One of the biggest surprises of NAMM came from a little booth at the end of the show! CME have a new USB keyboard coming out that sports polyphonic aftertouch and full-size keys in a tiny form factor!
Not only does it support iOS (via USB), their demo features Arctic Keys! Arctic Keys, along with other apps like Animoog and Grain Science, can make use of polyphonic aftertouch to modulate parameters. Think about it as a hardware version of playing Animoog's keyboard, where moving up and down on the keys themselves is a modulation source for that individual note. Poly AT is fairly rare in keyboards, and is usually prohibitively expensive. Even my beloved MPK61 only does mono aftertouch.
CME Xkey should be available in April for around $99. Maybe... that bit is unclear in this otherwise excellent demo from Sonic State.
Hardware step sequencers are absurdly expensive. Most of them cost as much as a full synthesizer! No shit. If you buy a desktop (keyboardless) synth like the Minitaur for around $600, then expect to pay another $600+ if you want a hardware sequencer with it. The fancy rack mount ones are easily more than a $1,000! There is no preset saving either, so you have to input notes every time.
As with all things iOS, developers are bringing us better solutions at 0.5% of the cost of the hardware they emulate!
The list of sequencers for iOS just got a little longer today! Joining Little MIDI Machine and Phaedra we now have Step Sequencer.
Step Sequencer ST-S01 brings a classical Step Sequencer to the iPad.
Do you remember the times of huge, old modular Synthesizers. They were not complete without a Step Sequencer and this is exactly what ST-S01 is. It features two modes with either 16 steps or two times 8 steps which are executed in parallel on two MIDI channels. ST-S01 supports MIDI Clock, Start, Continue and Stop. Each step has an octave and note selector as well as a switch which permits skipping a step.
In MIDI clock receive mode it is possible to slow down or speed up the sequence. MIDI can be received and sent by WIFI and through interfaces like the Line6 Midi Mobilizer.
ST-S01 can control any background MIDI enabled App on the iPad, as well as external MIDI keyboards.
Announced back at last year's Winter NAMM, Akai was showing off the MPC Fly again this year. I almost had the impression that they weren't showing it at all, because no one had a video for it. I guess it wasn't really news at this point.
Fortunately Nova Musik checked it out anyhow and was rewarded with some new details! Apparently the MPC Fly case itself has an on-board battery so that the iPad is not drained by its use. There is still no mention of a release date.