ALESIS DM10 PRO
ONE NICE PIECE OF KIT
THE PITCH Serious electronic drums at a hobbyist price.
THE BIG DEAL Dual-zone pads with real drum heads. “Surge” cymbals feel real and do multi-zone triggering. DM10 sound brain has tons of internal sounds with multiple articulations, and lets you load your own samples over USB.
WE THINK Depending on its real-world performance, this could actually be the first V-Drums competitor worth taking seriously. $1,999 list/approx. $1,500 street, alesis.com
YAMAHA AVANT GRAND N2
CARNEGIE HALL IN YOUR APARTMENT
THE PITCH The next-level virtual technology of the AvantGrand N3 (see Keyboard, Apr. ’09) in an upright, more compact form.
THE BIG DEAL Sampling, modeling, a custom speaker system, real acoustic grand action, simulated ivory, and resonators that transmit vibration to your fingers all work in concert to simulate not just the sound, but the playing experience, of sitting at a real concert grand.
WE THINK By the time you read this, we’ll have the N2 and N3 in hand. Watch keyboardmag.com for videos and future issues for the review! $14,999 list/$9,999 street, avant-grand.com
NEW FROM SUMMER NAMM
THE LPD8 Ultra-compact, eight velocity-sensitive MPC drum pads, eight assignable knobs, $129 list/$69 street.
THE LPK25 Ultra-compact, two octaves of mini keys, built-in arpeggiator, $129 list/$69 street.
THE MPK61 Five octaves of semi-weighted, piano-shaped keys, 16 MPC pads, eight knobs, eight faders, $699 list/$499 street.
THE BIG DEAL All are USB class-compliant, which means they’re plug ’n’ play and don’t require drivers. akaipro.com
THE PITCH The glorious step-filter-sequencing of the MuRF, now with MIDI.
THE BIG DEAL Has total of 16 filter bands, with a toggle between the standard (midrange) bank and that of the Bass MuRF. MIDI lets you sync the pattern sequencer to host tempo and switch patterns with program changes.
WE THINK One of the most unique and addictive stompboxes out there just got a helluva lot more usable in today’s digital studios. $479, moogmusic.com
NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KONTAKT 3.5
THANKS FOR THE MEMORY
THE PITCH True 64-bit memory addressing heads up a list of nuts-and-bolts performance-enhancing features.
THE BIG DEAL Full Windows Vista 64 compatibility. “Memory Server” on Mac can make use of up to 32GB of RAM. Improved hard disk streaming. All your Kontakt Player libraries now show up in the rack.
WE THINK Kontakt arguably owns the soft sampler game. NI isn’t resting on their laurels. Free to registered Kontakt 3 owners, native-instruments.com
DAVE SMITH TETRA
FO’ MO’ MOPHOS
THE PITCH Four — count ’em — four Mopho sound engines in one little box.
THE BIG DEAL Can be a four-voice polysynth or run four different programs in unison mode. Can be a polyphony expander for the Prophet ’08. Has four independent, 16-step sequencers.
WE THINK Dave brought one to a Morgan Page sound check and we ran it through the nightclub’s system. Words cannot describe how fat and nasty this thing can get. $879 list/approx. $800 street, davesmithinstruments.com
DOEPFER DARK ENERGY
THE PITCH Standalone analog monosynth with USB and MIDI.
THE BIG DEAL Triangle/sawtooth VCO with pulse width modulation, fourpole lowpass filter, dual LFOs, and an ADSR envelope. Tons of CV ins and outs for use with other analog gear.
WE THINK It’s a great gateway drug for the modularcurious desktop musician, and a welcome addition to any electro producer’s studio. $625, doepfer.de