The Best of Messe: Highlights from Musikmesse 2015

Musikmesse 2015 featured some tasty new products with an emphasis on "smart controllers" and modular synths and effects. Here's my roundup along with videos from our favourite announcements.  

I enjoy music industry trade shows with a passion. I’m often enthralled by at least a handful of new products, and Messe 2015 was no different. From Universal Audio’s new range of Apollo interfaces to Roland’s System 1m (Eurorack modular synth), Akai Pro’s MIDImix to Modal’s new 001 and 008 synths.

What I still find troubling, however, is the lack of presence for all the main DAWs. Granted Steinberg were present (phew!) and Avid too. Also Native Instruments - probably one of the most influential companies in the industry - don’t have a booth either.

Speak Like a Native

Although Native Instruments weren’t present at the trade show itself, they decided to host an event on the Wednesday evening. It enabled myself and other invitees to understand the significance of the new Stems format, a significant update to the Komplete Kontrol software, and the new Native Kontrol Standard (NKS) – a format allowing deep integration of third-party plug-ins. And all this in a relaxed environment with good food and good NI people on hand to chat to.

Smarter Hardware

With more complex and intelligent software comes a need to control it… more intelligently too! 2015 looks to be the year of the smart controller. That is, hardware that intelligently maps onto (or is auto-mapped) to software.

Smart MIDI Controllers aren’t exactly new though. Look at the Nektar Panorama series as an example of how tight integration with a DAW (Bitwig Studio, FL Studio, Cubase, Logic Pro, MainStage, Propellerhead Reason, Reaper) works well and continues to evolve. Nektar have been doing this for a few years now, and time and again I hear glowing reports on how well it works.

With Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol Series and the Akai Professional keyboards a similar idea is being followed. But where Nektar focus on their controllers being smart DAW controllers, NI and Akai Pro shift focus on being able to control 3rd-party instrument and effect plug-ins seamlessly. There are significant differences between Komplete Kontrol, Akai Advance and Nektar Panorama. But the good news for music makers is we have choices on how we wish to control our software.

2015 looks set to be an interesting year indeed.

Best of the Show

So, without further ado here’s the announcements and some videos which are our highlights from Musikmesse 2015.

An Interview with Universal Audio on Apollo Thunderbolt 2


Soon after the release of the new Universal Audio Apollo range (Thunderbolt 2 and special Firewire version) and the Marshall Plexi Super Lead plug-in, we interviewed Gannon & Amanda from UA at Messe.

Read More here

AKAI Professional MIDIMIX Portable Mixer/DAW Controller for Under $100


Akai Pro's innovative MIDI controller gives musicians & producers the ability to mix sounds and control their Digital Audio Workstation on the go from a compact, easy-to-use component.

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Watch Roland AIRA System-1m Semi-Modular Synth in Action


It's official. The Roland AIRA System-1 has a brother: System-1m. Yup, it's semi-modular and can be used as a Eurorack module, tabletop synth or 19" rack mount unit! Watch this demo video of it here.

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Watch Novation Launchpad Pro Performance with Thavius Beck


It’s Musikmesse. It’s 2015. Thavius Beck is at the Novation booth with a Launchpad Pro It’s obvious something good is gonna happen. Watch the video…

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Native Instruments Reveals the Future of KOMPLETE KONTROL keyboards


Native Instruments hosted an evening announcement away from the hustle of bustle of Musikmesse 2015. We attended and were treated to an informative demo and unveiling of new Komplete Kontrol features.

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Watch: New Audient iD14 & ASP800 Audio Interfaces


Two new interfaces were showcased by Audient at Messe, 2015: a new 2 input, 4 output interface to add to their iD range, as well as the ASP800 powerhouse. Chris from Audient explains their features.

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Watch Nektar Panorama Control Mainstage & Reason Seamlessly


The guys at Nektar like to refer to the Panorama as a DAW controller with deep integration. They're not wrong! The Panorama P4 is even smarter when it comes to controlling two DAWs.

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Watch FL Studio 12 New Features Preview


Want to find out what exactly is coming in FL Studio 12 and understand the new features? In this video Scott Fischer from Image Line showed us his favorite new additions at Musikmesse.

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Watch New Waves Reverb Plug-In (5 Years in the Making)


At Musikmesse 2015 we caught up with Mike from Waves Audio who gave us an entertaining and informative overview of their two latest plug-ins and their new unreleased reverb plug-in!

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Watch Monophonic Analog/Digital Hybrid Synthesizer, MODAL 001, Demo


What exactly is the Modal 001 synth? How different from the 002 is this analog, digital hybrid? What will it sound like? We sought to find answers to these questions at Musikmesse 2015.

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Watch Verbos Electronics Modular Eurorack Synth Modules Overview


Verbos Electronics manufactures a line of Eurorack format synthesizer modules designed by Mark Verbos. We talked with him at Musikmesse 2015 to understand and hear more about what the modules do.

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Watch Røde Microphones Showcase New Ribbon Mic and Wireless System


We caught up with Ryan from Røde Microphones who showed us their brand new Røde NTR ribbon mic which is impressive and the RødeLink Film Maker wireless system at Musikmesse 2015.

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Watch Q&A with Steinberg UR242 Product Specialist


Steinberg’s latest UR range of audio interface, the UR242, was announced just over a month ago. We now had a chance to see it in person at Musikmessse 2015.

Read More here

Patch Blocks - Programmable Mini-Synth Modules


Let's say you like the idea of programmable mini-synth modules that you can patch together like... well, like blocks. Then you're in luck! There's infinite ways of playing with patchblocks and all you need is a Mac or PC. My only regret from Messe is that our videographer left before I discovered these guys. But stay tuned for a review...


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Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional... Read More


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