NAMM 2024: It’s happening: Suzuki has confirmed that the new Omnichord, which it announced last year, will be called the OM-108, and will be released in July 2024.
Thrust back into the spotlight thanks to its use by Gorillaz’ Damon Albarn, the Omnichord has always been an instrument that’s been designed to be playable even by those with little or no music making experience, and the OM-108 stays true to this philosophy.
A set of chord selection buttons is set to the left, and a strummable touchstrip enables you to play them (as well as individual notes from the chords). There’s a definite ‘can’t go wrong’ vibe here, and you can choose the flavour of your chords with the major, minor and seventh buttons, also dialling in sus4 and add9 variations where appropriate.
The OM-108 uses analogue circuitry to emulate the sounds of the classic OM-84 models (you can actually start it up in a dedicated OM-84 mode and use its presets) but there are new tones, too. You can beef up your sound using the layering options, and the rhythm section has been updated with new drum beats.
If you’re purely interested in playing melodies or basslines, you can turn the chord buttons into a playable keyboard (a handy overlay gives you a visual guide to which note is which), and you can play the OM-108 as a drum pad, too. MIDI Out means that you can also use this Omnichord as a creative controller for your other gear.
While the news of a new Omnichord has attracted a lot of interest - it definitely has a certain kitsch appeal - it remains to be seen whether this will translate into a significant number of sales. We suspect that this will largely depend on how much it eventually costs; the price is rumoured to be around $800, which seems toppy for something that might end up being used occasionally rather than as a studio workhorse, but this hasn’t been confirmed.
We’ll let you know when we have more details - you can keep abreast of developments yourself on the Suzuki website.