NAMM 2011: Musical Instruments

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Arturia Spark
One of Arturia's new NAMM products is this hybrid software drum machine with a hardware controller. Offering analog synthesis, as well as sampled and physical-modeled sounds, the product is designed for creative beat production. Spark should be shipping by early April. Price: $599 MAP.
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Dave Smith Instruments/Roger Linn Design Tempest
Developed jointly with Roger Linn Design, Dave Smith Instruments Tempest ($1,999) is an analog drum machine that has six analog voices, each with two analog and two digital oscillators. There are 16 pressure- and velocity-sensitive pads; two slide controllers; and effects like compression, distortion and beat-synched delay. The unit is expected to ship in June of this year. Price: $1,999 MAP.
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Korg Kronos
This keyboard was one of the most talked-about products at the show. The Kronos has nine synth engines of various types and can switch sounds seamlessly while being played. From ethereal textures to hard-hitting pianos to complex layered tones, the Kronos covers a huge range of sonic territory. The Kronos will begin shipping in May, and will be offered in 61, 73 and 88-key models. The Kronos isn''t cheap, but it appears to be one of the most powerful keyboards around. Prices (all MSRP): 61-key, $3,750; 73-key, $4,350; and 88-key $4,750.
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Misa Digital Instruments Kitara Digital Guitar
The Kitara Digital Guitar, which comes in a carbon-fiber model and a more expensive solid aluminum model, is a guitar-shaped instrument that has no strings. Instead, there are six switches on each fret of its 24-fret neck, giving you all the notes you''d get on a guitar. Your right hand plays a touchscreen and can use a variety of articulations to trigger the notes. There are 128 synth presets built in, MIDI out and more. The carbon-fiber and aluminum models are functionally the same, but the latter is more durable for extended road use. Prices (all MSRP): carbon-fiber model, $849; and solid-aluminum model, $2,899.
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Moog Lap Steel
The 6-string lap steel has the same circuitry as the Moog Guitar. These instruments are being built on a custom basis only, and currently only four exist, including the one that Moog had at its booth. The Moog Lap Steel offers infinite sustain, controlled sustain and mute modes, and has a Moog filter built in that can be controlled with a foot pedal. Price: $2,800 MSRP.
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Nord Stage 2
The Nord Stage 2, an updated version of its live keyboard, was one of many products on display at the sprawling American Music and Sound booth. The synthesizer section now has sample-playback capabilities, and users can create their own samples and load them in via the Nord sample editor. Other additions include MIDI over USB, MIDI sync for the global master clock, master clock sync for LFO, an arpeggiator and delay. Price: $4,195 MAP.
Find out more about the Nord Stage 2 .