Musikmesse 2011: Toyification of Music Hardware

Musikmesse 2011 wrapped up a couple of weeks ago and there was actually some pretty good news that came out of it. It certainly seems that analog gear is back in favor with people, which I think is a good thing. We are probably just on the pendulum swing back from the prevalence of all digital software synths which we have seen dominate over the past decade or so. One thing that really seemed to strike me though with a lot of this hardware and analog gear that was coming out though was the apparent cheapness of all of it. Almost everything I have seen seems to have a toy

quality to it, almost as if the gear is meant to be a novelty to noodle around with rather than create serious music with. The most high profile of these of course is the Korg Monotribe, which was initially highly anticipated and then once announced sort of took the air out of the room. I personally come from the groovebox breed of artists and used them to this day for the majority of my music creation, so the prospect of a new electribe and an analog one at that come me really excited. What we got instead was a small cheap little box. There really is so much potential here that is lost and all Korg really had to do to make this really interesting was give it a serious sequencer like the rest of the electribe X series has. 

The other addition to this field of course is also from Korg and is the Mini-Wavedrum, and while I may be picing on Korg here a bit, there are other culprits as well. The Teenage Engineering OP-1 falls a bit into this category as well. Ok, I know your rolling your eyes at me on this one. Is it a cool little synth? Yes, but on the the same token the design doesn’t seem all that effective for really working on it for longer periods.