NAMM 2024: Fatar’s Studiologic brand was introduced when the company started creating MIDI keyboards, but in recent years, it’s become just as closely associated with the Numa pianos and stage keyboards. Now we have two new models, Numa Compact SE and Compact X SE - the successors to the Numa Compact 2 - which take four sound engines from the Numa X Piano and put them into more compact and portable form factors.
The two instruments appear to be pretty similar, the main difference being that the Compact X SE has a dedicated set of drawbar controllers but the Compact SE doesn’t. Each has an 88-note semi-weighted keyboard, programmable metal sticks and an OLED display, and is said to have a "contemporary vintage look". Whether that explains the yellowish tinge to the keys, we're not sure - it could just be the way they've been photographed.
As you’d expect, acoustic piano sounds are front and centre; the latest Numa X engine features new samples and offers more control over the strings and duplex resonance. The damper noise is adjustable, too.
The Electric engine, meanwhile, handles electric pianos by combining “a mix of samples and effects to emulate the realism of Numa X Piano physical modelling technology.” We’re a little confused by that - have they sampled the physical modelling engine, or is it just that the quality of the sound is deemed to be comparable? - but we can tell you that there are new tine sounds and FM emulations here.
There’s a dedicated organ engine - obviously, the X SE gives you the best level of control over this - which includes new rotary, chorus and vibrato effects. More intriguingly, the new synth engine is powered by virtual oscillators that can generate “any wave”, and can operate in both monophonic and polyphonic modes.
The Numa Compacts have built-in speakers, which could be useful for home use, and can send audio over USB. You can use up to six effects at a time and, in comparison with the Numa Compact 2, you get 60% more polyphony (200 as opposed to 128 notes) and 60 more sounds. What’s more, a dedicated software application looks like it’ll enable you to manage these sounds and add more.
Given Fatar/Studiologic’s heritage, we’d expect these new Numas to play pretty well, so we’re keen to find out how they sound, and to discover if they really do offer “a list of functions never found before in any instrument of [their] category.” Prices are £622 for the Compact SE and £826 for the Compact X SE, with availability coming in the first quarter of this year.
Find out more on the Studiologic website.