Musikmesse 2012 – An Inside Look

Each Spring the Musical Instruments world descends upon Frankfurt, Germany for the planet’s largest MI trade show; Musikmesse. Cakewalk’s had a presence at the Frankfurt Musikmesse for decades and with one small exception this year was no different. This year I was a part of the crew. And this year I wrote a blog about it!

Frankurt, Germany – Home of Musikmesse

However, this wasn’t my first time in Germany nor was it my first time working a German trade show (CeBIT 2011), so taking the clean and quiet S Bahn (above ground commuter train) from the Frankfurt suburb in which we stayed to the messe (German for fairground) in downtown Frankfurt was a welcome experience. Even better was seeing some friendly faces at the Roland booth upon my arrival.

    Morning Train to the Messe           Cakewalk’s Robin Kelly and Tara Zanett


At any trade show there’s a ton of work to do including setting up the demo computer system(s), front of house system, video monitoring system, and headphone distribution system. Each trade show has a unique setup and its own set of challenges. Thankfully the Roland Germany guys had the setup process underway when I arrived at the trade show floor.

       Under Construction: Cakewalk Demo Cabin in the Roland Arena

However, I’m notorious for being excruciatingly particular about how things are setup. Once I arrived at the demo cabin I deployed my gear and commenced with  making it my secondary home.

                Demo desk before Seth                             Demo desk after Seth


After spending several hours installing and configuring the demo cabin was finally show ready.

Demo Cabin All Setup and Ready for Primetime

Despite only speaking a few words of German most (if not all) people were willing to watch my demos.

Peeps Checking Out My SONAR X1 Demo

Some of my SONAR X1 demo was basic (more or less), low level stuff like the recently released PC2A T-Type Leveling Amplifier. However, some of the demo content was pretty high-level stuff like manipulating loops with the Loop Construction View and groove matching with AudioSnap. The high level material consisted of complex operations that might not have translated languages well or have made sense to beginners, so I tried my best to demo in a workflow and style that made sense to everyone.

It’s Just Groove Matching, Okay?

As much as I enjoy working with SONAR, it isn’t the only thing I take interest in. Having recently acquired a Samsung Galaxy Note I couldn’t help but show off its gorgeous,  5.3″, 1280 x 800, Super AMOLED display (which is fully visible in direct sunlight, even with sunglasses on), its S-Pen (awesome for note taking), and its plethora of other awesome features. Fellow Cakewalker George Persiantsev got a personal demo and seemed interested, but did Samsung score another sale (I promise, I’m not a Samsung employee on the side)?

Cakewalk’s George Persiantsev (left) Checking Out the Samsung Galaxy Note

Of course, when it comes to SONAR demos, it makes sense that Germans would appreciate a German speaking demonstrator, so Roland Germany’s Mathis Middlehoff was on hand to demo SONAR X1 in his native language. And what a cool demo it was! Mathias started with a blank project, used the Browser to drag and drop in patterns and Track Templates into the project, and then finished it off by capturing a performance from the Matrix View.

Roland Germany’s Mathis Middlehoff Demoing SONAR X1’s Matrix View

Mathias also demoed Roland’s R-Mix audio processing software, which can literally remove specific instruments or vocals from a single track and manipulate individual parts in a variety of cool ways.

Mathias Middlehoff Demoing R-Mix

Of course, one cannot work without eating, and there were plenty of choices for food on the messe grounds. If you’re a meat and potatoes kind of guy like myself then Germany offers a wealth of enjoyable food opportunities. One such opportunity was a small stand outside our hall that was grilling up sausage and offering it in the form of one of my favorite German foods; currywurst (grilled sausage, sliced and covered in curry sauce and often served with fries).

Currywurst Mit Pommes for Lunch. Yum!

And of course there’s always a need for dinner (and drummers). Cakewalk’s Tara Zanett and Michael Hoover smile for a photo before dinner at a local brauhause (microbrewery/ restaurant) while Michael Crouch poses for a shot with Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain.

      Tara Zanett and Michael Hoover          Nicko McBrain with Michael Crouch


But don’t let the good times fool you. Musikmesse, like any trade show, is a lot of hard work, especially when you’re demonstrating five times per day!

 Seth Perlstein Demoing on the Last Day of the Show to a Full Crowd

Occasionally, in between demos, there’s a few minutes of much needed rest (unless there’s meetings, interviews, etc.). This picture was taken in the Tulip Lounge which is a backstage/ meeting area for Roland, Boss, and Cakewalk personnel.

From Left to Right: Cakewalk Founder Greg Hendershott, Seth Perlstein, Roland Japan’s Masahiro Minowa, and Michael Crouch

Of course, all things must end. Thankfully, Frankfurt’s Main station is a great place to not only end an adventure, but begin a new one as well. Being centrally located in Europe, its many departing trains will get you pretty much anywhere on the continent within a handful of hours. And there’s no messy security or sterile environment to deal with like when flying. Be sure to travel in the daytime, though, to take in the exquisite scenery that much of Europe has to offer.

One of the platforms at Frankfurt’s Main station

One of the cool things about Frankfurt’s Main station is that it has full sized lockers so you can temporarily stow even the largest of your suitcases and go explore the surrounding area while waiting for your train. I was fortunate enough to do this on an incredibly beautiful Spring day, so I walked the half-mile or so to the gorgeous Main river. Unlike Paris’ Seine, the Main has grassy areas that go right up to the water’s edge that are a great place to relax, unwind, and take in the warm sun.

Frankfurt’s Main River on a Beautiful Spring Day After Musikmesse 2012

Head over to Frankfurt as soon as possible and while you’re waiting for your train, plane, or other mode of transportation, learn more about SONAR X1 Producer Expanded and the latest ProChannel modules.

Auf wiedersehen!