Behringer Intros $699 ARP 2600 ‘Blue Marvin’ & ‘Gray Meanie’ Knockoffs

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From ‘Banaheim’, Behringer today introduced knockoffs of the classic ARP 2600 ‘Blue Marvin’ and ‘Gray Meanie’ synthesizers.

The original ‘Blue Marvin’ and ‘Gray Meanie’ synths are rare early versions of the ARP 2600. They differed in terms of styling from later 2600s. They also had some electronic differences from later models that affect how they sound, but arguably not as much as the later move from a Moog clone filter to the so-called ‘post-lawsuit’ filter design.

Here’s what Behringer has to say about their two new variations on their 2600:

“Featuring carefully selected high-grade components for improved performance, a mechanical spring reverb and unicolor fader LED’s, the Behringer Blue Marvin and Gray Meanie look back at the rarest first editions of the 2600 that was released in 1971.

We further added some very useful features such as a dual filter, an additional LFO, VCO syncs, USB MIDI, and much more.

Rumoured that only 25 Blue Marvin’s and 35 Gray Meanie’s were ever made, these modern-day and authentic recreations bring you closer than ever before to these rarities that have always been so out of reach. This time, at a price within reach.”

Based on what Behringer has said, it sounds like the build changes in the new 2600s are not to align with the unique electronics designs of the original Blue Marvin and Gray Meanie synths, but to address complaints some had with the sound and build of the Behringer 2600s. For many buyers, though, paying an extra $100 for improved components and a real spring reverb (vs the emulation used on Behringer’s earlier 2600s) will be a no-brainer upgrade.

Pricing and Availability

Behringer says that they will be shipping their ‘Blue Marvin’ and ‘Gray Meanie’ 2600s in February 2021, priced at US$ 699.

UNO Synth Pro Hands-On Demo With Erik Norlander

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2021 NAMM Show: IK Multimedia shared this hands-on demo of their UNO Synth Pro – designed to be a full-size professional synth.

Synth designer, (Andromeda, UNO Synth), prog keyboardist and sound designer Erik Norlander gives an in-depth look at the UNO Synth Pro – covering the architecture of the new synth and tips for creating sounds.

Note: The discussion starts about 3:15 into the video.

Pricing and Availability

The UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop are available to pre-order now, priced at 649.99 USD/EUR and 399.99 USD/EUR.

New Korg modWave Wavetable Synthesizer ‘A Synthesis Powerhouse’

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, Korg has introduced the modWave, a new synth they describe as ‘a synthesis powerhouse’, with distinctive wavetable timbres, Kaoss Physics, and Motion Sequencing 2.0.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“In 1985, Korg’s DW-8000 combined digital wavetables with rich analog filters to give users sounds which were impossible to create with analog oscillators. It’s still a cult favorite today.

modwave builds on the DW legacy and transforms it into a modern monster synth, featuring incredibly deep wavetable oscillators, gorgeous filters, wildly flexible modulation, unmatched polyphony, comprehensive pattern sequencing, and immediately satisfying hands-on control to deliver unique, powerful, and easily customizable sounds and phrases.

modwave also introduces two unique new tools for creating dynamic motion: Kaoss Physics and Motion Sequencing 2.0. Kaoss Physics combines an x/y Kaoss pad with modulatable game physics to create a responsive, interactive controller that is—besides being powerful— a lot of fun to explore. Motion Sequencing 2.0 brings the organic, continuously evolving patterns of the wavestate’s Wave Sequencing 2.0 into the world of motion sequencing, including multiple lanes and real-time recording to help you create complex and evolving phrases that other step sequeners cannot.

Like Wave Sequencing 2.0 (wavestate) and altered FM (opsix), modwave’s evolved wavetable synthesis delivers its own brand of completely unique sounds and a knob-per-function layout that makes customizing those sounds fast and easy. To start, there are hundreds of preset sounds empowered by this new architecture, organized by front-panel category buttons, and all instantly customizable via the four Modulation Knobs. modwave’s distinctive wavetable timbres start with aggressive basses & leads, and lush ambient pads which will add a new dimension to your tracks.

But that is just the start. Those who want to dig deeper will find an endless source of discovery; you’ll be finding new things in this synth for a long, long time because of the unique synth architecture. Once you have started finding new sounds – save as many as you like; there’s room for thousands more.”

The modwave features a deep synthesis engine.

It features over 200 wavetables, each containing up to 64 waveforms—from thousands of individual waves. You can use the 30+ Modifiers to change their basic character, and the 13 Morph Types to process them in real-time. Create new hybrids from any two wavetables using the realtime A/B Blend, giving you over 230 million wavetable variations out of the box. But you can also load your own custom wavetables in Serum or WaveEdit formats.

Each Program has two full-featured wavetable oscillators, plus a sub oscillator/noise generator and any of a dozen stereo filter types, including the aggressive MS-20, sweet Polysix, and the newly enhanced Multi Filter. You can animate almost any parameter, using the flexible modulation system, with four triggerable envelopes, five LFOs, dual mod processors and two key-track generators–plus multi-lane Motion Sequencing and Kaoss Physics.

Even with all that synthesis power, playing up to four simultaneous wavetables per voice in a single Program, the modwave still offers 32-voice polyphony.

Kaoss Physics

Kaoss Physics models a ball rolling on a surface and/or bouncing off walls. You can start the ball by flicking a finger on the x/y pad, or launch the ball automatically using a trigger source such as Gate + Damper. You can also directly control the ball by holding your finger on the pad.

The position of the ball produces four modulation signals, which can be used to control any modulation destination you like: the X and Y locations, the distance from the center, and the angle relative to the X axis.

There is a bump in the virtual surface, going either down or up, like a valley or a hill. You can set the height or depth of the bump, and choose one of several different shapes for its slopes. The surface has adjustable friction, so that the ball slows down as it travels. There are walls on the four sides of the surface, and when the ball hits a wall, it bounces off. Walls can slow down the ball, as if they were padded, or accelerate the ball, like bumpers in a pinball machine. The walls can also be removed entirely, so that the surface wraps around to the opposite edges like a vintage arcade game.

The modeled environment can create specific modulation effects. For instance, use a centered bump with negative height so that the modulation values always eventually return to 0. Or, position a bump with positive height on a side or a corner, to push modulation values away from that zone

Most parameters, including Tilt, Friction, Time, Bump Height and Position, etc. are modulatable. You can even modulate them from the Kaoss Physics outputs—for instance, try modulating Tilt X with Kaoss Y.

The result is an interactive controller that amplifies your physical gestures, transforming them into complex musical results.

Motion Sequencing 2.0

Motion Sequencing 2.0 is evolved from the wavestate’s Wave Sequencing 2.0. Timing, Pitch, Shape, and four sets of Step Sequence values are separated into “Lanes,” each with their own loop start and loop end, adding a deeper, more customizable level of phrase and modulation recording.

Every time the sequence moves forward, the individual Lanes are combined to create the output. For instance, a step sequence value may be matched with a different duration, pitch, and shape every time that it plays. You can modulate each Lane’s loop points separately for every note, using velocity, LFOs, envelopes, Mod Knobs, or other controllers. Each note in a chord can be playing something different!

Lanes can also randomize the step order every time they play. Finally, individual steps can be randomly skipped, with a modulatable probability from 0 to 100%. The result is organic, ever-changing sounds that respond to your control. The dual onboard arpeggiators can interact with Motion Sequences for even more possibilities.

An arsenal of effects

Each Layer has three dedicated effects, plus a send to the Performance’s master reverb, followed by a master parametric EQ. Along with standards such as compressors, EQs, choruses, flangers, phasers, and stereo delays, you’ll find distinctive processors such as the Wave Shaper, Talking Modulator, Reverse Delay, Multiband Mod Delay, and Overb (from the OASYS and Kronos), plus modeled effects including VOX guitar amps, VOX wah, multi-head tape echo, and a collection of classic guitar pedals.
Randomization that inspires.

Editor/Librarian software

The modwave Editor/Librarian lets you edit and organize sounds via your macOS or Windows computer (including the latest Apple M1-based systems). Using USB networking for high-speed communication, it works like a second front panel for the instrument, so there’s no need to synchronize or transfer data. Animations show the effects of modulation in real-time – a great help when programming.

Set Lists and Smooth Sound Transitions

Set Lists offer effortless organization of your wavestate Performances, and deliver instant access at the gig or in rehearsal. Smooth Sound Transitions allow previously-played voices and effects to continue to ring out naturally, even once a new sound has been selected.

Connections

Balanced stereo outputs connect to any recording or monitoring system, and a stereo headphone output is provided for private playing or onstage cueing. Din-style MIDI jacks ensure connection to other MIDI-equipped instruments and audio gear, and the modwave supports class-compliant USB MIDI connections to Windows and macOS computers.

Audio Demos:

See the Korg site for details.

Korg Reissues Classic miniKORG 700 Synthesizer

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, Korg has reintroduced the miniKORG 700, originally introduced in 1973.

The miniKORG 700 was the company’s first mass-produced analog monosynth.

The miniKORG 700 FS is a complete reissue of the two-oscillator “S” model, right down to the “traveler” (filter), spring reverb x/y joystick, USB and five-pin MIDI, arpeggiator, CV/Gate, and program programmability.

It was developed in conjunction with the original designer, Fumio Mieda. The miniKORG 700 FS offers added functionality, including an arpeggiator, spring reverb and aftertouch. The limited-edition reissue will also come with a custom case.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“Our wish is for customers to experience the beauty and awesomeness of the authentic analog sound through the miniKORG 700FS designed by the KORG analog engineers, under the supervision of Fumio Mieda, who designed the original circuitry, ensuring that the elements that go beyond the circuit schematics would be faithfully represented.”

See the Korg site for details.

Korg Intros ARP 2600 M – The “Genuine ARP 2600 In A More Convenient Size”

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, Korg has officially introduced the ARP 2600 M, a new ‘desktop-friendly’ version of the classic ARP 2600 design.

At last year’s NAMM Show, Korg, working with ARP co-founder David Friend, reintroduced the ARP 2600. Though the Korg ARP 2600 was a high-end full-size reissue, it was a hit and essentially immediately sold out.

This year, they have introduced the ARP 2600 M, offering the same semi-modular workflow as the original, along with modern connectivity, in a more portable desktop-friendly format.

The ARP 2600 M is around 60% the original size, making it lighter, more portable and easier to place and use in a studio. It integrates the same analog circuitry and components as the ARP 2600 FS, reproducing the characteristic ARP sound. The Spring Reverb has been re-engineered and adapted to the new size body.

The ARP 2600 M updates the original design in several ways:

  • Plug and play: Connect any class compliant MIDI controller such as a KORG microKeys, nanokeys or SQ-64 to one of the ARP 2600 M’s USB ports (USB-A and USB-B)
  • Resized
  • Two types of filters, from two versions of the original ARP 2600 – 4012 type, 4072 type
  • DIN MIDI IN added
  • Pitch-bend, Modulation and Portamento ON/OFF can be controlled through MIDI CC messages (USB/DIN MIDI)
  • Normalized voltage: The threshold of the trigger signal required to activate the ADSR through the S/H GATE JACK has become 5V, making it much easier to use in combination with other gear such as volcas or Eurorack modules
  • Improved Attack and Release time ratios
  • L/R Stereo Output Jack (instead of XLR)
  • Speakers turn automatically off when using headphones
  • Improved, smoother sliders

Pricing and Availability

The Korg ARP 2600 M is expected to be available in June 2021 for 1799€. For more information, see the Korg site.

Kurzweil K2700 Synthesizer Workstation An Evolutionary Leap For V.A.S.T. Synthesis

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, being held online Jan 21-24, Kurzweil has officially introduced the K2700 synthesizer workstation, a massive evolutionary leap for V.A.S.T. Synthesis.

Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology (V.A.S.T.) has for decades been recognized as one of the most powerful and flexible platforms for synthesis. The K2700 takes V.A.S.T. and the K2x00 series to a new level, though, offering 5 times the polyphony, gigabytes of sample capacity, FM synthesis, VA synthesis, 32-layers per program, sequencing and more.

Features:

  • 256 Voices of V.A.S.T. Polyphony – Over 5x the polyphony of any previous K2 series model.
  • 4.5 Gigabytes of Factory Sounds – The K2700 serves up a deep sound library of over 1500 factory Programs and over 700 Multi combinations, organized into 13 instrument categories, ranging from Pianos to Synths to Orchestral sounds and more, featuring unlooped German D, Japanese C7 and Triple Strike pianos, Classic Tine EPs (’73 & ’77), plus updated sounds from their SP6, PC3/4, and KORE64 expansion.
  • Patented FlashPlay Technology – Flash-Play provides the K2700 with a staggering amount of horse-power. Up to 8 GB total capacity with zero-loading time, and ultrafast performance.
  • 3.5 Gigabytes User Sample Memory – You can load up to 3.5 GB of your own custom samples into non-volatile flash memory. Supported sample formats: .WAV, .AIF (up to 16 bit / 96kHz) and Kurzweil formats (.FOR, .PC4, .P3K, .KRZ, .K25, .K26).
  • V.A.S.T. Editing – V.A.S.T. was born in the K2 series. The K2700 expands on Kurzweil’s Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology, offering 32-layers per program, deeply customizable signal paths and a host of modular DSP tools including new oscillators, filters, and FX.
  • 6-Operator FM Engine – 6 Operator FM Engine ,with the ability to load original FM SysEx files. FM layers are a new addition to VAST programs and can be combined with VAST features to go far beyond classic FM synthesis.
  • Virtual Analog – Embedded within the K2700 are powerful anti-aliasing, power-shaped oscillators, along with DSP processing from Kurzweil’s mythical VA1 concept synth, capable of delivering authentic analog emulations, as well as complex new sounds.
  • KB3 ToneReal Organs – Modeled after classic organs. A full complement of tonewheel controls are immediately accessible including 9 realistic drawbars, rotary speed, chorus/vibrato, brake, percussion and more.
  • Powerful FX Engine – Reverbs, Delays, Choruses, Flangers, Phasers, Distortions, Rotary Amplifiers, Compressors and more – all fully editable from the user-interface. The K2700 also offers a global Master FX section featuring 3-band EQ and Compression.
  • K.S.R. – Kurzweil String Resonance – Piano string resonance modeling for enhanced acoustic piano performance.

The K2700 continues the K2x00 tradition of offering tons of real-time control, including:

  • Monopressure (aftertouch)
  • 1 pitch wheel
  • 1 assignable modulation wheel
  • 1 assignable ribbon controller
  • 9 assignable sliders
  • 9 assignable knobs
  • 10 assignable buttons
  • 16 assignable velocity sensitive pads
  • 2 transpose switches
  • Tap tempo button and tempo knob
  • Arp controls
  • Transport controls
  • 2 switch pedal inputs
  • 2 continuous control pedal inputs

Other features include USB MIDI and audio support, plus USB Host mode, which lets you connect additional USB controllers – like an additional keyboard – the K2700. Software editors for MacOS & Windows are also in the works.

Details on pricing and availability are to come. See the Kurzweil site for more info.

Yamaha Announces Free Update For YC Series Stage Keyboards

Yamaha today announced YC OS v1.1, a free OS update for its YC Series Stage Keyboards that adds new features and more Voices.

New to the YC Series in OS v1.1 are acoustic and electric piano Voices:

  • The Nashville C3 is sampled from a grand piano that is small in size, but huge in character and used on countless recordings in Nashville. The piano was recorded at the Yamaha Entertainment Group studios in Nashville and processed with analog tape to provide distinctive “vibe.”
  • With Live CF3, Yamaha answers a request from pop and Gospel musicians to bring back a powerful grand piano Voice from previous instruments. Live CF3 provides another variation of this powerful grand piano sound.
  • The first of two new electric piano Voices is 73 Rd Studio, a rendition of the famous “suitcase” electric tine piano. Its tone is smooth, mellow and well suited for playing accompaniment in jazz, ballads, R&B and more.
  • ‘The brighter 74 Rd Stage is ideal for solos and syncopated rhythm parts.

Eight new Live Sets — multi-part setups that can be stored and recalled with the touch of a button — are also included that show case the new Voices.

YC OS v1.1 also makes improvements to pitch modulation characteristics across the board, including the ability to store the initial modulation amount as part of a Live Set and the relocation of modulation depth and speed to a more intuitive home in the “Sound” settings menu.

Last but not least, pressing the Enter button while in the Settings menus “backs up” to the previous page, instead of returning all the way to the display’s home screen, making adjusting settings easier.

“YC OS v1.1 is a direct response to feedback we’ve received from our users,” says Yamaha’s Nate Tschetter. “By listening to our customers, we make great keyboard instruments even better.”

Pricing and Availability

Yamaha YC OS v1.1 is a free download and will be available beginning January 14, 2021.

Yamaha Intros YC73, YC88 Stage Keyboards Ahead Of 2021 NAMM Show

Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, being held online this year starting Jan 21, Yamaha has announced the YC73 and YC88 Stage Keyboards, two larger siblings to the YC61, introduced in January 2020.

The new keyboards build on the design of the YC61, with keyboards tailored to the preferences of different types of performers:

  • The YC73 features 73 weighted, balanced keys, and is ideal for keyboardists who divide their playing between organ, piano, electric piano, clavi, synth, and other staple keyboard sounds.
  • The YC88 is meant for musicians who prioritize the touch and response of an acoustic piano, offering 88 weighted Natural Wood keys with triple-sensor action, synthetic ebony and ivory key tops.

“A staple of keyboard playing is access to classic keyboard sounds,” says Nate Tschetter, manager, Synthesizer Marketing, Yamaha Corporation of America. “With the introduction of YC73 and YC88, there are options to suit every player, in every situation, from the perfect ‘top keyboard’ in YC61 to the great ‘all around’ YC73 and finally our best stage piano action in YC88.”

Here’s what Yamaha has to say about the new keyboards:

“The YC73 and YC88 employ Yamaha Virtual Circuit Modeling (VCM) to capture not only the sound of classic “drawbar” organs, but their behavior down to the component level. VCM also reproduces the distinctive rotary speaker effect, which most keyboardists consider inseparable from the organ itself

In other words, the YC series does not merely take a digital snapshot of the world’s most imitated organ sound — it builds that sound from the ground up. This results in unprecedented authenticity.

In true vintage fashion, nine drawbars shape the sound by controlling individual footages, and essentials like percussion and vibrato/chorus enhance the tone. The player can also customize key click, “leakage,” rotary speaker speed changes, and more. The keyboard may be split between upper and lower organ registrations. In addition to VCM modeling organ, the organ section also features FM synthesis, the now-famous synthesis method pioneered by Yamaha.

Complementing the organ, two “Keys” sections utilize proprietary Yamaha “Advanced Wave Memory” which provides authentic acoustic and electric pianos, strings and brass, analog-style synth sounds, and much more. The Keys section features two dedicated effects processors along with configurable envelope and filter controls for real time manipulation and interaction.

Like the Organ section, the Keys section also features FM synthesis for many classic sounds like DX7 electric pianos, leads, basses and more. The Keys section may also be split with the organ section across the keyboard or played from an external MIDI controller keyboard to either the Organ or Keys section.”

Here’s Yamaha’s official intro to the updated line:

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Sound demo:

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Pricing and Availability

The Yamaha YC73 and YC88 Stage Keyboards will ship to retailers beginning January 21, 2021, at manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP) of $2,999 and $3,499, respectively. For more information, see the overview at YamahaSynth.

IK Multimedia Intros UNO Synth Pro Analog Synthesizers

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, IK Multimedia has announced the UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop.

The new synths, developed in collaboration with Italian boutique synth-maker Soundmachines, expand on their earlier UNO Synth design in many ways. They feature three wave-morphing synthesizers, dual filters with 24 modes, deep modulation options, 3 effects slots with 12 effects, a sequencer with automation of 80+ parameters and MIDI/CV/Gate connectivity.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“UNO Synth Pro gives you the power to create nearly any analog synth sound you can imagine. With its unique dual-filter, 3-oscillator paraphonic design, 256 presets, 64-step sequencer, studio-grade effects, expanded connections and much more, UNO Synth Pro breaks new ground for music makers.

Available in two form factors to suit all players’ needs—stage-ready with metal housing and premium keybed; or ultra-portable, USB-powered with capacitive keyboard—UNO Synth Pro offers everyone the next generation of analog sound design in a smart format that fits any space or budget.”

Features:

  • ‘First-class’ analog sound
  • 3 discrete wave-morphing oscillators
  • PWM, sync, FM and ring modulation
  • Dual state variable filters with 24 modes
  • Original UNO Synth OTA filter
  • New SSI-based filter with self-oscillation
  • 16-slot modulation matrix
  • 256 user-editable presets
  • 12 studio-quality FX in 3 slots
  • Reverbs, Delays, Modulations
  • 64-step sequencer with 84 parameters
  • 10-mode onboard arpeggiator
  • USB / MIDI / CV / Gate in/out
  • Audio input to filters, FX or pass-through

The UNO Synth Pro is available in two form factors:

  • UNO Synth Pro
    • Compact, stage-ready 37-key keyboard
    • Fatar synth-action keys with aftertouch
  • UNO Synth Pro Desktop
    • Ultra-portable 32 capacitive-key tabletop
    • Powered by USB or powerbank

Pricing and Availability

The UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop are available to pre-order now, priced at 649.99 USD/EUR and 399.99 USD/EUR.

Is An Oberheim OB-X Reissue Coming From Sequential?

Is Sequential – which has collaborated with Tom Oberheim on the OB-6 and recently introduced a Prophet-5 reissue – going to reissue the classic Oberheim OB-X?

We haven’t seen any official word from Sequential on this yet, but on Jan 5, 2021, the company has filed to trademark ‘OB-X’ for use with ‘Musical instruments, namely, keyboards; music synthesizers’. And the company traditionally introduces a new synthesizer around the time of the NAMM Show, which is scheduled this year for Jan 20-23, as an online event.

The Oberheim OB-X is a pioneering polyphonic analog synthesizer, originally available in 4-, 6- and 8-voice configurations. The OB-X features a dual VCO + VCF + VCA synth voice, with the filter based on the Oberheim S.E.M. The S.E.M. was also the inspiration for Sequential’s OB-6 design.

“It’s not often that you get to revisit your past, retrieve some of its magic, and give it new life,” said Sequential head Dave Smith, on the release of the Prophet-5/10 rev4. “It’s gratifying to rediscover that its sound and aesthetics are just as appealing now as they were then.”

Could a similar reissue be coming for the OB-X? Share your thoughts in the comments!

via Marc Martinez, CPRdave