NAMM is only a couple of days away and we’ve already had Korg and Arturia explode with premature releases. But what else could be coming up? What huge secrets are being hidden behind the poker faces of synthesizer makers and manufacturers? Here’s what I think.
Arturia announces MiniBrute for Eurorack
What struck me with the whole MiniBrute 2 and RackBrute releases was how nicely the entire synth voice panel would drop straight into their RackBrute case. Although, perhaps not quite because of the really annoying 5HP unnecessary power module. In my mock-up, I’ve simply removed it. It would fit fine in anyone else’s rack and in the 6U one of course. Alternatively, they could try to shave 5U off somewhere, but then they’d have to be producing different boards and front panels. Maybe that’s why they haven’t gone for it yet. Anyway, of all my predictions this is the one that would surprise me the least. Could be called the MiniBrute 2E or the EuroBrute. And hopefully, it will make way for a whole range of Arturia Eurorack modules.
Roland new range of multi-function ACB based Eurorack modules
The Aira range of Eurorack modules were well regarded but a little on the fat and wide side and seem to be more or less discontinued. Roland is always intent on combining analogue sound with digital trickery and so I think they are cooking up another go at the Eurorack format. It would come in the shape of a vanilla Eurorack module, half the width of the Demora/Scooper/Torcido/Bit Razer. Using their ACB technology it could become a single component from any of their Boutique synths. The oscillator from the SH-101, the filter from the Jupiter 8, the kick drum from the TR-808. Maybe they could be switched in software. Essentially you could end up building a custom Roland synthesizer by buying a bundle of a half a dozen modules. And then you could change them into something else. Make it bluetoothable to an iPhone and you wouldn’t even have to take it out of the rack.
Yamaha reintroduces the CS-80
Everybody wants it. It’s really the only big of vintage Yamaha hardware that anyone is interested in. There’s FM synthesis all over the place and Arturia has modelled the DX7 – the CS-80 is the only thing Yamaha could do that anyone would care about. With Deckard’s Dream stealing all the thunder at a whopping $3500 Yamaha could put out some kind of hardware version, with all the controls and all the sound for £500. The world would lose its mind. They should just do it – don’t change a thing – don’t hybrid it with some digital nonsense, just keep it completely real. It’s the only thing Yamaha can do to get back into the synthesizer business.
Moog go full Eurorack
Following on from the Mother-32 and the DFAM Moog are going to launch directly into the Eurorack format by releasing a swathe of modules pulled from their back catalogue of synthesis technology. Could they reimage the System 55, System 35 and Model 15 into Eurorack? Certainly, all of us would love authentic ladder filters, oscillators, and Mooger Fooger processors in our systems. They’ve already released a couple of 500 Series modules – Eurorack is not much of step away from that.
Someone launches a desktop Eurorack mixer
Less of a prediction and more of a personal wish. I need a desktop mixer for my modular system. You can use regular mixers but they seem to be over-speced and take up a load of desktop. And there are some “performance” style mixers in Eurorack modules but they tend to use up a load of hp. What I would like is a mixer designed for Eurorack that can sit in a desktop case. So it would have minjack inputs, set to Eurorack levels. The faders would be those LED sliders and it would need Mute and Solo buttons. A couple of send/returns would be useful, as would some CV control over level. It would have an input channel for microphone and guitar, and an output section with line and headphones. USB would take the whole lot into your DAW and a row of DC Coupled outputs could complete the circuit and offer a route for DAW-based modulation. It could, of course, be rackable as well, but doesn’t have to be. That would be awesome.
The closest thing to it I can find is the WMD Performance Mixer. So if they could squeeze in solo buttons, stick in a USB powered case with drivers for your DAW and DC Coupled outputs, and maybe up the channel count to 16 – that would be awesome, thanks.
How about you? What are you hoping or expecting to see emerge at NAMM over the next couple of days? To keep up with our coverage hang out on our NAMM 2018 news page.