After seven years of research and development, French hardware and software developer Expressive E today unveiled their latest and most exciting contribution to the future of music technology, Osmose.
Osmose is the first true keyboard synthesizer that fulfills the promise of MIDI polyphonic expression, or MPE. It combines 49 keys that respond to performance gestures beyond traditional keyboard technique with an MPE-optimized sound engine borrowed from the Haken Continuum, the EaganMatrix. Its unique design allows musicians to use their existing keyboard skills to interact with electronic sounds like never before.
Because Osmose is an MPE-compatible instrument, players have independent control over the articulation of every note in a performance. Expressive E’s patented mechanism, dubbed Augmented Keyboard Action (A.K.A.) gives players control over three dimensions. A.K.A. makes it possible to impart vibrato naturally, as many other instrument players do, by wiggling your finger from side to side. It also allows you to shape sounds with touch, so that you can manually and continuously control parameters that would require LFOs and envelope generators in traditional synthesizers, using only your fingers.
To make the most from such a keyboard, you need a sound engine designed with multidimensional touch control in mind. Expressive E has found such a sound engine in the EaganMatrix, a DSP-based, 24-note polyphonic modular synth that incorporates physical modeling, additive, subtractive, FM, virtual analog, granular, and spectral synthesis. Osmose comes with a large library of onboard sounds tailor-made to take advantage of A.K.A.’s capabilities, and all those sounds can be edited by the performer. What’s more, you can use Osmose to control external hardware and software, making it ideal for pairing with any device that supports MPE.
Expressive E expects Osmose to be shipping by next summer, with a retail price of $1,799. If you take advantage of their pre-order offer before the last day of this year, however, you can save 40% by making a $299 deposit before January 1, 2020, for a total price of $1,079. If you’d like to get on the list, place your pre-order here. And for more complete information, visit Expressive E.