Birthday “Gifts” from NAMM 2021


There was some interesting after chatter and a few reactions on the net to Korg’s modwave announcement yesterday, one of which was that some folks don’t want 37-key keyboards. They want a full 61-key keybed for things like the modwave, the wavestate, and the opsix. Apparently Korg have anticipated this reaction, because now they’ve announced the wavestate SE. It’s a wavestate with 61 full-size velocity-sensitive keys … with aftertouch. And a few other enhancements. No word yet on price.

I would suppose that, depending on how this is received, opsix and modwave SE models might follow.

Korg modwave

Speaking of the modwave, I have my own thoughts about it. First, it’s a neat machine. I can’t deny that. In some ways, it’s similar to the Arturia MicroFreak, and in ways, it’s completely dissimilar. There are definitely things that the modwave does that I wish the MicroFreak did. For instance … modwave has four envelope generators … modwave has four LFOs … modwave has a better sequencer … modwave has effects processors … modwave has KAOSS physics … modwave has dual layers … modwave has smooth sound transitions … modwave has motion sequencing … modwave has a “real” keyboard with channel aftertouch. Of course, modwave costs $700, so one would expect that it would be more and do more.

But it does not appear that modwave has as extensive a modulation matrix as the MicroFreak does, or at very least, it’s not as easily accessible. And, it definitely doesn’t have the cycling envelope. But, perhaps most important, it doesn’t have a company like Arturia behind it, who are actively seeking to grow the experience of the MicroFreak. This weeks release of three new oscillators for Microfreak is a prime example of Arturia working with a third party to develop a new range of possibilities for their instrument. And, to be completely honest, Korg doesn’t listen to its customers like Arturia does (and other smaller companies do as well). Speaking of listening, the folks at Arturia pretty specifically asked during yesterday’s livestream what people would like to see Arturia do with the ‘Freak — including the possibility of a larger Freak. I’ll be sending a wish list of my own.

Korg also have floated a “first look” at a new drum machine thing, called drumlogue.

There’s not a lot of info on the drumlogue as of this moment (1046 on 20 January 2021), but it does look intriguing. What remains to be seen is whether or not it can do enough to differentiate itself from more entrenched offerings from the likes of Elektron, Roland, or others.

I’ll be collecting some of my favorite videos and streams from NAMM 2021 Believe In Music into a playlist on YouTube — there’s no way I can pay any attention to the “day gig” and keep up with any of this in real time. That playlist is here, and I’ll also put up a post that pins the playlist to the top of the main page of the site.

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