ASM Hydrasynth - new keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch

Also has a ribbon controller. There’s another model with an 8 x 3 poly AT pad grid instead of a keyboard.

No mention of MPE.

I asked one of the guys involved with it, no MPE support.

and no plans to enable MPE in the future?

I would guess if it doesn’t have it now it won’t get it in the future. I could well be wrong though.

The answer I got was to use Polyphonic Aftertouch instead.


It seems if a synth’s architecture is multi timbral, it is easier to support MPE.

Tried it. Played it. Loved it. Buying it. MPE is kind of pointless on a keyboard action that doesn’t understand vertical or horizontal movement, although I suppose it could be enabled and software for external control. I thought it was great as it was, and it was the first synthesizer I have played in many years that has given me real GAS.

This is exactly what new synth developers need to understand. There are controllers out there even if the keyboard in your synth isn’t MPE-capable.


Alas, it’s not just MPE… Korg neglected to make the minilogue xd understand aftertouch messages, apparently because its keyboard didn’t send them so they figured nobody would miss them. They did this to the keyboardless desktop module version, too. (Much loud screaming ensued, and rumors of a firmware upgrade are circulating. It’s already happened for one or two other Korg synths in a similar position.)

Much as I am a huge MPE fan, in this case I dont mind that they are ‘only’ supporting poly aftertouch - they are clearly on a mission to make poly aftertouch popular again. And I think they want to keep things relatively simple. If this leads to much greater popularity for expressive control then I will be happy, even though its not the sort of expressive control I’m really into!

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Agree. It doesn’t all have to be MPE to be of value to musicians, and an affordable, popular synth that brings back poly aftertouch to the masses can only benefit the exposure of people to MPE in the long run. For every hundred people who buy a Hydrasynth and love it, if even one or two dig deeper and get into MPE, we all win.

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CV inputs or at least MPE should be the norm nowadays for any decent polysynth. ADC chips and jacks barely cost any money when buying at scale and basic MPE support requires a few hours or programming at best.

MPE support added in firmware 1.3.0! Yay :slight_smile:

The firmware download isnt available at the time of me writing this (and my Hydrasynth doesnt arrive till Monday) but the release notes with plenty of MPE info are available:


The firmware with MPE support came out last night!

I only tried it briefly with a single seaboard block but it worked and I was very happy.

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