Musikmesse 2012: live from the show floor
21st Mar 2012 | 10:13
The show is go
Welcome to our rolling Musikmesse 2012 gallery, in which you’ll find the latest photos, hands-on tests and oddities from the show floor.
If you want to browse all of our Frankfurt coverage, make sure you check out our Musikmesse 2012 hub; for live updates from the team on the floor, keep it right here.
As ever, the Roland stand is awash with new products...
It's still a little early to talk about the just-announced Jupiter-50 given that it's officially unveiled at 2:30pm Frankfurt time today, but we couldn't help spotting one on the demo stage (it's yet to appear on the show floor).
First impressions? It's certainly slimmer than the bulky 80 and a quick glance at the back panel shows it's missing pro features such as the XLR outs that are on the 80. At first glance, however, you'd mistake the two as being identical, given that they share the same large six-octave-plus keyboard and famous 'rainbow of fruit flavours' button arrangements.
Size wise it's a little shallower and certainly a much thinner wedge shape. Weight? The nice stage guard wouldn't let us pick it up...
The 50 also has a smaller screen without the 80's rotaries below (there are now eight push buttons instead) and the distinctive below-the-keyboard edge buttons of the 80 - used to step through patches and performances - have now been deemed surplus to requirements
Similarly biting the dust is the 'pipe organ' button that so pleased us on the 80. Shame.
WATCH: Roland Jupiter-50
Roland's new technology enables you to wirelessly record audio from the company's latest hardware to your iOS device.
Is it as powerful as its amps, we wonder?
Casio got back into the synth game at NAMM 2012, and it's consolidating in Frankfurt.
Clavia Nord Electro 4D
New from nord, a beautiful, typically well-buil electric piano/organ. Physical drawbars give fast tweaking to one of the best virtual B3 emulations in the business, and the waterfall keys give a firm to the touch spring that gives way beautifully.
And that nice discoloured smokey jazz club hint of nicotine to the patina gives them a further hint of authenticity.
Sound-wise, the Nord engine is as strong as ever.
READ: Nord Electro 4D unveiled
WATCH: Clavia Nord Electro 4D
New Korg microKeys
Joining last year's popular microKey 37 come new 25- and 61--note flavours for 2012. The 37 was an ideal quick-fix portable keyboard, but its one major shortcoming was that it was too power-hungry to be used solo with an iPad. This is something Korg has fixed for the new 25 and even the sizey, not-very-micro 61.
Both now - with the use of an appropriate interface - can be powered from a ’Pad.
The 61 is pretty lengthy and shares the same curved back panel stylings as the 37 original. Keyboard action is identical and playing with two hands on a bus is now possible. Let's just hope Korg makes some kind of special carry case to slip this thin, ever so slightly flexible, ’wand’ into.
Both the 25 and the 61 offer the same two additional USB ports that are ideal for additional dongles and - great news - the 61 comes complete with Korg's brilliant (but slightly under-appreciated) Legacy collections, both Analogue and Digital.
Highlight of the 25, however, is its new joystick controller, a small thumb stick nubbin with a short throw and a soft foam bed and springy support. There's are the familiar octave switch buttons, but pitch and mod are now on the tiny stick, freeing up room for an arpeggiator button with selectable patterns, and a sustain button, too.
Akai MPC Renaissance
Drawing the same kind of crowd at Messe as it did at NAMM is the MPC Renaissance. The demo unit (and demo) were the same but - news just in - thanks to comments from Akai's legion of users who checked it out at the NAMM show, Akai is changing the design of the pads to - you guessed it - make them even more like those of the original MPCs.
Currently, the Renaissance has clear pads with a silver silk screen print on the top. This allows the side of the pads to be clear and give a strong backlit glow.
However, it seems that this glow was too much for some hardcore users and is being reined in, with only the bottom mm of the pad being clear on the production model (not on display), with a full, solid grey MPC rubber pad on the top. Sounds like good news to us.
Akai MPC Fly
...And finally let out from its Perspex cube is the Akai MPC Fly. Now in luscious red. What's it like? Sorry folks: it's still just a prototype with no working demo on offer. Bah.
Pioneer's RMX-1000 Remix Station is making its debut in Frankfurt. David Guetta has already taken to Twitter to say that he's a fan.
WATCH: Pioneer RMX-1000
Pioneer RMX-1000 plug-in
The VST plug-in for the RMX lets you put (and program) the RMX effects onto your DAW tracks. It looks the same, has the same sounds etc.
It's important that they don't need each other, though: the RMX hardware can work without having a computer present, and likewise you don't need to use the RMX hardware (and audio ins and outs) to get the effects in your DAW.
Les Paul lust
Gratuitous Les Paul porn on display at the Musikmesse Vintage Show.
Trust us. It sounds better than it looks. This overgrown Game Boy (in fetching grey and pink) is a remarkably accomplished music making device - despite some dubious styling and a slightly creaky plastic build.
The sound is all digital, samples and dual oscillator virtual analogue and FM, but it's powerful, and a wise choice of dubstep and techno themed soundbanks and demos is keeping the crowds fixated, if a little baffled.
Programming the KDJ-1 is unlike anything else; a mix of prodding the remarkably responsive, clear and bright 5-inch touchscreen and jockeying the gamepad-style controls and small, backlit hexagonal buttons.
Essentially it's a beat-based composer with the layering, combining and arranging of patterns forming songs. There are six tracks per pattern and four patterns can be layered, giving a total of 24 tracks at any one time. Alongside that is 64-note polyphony.
There are multiple, bright, colourful screens for mixing, beat programming and adjusting synth parameters. The red dial in the middle of the unit is a continuous rotary that enables you to physically turn things up and down.
It soon makes sense to highlight notes on the screen with a finger prod, then tap them up and down and around with the Dpad. This is unlike any DAW you've ever used, but the ability to have the KDJ appear as a plug-in in your tried and tested full-scale studio means that getting your KDJ tunes out of the unit and taking them to the next level won't be a headache.
And despite its 80s retro corners and casing, it sits well in the hand and the built-in rechargeable battery pack will run for four hours.
Price? Yours for a slightly eye-watering $800/€800, though that's TBC.
A vintage classic
It's not just the guitars that are sexy at the Musikmesse Vintage Show.
Musical toilet brush anyone?
Frankfurt wouldn't be the show it is without a load of treble-clef-themed merchandise. We're assuming that the dustpan and brush is designed for filter sweeps...
Relieve some of the inevitable stress with a few frames of table football. Rule one: no spinning.
Lunch time on day one, and the obligatory Frankfurt sausage. There's some other stuff on the plate as well, but we all know that there's only one headline act here.
Fender Custom Shop 1960 Irish Pub Stratocaster Relic
The Fender Custom Shop never disappoints at trade shows and our favourite of its offerings for Musikmesse 2012 is this beauty. €7876 buys you a guitar in a drool-worthy Lake Placid Blue/Green relic finish inspired by the Emerald Isle's most omnipresent export: the Irish pub.
Blackstar ID Series
Blackstar's ID Series in the flesh at Frankfurt Musikmesse 2012. Check out the full specifications and a video interview with Blackstar's Technical Director Bruce Keir here.
Framus Artist Series Earl Slick signature electric
Here's the rather cute new-for-2012 Framus Artist Series Earl Slick signature electric, our pick of the bunch amid a strong selection of new products from the German brand on show at Musikmesse this year.
1952 Gibson Les Paul
Musikmesse Vintage Show, you can stop it now, OK? We can't take any more. Just too cool...
Kemper Profiling Amplifier
Crowds gather at the Kemper stand to hear this game-changer in action. Does it really work? How does it sound? Pretty great to our ears.
When limbs are getting weary, where better to relax than on a Minimoog-inspired sofa?
Smithson Martin KS-1974
This next-gen control surface was on show at NAMM, but it's still pulling in the crowds at Messe.
Roland guitar amps
Roland has got a couple of new guitar amps in Frankfurt this year: the GA-112 and GA-212.
We know it's juvenile but go on, admit it, you're laughing too, right?