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NAMM 2015: What I found droolworthy

This year, I didn’t get a ton of time to run around the booths at NAMM and drool over various things. When I did, however, there weren’t actually that many things that I found droolworthy anyway, so I don’t feel so bad. I did find a few things that I know I’ll be coveting here in Ember Studios, however:

Dave Smith Instruments/Sequential Prophet 6
It’s not just an updated tribute to one of the best synthesizers ever—the Prophet 5—but Dave Smith even got the rights to use his old company name, Sequential, on the hardware! I’m extremely excited by this. It sounds amazing, the UI looks amazing, and frankly I’ve loved nearly everything Dave Smith has ever built. Will I get this? Well, I think it’s going to cost $2700, which seems completely fair for the sort of high end analog synthesizer with modern features that it is, but that’s a lot of scratch for a guitar player to come up with, even for a dream synth. Read the sites for all the specs, or watch the video, and geek out with me:


Korg ARP Odyssey Reissue:
Another classic synthesizer. The GForce software instrument is one of my very favorite virtual instruments, because I love the sort of buzzy uniqueness of the Odyssey. Korg has really been doing a great job with affordable analog synths, and they made this version smaller (the original is really unwieldy), modern studio connectivity (USB/MIDI), and a surprisingly low price ($999 for a polyphonic analog synth is a damn good price). Not everyone’s favorite synth but I like it a lot:


Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2.0:
I’ve been using Omnisphere since it was first developed. It’s claim to fame was an extremely powerful synth engine manipulating the most bizarre and amazing custom samples. Omnisphere 2.0 looks like it’s going to change the game again. And if you don’t like programming your own sounds, you should probably find something you like among it’s ten thousand new sounds. It excites me even though Eric said “EDM” in his introduction video (check the link): https://www.spectrasonics.net/products/omnisphere-2/

Marshall Silver Jubilee Reissue:
I started playing guitar seriously the year this amp came out. I can’t tell you how much I loved everything about it—the tone, the control selection, the silver tolex, everything. I’ve got a spectacular Orange Dual Dark 100 amp right now, so I don’t need a Marshall to go with it, but if I were in the market right now, I think this would be a hard one to beat. Oh, and Marshall’s demo artist Chris George is a fellow lefty:


Catalinbread Valcoder Tremolo Pedal:
I know, I know, what’s so exciting about a tremolo pedal, right? Well, this one is all analog, and sounds really great, based off the old Valco era Supro circuits. And it has just enough grit to change your tone if you want it to. I happen to be looking for a tremolo pedal, so this was of interest to me:


Okay, those are the things that I had time to see that made me feel like a kid in a candy store. This wasn’t a year for revolutions, more evolutions and reissues. But that’s not a bad thing, if that’s what you’re looking for.