The 30 Hottest Products from the Winter NAMM Show 2017Article
Best of Winter NAMM 2017
The Winter NAMM Show 2017 has come to an end and the least you could say about it is that this year was a very good vintage (you know how we Frenchmen are into wine talk...). And these 30 products from among the hundreds introduced are a good proof of that.
Dave Smith's REV(olution) revisited
Dave Smith has come back with the REV2. The fact that it's an analog synth shouldn't surprise anybody, but that it provides 16 voices of polyphony for less than $2000 should be a matter of rejoice for many. a future best-seller. Probably. A future legend? Maybe...
Elektron listened to us!
After their incursion in the distortion arena, Elektron has finally brought out what everyone was expecting from the Swede company: a sampler/drum machine which looks very promising, if it has the same quality we have come to expect from Elektron.
Meet Adam S
New tweeter, new woofer and built-in SHARC DSPs to optimize the crossover frequencies. The new S series by Adam is nothing short of an evolution in the manufacturer's product range. Add to that AES3 connectivity, a small touchscreen display and it's easy to understand why we couldn't resist lending them an ear.
Dave Smith was everywhere this year, considering his involvement in the conception of the Toraiz-AS1 monophonic analog synth in desktop format. It's based on the circuitry of the Prophet 6 and includes several things that make it a comprehensive war machine: a 33-key sensitive keyboard, a sequencer and an arpeggiator. Really promising and with a very appealing price tag of only $499.
The audio interface with the lowest latency around?
After making a lot of waves with their microphone modeling system VMS, which is completed with a new small-diaphragm mic (the ML-2), Slate enlarges its software and hardware ecosystem with the Thunderbolt VRS-8 audio interface. Featuring 8 inputs with preamp it boasts the lowest latency in the market, according to the manufacturer, and all without relying on a proprietary DSP technology. If it can hold its promises, the $2000 price tag it carries is pretty well justified.
The first official controller for UAD
While the concept is pretty interesting, its price surely disheartened more then one. If it cost half of what it does, the Console 1 mkII would be very interesting for any home studio, especially since the new Swedish control surface can control quite a few UAD plug-ins.
Tactile and stand-alone MPCs!
One of the biggest announcements this NAMM was certainly the introduction of the new MPC Live and MPC X. They both feature a touchscreen display and can be used together with a computer or standalone, for the delight of those who didn't really like the recent changes adopted by the famous Akai pad sampler.
Bitwig, the return
To say that v2 was expected is an understatement. And even if some things threw some people back, like the prices of the updates, the arrival of the second rendition of Live's distant cousin, offering among other things some spectacular modulation possibilities, is no less of an event.
Two Notes' magical tiny box
Two Notes seeks to democratize the recipe that made its Torpedo Reload a success introducing Captor, a small loadbox that allows you to drive guitar amp without having to increase the volume. Plus it features cab emulation to simplify your recordings. All for less than $300, which isn't that much considering we're talking Two Notes quality here. Hurray!
If you are waiting for Tracktion 8, you'd better be patient because the DAW developed by Tracktion is now called Waveform. Apart form the renaming, it's easy to realize that this is by far the software's biggest evolution yet, since now it features a more conventional mixer and lots of other novelties.
Feedback at your feet
The idea of being able to use a pedal to create feedback with any note at will was only a dream ever since Fender gave up on the nice little Runaway. So we are glad that DigiTech decided to take the helm with the FreqOut.
Beam me Aston!
It's so obvious that you can't help asking yourself why nobody had ever done it before: Aston equipped its latest small-diaphragm microphone with a laser pencil on it – very handy to position your microphones with precision.
Gibson Les Paul USAs for less than $500?
Up to now, Epiphone had always been considered the entry-level Les Paul. Not anymore: It was quite a surprise to find the Les Paul Custom Studio (less than $1000), the Custom Special (less than $750) and the M2 (less than $450!), all made in the USA! Something unheard of from Gibson, whose models had never before been so affordable.
Supro (re)makes guitars!
You surely know Supro for their amps, but you probably didn't know that the brand used to make electric guitars, too. And they have decided to reembark on the journey inspired on some of their their '60s models. So, on the one side you have the Hamptons, Westburys and Jamesports, but also the Americanas, and even a Lap Steel.
Trace Elliot for guitar players…
Discovering new products from the legendary bass amp manufacturer is always a nice surprise, so when we bumped into a new 6.75" amp head and two preamp/multi-effects pedals for bass and... acoustic guitar(!), we were more than delighted.
Reloop RMX-90 DVS
Conceived for Serato DJ and the DVS technology, the RMX-90 DVS by Reloop is a digital 4-channel mixer that can handle up to 8 outputs and features all the basics. Add to that a relatively aggressive price (less than $1000) and it's hard not to ask yourself whether we are in the presence of a future best-seller.
The Big Bad Knob is back!
An absolute standard in the monitoring world, Mackie's Big Knob had not been updated ever since it came out 12 years ago. To make up for it, Mackie has come up with an entire product range to suit all sorts of different needs and budgets.
Teenage Engineering has expanded the Pocket Operators line with the PO-32 Tonic dedicated to percussive instruments. But the real news is that it can also record via the built-in microphone and communicate with the Sonic Charge Microtonic virtual drum machine. All that for less than $140, bundled with the software, or less than $90 on its own. Sexy? Oh yeah, baby!
Dinosaur, saur, saur, saur…
After the Replicator, T-Rex has now decided to bring back to life a mythical band delay: the Binson Echorec! Tube preamp, dual playback/recording head – it doesn't lack anything to emulate the sound of the famous Italian unit.
7 years waiting…
...for the new version of Guitar Pro. The famous French tab publisher has come back with a entirely new interface, but also a new audio engine and a good arsenal of virtual effects and amps.
I'm getting the Blues
Blue Microphones just started playing hard ball in the entry level category with the SL series. With their new look, low-cut filter and pad, the Baby Bottle SL, Bluebird SL and Spark SL are ready to storm home studios all over the world!
Serato at the tip of your fingers and pads
With the Primo, Italian brand Mixars introduced a control surface that seems to be a terrific option for Serato users, and at a reasonable price.
Stage piano… for the studio
Roland has set its eyes on those who need a stage keyboard but also want to use it in the studio. Featuring two sound engines, the RD-2000 also has a built-in USB interface which allows it to double as a controller.
Orange is the new... acoustic?
Orange is synonymous with big, fat rock that knocks you off your feet. So watching the renowned English manufacturer land at the NAMM 2017 with a tube preamp/DI for acoustic guitar was somewhat of a shock for some.
HEY! LOOK HERE, YES, HERE!
Excuse the all caps, but since the introduction of the MP1 seems to have been completely ignored at the NAMM, we really felt we had to do something about it. So this is our way to draw some attention to this innovative product by Big Bear Audio. But, what is it, you ask? A mic preamp in 500 format. What's so original about that? Well, it allows you to change its color with a bunch of interchangeable cards. Available right now are: Tape Saturation, Cassette Tone, Transformer, Pentode, 70s Tone, Toneloc, 1176, and JFET. And it carries a pretty reasonable price tag: $400 for the preamp with one card, while the rest of the color cards range from $30 to $100. We told you it was interesting...!
A new paradigm in synthesis?
While the model present at the NAMM was only an empty box which didn't produce a single sound, that doesn't stop the Fabulous Silicon Paradigm from being incredibly exciting on paper: A hybrid synth capable of dynamically reprogramming itself.
THE flanger is back!
Conceived by former Genesis guitarist Mick Barnard, the BF-20 Flanger has become a household name in any studio worthy of the name, and it can be heard on tracks by Yes, Phil Collins and even the Rolling Stones. So it's really nice to see the brand rise from the ashes with a 500 module, even if it's not cheap...
Denon in Prime Time
Denon wants to challenge Pioneer's supremacy in the market with the Prime series, which promises to do more for less. It includes the DJ VL12 vinyl deck, the DJ SC5000 player and the DJ X1800 mixer. Keep an eye on it…
One app to rule them all!
What do AKG, JBL, dbx, and Soundcraft all have in common? They are all part of the Harman group, which introduced Connected PA during this NAMM: a software for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android which can be used with the AKG P5i mic, the dbx Di1 box, the JBL PRX800W speakers, and the Soundcraft ui24R console to either control them or access the presets. A nifty little tool to make your audio life much easier!
Size does (not) master
As its name implies, the Erica Synths Pico System I is probably the tiniest modular synth ever built: It hosts 14 modules in a 24cm x 14cm rack. With a quite reasonable price tag of 1000 euros (excluding taxes), it must be making quite a few modular fans drool over it.
Yes, I know, that's 30 already but we simply couldn't get enough this year, and since no one can stop me, here's a bonus:
A sampler that knows sampling
The announcement didn't create too much enthusiasm, and yet the introduction of the sixth version of HALion, the software sampler by Steinberg, is a true advancement that reconciles virtual samplers with real sampling, in other words with being able to push REC and grind the samples. There's nothing quite like it and since the market leaders (Kontakt and Falcon) are incapable of doing the same, it's certainly worth our attention, and even more so considering that it seems to have quite a lot of power under the hood…
And that's it. that was the best of the Winter NAMM Show 2017... At least in our opinion. Do feel free to share with us anything you think we might have missed.