Gearjunkies MusikMesse 2009 Roundup

The MusikMesse show is over again, and we’ve spent some quality time in Frankfurt with all the gear lined up ready to play around with. This year’s show was different though, some major players decided not to show and you had to look a bit better to find out what was going on, but there was plenty of new and cool gear to see! Here’s an overview of what we thought was the coolest new gear around.

Not so much big news from the big manufacturers, but loads of news from the smaller companies! It was very good to still see all the developments in hardware-synths going. Just to name a few new: MFB showed us their drum-synthesizer Kraftzwerg and of course the new 522, there was a prototype of Manikin Memotron Rack, OpenLabs brought the D-Beat, a keyboard-less workstation. More drum synthesized sounds from Jomox with their Mbase-11. And of course Akai, bringing in their, a MicroKorg-style little synth with some surprising features. In the end though, we felt most happy with the Doepfer Dark Energy. This is out Synthesizer winner!

The last years plenty of MIDI-controls were released and lots of innovation came along. This year, it looked a little more quiet. We found: Akai bringing an 88-weighted key version of their keyboard controller. Euphonix treated us with a its MC Transport controller for your DAW. And Novation bringing a complete makeover and update to their controllers with a MkII-lineup. These carefully designed and highly usable controllers from Novation are or choice in the MIDI-ware category. Winner is Novation MkII-controllers!

In our database, we have a separate category for soundcards. With all the cross-over devices being released, we are having more and more trouble deciding which new gear we want to call soundcards. But in the end, it’s the gear that ends up in the studio, that puts the sound out of your computer. And with this in mind, the choice is between RME’s FireFace-400 and SSL’s MX4. We really do appreciate RME’s USB-gear; our soundcard-category winner is RME FireFace-400 USB!

For Studio-gear enthusiasts, more and more high-end gear is becoming more and more accessible. This shows in the new gear that was presented in Frankfurt. We found Tascam with their high quality analog mixing desk line-up and of course SSL’s XLogic X-Desk, that ended up to be serious and not an april fool’s joke! Also new for your studio are useful tools from TC Electronic with their BMC-2 and Antelope’s D/A convertors and clock. AnaMod brought their AM670 Stereo Limiter. We like the new SSL-desks it a lot, as it has the project studio so much to offer. Therefore the SSL Xlogic X-Desk is our winner in the Studio/Pro-Audio-category!

Lots of software news is so NAMM, and as such it is so not MusikMesse. There was news though. New software developments come from PreSonus with their Studio One platform, Steinberg bringing The Grand to version 3, Arturia with MiniMoog 2.0. And Rob Papen’s new SubBoomBass softsynth, bringing a dedicated bass synthesizer with surprising new features as a superb package. Overall, Rob Papen’s SubBoomBass is the thing that puts everything together in such a way that it is our Software-category winner!

Entering the DJ-world, the direction is steadily towards Digital DJ-ing. Rane helps us in this direction with the Serator Live 3 audio-interface, Stanton introduces the SCS.3m DaMix controller interface, Reloop marches on with taking Spin! to the next level. Also EKS listened carefully to their users and showing a prototype of a new Otus-controller that replaces the touchpad pitch faders with real faders. Also, Percussa is developing the Audio Cubes as controllers usable with Deck-a-dence, and as such giving you real cool controllers for your performance!

Apart from all this digital DJ-ing, we found some other new piece of gear from Sherman: the Restyler. So much heart and soul has gone in the development of this true analog DJ-filter effect, and you can tell by listening and operating it. By teaming up with Rodec, Sherman could focus even more on making the Restyler as warm and good as it could be. Our DJ-category winner is the Sherman Restyler!

And there you have it.

Now it’s time to play 😉

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