OK. We’ve been busy since we got back from sunny LA, ok? We know that this should have been posted as soon as we got back but at least this way you’ve all already had time to digest the news bombardment being shot at you from every music-technology media source available and you actually want to hear some opinions. So, with that in mind, here goes….
Firstly, LA was a blast. The NAMM show itself is a total trip. I reached information saturation point about fifteen minutes in. There is a ridiculous amount of technology to try to take in. Oh, and it’s loud. Like, REALLY, REALLY LOUD. Combine that with the fact folks are dressed up like this…
…and you have a pretty wacky four days.
First stop. The Moog Music stand. Primarily to sample some of their chocolates…
They were showing off two new toys: the Moog Sub 37 and the Moog Theremini. The Sub 37 looks great but it was definitely in a prototype state. The one I tried kept freezing and notes weren’t sounding so, I didn’t have much of a chance to really put it through it’s paces. Having said that, it sounds great and Moog have, in my opinion, a hit on their hands with what promises to be a sub-£1,500 duo-phonic (sort of) analogue synth. Moving on to the Theremini and I was completely caught off-guard by one of the coolest bits of technology at NAMM. There will be a more in depth review/video in the post but, in brief, here’s the deal: it’s the Moog Animoog app in a box with control from an analogue theremin interface. The real treat is you can quantize the Theremin input and it outputs CV and MIDI over USB. Bet that caught the attention of the eurorack fraternity! This is a serious bit of kit and it’s going to be affordable too! Only £249!
Next up we dropped by the Arturia stand and they blew us away with the new Arturia Beatstep. It’s a USB/MIDI pad/knobby controller but with a difference. You can use it as a CV-style step sequencer and, yes, it outputs CV/Gate. The really big news about this is that it is going to be £89! In depth vid coming up…. They were also showing off the new software version for Spark. They’ve opened up a lot of the complex synth parameters within Spark for you to edit and get deep with. Result!
We also got our paws on the Apollo Twin, the new Thunderbolt interface with integrated DSP effects processing from Universal Audio. It looks, feels and, most importantly, sounds amazing. If you want a clear upgrade to your project studio then look no further. Available in Solo and Duo DSP configurations here and here.
We also got to see LOADS of new eurorack toys. Tons and tons and tons and tons of exciting, innovative, weird and wonderful designs from what is, in my opinion, the most interesting area of music technology right now. I would accept I may be heavily biased….. Anyway, we saw the new designs from MakeNoise and got a chat with Tony and Kelly, more of which later. We also got to grips with some of the new TipTop Audio bits including the incredible Circadian Rhythm:
Look out for his modules in RAD very soon. We talked to WMD, Steady State Fate, 4ms (Oh my god their cases!), Snazzy FX and plenty more. Again, we’ll be bringing their modules, new bits, bobs and bobbins to RAD as soon as we possibly can!
Of course, we just had to drop by the Elektron stand too… We could hear it long before we could see it. No wonder those dudes got served with a noise abatement from the NAMM police! The thunder was the new Analog RYTM and this thing is a BEAST! It’s the bastard-son of a terrifying marriage between a TR-808 and an EMU SP12 (or something like that) and it was pretty much making the earth shake. Cannot wait for this to land at RAD…. I’d expect it some point in March/April so, get yer pre-orders in now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
To be honest, we saw more at the show than we can probably mention in one post but one other notable thing, which we haven’t seen many folk talking about is the new Waldorf filter. It’s called the 2-Pole and it screams like a banshee! Video to follow…
But it wasn’t all knobs, dials and geeky dudes hunched over synthesisers. We managed to escape NAMM for a bit and went to check out the seriously cool Mt Analog record store. We also got to check their The Corner record label party with Anthony Parasole, Shawn O’Sullivan and Beau Wanzer, which looked like this:
So… that was NAMM and what a crazy few days it was.
Oh yeah, and Roland might have shown us some boxes but we’ll tell you more about that later….