2016 NAMM introduced quite a few new toys which got my attention. This just on the tail end of buying a couple pieces of gear. Check out my reviews of the Ensoniq ASR-X and the Dave Smith Mopho SE and I am ordering a Korg Minilogue soon too!
It seems that as an electronic musician one should aspire to have an instrument, not a toy. What I mean by that is you should have gear which you know in-depth. Unfortunately in the software realm, things are always changing and it feels like once I learn a piece, an update makes my knowledge useless.
Enter hardware… I have a sweet Korg DSS-1 that I love, and I am an instrumentalist with numerous guitars, a piano, upright bass, drumset, etc. , but I want more electronic hardware now. I love analog synths, but I even love hardware digital pieces and effects.
That being said, it seems like the world is moving in that direction as well. Hardware and analog gear are coming back. Even vinyl! I mean when Urban Outfitters started stocking Taylor Swift LPs I knew that there was a sea change. Hooray for us consumers. We can buy $500 polyphonic analog synths like the Minilogue from Korg, or high end Elektron analog drum machines, or cool pieces like the Dave Smith Tempest.
What is great about hardware is the immediacy, the commitment it takes to make music and lock it down as it is. There are also built in limitations that kind of force creativity and allow you to stay on task when makin music. Check out my rant on that here. (Though not as fun when you have hours to nerd out on sound design)
Truly the world is at our feet, so go buy some cool gear!