridiculously low price of $500. And incredibly, it sounds amazing.
1. Arturia’s Matrix Brute
Arturia released videos of what might be considered one of the most incredible mono synths to be released in the last 20 years, the Matrixbrute. It has a 100% analog signal path, including all analog FX, preset memories, and it looks and sounds like a million bucks in the video. We’ll have to wait to see a price tag- this unit won’t ship until later this year.