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Summer Namm 2005, Indianapolis, IN


S90ES The Perfect Balance of Synthesizer and Piano  More info


  • 88-key balanced hammer action with aftertouch
  • Complete MOTIF ES Wave ROM
  • 32MB S700 Acoustic Piano with Sound Board Simulation FX
  • 128-polyphony, 8 Part-ins effect, reverb, mastering, & master EQ
  • MIDI master keyboard functions
  • Full function remote control for DAW/VST software
  • Half-damper (requires FC3 pedal)
  • 3 PLG slots
  • Optional mLAN16E card to turn your S90 ES into a multi-channel ASIO soundcard

Tweak:    I highlighted some interesting features with my yellow pen here.  The full Motif Rom without all the other stuff the Motif has that you might not need is attractive to me.


SP 404 Portable Power Sampler with FX  Order info

  • 12 large pads, three control knobs, jumbo display, same friendly operation as SP-303
  • 29 effects, including new Subsonic, BPM Looper, and more
  • Built-in microphone for quick sampling
  • CD-quality sound
  • Expanded sampling time
  • 12-voice polyphony
  • Realtime loop recording
  • Sample-editing tools
  • Import/export WAV/AIF via CompactFlash card slot; supports up to 1GB card
  • Runs on battery or AC power

Tweak: did you catch that it supports a 1 gig compact flash slot?  Could be a lot of fun!


Korg D3200 Digital Recording Studio Order Info

The first 32-track digital recording studio designed to deliver professional quality at an affordable price.
• Exclusive Session Drums™ feature works in conjunction with our Knob Matrix, allowing you to intuitively create realistic drum tracks.
• The recorder engine features uncompressed 24- or 16-bit recording / playback at 48 or 44.1 kHz, with up to 69-bit internal processing.
• Record up to 272 tracks (including 8 virtual tracks per track), all with sophisticated digital editing functionality.
• Record up to twelve tracks at once, using 12 balanced 1/4” inputs – 8 are also equipped with XLR inputs and individual phantom power. A convenient guitar input jack is also provided for guitarists.
• The powerful, flexible 12 bus, 44-channel mixer offers a four-band EQ on channel 1 through 24, and a master four-band EQ as well.
• Automated mixing lets you record and play back fader, pan and other mixer events. In addition, 100 scene memories provide more detailed automation. Mixer parameters may also be controlled via MIDI.
• The Knob Matrix, ClickPoint™, and cursor keys provide quick and intuitive operation. The high-resolution 320 x 240 pixel tilt-up LCD uses four-level grayscale shading and backlit illumination for enhanced visibility, providing a clear and easily understandable display.
• A total of eleven high-quality effects can be used simultaneously as inserts, master, and final effects, and are easily controlled via the Knob Matrix.
• High-capacity 40 GB internal hard drive
Built-in CD-RW, Master Track and Album CD Project features allow you to produce a production-ready CD with ease.
• USB 2.0 connectivity allows a smooth exchange of data with your computer-based DAW software. Use the PC drive partition on the internal hard disk to share data with your computer.

Tweak: What is great here, from my perspective, is 24 bit recording at a more reasonable price, almost half of what the big recorders cost.  The fine print says it can record 12 tracks simultaneously at 24 bit resolution.  Price is here


MicroTrack 24/96MicroTrack 24/96  Order Info

  • 2-channel WAV and MP3 recording and playback for pro recording, meetings, training, education and worship

  • battery-operated; storage via convenient CompactFlash or microdrives

  • immediate drag-and-drop file transfer to PC and Mac via USB 2.0 mini-connector 

  • balanced 1/4” TRS inputs with line inputs and phantom-powered mic preamps

  • S/PDIF digital input; RCA and 1/8” headphone monitoring outputs

Tweak:  Just the thing, perhaps, for location recording at hi resolution, which has been quite expensive till now.  This tool will list at around $499.  If you hear one, let me know. 

Pro Tools M-Powered   Order Info

Pro Tools M-Powered

  • session compatibility with countless Pro Tools-equipped project and professional studios around the world

  • designed for select M-Audio interfaces to create compact desktop and mobile multi-channel studios

  • huge selection of optional plug-ins and applications available from Digidesign, Digidesign Development Partners, and M-Audio

Tweak: You can now run ProTools on M-audio interfaces, something that will mean there will soon be a lot more pro tools users.


Winter Namm 2005-- Anaheim, CA

New powerful, products galore. For a change we are seeing a lot of truly new products and technologies rather than repackages of last year's stuff. That is encouraging. Hi Bandwidth DAW connectivity is everywhere, even in many budget mixers. Workstations now record audio and have multiple types of synthesis under the hood. Color displays in abundance. Synth have massive ROMs and polyphony has gone through the roof. One would have thought the synth and module markets might have withered away with the current extreme poliferation of software synths working inside DAWs. But no, the hardware synthmakers are fighting back. Heck, they are going after the DAW concept itself by adding multi-track audio recording and massive processing power to their keyboards.


The Korg OASYS Info

Here's Korg's big gun of the decade. There is so much to this uh, "workstation" if that term still fits, that I won't even attempt to spec it out. Korg Says "OASYS contains three complete synthesis engine algorithms for your audio palette: the HD-1 High Definition PCM synth plus two EXi Expansion Instruments - the AL-1 Analog Modeling Synth and the CX-3 Modeled Tonewheel Organ."

616 MG rom, The HD-1 section has 172 voices and the analog modeler has 84. There is six times the power in the FX dept, compared to the Triton. 16 track audio recording integrated with a 16 track MIDI sequencer. Wavesequences (ala the Wavestation) are back. The Karma GE engine is here too, all cooly displayable on a 10.4" color touchscreen. Tweak: This is mind-numbing compared to the Triton, perhaps the ultimate synth of all time. You can bet I'll be in line to play this one. If you need this much power, it's here! It will be quite interesting to see what spins off the OASYS. OASYS LE, anyone? It will also be interesting to see what happens to the Triton.


The V-Synth XT Order Info

Who said big modules were gone for good? No this is not a softsynth, but a turn for hardware. Many of us got a little worried when we saw the XV5080 replaced by the slimmed down Fantom XR. The V-Synth XT returns Roland to its massive box glory. It has user sampling, elastic-audio manipulation, and analog-synth modeling, and the XT comes pre-installed with Roland’s VC-1 (D-50 emulator) and VC-2 (Vocal Designer). Tweak: Looking awesome. The biggest problem with the keyboard V-Synth for me is that I would have no where to put it. But there is always room for a classy rack module. The onboard D50 emulator is a nice surprise. Heh, about 7 years ago on one of these pages I wrote "the day we come back with nostalgia to the cheesy PCM samples in LA synthesis is when we know sample playback has run its course". Ok, its not word for word, but that's what I meant to say. And indeed, it is suddenly like the whole industry has woken up to supplement sample playback with alternative synthesis modes.

Fantom X Audio Track Expansion Upgrade

They had to do it. Everyone else is, even Alesis. Yet, the Fantom looks like it will be the first keyboard workstation to cross the perilous gulf from sampling to multi track recording. 8 tracks. Free upgrade if you bought your Fantom X after Jan 1. Nice! It's cool, the Fantom X has a lot of miles left in it's gear trajectory. The X series was already a great deal, now it enters sainthood for synths. Suddenly though, next to the OASYS, the Fantom appears more humble.

Yet don't let comparisions with the latest and greatest sway you too much. The Fantom is a great way to build compositions with or without a DAW. Plug in your mics and guitar and wail it.


Alesis Fusion Keyboard Workstation Order info

A new MIDI flagship from Alesis, in 61 and 88 key versions. The Fusion 4 types of synthesis--sample playback, virtual analog, FM and Physical Modeling. It also boasts 8 track 24 bit recording and user sampling. Eventually, the board can be outfitted with a SATA hard drive, DVD burner or a CDR and can hold up to 192 MB of memory. Tweak: Ok, it looks like every company has to have keyboards with audio recording. What up, are they all following each other? But I am willing to wager the other multi synthesis/audio recording offerings won't be as inexpensive as the Alesis Fusion. You also get a 32 track midi sequencer, 120 MB waveform rom and up to 180 voices of sample playback. I am impressed. Here's more specs.

Hmm, watch for deals on the older QS line.

MultiMix Mixers now have Firewire More info

There's 8, 12, and 16 channel versions with "multi-channel" firewire. Onboard FX. Tweak: Looks like the Firewire A\D and D\A tops out at 24bit/48k. Good for the home rig.

M1 Active 520 and 620 info

These are active nearfields with 5" and 6.5" woofers respectively. There are EQ switches that allow you to tailor the sound for adding a sub later.


Motif Rack ES More Info

The upgraded Motif Rack now offers a 175 MB waveform rom (compared to the previous 85MB), 128 notes of polyphony and more. Will take 2 PLG modular synthesis boards and a built in USB midi interface. See, Yamaha has had alternative synthesis ofr years already. While it might not look as impressive as some of the new pieces above, you can bet it is a module of tremendous power and at an affordable price.


Voice Pro Professional Voice Processor Info

Alogorithms can manipulate pitch, time and character. 4 voice harmony and "transducer" modeling for emulating voice over phone, radio and megaphones. Tweak: Looks great with a large color display. Balanced analog and AES/EBU digital I/O. Has Ethernet connectors, word clock and an RS-232 port. Estimated list price of $3495. Let's see, if I can remember how to ride a bike... Of course gear of this caliber is for the pro studio, so most of you guys can just stop looking at it OK?


FX series Mixing Consoles (16, 24 and 32 channel) Info

4 busses with inserts, dual USB ports that go to a computer and a memory stick. Features MP3 compression. 4 band EQ, Effects onboard, hi gain/low noise preamps. Tweak: Looks good for studio as well as live use. If you have a band that records this could be the ticket.


R-1 Portable 24 bit WAVE Recorder and Player More Info

24 bit/44.1. Has an MP3 mode for long recordings. Connects by USB 2.0 and saves onto compact flash. Tweak: No Tape or discs means quiet recordings. Has internal mics or can use an external stereo mic on a 1/8th inch miniplug. Could be an easy way to make samples on the run. Also see the R-4 which can connect 4 XLR mics and has onboard phantom power and a hard drive.

FA-66 6 channel Portable Firewire Interface Info

The FA-66 has 2 mic pres on combo inputs with phantom power and 2 RCA inputs. 4 balanced outs with s/pdif I/O as well. Bus powered. Metal construction. Tweak: This one is going to win a lot of hearts with the laptop crowd. I like it already. Maybe I will finally be able to shut up about my reservations on laptop recording. That would be cool.


Truth B2092A 360 watt Studio Subwoofer More Info

Tweak: Linear bass down to 32Hz. This will help many of us with small 5 and 6 inch nearfields. If it sounds good they have a winner. There aren't enough inexpensive studio-quality subs out there, and this helps stir the competiion.

MicroHD 2 channel Hum Destroyer

Breaks up ground loops and converts unbalanced to balanced at the same time, for a suggested list of $24.99 USD. That's a lot cheaper than the ones you can find now. Tweak: Deal! I'll take 6! Just the thing for those old humming synths you have. Heck, at this price you can get one for every unbalanced piece you own. Listen your garbage gear turn into fresh hum-free garbage again! Due 2nd quarter 2005. But wait longer to order one. I get the first batch.

Summer Namm 2004--Nashville


MultiMix Mixers with USB Audio

  • _ 8USB and 12USB have 4 high-gain mic/line.
  • _16 USB has 8 high-gain mic/line (XLR and 1/4” balanced) inputs with phantom power, 2 stereo balanced 1/4” line inputs, aux send (can send to onboard or external effects), stereo aux return
  • _100 28-bit onboard preset effects including reverbs, delays, chorus, flanging, pitch and multi-effects
  • _3-band EQ per channel with high/low shelving and mid band pass/reject
  • _Separate 1/4” balanced main and monitor outs, headphone out
  • _Integrated USB Port to transfer audio directly between the MultiMix USB mixer and your computer
  • _16-bit stereo simultaneous inputs and outputs over USB
  • _ No drivers required
  • _Plug and play operation under Windows and Mac OS

Tweak:  The interesting thing here is the USB transfer to computers.

photonPhoton X25
USB/MIDI Keyboard Controller with Audio

_Revolutionary Axyz Controller Dome with 3D control over audio effects and virtual instruments
_Complete MIDI control with ten 360° endless knobs, ten buttons, and three active layers for over sixty immediately accessible controls
_24-bit, 44.1/48 kHz Audio with balanced, stereo audio inputs and outputs
_25-key, velocity-sensitive keyboard and great-feeling, full-size Pitch and Modulation wheels
_LCD screen with dedicated encoder for fast and easy setup
_Easy template placement for instruments and DAWs
_20 editable, storable configurations
_Three-way power:
  o USB Bus Power
  o External Adapter (Optional)
 o 4 C-size batteries (Optional)
  o Windows and Mac OS Ready




Roland proudly announces the Juno-D — the most competitively priced and full-featured synthesizer in its class. Hundreds of new radio-ready sounds are packed into the Juno-D’s jet-black metal chassis, along with a world-class array of expressive multi-effects, realtime performance controllers, and tools for groove creation and composition. Considering how much power it packs for such little cash, the new Juno redefines the phrase “bang for the buck.”

  • Affordable 61-note synthesizer with 64-note polyphony, improved keyboard feel, and GM2 compatibility
  • 768 newly programmed radio-ready Patches, 22 Rhythm Sets, and 40 Performance memory provided
  • Patches organized in categories such as Piano, Guitar, Orchestra, etc.
  • Two Tones can be assigned to each Patch, and can be split or layered
  • 47 multi-effects, eight reverb types, 8 chorus types
  • Powerful arpeggiator, with 400 phrase/arpeggio templates for instant sonic animation
  • 24 Multi Chord memory for one-finger chord triggering; 32 Rhythm Guide metronome with preset patterns and variations
  • D Beam controller and front-panel control knobs for expressive performance
  • Mac/PC editing software included

Tweak: Looking like a great synth at a reasonable price.    More Info






The E-MU® 0404 Digital Audio System delivers everything you need to produce audio on a PC at a breakthrough price - pristine 24-bit/96kHz converters, hardware-accelerated effects and mixing, and seamless compatibility with your favorite PC audio/sequencer software. The E-MU 0404 Digital Audio System offers the same hardware acceleration as the rest of E-MU's Digital Audio Systems, providing you with professional sound quality and powerful DSP an affordable price.

The E-MU 0404 features:

  • Pristine 24-bit, 96kHz converters that deliver an amazing 111dB (A/D) and 116dB (D/A) SNR and Dynamic Range
  • Flexible connectivity with 1/4" analog I/O, optical and coaxial 24/96 S/PDIF I/O, and MIDI I/O for seamless integration with your entire studio
  • 32 Channels of zero latency Hardware Mixing/ Monitoring with super-flexible virtual patchbay - no external mixer needed
  • Full compatibility with most popular audio/sequencer applications with ultra-low latency WDM, DirectSound® and ASIO 2.0 Drivers
  • Powerful software studio package


Other new products


more info at

AutoSampler is the new revolutionary software dedicated to the automatic advanced sampling of midi instruments.

Designed to be a creative tool for bridging the gap between high quality hardware synths and the virtual studio world AutoSampler creates ready to play Exs24 instruments just by connecting your mac to a midi sound source. Through the use of a suited host program as Logic, it's also possible to sample virtual instruments. The more advanced features let you create instruments that switch/fade between keymaps sampled with varying synthesis parameters. It's also possible to create very complex sounds from multiple synth sources, using graphic mix volume envelopes to dynamically composite the different layers of sound. 

Tweak:  if you are running Logic's EXS and have synths and drum machines in the studio closets, bring them out and add their instruments to your EXS library. 



The UA-25 is a powerful USB Audio/MIDI interface designed to offer premium sound quality, rugged durability, and complete portability to the computer-based audio engineer. The UA-25 is compact enough to travel anywhere you can take your computer. It is designed using high-grade aluminum for the chassis, which offers two benefits: 1) The UA-25 can withstand hard impacts that are normally associated with traveling or working in the field, and 2) The aluminum is an excellent shield against high-frequency interference from other electrical components. The UA-25 is USB Powered, so you never have to plug it into a wall socket, but it manages to power condenser microphones with 48V Phantom Power. The Seasoned audio professional will love the UA-25 for its ability to output audio at +4dBu from the balanced 1/4” outputs, making it the best portable audio interface to pack between the field and the studio.




TASCAM unveils a major update to the most powerful software-sampling program of all time, GigaStudio™ 3.0. With a complete overhaul of all of the main functions, several major enhancements including a sleek ergonomic UI and the addition of many completely new features, GS3 is touted to become one of the most highly anticipated software music products ever.

This new version, a from-the-ground-up rewrite of the original application, adds dozens of new features for composers, sound designers and music producers. Available in three versions – Orchestra, Ensemble and Solo – it offers up to unlimited polyphony, 96kHz/24-bit sample support, ReWire support, VST FX, and GigaPiano 2, real-time convolution and a new look and feel to maintain GigaStudio's presence at the forefront of the sampling market. And it retains the features that made it the professional choice for sampling, such as disk streaming, the lowest latency of any sampler and the best sound libraries in the world.

more info at



Ableton proudly presents Live's most significant release to date: Live 4. This release extends Live's real-time music-making approach to the complete range of today's music production techniques.

In Live 4, you will find a complete and inspiring approach to MIDI sequencing, pattern recording, drag-and-drop sampling, virtual instruments and MIDI hardware support. We have also made substantial extensions and enhancements to existing functionality, including such features as swing/groove for audio and MIDI clips, a powerful new channel-routing scheme, simplified recording, sample reverse, and several exciting new creative options for the Session View.

Tweak: I'll see you in the upgrade line at Ableton

more info



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