Summer NAMM 2017 preview

Time for a brief Summer NAMM 2017 preview.

Summer NAMM is rarily as exciting as Winter NAMM, so I don’t expect much in the way of new product announcements.

Roland just recently had their “Future Redefined” [whatever] event, so I doubt if Roland will announce anything new. Korg are promoting their Grandstage stage piano. Be sure to check out the Grandstage introductory video on Youtube in which Rosemary Minkler and her jazz trio absolutely burn up the stage. (If you don’t like jazz, well, OK.)

From the few industry previews on-line, Yamaha will feature keyboard products that were previously announced at Musikmesse, along with the MX88. Yamaha will introduce the PSR-EW300 ($250 USD) to the North American market. The EW300 is a 76-key version of the PSR-E363 entry-level arranger keyboard. Both the EW300 and E363 feature 48 voice polyphony, up from 32 voices. The EW300 and E363 pages claim “improved sampling,” which is good because Yamaha’s entry-level was really getting tired. (I have yet to hear the “improved sampling,” BTW.) Perhaps a new spin of the SWL01 processor family as well?

I’m rather surprised that it hasn’t been mentioned on the forums, but Yamaha cut prices across the entire Reface line on July 1. A big price cut before Summer NAMM is kind of suspicious. We live in the age of imagined conspiracy…

Advertised prices for the Reface series seemed to have settled. The DX and CS models are $300 USD. Price for YC and CP models have settled around $370 USD. The Guitar Center web site has flagged all models as “CLEARANCE,” so this may be the last we see of Reface, two years after introduction at Summer NAMM 2015. The disparity between DX/CS and YC/CP pricing may reflect the depth of existing inventory or perhaps popularity. Yamaha, as usual, knows for sure.

So, let’s imagine a conspiracy! Wouldn’t it be grand to see Reface v2 at Summer NAMM 2017 replete with full-size keys?

Speaking of “Minimum Advertised Price” or “MAP.” Electro-Harmonix are dropping the retailer Amazon due to grievances over MAP policy. If you’re not familiar with “MAP” or “the street price,” you should get hip as a consumer. MAP is a way for a manufacturer to prop up product pricing without (barely) running afoul of price fixing laws. MAP is why every on-line retailer seems to have the same price. (You should always call to get the best price.)

Amazon, according to Electro-Harmonix, allow “alias” companies — stores — to advertise below MAP. Thanks to commingling of sales by Amazon, Electro-Harmonix cannot track below-MAP sales back to dealers and enforce dealer agreements. This whole area (MAP) is a cesspool and frankly, none of the parties get much sympathy from me.