Synths, Samplers & Controllers

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CME M-KEY: CME is shipping the little brother to its U-Key Mobiletone. The M-Key (Mac/Win, $99) is an ultrathin 49-key MIDI controller with Velocity-sensitive semiweighted keys. This class-compliant USB device sports a joystick and an assignable slider. The rear panel houses the USB port, a MIDI-out jack, and two 1/8-inch TRS universal pedal jacks, which are fully footswitch and footpedal compatible. The M-Key ships with the CME MusicPack containing free versions of popular audio software such as Magix Samplitude SE and Arturia Analog Factory SE. NAMM Booth #6012.

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DAVE SMITH INSTRUMENTS PROPHET '08: With the original Prophet-5 designer (Sequential Circuits founder Dave Smith) at the helm, the DSI Prophet '08 ($2,199) is a fully future-ized version of Sequential's classic analog beast that boasts its own 100% analog signal path with eight notes of polyphony, each with two VCOs and a Curtis lowpass filter. The 5-octave keyboard has semiweighted action with Velocity and Aftertouch (lacking in the original), a spring-loaded pitch wheel and an assignable mod wheel. The 16-by-4 gated sequencer, powerful arpeggiator, three envelope generators (ENV3 can loop) and four LFOs offer a multitude of ways to animate sounds. MIDI In, Out, Thru and Poly Chain are all offered on the rear, as are sustain pedal and CV/expression pedal inputs, a headphone output and a pair of stereo 1/4-inch outputs for sending patch layers to separate places. NAMM Booth #6948.

IK MULTIMEDIA SAMPLEMOOG: The most complete collection of Moog sounds ever released in one product, SampleMoog was done in cooperation with Moog Music and includes18 rare, collectible Moog synths, accurately sampled and programmed with the addition of built-in effects. This sample-based product offers a wide range of basses, leads, pads, and effects from monstrous Moog Modulars to rare Minimoogs to Taurus Bass Pedals, Polymoogs, Memorymoogs and more-virtually the entire range of Moog synthesizers in a single product. NAMM Booth #6520.

IK MULTIMEDIA SAMPLETANK VERSION 2.5: The latest version of IK Multimedia''s SampleTank ($499) offers a bevy of new features, including five insert effects, five master insert effects, a new reverb derived from Classik Studio Reverb, 200 Combi patches based on SampleTank XL sound set, and the ability to read any “Powered by SampleTank” instruments such as Sonik Synth 2, Miroslav Philharmonik and the upcoming SampleMoog, SampleTron and StudioPhonik. Other features include Global Volume/Pan, Master Loop sync and selectable Portamento curves. The software supports Mac OS X (Universal Binary) and Windows Vista, and comes with more than 1,800 sounds and more than 6.5GB of samples. Version 2.5 is a free update for all registered SampleTank 2 L and XL users. NAMM Booth #6520.

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MOTU MACHFIVE VERSION 2: This universal sampler instrument gets a major upgrade with new features including 32 GB of included sounds, unlimited parts per instance, a new graphics engine, full-screen editing and programming, a new modular synthesis architecture, keygroup layering with rule-based switching, a complete built-in mixer, 47 effects including convolution reverb, the LoopLab groove-slice engine, sample time-stretching, unlimited multi-point envelopes, stand-alone operation and more. MachFive 2 opens and reads all major sampler library and audio file formats directly with no conversion necessary. The Loop Lab lets users edit REX, ACID, UFS and Apple Loops, or create their own by simply dropping the loop into the Lab for instant slicing and tempo find/set. The new graphic mixer features faders, FX slots, metering and unlimited channels. For bending and shaping, there are 47 real-time effects, from multi-band graphic EQ to tape delays to amp simulators to exciters to vinyl effects. NAMM Booth #6410.

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NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KONTAKT 3: Native Instruments has released a major upgrade to its flagship sampler. Kontakt 3 (Mac/Win, $449 MSRP, $149 upgrade) offers new features along with a 33 GB library upgrade. All in all, you get 1,000 instruments, each with its own customized control panel for easy access to relevant parameters. Kontakt 3 has an integrated sample editor, obviating the need to switch applications for destructive sample editing. Among the loop-slicing improvements, you can drag-and-drop associated MIDI trigger files directly to a host sequencer. It also has several new effects, including an amp/cabinet simulator. In addition, the Browser has been improved with automatic updating and an instrument navigator to select the instrument displayed in the rack for editing. NAMM Booth #6920.

NOVATION REMOTE SL COMPACT: With its Automap Universal feature, this pro keyboard controller provides automatic, intelligent control of all major sequencers and automatable plug-ins. A large 144-character screen shows up to eight assigned parameters. Sequencer controls are automatically mapped as soon as the sequencer boots, and all VST or AU parameters are assigned when a plug-in opens. It has 25 or 49 semi-weighted keys with aftertouch and eight large, velocity-sensitive trigger pads are ideal for triggering samples or sketching out beats. NAMM Booth #6474.

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PROPELLERHEAD SOFTWARE REASON 4: Now shipping, Reason 4 (Mac/Win, $499) features Thor, a hot semimodular synth, Thor with six types of oscillators and four types of filters, a modulation matrix and a built-in step sequencer. Other highlights include the RPG-8 arpeggiator module, multichannel ReGroove Mixer, a redesigned sequencer and more. NAMM Booth #7801.

ROLAND SP-555: The newest model in Roland''s SP line of samplers, the loop-musician-oriented SP-555 ($595) offers real-time audio-loop capture and will function as a USB audio interface for your computer. Its 30 MB internal memory can record and stream up to 22 minutes of lo-fi, mono audio (11 minutes for standard-mode mono), or you can insert a Compact Flash (CF) card with up to 2 GB of memory for over 26 hours of real-time lo-fi streaming. The unit has16 Velocity-sensitive pads for triggering samples and Roland's D-Beam 3D controller. Built-in effects range from standard fare to specialties like SuperFilter and DJFX Looper. In addition to audio recording, it offers an 8,000-note pattern sequencer organized in banks of 16 patterns. It''s bundled with Cakewalk Sonar LE (Win) for digital audio sequencing and Wave Converter (Win) software for importing AIFF and WAV files to a CF card. NAMM Booth #2664.

SAMPLEBASE SATELLITE PRO: Satellite Pro (Mac/Win, $149) is a feature-enhanced upgrade of the free sample player, Satellite. Satellite Pro lets you load AIFF, WAV, and loop-based files (ReCycle, ACID, and Apple Loops), access all synthesis-engine and effects parameters, manage multisample maps, and edit waveforms singly or in batches. Both Satellite and Satellite Pro are cross-platform and come in standalone, VST, and AU versions. Samplebase is a new Web site in exclusive partnership with ILIO that offers a variety of premium downloadable sample libraries called SoundBlocks, which range in price from $19 to $49. NAMM Booth #6724.