New conventional keyboards with polyphonic aftertouch

Bunch of new ones in recent months.

Native Instruments S49 Mk3, S61 Mk3, S88 Mk3

Waldorf Quantum Mk2

Yamaha Montage M8x

Behringer UB-Xa (OB-Xa clone, not out yet)


Cool to see that NI also makes poly aftertouch keyboards now. A first step in the direction of MPE/Midi 2. Fingers crossed that their synths will all be compatible anytime soon!

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Expect all sorts of interesting things this year, building further on this expressive era as it continues to go mainstream.

Arturia are making noises about their next announcement on the 9th April. I presume its related to this topic but goes beyond normal poly aftertouch. But since they stamped down rather hard on a leak about the new product some weeks ago, I may as well just wait till the 9th rather than take any risks. Its going to be an interesting year. The MPE etc naysayers of the last decade+ lost, ho ho ho.

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They tried but failed to fully censor the leak. I have an archive of the Gear News article by Rob Puricelli along with the respective video from Rock Distribution.

I’ve got the video too, I just meant that at this stage its easier to just wait till its officially revealed.

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Okay, keep me informed if it has MPE compatibility or not, either here on Poly Expression or on KVR Audio.

They’ve got more than one new product coming so todays reveal might be the other one, which I currently know very little about other than having seen it lurking mysteriously in the background. Whether it will be relevant to this thread remains to be seen, but only hours now till we find out.

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Only mono aftertouch in todays product, the AstroLab, so my recent posts in this thread were poorly timed, sorry about that.

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Having a CS-80 emulation and Pigments inside a mono-aftertouch keyboard sounds a little sacrilegious…


I’d be down for a desktop synth without any keyboard, though.

Or better yet, a rackmount. I’d love to slowly collect a stack of those.

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If you are seriously interested in MPE hardware rackmounts, you can contact Baloran about a second batch of The Pool, or try your luck finding an Abstrakt Instruments VS-1 DIY Kit.

I did mean Astrolab specifically. If we can drop the price and space requirements by losing the keys.

I think the full interface would fit in a 1u row, and that accumulating 8 or 12 rows of that (over the course of a decade or so) would be a worthy and rewarding endeavor.

The Pool looks fun, but it’s physically enormous. And also, costs more the full keyboard Astrolab.

Abstract VS1 isn’t as big, but it looks to cost twice as much.

Granted, those are both analog.

But they also exemplify why this daydream can’t be analog.

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Astro lab is interesting, I think its just exposes what we have been seeing for a while.
more powerful processors suitable for synths, make it more viable for manufactures to build cross-platform (for hardware and desktop), and essentially just create hardware ‘hosts’.
it drastically reduces dev effort on the hardware side wide which potentially makes it much cheaper. its also ‘easier’ than other hardware integration, e.g think of all the teething trouble Access had with Virus TI , and Elektron with overbridge.

as for minimal UI … or ‘performance’ UI :wink:
I think its easy its forget, theres a lot of musician outside the ‘synth community’, who just love to use synths with presets … turn on and play music.

one thing, I think at this price point, Arturia could have included V Collection X, to musicians the ‘in depth’ editing… I think it’d we make it a bit more of a complete experience.

though, I guess the counter argument is…
a) many will have this already, and perhaps be ‘upset’ if they didn’t get a discount.
b) the target market likely does not want this editing anyway… so the slimed down version (Astro Lab pro) is a more tailored experience… put another way, VCX is integrated into the experience - and including it would ‘highlight’ this more.

anyway, interesting stuff… and a direction, I think one which will continue…
MPC, NI ( Maschine+), Push 3

funny though, the tech industry is going forwards in two directions…

we have ever more powerful/small general purpose computers close to hand (iPad/phones/tiny laptops, rPI). logically, this means we really only ‘need’ controllers.
this is the battle cry of the iPad musicians :slight_smile:

but on the other hard, processing power and cross platform development is easier/cheaper than ever… so creating dedicated (digital) hardware products, so we get embedded computers in everything from cars to tvs.
and people do seem to prefer having dedicated devices…

ofc, the elephant in the room with all of this is is ‘future compatibility’, no ‘hardware integration’ will work forever. how long will these be supported for?
do consumers care in this ‘throw away’ society, where we want to replace everything with the new shiny thing in 5-7 years?


anyhoo… back on topic - where’s the poly at/mpe version :wink:

actually, I don’t really care , these days I hate all these speculations/leaks.
frankly, they just exist as a form of marketing, and give the synth tubers an excuse to feed the hype train, and make easy/quick speculation content, all driven by a bit of fomo, and ‘Im more in the know’ :wink:

its not like we won’t get drowned in content, when the thing is actually released.