DAVE SMITH INSTRUMENTS MOPHO KEYBOARD
Concept:Really, we’re talking about the rebirth of the Sequential Circuits Pro-One.
Big deal: Fully analog signal path. Face-melting sound. Two oscillators, external audio input, and filter feedback loop. Poly chain lets you cascade voices from other Mophos or Tetras.
We think:We teased you back in April’s NAMM report, but now that it’s shipping, we wanted to show you a nicer picture.
List: $879 | Approx. street: $800 | davesmithinstruments.com
OPEN LABS NEKO QX6
Concept: Powerful specs and a more approachable price for Open Labs’ popular integrated synth workstation and music PC.
Big deal: Intel Core i-series processors. Terabyte hard drive and 4GB of super-fast RAM. Velocity-sensitive drum pads. WuzikStation, Luxonix Purity, and E-mu Proteus VX pre-installed for over 10,000 sounds out of the box. Riff environment for splits, layers, and loops.
We think: Consider the cost of a PC with these specs, a workstation keyboard, and an audio interface, and you begin to see the value.
$3,995 | openlabs.com
KORG MP-10 PRO
Concept: DJ workstation meets one-man-band backup machine.
Big deal: Dual media players handle MP3 tracks—or MIDI files to play the internal sound engine, based on Korg’s M3 synth. TC-Helicon vocal effects, including voice canceling for karaoke. Touchscreen with iTunes-compatible media librarian.
We think: You have to see it to appreciate all it can do—check out the demo at keyboardmag.com/video.
List: $2,700 | Approx. street: $2,000 | korg.com
Concept: Companion subwoofer for Mackie’s popular SRM450v2 powered monitors.
Big deal: Efficient Class D amp pumps 1000W through an 18" woofer. Crosses over at 125Hz from your pole-mounted main speaker. Dual XLR inputs for summing stereo mains into one unit. Only 73 pounds, which is light for a sub.
We think:Mackie makes bigger powered mains, but this sub makes the SRMs you already own rock for club gigs and casuals.
$879.99 | mackie.com
E-MU LONGBOARD AND SHORTBOARD
Concept: Hardware synth/MIDI controller with built-in wireless audio transmitter.
Big deal: New chip provides 128-voice polyphony and 16 multitimbral parts. Knobs for what you tweak most: filter cutoff and resonance, and envelope attack and release. Over 192 of E-mu’s best sounds in an easy selection matrix.
We think: The bang for buck looks outrageous, doesn’t it? Review coming soon.
LongBoard: $399 | ShortBoard: $349 | emu.com
WARNECK RESEARCH EP200
Concept: Replacement amplifier board for Wurlitzer 200A electric pianos.
Big deal: Reproduces the original sonic quality, only more cleanly and with far less noise. Includes reed bar shields to minimize 60Hz hum. No-solder installation. Co-designed by Ken Rich, keyboard restorer to the stars.
We think: This is the best thing you can do for your vintage Wurly. Adam MacDougall of the Black Crowes (shown) is just one artist who agrees.
$379 | keyboardcottage.com | kenrichsounds.com
SAFETY-EASE LID ASSIST
Concept: Lift assist and brake for grand piano lids.
Big deal: Lets you lift the lid with one finger and freeze it in any position. Try to slam the lid, and it slows to a soft, silent landing. Attaches without marring piano.
We think: It really works, and is a must if your grand piano lives with kids, seniors, pets, or earthquakes.
List: $999 | safety-ease.com
ROLAND LUCINA AX-09
Concept: Little sister to the AX-Synth (reviewed May ’10).
Big deal: Pitch ribbon, progressive modulation bar, and D-Beam provide expressive control of 150 Fantom-G-class sounds. Buttons on front key rail make switching patches while playing a breeze. Audio playback from USB stick. Cool design in white or sparkly black.
We think: Not since the Powerpuff Girls has anything this cute kicked this much butt.
List: $699 | Approx. street: $600 | rolandus.com