Gearjunkies MusikMesse Roundup

We are back from the 2008 edition of Frankfurts MusikMesse. There was plenty of interesting news to check out there, and we had gave it a day to come down to a roundup of what we thought was the best of the new gear.

First of all on the synthesizer front. We were glad to see Waldorf at the show with it’s Blofeld synth, and hope to keep seeing more from the legendary Waldorf in the future! Then there was Akai’s MPC5000 to play with. Cool! Apart from some update-style synthnews from Roland (Juno-D with piano?) and Yamaha, we were anxiously waiting to be surprised by Clavia. It was a bit disappointing to see a limited Nord being unveiled though…but after all of this, we did find another new hardware synthesizer at the show that we liked a lot: the Arturia Origin. A modular synthesizer capable of very cool sounds, with a step sequencer and nice user interface. The Arturia Origin is Gearjunkies Synth Winner.

Arturia Origin

Back in the Studio we found cool hi-end gear being displayed. Innovation in the studio is brought by a completely different kind of gear than in other areas. We liked the new SSL Matrix mixing console a lot. Also, the Bricasti M7 reverb impressed us a lot. But mainly because it’s cool, we award the Gearjunkies Studio/Pro Audio winner to AnaMod ATS-1 Audio Tape Simulator.

AnaMod ATS-1 Audio Tape Simulator

On the soundcard-front, we are having more and more problems of identifying what we can actually call a soundcard these days! Let’s round up some of the news we found here: Duende PCI, SonicCore DSP platform (taking on the spirit of Creamware but bringing it into 2008), MOTU 828mk3 (even finer now!), M-Audio’s Ultra8R USB audio interface, but also PreSonus’ FireStudio Tube. Another development that has to be mentrioned is Steinberg’s MR816(CS)X interfaces, specifically designed for working with Cubase. But we decided that the one thing to be most innovating and containing the highes gearjunk-factor would have to be SSL MADI Xtreme PCI, taking this hi-end technology into project studio range. Sweet 😉


New Music-software started out with Celemony Melodyne and their Direct Note Access, making it possible to extract notes from an audio fragment. Impressive. A new softsynth that we liked was the forthcoming Circle by FutureAudioWorkshop, trying to get some sense back into controlling your sonic adventures;). And then there were lots of updates and bundles, among which we like to mention Arturia Analog Factory Experience (including a MIDI keyboard). Winner here is Celemony Melodyne’s Direct Note Access. Wow!

Celemony Melodyne Direct Note Access

This year, MusikMesse decided to move the DJ-gear to another floor. Here, surrounded by noise and female representatives of various firms (link) is where we found lots of new gear, mainly focussed at the so called Digital DJ. “Traditonal” gear would have to be the new Dateq XTC-II and Allen&Heath Xone:42. Some of the new DJ-software and controllers are Ecler Evo4 (crossover mixer/controller), Denon S120/S5500 (crossover djdeck/controller) and Vestax VCI-300. One of the controllers got our special attention though, the EKS Otus. Because of its very well thought out design and features. And it’s nice looks. The DJ category winner is the EKS Otus.

EKS Otus

At the show, there were so many new MIDI controllers around. Some of them dedicated to specific software, others more generic. Steinberg introduced the cc121-controller for dedicated Cubase control. Nice! Novation showed it Nocturn controller, very smart and usable. Also noticable in MIDI-gear is the cross-over between DJ gear and gear for the (performing) electronic musician. We do want to mention the Vestax VMC-600 MIDI controller in this context. But we were mostly impressed by the Percussa AudioCubes. MIDI control takes another form and taking some of these on stage will definately change your performance bigtime! Gearjunkies’ MIDI winner is Percussa AudioCubes.

Percussa Audiocubes

Thanks manufacturers for coming up with so many new gear and thanks MusikMesse for the show. Until next year!


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