NAMM Oddities 2003 The Other Room
Guitars Goodies Percussion Instruments Techno Geek Toys You Figure It Out
Techno Geek Toys

Arturia Modular Softsynth

I was pretty darn impressed with the sound quality of this. Many softsynths are a little to squeaky clean when they attempt to emulate something that should have some grit. Arturia has been able to capture much of the character of the old Moog modular system. The user interface has a couple of nice innovations as well. There is a global tension control that will tighten or loosen all of the patch cords. Also when you move the mouse over a knob all the patch cables will move out of the way so you can see it clearly.

1, rue de la Gare
38950 Saint Martin le Vinoux, France
+33 (0)4 38 02 05 55


Opensynth Eko

Here's another case of full circle, hardware synths turn into software, software synths turn back into hardware. This is a PC built into a keyboard. There's a knob in the upper right section that's a potentiometer and a joystick, eventually you will be able to use it to move from virtual knob to virtual knob and immediately adjust the value. The ones they were showing had a QWERTY keyboard, LCD button panel, slider panel, and knob panel. Each of those panels is the same size so there's the potential of creating other modules to use in their place. Oh yeah, it's got a UPS in it to handle intermittent power on stage and not crash your system.

Open Labs
4803 E. Oltorf St., Suite A
Austn, TX 78741
(917) 670-3947




Macbeth M3X and MFB Synths

This beast on the left is the Macbeth M3X synth. It's built completely from discrete components, the only digital anything in there is for MIDI control.

The MFB Synths are also analog throughout but they aren't quite as beefy as the M3X, they also aren't nearly as expensive. The MFB-Synth also has a 32 step sequencer with memory for 15 sequences.

More info: M3X Synth, MFB-Synth, MFB-Synth lite

Distributed by:
GSF Agency
118 1/2 Pacific Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 452-6216

MFBsynth MFBsynthLite



Coolmac Keyboard

This is a waterproof, flexible membrane keyboard for Macs. The typing response is quite good, much better than I expected. It's compatible with OSX as well.

Crywolf, Inc.
7320 Convoy Ct.
San Diego, CA 92111
(866) 266-5622


Rack Mount Monitor & Keyboard

CVD makes a one space rack drawer that slides out and pops up to give you a LCD display and a keyboard for your computer. They couldn't find a Mac keyboard less than 19" wide so I hooked them up with the Coolmac guys who were in the same hall. This is a great solution for people on the go with rack mount computers.

10910 Talbert Ave.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 593-1185 Ext. 205





Eowave has a number of analog effects pedals (shown on left) that are designed to be used with line level signals. They include a low-pass filter, phaser, ring modulator and filter sequencer. For an additional fee you can supply your own artwork to use. The eo-body is a 16 input CV to MIDI convertor.

La Cure, 58110 Tintury, France
+33/06 61 70 20 50




Bellari Tube Phono Preamp

This tube phono preamp epitomizes the synthesis of retro and, well, retro.

Bellari 5968 South 350 W.
Salt Lake City, UT 84107
(800) 736-7655




The MBase01 does one thing, but it does it very well. It's an analog kick drum generator similar to the old Roland 808/909 machines except that it offers quite a bit more control. JoMox was also showing a couple of custom XBase09 units featuring the same XBase09 analog circuitry but different samples.

JoMoX El. Musikinstrumente GmbH
2.HH Aufg.1 4.OG, Körtestr. 10
10967 Berlin, Germany
+49 (0)30 / 61 70 25 73




Here's some new pitch to MIDI technology that's come from MIDI accordions of all things. They claim that it's four times faster than any of the existing systems currently available.

US Distributor
Weltmeister, Inc.
31 North Main
Nephi, UT 84648
(877) 427-6662




Lightwave Basses

Ligthwave is the company that's pioneered the development of optical pickups. They are now building their own basses that use the pickups. As you can see the circuitry is fairly substantial, fortunately a single charge of the battery is good for something like 18 hours.

lightwave Systems
6387 Rose Lane, suite A
Carpinteria, CA 93013
(805) 684-3216




I normally don't cover products from large companies like the Soundblaster-spawned Creative but this was just a little too odd to pass up.

(800) 998-1000



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©2003 Barry Wood