Technology

Loudest's Top 5 Synthesizers at NAMM 2018

By Ankit Chugh
February 12, 2018
Loudest's Top 5 Synthesizers at NAMM 2018
This edition of NAMM was a mixed bag for Synth enthusiasts with the show unveiling some hi-tech music gear and the absence of Moog and Dave Smith Instruments. Moog did, however, take over a suburban house to provide a breath-taking installation 'Moog House of Electronicus' for everyone celebrating the release of DFAM (Drummer from Another Mother). Elektron, Waldorf and Korg too displayed some amazing new gear. But this year was more about the products that were released by startups and lesser-known manufacturers and a few old favourites re-imagined. We zeroed down to the five best synthesisers at NAMM 2018! 1. DECKARD'S DREAM by The Black Corporation The Black Corporation has released their Yamaha CS-80 inspired Deckard's Dream Synthesizer at this year's NAMM. Roman Filipov (President, The Black Corporation) has painstakingly recreated one of the most sought-after synths of all time. [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yM1Zt6SDGPs[/embedyt] It comes in at a fraction of the price, cost and weight of the original. With 8-voices and controls comparable to the original, this keyboard matches the lush sounds of its predecessor. It is available in either a pre-built or DIY form. The built version is available for $3759 and takes three months to assemble. 2. BLIPBLOX by Playtime Engineering Your first impression of this gear would be somewhat timid and be thinking of it as a gimmick. Dig deep, and you will find that even though it has been built for ages 3 and above, it is a serious synth for adults. [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s98te0b4bo[/embedyt] Blipblox treats you to eight unique oscillator modulation schemes, a low-pass filter, two EGs, two LFOs and a 3-in/3-out modulation matrix. Sounds about right? You can pre-order it here. 3. PROLOGUE by Korg Korg has been on a roll since Tatsuya Takahashi created the beauty that Minilogue is. Adding to the existing '-Logue' family is the new Analogue synth 'Prologue'. They have created a new filter for the Prologue with a dedicated drive circuit. With the low-frequency compressor on the 16-voice version, you can keep the low end intact while using the overdrive. In addition to the single-timbre mode, it also features a dual-timbre, layer and crossfade mode to offer even more performance potential. [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Da818LAtyc[/embedyt] It is available in two forms - eight-voice 49-key prologue-8 ($1499), and the 16-voice 61-key prologue-16 ($1999), with the latter having a low-frequency compressor on it. With the release of Prologue, Korg has now created a direct rival for DSI's Prophet REV2 that is also available in an 8-voice or a 16-voice version. But we are not complaining! Keep'em coming! 4. DIGITONE by Elektron After winning our hearts with the Digitakt and the updates to its existing line of gear - Analog Four, Analog Rytm MKII and Octatrack MKII, Elektron still managed to pull off another stunning surprise! Digitone is their vision of how FM synthesis can be modernised. It combines FM sound generation with a classic subtractive synthesis signal flow. [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UokYcgEKupQ[/embedyt] 8-voice polyphonic Digital Synthesizer with four synth tracks and 4 MIDI tracks, each synth track having a four-operator FM synth with eight different algorithms, a polyphonic step-sequencer, various send effects, two-LFOs and Elektron's famous trig conditions all boxed up in a sturdy steel casing, and all for $739 is a mammoth in disguise! 5. MINIBRUTE 2 & 2S by Arturia Personally, I decided to go for this one over the Waldorf Quantum and STVC because the practicality and the amount of effort Arturia are putting in their synthesisers and other products around it, including the Beatstep Pro, RackBrute, Arturia Collection VI and more. After the gigantic Matrixbrute and focusing on the future of analogue synthesisers, it was vital for them to focus on their most popular product - The MiniBrute! With two Brute oscillators and the popular Steiner-Parker filter, the MiniBrute 2 synthesiser builds on everything synthesists loved about the original. [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEupaL034dM[/embedyt] With two envelopes (one ADSR and one looping AD) and two LFOs, a built-in sequencer and arpeggiator, a keyboard with assignable aftertouch, sync support and most importantly a 48-point CV for extensive modulation capabilities and Eurorack integration, Arturia means business. Taking the vast sound design potential of MiniBrute 2 and supercharging it with an advanced, triple-layered step sequencer lead the MiniBrute 2S. Both Priced at $649, they sit nicely between the OG MiniBrute and MatrixBrute. Which one are you most excited about?   
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