February 3, 2005
../ 2005 NAMM Report: Novation
Novation has always been a company on the edge. They were one of the only
companies to cash in on the Acid craze of the early nineties with their BassStation Keyboard and rack. Unfortunately, they were never able to truly
leverage their early momentum here in the States due to quality issues and poor customer service. Making matters worse, they then decided to handle stateside distribution duties themselves,
a major mistake. The company plodded along in fits and starts that usually coincided with a new product launch, but their products were
always handicapped by some of the worst marketing and advertising in the business. It's a shame a company like
The Attik didn't take pity on them and develop a campaign that
positioned them as the innovators they really are.
Think we're kidding about their marketing? Then tell me this isn't one of the ugliest backpacks you've ever encountered...
Novation was recently acquired by Focusrite, a company known for their high end and esteemed product line. I'm sure former CEO, Ian Jannaway,
was hoping to benefit from their big marketing dollars or respected image, but that was not evident at the show.
The Novation booth was small and congested. Their new Remote MIDI
controllers and X-Station synth/controllers in 25, 49 and 61 key incarnations were crammed together on keyboard stands leaving little room to move about.
The Novation X-Station61
There's not much to discuss about the Remote which is, yet another, MIDI controller in the market that is currently dominated by M-Audio.
However, the X-Station is another story. Novation married a 24 bit audio interface with phantom power and a digital output, to a comprehensive MIDI
controller with two unique, user-definable controllers, and added their KS hardware synth technology. In addition, Novation's semi-weighted keyboard
with aftertouch and a distinctive fully assignable Touchpad controller really make the X-Station stand out.
The Remote and X-Station keyboards have a great feel and each come with a programmable pitch/mod wheel joystick. The built-in,
three oscillator virtual analog synth, based on their KS technology, has 8 note
polyphony. The X-Station has a total of 55 assignable knobs, sliders, and buttons to satisfy all your controller desires, and has a
dedicated audio section with traditional tape controls such as play, stop, fast forward, etc. But Novation didn't stop there, they added a full-on
DSP multieffects unit. Two channels of multieffects are available with up to six
simultaneous effects on each channel. Effects include, Reverb, Delay, Distortion, Chorus, EQ and a Compressor. The X-Station can be powered
by batteries, the USB bus or by an external power supply. The best part of the X-Station is its price. The 25 key two octave model starts at
>>> Next: Denon
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