Musikmesse 2014: the best new hi-tech gear
The products of the show
MUSIKMESSE 2014: Coming just six and a half weeks after the end of the Winter NAMM Show, it was perhaps inevitable that hi-tech gear manufacturers would be bringing fewer new products to Frankfurt than they did to Anaheim.
However, Musikmesse 2014 still has its fair share of new synths, MIDI controllers and plugins to shout about - click through to discover MusicRadar's tech highlights from the show.
NEXT: Akai Rhythm Wolf
Akai Rhythm Wolf
It would perhaps be stretching credibility to call an analogue groovebox that still hasn't made any sound 'the product of the show', but on the tech side, it's certainly the one that everyone's talking about.
What we do know is that it feels well-built, comes with both drum and bass synths and has a price tag that makes it very hard to ignore. If it can deliver the sonic goods and has that all-important fun factor, it's going to be a purchase that a lot of people won't think twice about.
Toontrack EZdrummer 2
It might not be the most complete drum sampler on the market, but the first version of EZdrummer struck a near perfect balance between realism and usability.
This being the case, its significant and continued success came as no real surprise. Version 2 ups the ante with new features for songwriting, a new user interface, a remodelled audio engine, a new mixer with effects chains, two new sound libraries and a selection of percussion sounds. It'll be available on 6 May.
Arturia MiniBrute SE
Arturia is clearly getting a taste for building analogue synths, for its followed up the release of the MiniBrute and the MicroBrute (its even smaller sibling) with the MiniBrute SE.
So what makes this special edition special? A step sequencer, primarily - you can store up to six pattern sequences of up to 64 steps each and create new phrases from existing ones by changing the Mode, Gate Len (timing) and Swing settings - plus an aluminium case and wooden end cheeks.
Akai APC range
The APC40 mkII is being launched into a very different market to the one that its predecessor entered in 2009. Back then, it was the only 'official' Ableton Live controller in town, but the new model faces competition not only from various third-party devices, but also Ableton's own Push.
Time will tell how the new APC will fare in the face of such strong competition, but it's certainly a leaner, better-looking device than the first version, and has the added advantage of being USB-powerable. What's more, Akai is hedging its bets by also releasing more affordable APCs - the APC Key 25 and APC Mini.
We've often heard of synths being described as sexy, but by stating that its new Streichfett string instrument is inspired by "how adult movies sounded thirty years ago," Waldorf is playing the porn card.
This is a dual-engine synth that offers polyphonic Strings and monophonic Solo sections and comes with ensemble, phaser and reverb effects. You can also morph between sounds.
There are more nudges and winks with the claim that Streichfett can produce "rich and creamy pads,” but, at the very least, Waldorf has at least ensured that its new synth has an identity.
Rob Papen Blue II
Blue II has been in the works for a while, but it was finally released on the eve of Musikmesse so it just about qualifies as a Frankfurt product.
An update to 2005's Blue 'cross-fusion' synth, Blue II features elements of FM, subtractive, phase distortion and waveshaping synthesis. It offers six oscillators that can be connected together in a variety of ways, a pair of analogue-style modelled stereo filters, processing and modulation options, a sequencer and an arpeggiator.
And that's not all: the XY pad from Rob Papen's Blade instrument is now included, and can be used for the likes of time-based sound movements and vector pad-style sounds.