Gaze into our crystal ball
As is standard at the end of a calendar year, we cast our eyes towards what wondrous things we can expect from the next 12 months. In the world of musical instruments, it’s never easy. The industry is (generally) very good at keeping its powder dry and sitting tightly on new gear until it’s been poked, prodded and made ready for general use. The same applies this year, but that doesn’t stop us wondering.
Here’s a look at our predictions for music technology specifically in 2015.
After a productive 2014, which saw the Aira range etch itself onto the consciousness of musicians everywhere, it figures that Roland will take steps to keep the momentum up on its new range. It was keen when Aira was first announced to make it clear that the Aira brand will be semi-autonomous, i.e. it will develop into something unique and rather self-contained. The first slew of gear saw it pitching itself squarely at electronic producers, and with such a rich back catalogue for it to mine, it figures that any new announcements will be re-imagined versions of its old classics.
Perhaps we’ll see an Aira version of the classic SP-808 sampler. You see, the Aira TR-8 isn’t the first time Roland has drawn on its 808 heritage. The SP-808 was introduced in the late 1990’s, and quickly found favour with musicians like Liam Howlett and Daft Punk. A modernised version would no doubt be lapped up, particularly by hip-hop producers and beat makers.
Elsewhere, we can reasonably expect more add-ons for the System 1, which might itself potentially be the focus of an expanded key version or two.
In 2014, Korg went micro thanks to its range of Volca groove boxes, which came in various flavours. Late this year, it added the sampler version to its line-up; can we expect more Volcas? Perhaps a central mixing unit would be a welcome addition? Maybe we’ll also see different versions of the existing Volca line-up, e.g. a hip-hop drum unit, or a dubstep bass unit.
There’s also the moot point over Korg’s ARP Odyssey. Early in 2014 it was announced that Korg is remaking, or at least reworking its classic synth, although whether we’ll see sight or sound of it in 2015 is up for debate. It’s certainly captured the attention of plenty of musicians though and, if it ticks all the boxes, would be a massive hit for them.
The NAMM show in the United States is always a good indicator for what’s in store. Plenty of new gear will be announced at the show, although there’s generally a pretty big gap between things being announced and them hitting stores. One little nugget of information which stands out though is that synth manufacturers are now taking up double the floor space they have previously. Sounds positive for fans of oscillators and ADSR envelopes.
Native Instruments is keeping its cards close to its chest, although seeing as we welcomed new gear this year in the shape of the Kontrol S series and an updated Komplete, maybe we won’t see anything new from the German company. Unlikely we’ll see a new version of Maschine either, considering they’ve nailed the existing version and are able to keep developing its functionality via incremental software updates.
In the world of DAWs, there may be a first look at Ableton Live 10. The veteran software tends to be updated every couple of years, and Live 9 (the current version) was released in March 2013 so it stands to reason we may see another version before the end of the year. Quite what they’d change is up for debate, although you can be sure Push would feature heavily in any new version.
We won’t truly know what’s coming out until we see shiny product shots and updated websites. We will however leave you with this – for a slightly left-field look at the world of music tech announcements, check out the Twitter feed of @NammPredictions. We can’t condone anything that’s put on there, but it sure does shine a light on the constant quest for everything new and exciting in the world of music technology.