Musikmesse ’10 – hot or not?

After two days of Musikmesse in Frankfurt and tons of press releases – whats the cool (or not so cool) stuff to you?


Elektron Octatrack

To me the Elektron Octatrack catched my interest immediately and this might be some piece of hardware I will finally buy after quite some time. Though it states Q4 2010 which smells like a year or so.


SPL Transpressor

The SPL Transpressor concept looks interesting too: a combination of compressor and transient designer makes me really curious to hear some processed samples.


RME Babyface

The Babyface mobile audio interface is introduced by RME. If this delivers the same audio quality like the Multiface this could be my next laptop interface.


ValleyPeople Dynamite

In software land there is now a replica of the Valley People dynamite dynamic processor available, made by Softube. I wonder why UA did not made it.


Roland GAIA SH-01

Why companies like Roland still assemble lame VA concepts  is simply beyond me.


KORG monotron

Korg does it way better with the tiny but sexy and true analog monotron thingy.


  1. OTO Maschine Biscuit:

    Obviously this is very simple to create in VST, but as hardware, I’m pretty impressed!

    • Dax, thats a f*cking piece of shit! Very much impressed, and the video is quiet some fun, too.
      The central “brain” switch, aarrrgh …

      • *GASP!* :O
        LOL! 😀

        Yes, if only the brain did have an on-off switch sometimes, eh? 😉

        (I think I just broke the record for ‘smilies in one post’ )

      • Yeah, it was funny actually. I sent that video to someone as a link and he replied, “Which one is the machine?” …I think he was talking about the presenter 😀

  2. Admitted, there seem to be some goodies for you electronic folks, but all in all it seems to be the weakest trade show in a long time, guess the recession shows.
    About the only things of interest I’ve found in the web are the Elysia mpressor plug and the smaller Lexicon bundle, but seriously, they’ll have to be extremely good to hold their own against some of the current (and upcoming 😉 ) freeware …
    Oh, and there is a pretty sophisticated hardware speaker emulator by Two Notes Audio, but it’s crazy expensive.

  3. I tried the mpressor plugin… it sucks. They say it accurately emulates the hardware.. I hope it doesn’t. 😉

    There are many compressors capable of much better ‘mojo’ out there, many free.

    For example, Antress Vacuumer Compressor. Yes, the old Antress stuff was not good and I still find the EQs unusable, but most of the compressors in the current release (4.95?) are incredible.
    I would probably never use them for mastering, but as ‘creative compressors’, they’re killer!

    • Can you specify why you did not like the mpressor plugin? I can say, that it does good things in the context I use it in, though of course no effect works in every situation.

      But to generalize in such a way could be seen as quite presumptuous. That is why I am interested in why it seemingly did no good to your audio material during your evaluation. I might learn a thing or two.

      • I tried the demo and I liked it! The mpressor surely is no “loud maker” but it sounds very musical and is very flexible! I like the gain reduction range parameter. But we all know a very nice freeware compressor that also offers this feature 😉


      • Hey Phil,
        Good question.

        Elysia call it a “creative compressor”, they also claim it’s “a high grade sum compressor, a flexible tool for single instruments [and] an inspiring dynamics effect processor.”

        I first tested it as a creative compressor or character compressor. I put in on some drums loops (both acoustic and electronic/samples), then also some synths and even guitars. It was completely boring. By contrast, Christian Budde’s ‘Lightweight Soft Knee Compressor’ was capable of MUCH more “mojo” …and it’s free. (Please send him a donation)
        Funnily, SoftKnee Comp doesn’t claim to be a “character compressor” and works quite nicely as a clean compressor too.

        I was excited to try the negative ratios and Anti-Log functions, but found they to be disappointing to say the least.

        Next I tried it as a mastering compressor… boy did that fail. When the attack was set normally (for mastering, around 10-20ms), it wasn’t very useful as a mastering compressor. Set the attack a little lower to catch a bit more and it killed all transients. Direct comparison to one of my favourite buss compressors PSP’s MixCompressor2 (MixPack2 bundle), showed mpressor was indeed inferior.

        As for the GR Limit function; that’s nothing special. Simply a clipper in the sidechain CV path. Quite a few other compressors have this including Bootsy’s Density mkII and .. and…

        What about “a flexible tool for single instruments” ?
        Well there are already lots of amazingly good plugins for this including FabFilter Pro-C, Voxengo Marquis and the aforementioned Softknee Comp and MixCompressor2.

        For me, mpressor failed to impress. I’m not blaming Brainworx (the software developers) and I’m certainly not claiming “analog is better than digital”.

        • These are very interesting finds, Dax. Thanks for the detailed descriptions.

          I can just state that I have quite opposing impressions about the inherent quality of the mpressor. On my audio material it adds pressure to drum busses with short attack/medium release (0.7/150ms) without destroying the punch and the transients, bring out major punch on single drum hits with longer attack/short release 90-120/50ms and gently ride the masterbus with long attack and long release.

          This is why I was so interested in your experience. My conclusion is that it can not be repeated enough, that especially for dynamic effects the input material and the strategy to reach a certain sound is immensely important.

          For example to reach a punchy, yet non-spikey drum sound you could work more on indiviual tracks or try to do it on the drum bus. Of course this leads to a totally different perception of what effects are capable of and what they do in the specific cases.

          Also I agree about the marketing bs/historic hype. I try to be as ingnorant as possible about it :). The only way to really know if something works for you is to try it for yourself in your own mixing scenarios.

          • Trust me, I WANTED it to be awesome! 🙂
            I’ve always been impressed with Elysia’s industrial designs (the faceplates of their hardware units are all exceptional.)
            But it just didn’t get me excited, especially at that pricetag.
            Actually, to be honest, even if it were freeware I probably wouldn’t have kept it.
            As far as 0.7ms attack time goes, that will always kill the transients of a drumtrack (or anything else for that matter.)
            Assuming of course, that it’s correctly scaled to the decal around the knob.

            And this is an interesting point. Some (crap and deceptive) EQs will show incorrect boost/cut values, which are known to play on our human weaknesses.
            Example: You know that a 18dB low shelf bass boost on a kick drum is too much, even if it may sound “cool!”, it’s usually too much.
            So I take the case of a crappy EQ plugin (none will be named here, developers, you know who you are) (No, I’m not implying Bootsy’s EQs are faulty, he’s on top of all that stuff)
            Wouldn’t it make the EQ seem like a super-hero if only a 6dB boost made your track’s bottom end sound amazingly deep and big?
            So it turns out that if you put a scale on your GUI that doesn’t match the actual gain values, then this is exactly what you can achieve. If you think no-one would do this just to sell plugins, then you haven’t opened your eyes to the real world. (Phil, I’m not targeting you specifically when I say “you”)
            Then you wonder why your mixes don’t fit together properly because you THINK you’ve followed all the “rules”.

            So, how do you know if you’re being duped?
            Christian Budde’s VST Plugin Analyser (in this case set to Measurement|Frequency Response.) will tell you the truth.

            After a while of mixing, you can get used to how things should sound and you ‘learn your monitors’. That’s when you stop mixing with your eyes.
            Then the scale of the controls doesn’t matter one bit. (no pun intended)

            • wow, these columns are getting smaller!

            • Do not get me wrong, I do not want you to like the mpressor. I am merely wondering how we come to such different conclusions about its sound. This discussion could be translated to every other dynamic processor.

              But I have to object that short attack times kill transients. I argue, that only an instant attack time actually kills transients (=clipping/distortion). Everything slower, including e.g. 0.7 ms, actually emphasizes any short-term volume rise. How long the transient accentuation phase is, is determined by the attack time.

          • susiwong says:

            The same is true for many classic vintage EQs and their emulations, no big deal, that’s what ears are for. 🙂

            • yes, displayed values can be totally misleading. I always go by ear.

              Nevertheless it is quite interesting to throw effects through an analyser and see the plots. its a good way to get a general idea what to expect.

              the mpressor for example has a very smooth roll off of the higher frequencies. I usually dont like it and add a follow up eq to compensate for this loss.

  4. Personally I’m underwhelmed by the Octatrack. I actually like the utilitarian, “bomb-proof” look of it, but … only looped and one-shot samples? Elektron make gear for DJs and “producers”, those of us that would LOVE a chromatic sampler with flash RAM + SD card access, attached to a step-sequencer, will probably find this disappointing. As I do, unless Elektron add the simple facility (heck an Electribe ESX keyboard part does this), to sequence melodic parts.

    People are so unconcerned with melody and so obsessed with texture these days. Very sad.

    • I think this will be possible. If not, you can always use the parameter locks with pitch. But I have to agree. I love the Machinedrum and the Monomachine, and I think the Elektron guys are very smart guys. But I don’t get what’s so special about the octatrack yet. But I’m sure the Elektron guys will surprise us again!


    • I think “good gear” is about quality and supporting best your flow + creativity which is a highly personal matter of course. To me, it never was a (long) feature list.

  5. That RME babyface will be my next investment…auf Deutsch gesagt alle Daumen hoch…das gilt auch für Deine Plug ins 😉

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