Frankfurt Musikmesse 2013 Round-up Part 1

Here’s the first of two MusicTech Frankfurt 2013 round-ups. Next week we’ll look at all things recording but now Senior Editor Andy Jones gets synthy…

Frankfurt’s Musikmesse is the biggest trade in the world for new music equipment releases so the event to attend and report on in the Music Tech calendar. Essentially it’s where we find out what we’re going to be reviewing for you and the readers of Music Tech magazine for the rest of the year. It’s three days of walking, discovering amazing new gear, more walking, Frankfurters, more walking and the odd beer.

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Musikmesse is bigger than January’s US-based NAMM show (although it is reportedly decreasing in size) and this year it certainly had the more exciting releases if, like you me, you like a good synth to play. Music Tech’s Mike Hillier was also at the show and brings you the low down on recording equipment here  but, for now, here’s an overview of the knob-twiddling stuff from MusikMesse 2013…

Like the Jetsons
It’s my 18th Frankfurt in 20 years and the show remains largely unchanged in atmosphere from when I first attended – indeed we’ll see that some of this year’s new releases could well have appeared a couple of decades ago as well. The show is spread by musical instrument category over several halls the size of aircraft hangars. You glide between them on moving walkways a bit like a future vision from the 1970s (with a soft rock soundtrack from the 80s). We’re interested mostly in halls 5 (keyboards), 5.1 (hi-tech and recording), and the 4s (live, recording, guitar tech) but I spend most of my time in Hall 5.1 where most of the synths just happen to be…

We already knew of a couple of huge releases before we even got to the show. Novation unveiled the analogue BassStation 2 in all its glory and we got a few private moments with it (see the videos here) and it certainly looks and sounds like an exciting update, albeit nearly two decades on from the original.

But, there again, time means nothing in the world of synths because ‘analogue’ is now very much the message even though, back in the 80s and 90s, digital was all the rage and virtually replaced the analogue machines that had defined the sound of the synth. Novation is certainly not alone in this rekindling of the analogue synth and there were many more examples at Musikmesse 2013 including the Schmidt eight voice synth. It’s not exactly new – the prototype was on display here a couple of years back – but rumours of proper production persist despite needing a $25,000 price tag. And it looks so good we just had to include it…

 

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But if you want something more within your price range and hot off the press, you can always trust Korg to do the business and this year is certainly no exception, as we shall see…

 

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