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From the Prophet 12 to Korg’s MS-20 Mini (and King Korg – more on that soon), iConnectMIDI interfaces for your iPad to Arturia ultra-portable keyboards, from analog to digital, from big releases to oddities, CDM has some roving reporters out on the floor of America’s biggest musical instrument trade show, NAMM.

James Grahame, principal engineer behind the MeeBlip, kicks things off. Looking through his photos is a bit like seeing the show through his eyes.

The flagship keyboards you’ve heard of (though Moog-branded water is a surprise). Some of the other good news: the iConnectMIDI4 Plus looks very versatile, indeed, complete with the ability to host USB MIDI devices and bridge them to outboard equipment that doesn’t have USB. Included audio is a bonus; beyond that, James says these cases are rugged steel with powder coating and each a “Swiss Army knife for MIDI connectivity.” You can charge up those iOS gadgets while you’re running, too, taming Apple’s shiny gadgets for serious use.

It may be the anniversary year of MIDI at NAMM, but Control Voltage is everywhere – including on digital gear. So you’ll see Keith McMillen’s upcoming keyboard product connected to an Oberheim SEM.

Arturia has some pint-sized goodies: a new version of their Spark drum machine at US$299, plus an ultra-compact keyboard with wooden end caps for $129 that James says feels solid for its crazy-small size.

I’m intrigued by the reappearance of the Buchla Music Easel, which you see above. More on that soon – $3995 projected list.

But, for now, let’s gawk, shall we?

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  • Igor Warzocha

    Spark LE looking sexy. Veeery sexy. Like a machinedrum for poor :)

    And it could be exactly the thing I always wanted my Maschine to be. An all-in-one (yet simple) drum synth & sample vst. Gotta check it out.

  • markLouis

    One surprise for me is still seeing TINY little screens on these things, and things don’t have little ledges built-in to hold an iPad so that the iPad’s screen could be used as a big screen or touch interface. Keyboards are good. Knobs are good. But big screens are good, too, for pictures explaining what the knobs do and illustrating the changes to waveforms the knobs make.

  • Samuele Cornell

    Wow so many analog synths this year…who would have ever guessed ?….
    Anyway i’m waiting for some fresh news of Bitwig Studio and Ableton live 9.

  • Tim Roberts

    I like the Sparkle/Spark LE pun. Looks interesting. As does the iConnect box. Particularly for laptops with ever decreasing IO.

  • Aura

    I think I could just buy that Moog’s bottle for today.

    • James Grahame

      The water’s free, although they frown if you try to take half a dozen. Or so I hear.

  • Chris Sciurba

    The Prophet 12 really looks lovely.

  • Graham Metcalfe

    Now where’s that winning lottery ticket…

  • Peter Swimm

    Man that iconnect2 product looked awesome to me.. but then i noticed its missing usb host. Decisions to be made in ’13!

    • Peter Kirn

      I’m a bit confused by their lineup – James went and talked to them and they’re definitely still doing USB host on one product. Going to sort out with them. (another reason to be slow and accurate rather than quick and… not!) To me, USB host is definitely a big part of the appeal for their products.

    • James Grahame

      The issue is that USB Host requires a bit more horsepower. The iConnect2 box is a low cost single-chip solution designed for the sub-$100 market. The iConnect4 has all the bells and whistles. If you care about USB Host, it’s a no-brainer.

      I really like the USB audio routing and charging over USB, too. It dramatically simplifies cabling.

  • KBSoundSmith

    The Moog Sub Phatty and the Korg MS 20 are the two that most appeal to me. The sonicstate video on the Sub Phatty in particular has me eyeing that, it seems like a really fine instrument.

    • KBSoundSmith

      Peter K, will you be getting a Moog Sub Phatty for testing? I’d love to see a follow up article on that, similar to the one on the MS 20 (I love your shrine for that, by the way)

  • Jason Duerr

    why you no post booth babes?

    • lukematthewsutton

      I’m assuming your question is serious; that horse-shit has nothing to do with music-tech and the companies that exploit them are idiots.

    • Peter Kirn

      I think he’s joking. 😉

      Anyway, MS-20 mini, golden Moogs, Music Easels — definitely count as booth babes.

    • lukematthewsutton

      Sarcasm on the internet… it’s hard work!

    • pulsn
    • Peter Kirn


    • pulsn

      I am allowed to, cause i preordered a SubPhatty yesterday. 😉

  • samsam

    digital mellotron YAY!!!!

  • Bynar

    I sometimes wonder if there will ever be a new type of synthesis that’s developed. It seems like the last few years of new music tech has been looking to the past (not to say that’s a bad thing).

    • guest

      It’s not a bad thing, but it’s a very safe and conservative and take-no-risks and never step out of line thing. When you read how KORG was punished for every innovation they tried to make, their MS20 is sensible.

  • fractured

    I’m waiting for Arturia’s Brute. You don’t name something “mini” without making a regular or “Maxi.”

  • Jeffwry

    “I’m intrigued by the reappearance of the Buchla Music Easel, which you see above. More on that soon – $3995 projected list.”

    “Soon” has come and gone. Make with the Buchla post.