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Our resident synth enthusiast James Trigo rounds-up some of the best hardware announcements from this month’s tech fest, NAMM. 

With the annual gear fest that is NAMM all over and done with, there’s enough new tech to do a round-up of hardware synths alone. One that’s managed to grab our attention from the crop is the Prophet-6 from Sequential, yes that’s right, Sequential. Having been bestowed his original brand name from Yamaha, Dave Smith has used it to play tribute to the Sequential Prophet-5 with this new, modernised incarnation. A fully analogue synthesiser with discrete voltage controlled oscillators, filters and amplifiers. The P6 also has some updated functionality such as additional modulation destinations, a polyphonic step sequencer and a multimode arpeggiator. Due to drop in the second quarter of this year at $2799 you may have to get saving. Watch the video below to really whet your appetite.

With no shortage of controllers and interfaces being touted at NAMM, something we weren’t expecting was the release of the new Roland MX-1, which provides a blend of both controller and interface. Part of their Aira line, the MX-1 is described as a mixing hub for all your Aira devices, enabling you to hook up your System one, TR-8, VT-3 and TB-3. Sync information is sent via the USB to any Airas you have connected, but there’s no step sequencer on the MX-1, so all music info is produced by your existing Airas or connected computer. Not only does the MX-1 provide an excellent controller by assigning knobs and sliders it’s also a digital mixer with six analogue ins, so should cover a multitude of uses. Available to buy in May for £479.


Last up is Arturia’s BeatStep Pro, an upgrade to the original BeatStep the Pro version offers much more in the way of connectivity. Not letting your old drum machines or modulars feel left out of the party, the hardware is furnished with CV/GATE outputs (1 volt per octave CV, 10 volt gates), 8 drum gate outputs, clock sync with multiple standards, MIDI in/out, and the ability to be a controller for your DAW. Add the two monophonic step sequencers (64 steps per sequence) and a 16-track drum sequencer the BeatStep Pro is hoping it has all bases covered when it comes to sequencing and connectivity. Due out in the Spring at $299/€249 check out the video below.

James Trigo

James Trigo is an advocate for the craft of making a good tune. Whiling away the small hours with his head in a sequencer, if he's not making music he's listening to it, and then writing about it. Come say hello. Free free to contact James here: onetwotrigo@gmail.com