NAMM 2015: If you thought that the hardware synth resurgence might be about to stall, the 2015 NAMM Show should have convinced you otherwise.
We got synths we were expecting (thanks, Korg and Roland), synths that came as a surprise (thanks, Dave Smith and, in a roundabout sort of way, Yamaha) and synths that didn't even look like synths (who else but Teenage Engineering?).
If you've been following our NAMM coverage over the past few days then none of this should come as news to you, but if you haven't - or you simply want to relive what was quite possibly been (and there's really no other word for it) the most 'synthtastic' trade show in history - then click on...
Korg ARP Odyssey
This heavily-trailed blockbuster is pretty much what we expected, though the presence of mini rather than full-size keys has already raised the hackles of synth purists.
On the plus side, you can switch between the filters of all three models of the original Odyssey, and it's available in three finishes, too. Korg will be shifting plenty of these, we reckon.
Read our full Korg ARP Odyssey review
Dave Smith Instruments Sequential Prophet-6
Sequential? Yes, you read that right - Yamaha has given the name back to Dave Smith and he's putting it to use on a sort-of update to the Prophet-5.
With a completely analogue signal path with discrete voltage controlled oscillators, filters, and amplifiers, it certainly bears comparison, though there are some 21st century features, too.
Roland JD-Xi and JD-XA
Rather than go down the wholly old-school route, Roland is seeking to render the whole analogue vs digital debate redundant by putting both types of synthesis in its new JD keyboards.
The JD-Xi was an expected launch, having been leaked earlier in January, but we thought we'd have to wait until Musikmesse to tell you about the JD-XA (pictured above). Not so: this ups the analogue ante by seemingly offering four voices as opposed to the JD-Xi's one, and full-size rather than mini keys.
Read our full Roland JD-Xi review
Read our full Roland JD-XA review
Korg MS-20M Kit
At first glance, another version of the MS-20 might seem a little 'meh', but this new build-it-yourself module comes with various synthesis and connectivity enhancements in comparison to the keyboard versions.
Better still, it also ships with Korg's new hardware step sequencer, the SQ-1, making the relatively high price rather more palatable.
Read our full Korg MS-20M Kit review
Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators
They might look more like pocket calculators than bits of studio gear, but we can confirm that Teenage Engineering's stripped-back PO-12 Rhythm, PO-14 Sub bassline and PO-16 Factory melody synths pack plenty of sonic punch.
Each one has its own sequencer (you can record parameter movements, too) and all three can be sync'd up. Could these slight synths be set to rival those in Korg's Volca range, we wonder?
Read our full Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators review
Akai Timbre Wolf and Tom Cat
Akai's Wolf is back for another bite of the analogue synthesis cherry, this time in the form of a 4-voice creature. Timbre Wolf can be used as four monosynths, in 4-voice unison mode, or as a 4-voice polysynth, with each voice having its own 32-step sequencer.
The Tom Cat, meanwhile, is an analogue drum machine that offers offers kick, snare, hi-hat and clap sounds and chromatically-tunable disco toms.
Can these two devices improve on the Rhythm Wolf, which has had something of a mixed reception so far? We'll find out in due course.
Read our full Akai Timbre Wolf review
Tom Oberheim Two Voice Pro
Tom Oberheim's name has appeared on some classic synths down the years, so it might surprise you to learn that his favourite model was always 1975's Two Voice.
This explains why he's chosen to revive it - with a few twists, naturally. The Two Voice Pro isn't cheap, but it already feels like it could be another slice of synth history.
BUY: Tom Oberheim Two Voice Pro currently available from:
For some, Moog's decision to revive three of its mighty modulars - the System 55, System 35 and Model 15 - will be the one that makes the analogue synth revival complete.
Almost none us will be able to afford them (they're being made in limited numbers anyway) and they're highly inconvenient, but we're still mighty glad to see them back.