Musikmesse 2015

12.2.2016 by Miller Harrison

The Bbop team has returned from Musikmesse 2015 in Frankfurt – the largest annual showcase of musical instruments in Europe. DJs, oboes, Marshall stacks, sheet music, timbales – everyone from everywhere was represented, and it’s all there for testing. Plus there’s live music all around, and a lot of talented people under one very large roof. For music lovers like us, it’s hard to imagine a better playground.  And who can resist the sound of 67 drummers playing at once?

There were too many interesting products there to mention all of them, so we will only list a few:

Paiste PSTX

This “holey” new set from Paiste was a definite eye-catcher in the drum and percussion hall. It is an affordable collection of effect cymbals, including various sizes of the Swiss crashes plus pure bells for rides. The Swiss crashes, with varying patterns of holes in them, produce a nice dirty sound and look really cool in the process. And of course, the low price is something we always appreciate here at Bbop, especially when compared to some of the other innovations on display.

Synthesizers from Modal Electronics

This Bristol-based group makes some highly-controllable and fantastic sounding synths, so there were always deep and wobbly sounds coming out of their booth. Package that together with their vintage look and efficient controls layout, and you have a family of synths worth noticing. More info on them to come in another feature. 

ROLI Seaboard

This sleek-looking keyboard is squishy to the touch, and it became even more interesting when demonstrated live. It uses the entire surface as part of the instrument, with varying effects from the type of touches you use, and it is very expressive as a result.  It uses an ipod-esque wheel to cycle through different pre-loaded sounds and settings, which you can edit in their custom-built software. It’s designed and built in London.

Tiny Guitar pedals

Variously called nano, micro, or mini, these tiny sized pedals, mostly made by Asian companies, have been showing up everywhere lately, and for good reason.  The small size is a major advantage for any guitarist carrying their own pedalboard to the gig – and that’s most of us. Both Hotone and Joyo have interesting designs and a huge array of different effects, all available in credit-card size. And as our tests at Musikmesse showed they sound really good too.

Dualo du-touch

If you passed by this one thinking it was some sort of digital accordion, we understand.  In reality it is a kind synthesizer mixed with a sequencer, which can also be a Midi controller. The notes for the synthesizer are arranged in easy geometric patterns, which can make it a good instrument for learning music. The keys can also light up when a pre-recorded loop is played, which makes learning easier. A live demonstration showed its versatility, not only as an instrument but also in effects and sonic composition. One area that could be improved is the placement of the loop button, which we found hard to trigger on the right beat.