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Best New Products of NAMM 2020

PresetPatch's Best of NAMM 2020 Awards


For these product releases, some were announced (or leaked) before the actual start of NAMM 2020.  That seems to be the trend.   For qualification in this list, the product(s) must have been announced in the last four months leading up to NAMM 2020, with this being their first NAMM presentation.  

There have been many great product releases over the past few months, and at the NAMM show.   While there are many more that deserve recognition, below are our top three picks for each category.

 

Best New Mono Synth Releases:

1st:  Sequential Pro 3 Synthesizer
2nd:  Behringer Poly-D Paraphonic Mono Synth
3rd:  Korg ARP 2600 Full Size Limited Reissue

The Sequential Pro 3 takes PresetPatch's NAMM 2020 Best Mono Synth Award.
This flagship mono synth workhorse features a hybrid setup of two VCO Analog Oscillators, combined with a 3rd Digital Morphable Wavetable sound source, noise and external input sources.   Three legendary VCF filter circuits are selectable - A Moog Style Transistor Ladder Lowpass, a Prophet-6 OTA Lowpass, and a SEM OB-6 State Variable Filter.   This rock solid sound core is joined together with an extensive modulation section featuring three LFOs, four Envelopes, 32+ mod matrix slots, and a very capable 16x16x4 sequencer.   

 

Best New Poly Synth Releases:

1st:  ASM Hydra Polyphonic Wave Morphing Synth
2nd:  Korg Wavestate Wave Sequencing Poly Synth
3rd:  Modal Electronics Argon8 Series Poly Synths

The ASM Hydra Synth takes PresetPatch's NAMM 2020 Best Poly Synth Award.
The ASM Hydrasynth is an eight voice polysynth with a range of innovative features for a hardware poly synth.   The Hydra features three digital wavetable oscillators that can be loaded with any of 219 waveforms.  These waveforms can be extensively modulated and mangled using the Hydra's mutator controls, generating all kinds of unique digital synth sounds.  The Hydra features and extensive modulation section with five LFOs, five loopable envelopes, and a mod matrix with 32 slots for deep sound design.  Finally, the last touch that really pushed the Hydra into position #1 is the inclusion of a Polyphonic Aftertouch MPE keyboard on its four octave, 49 key release.   The value of this synth may be justified on the keybed alone, with poly aftertouch - a feature that is nearly impossible to find.   We expect this to be the first of many synths to follow in this path over the next few years.   

Note: The Wavestate could really be considered a winner here too.   It's an amazing synth, with a powerful wave sequencing engine.  The biggest disappointment with the Wavestate was the fact that it only has 37 keys and no aftertouch.   We're firm believers that any poly synth with four or more voices should have a minimum of 49 keys, with 61 being optimal.   We hope that Korg will announce a 61-key aftertouch version soon.

 

Best New Modular Synth Releases:

1st: Behringer System 100 and 55 Ecosystem 
2nd: Pittsburgh Modular Cascading Delay Network
3rd: Sequential Pro 3 Synthesizer*

The Behringer System 100 and 55 Ecosystem takes PresetPatch's 2020 Modular Best of Show Award.
The Behringer lines of Modular Synth Units are not so much an innovation or step forward in technology, but the value that Behringer provides for high quality units will make these modular units the best selling modular units in the world.   Behringer's modular offerings will democratize the access to modular systems for many new synthesists, and most likely result in more competition and lower prices across the board from other modular manufacturers.   

* Due to the Pro 3's extensive CV in/out capabilties, we're including it in the best of modular section as well.

 

Best New Stage Piano Releases:

1st:  Korg SV2 / SV2S Vintage Stage Pianos
2nd:  Yamaha YC61 Stage Keyboard
3rd:  Roland RD-88 Digital Stage Piano

The Korg SV2 takes PresetPatch's 2020 Stage Piano Best of Show Award.
Building on the strong pedigre of the SV1 stage pianos, which are beloved in the stage piano community, Korg has upped the ante, and released a new version of the SV line nearly a decade since the original release.   The new generation SV2 has over 10x the sample memory, providing even more detailed models of pianos, EPs, organs, strings and other instruments.   The SV2 also can layer or split up to three sounds, for rich sonic character.  Korg has captured all the wonderful subtleties of EPs, and the inclusion of great sounding effects and tube overdrive circuit will make this a staple of musicians for years to come.

 

Best New MIDI Controller Releases:

1st:  Arturia KeyStep Pro
2nd:  Keith McMillen K-Board Pro 4
3rd:  Roland A-88 MK2 MIDI Controller Keyboard

The Arturia KeyStep Pro takes PresetPatch's 2020 Best MIDI Controller Award.
The KeyStop Pro builds upon Arturia's great Keystep MIDI controller, with a great feeling compact three octave keyboard with aftertouch, and adds a powerful four track sequencer for sequncing your external CV modular gear or other MIDI devices.   This will be a popular controller to pair with the vast array of mono synths and modular systems released over the past couple years.  The Keystep Pro gives you a great value for realtime sequencing and control of live setups. 

 

Other Notable NAMM 2020 Releases:

Nord Wave 2 Wavetable and FM Synth

Moog Subsequent 25 Analog Synth

Roland Jupiter-X and Xm Poly Synthesizers

Erica Synths Bassline DB-01 Bass Synth

Erica Synths Ninja Tune Zen Delay

Sonicware Liven 8bit Warps Chiptune Synth

BOSS MD-200 Stereo Modulation Pedal

Eventide H9 Max, New Firmware

iConnectivity mio XL MIDI Interface

Behringer Wing 48-Channel Mixer

Akai MPC One Sampler and Beat Production Center

BOSS RC-10R Rhythm Loop Pedal

Studio Electronics MIDIMINI v30 Modular Synth

Line 6 POD Go Effects Processor


 

 

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