Osmose Keyboard: Innovative MPE Controller or Flawed Synth?

The Osmose keyboard from Expressive E has been making waves in the music production community. Touted as a game-changing MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE) controller, it promises a level of expressiveness hitherto unseen in digital keyboard instruments. But is it the revolutionary tool musicians have been waiting for, or does it fall short of its ambitious promise?

Unboxing the Promise of Osmose

Upon unboxing the Osmose, one is immediately struck by its sleek design and the promise of touch-sensitive keys that can modulate sound in three dimensions. With its advanced keyboard technology, it allows musicians to bend pitch, modulate sounds, and apply aftertouch with unprecedented ease and sensitivity.

Where Osmose Shines

Musicians who have had their hands on the Osmose report that its MPE capabilities are indeed transformative. The level of expression available through its keys provides an experience akin to playing traditional stringed or wind instruments, where subtlety and nuance are critical.

Furthermore, the integration with existing software synthesizers and digital audio workstations is noted as smooth, which makes the Osmose an essential addition to a modern musician's setup for both studio recording and live performance.

The Synthesizer: A Missed Opportunity?

However, the inbuilt synthesizer engine of the Osmose has received less glowing reviews. While it is functional, it is described as somewhat limited and even frustrating, failing to match the innovation and versatility of the keyboard controller itself.

Users have pointed out a lack of intuitive sound design workflow, and presets that don't always do justice to the potential of the hardware. For those expecting a synthesizer that would break new ground, the Osmose might seem like a letdown.

Considering the Investment

Given the high price point, potential buyers must consider whether the revolutionary MPE functionality justifies the overall investment, especially when taking the synthesizer's limitations into account. The question becomes whether the Osmose is a niche instrument for expressive purists or a truly versatile tool for the broader music production community.

Ultimately, the Expressive E Osmose pushes the boundaries of what digital controllers can do in terms of expressiveness. But in striving to be an all-in-one solution, it appears to have compromised on the synthesizer quality. The Osmose excels as an expressivity-focused MPE controller but as a synthesizer, it may require external instruments and software to truly shine.

The Future of Music Production?

Despite its flaws, the Osmose stands as a testament to the possibilities of modern music production. As it stands now, it represents both the potential and the hurdles of innovation in musical instruments. Only time will tell if its pioneering features will influence the future of music making or if its shortcomings will anchor it as a stepping stone rather than a milestone.

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