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The 2014 NAMM Show, one of the most important events of the year in regard to new innovations in music, recording, and sound reinforcement equipment is currently taking place in Anaheim, California. The massive surge of exciting new product announcements is streaming in at a steady pace. This post will act as your hub for all of the latest news from the tradeshow floor. We will update this page continually as the announcements unfold, so keep it locked right here, and give the Refresh button on your browser the attention it deserves.
Namm Day 2
Legendary guitar amplifier company VOX is getting into some new territory while keeping one foot firmly planted in their past with the new SoundBox mini line of multipurpose amplifiers. These mic stand-mountable amps include inputs for vocals, guitar, bass, and keyboards, as well as a 1/8” auxiliary input that allows you to connect an MP3 player or phone to playback your own tracks. The amps have built-in effects designed for guitar and vocals, and they even have a center-cancel function on the aux input that allows you to cut vocals from your tracks so you can sing along.
Sennheiser’s just announced 3 new headphones based on the legacy of the HD 25, a longtime favorite, with a few modernizations for studio and DJ use. The HD6 Mix is the first in the line, and has a flat response intended for mixing, mastering, and other studio applications. The HD7 and HD8 DJ headphones are identical in performance and basic design, the only difference being that the HD8s feature metal-crafted reinforcement parts. They both have a bit of a boost in the mid-low end, and feature a swiveling ear cup design for single-ear monitoring. All three headphones include both straight and coiled Kevlar-coated cables that can be attached to either ear cup, a 1/4" adapter, and 2 pairs of ear pads, one velour and one leatherette.
Tonelux has expanded its line of 500 Series gear with the announcement at NAMM of the MP5A mic pre, the EQ5P 4-band EQ, and the TX5C compressor. The MP5A features Tonelux’s Tilt EQ, which is ideal for many vocal types; when engaged it provides a high-frequency boost while cutting some of the low end. A front-panel direct-in allows you to use the MP5A with a Hi-Z instrument source. The EQ5P EQ has a clever design for the Q (or bandwidth) for each of its 4 bands. The Q control is based on how much you are boosting or cutting, with a wider bandwidth on smaller boosts or cuts and a tighter one on more dramatic boosts and cuts. The TX5C compressor includes front-panel side-chain inputs for side-chain compression and features a wet / dry knob, allowing you to create parallel-style compression without the need for bussing and aux tracks.
Arturia’s new BeatStep pad controller is designed to cater to both analog and digital realms. Its 16 pressure and velocity-sensitive pads and 16 knobs are capable of providing control for a variety of digital applications, such as launching clips in Ableton or programming drums with programs like BFD or EXDrummer. In the analog world it has a 16-step sequencer, which you can use to program your synth modules or keyboards with CV outputs, and the ability to connect an external clock or use the internal one.
If anyone was unsure about the viability of Thunderbolt as an interface connection, the numerous new interfaces shown at NAMM, such as the MOTU 828x, will likely silence those doubts. This update to MOTU’s popular 828 audio interface features Thunderbolt for compatibility with newer Macs, as well as a USB 2.0 port for other devices. Between its analog and digital I / O, the 828x has 28 inputs and 30 outputs, and can capture audio in up to 24-bit / 192 kHz resolution.
Intent on streamlining and simplifying the workflow of the typical keyboard workstation, Roland has just announced the FA-06 and FA-08 music workstations. Each boasts a cross section of sounds from some of Roland’s most popular keyboards, including a 16-track sequencer, a built-in sampler, and the ability for DAW integration. The two models are identical with the exception of their keyboards; the FA-06 sports a 61-key velocity sensitive keyboard while the FA-08 has an 88-key Ivory Feel-G keyboard.
NAMM Day 1
Embracing their past while simultaneously moving forward with their designs, Korg has unveiled the TRITON taktile USB controller and synth, available in both 25- and 49-key versions. More than just USB controllers, they feature 512 program sounds sourced from Korg’s famous TRITON workstation’s sound engine, while a built-in KAOSS pad, arpeggiator, and pad section (8 on the 25-key, 16 on the 49-key) help modernize the unit.
Pioneer’s DDJ-SZ Serato Controller is a serious machine that’s aimed toward club installations. Its dual jog wheels both feature an on-jog display that illustrates cue point countdown and track playback position, giving DJs the option to perform scratches without having to check their computer screen. Two built-in USB soundcards are designed for seamless handovers in between DJ sets. While designed as a controller for Serato, the DDJ-SZ can also function as a stand-alone mixer for analog turntables or CDJ components.
Korg is looking out for the DIY crowd with the MS-20 Kit. Don’t fret if you have no soldering or circuitry skills; according to Korg assembling your very own, hand-built MS-20 synthesizer is just a matter of tightening screws or fitting parts together. Unlike the recently released MS-20 mini, the MS-20 Kit is a full-sized unit.
Behringer has brought a bevy of new products to NAMM, but one of the standouts is the X-Touch Universal Control Surface for your DAW, with both live and studio applications. It features 9 automated and touch sensitive 100mm motorized faders, 8 rotary controls with LED collars, and 8 LCD Scribble Strips, whose descriptions and colors can be customized for track recognition. The X-Touch has HUI and Mackie Control protocols and functions over USB.
Some of the best audio products are solutions to problems you didn’t know you could solve. Radial Engineering’s StageBug SB-7 EarMuff addresses the all too common problem of track bleed from a vocalist’s headphones when tracking. As many vocalists prefer to track with one ear cup off of their ear, so they can hear themselves naturally, the mic tends to pick up that backing track that is now pouring out of the open headphones. The StageBug SB-7 goes in-line before the vocalist’s headphones, and mutes one side of them, eliminating the bleed from that ear cup.
sE Electronics has jumped into the USB microphone market with the sE X1 USB. Taking their sE X1 large diaphragm condenser and setting it up with USB capabilities, the sE X1 USB is plug-and-play on both Mac and PC computers, and has a selectable bass cut and -10 dB pad.
When a company with AKG’s reputation for headphones releases a new pair they refer to as, “The New Headphone Flagship”, you take notice. New for NAMM are the K812 Reference Headphones. Boasting 53mm transducers (the largest produced by AKG to date), the K812s are designed for mixing, mastering, and music production. Employing AKG’s 1.5 Tesla magnet system, the headphones provide accurate imaging and boast a frequency response from 5 Hz to 54 kHz.
Since Rupert Neve Designs started making 500 Series modules, fans have been holding their breath for an EQ. Well, 500 Series users can collectively exhale, as RND has announced the 551 Inductor EQ, designed by the man himself. It features 3-bands, a high-frequency shelf / peak, a mid-range parametric, a low-frequency cut, and a selectable high-pass filter at 80 Hz. As should be expected from Neve, the 551 is a fairly colorful EQ, consistent with his reputation.
Blue Microphones has never been one to play by the book, as is demonstrated from the unique look of most of the mics in their lineup. And if their newly announced Hampton small diaphragm condenser is any evidence, there’s no sign that they’re changing this trend. It features a rotating head that allows you to adjust your mic, not the mic stand. Equipped with their B1 capsule, Blue says the Hampton is optimized for acoustic guitars, percussion, strings, and toms both live and in the studio.
The only image of Hampton caught on camera
IK Multimedia’s iRig lineup continues to grow, as evidenced by their new iRig Mic HD, announced at NAMM. This handheld digital mic is clearly designed for your iOS or Android device, but will work with Mac and PC computers as well. Not relying on your phone’s internal analog to digital conversion, the iRig Mic HD has an internal convertor capable of giving you 96 kHz / 24-bit audio.
Moog is proving that they’re not satisfied resting on their laurels, with the newly announced SUB 37 Paraphonic Synthesizer. It’s based on their Sub Phatty sound engine, but functions paraphonically, which means you can play more than one note at a time (this is the first Moog synth released in over 30 years with this ability!). For more information on this release, click here.
Avantone’s MixCube has become a go-to for many engineers looking to see how their mixes translate to “everyday” type speakers. At NAMM, they’ve announced they have revealed a new line-up of active monitors that are designed for critical and main monitoring duties. Not much info is out yet, but they do look great!
From left to right: The LA7 monitor, The Mix Tower, and The Abbey
Universal Audio’s Apollo interfaces have made a big splash in the market, providing the ability to track through UAD plug-ins in real time, with near zero-latency. Taking this year’s NAMM as opportunity to show off the latest installment in the Apollo family, UA has announced the Apollo Twin, a 2-in/6-out desktop version of their interface, in versions with SOLO or DUO UAD processing built-in.
For more details, and an explanation of UA’s new Unison mic pre modeling technology, check out this exclusive B&H hands-on video.
Eventide has a stellar reputation for their rackmount studio effects, and in the last few years they’ve gotten into the guitar stompbox game big time. Last year saw the advent of their innovative H9 pedal; its settings can be controlled by your iPhone via Bluetooth, giving you the opportunity to download and install new effect algorithms from in-app purchases. At NAMM 2014, they’ve unveiled their H9 Core pedal, which functions exactly the same as the H9, but ships with fewer installed algorithms. This “unbundled” version of the H9 lets it come in a little less expensive than the standard H9, and allows you to install only the effects you want.
Tannoy’s Reveal line of monitors has seen a refresh at this year’s NAMM with the introduction of their active 402 and 802 models. The 402s are an entry into the compact market, with a 4-inch woofer and ¾-inch tweeter. Small in size, these monitors still pack a 50 watt punch, and they feature a 1/8-inch aux input, in addition to balanced XLR or unbalanced 1/4-inch main ins. The 402’s bigger brother, the 802, boasts an 8-inch woofer, 1-inch tweeter, and 100 watts of output, and is tuned for mixing bass-heavy music such as electronic and hip-hop.
iZotope is blurring the line between drum machine and melodic instrument with their new BreakTweaker plug-in, announced at NAMM. It has three modules: the Sequencer, the Generator, and the MicroEdit Engine. The Sequencer is for programming patterns up to 24-steps, while the Generator allows for creating new sounds via synthesis. The MicroEdit Engine gives you the potential to edit each of the 24-steps into thousands of slices that can be melodically shaped. BreakTweaker includes over 80 global presets to get you started.
Genelec’s newest addition to their 8000 series monitors may be a small one, but only in physical size. The NAMM-announced 8010 monitors have a small footprint. With a 3-inch woofer and ¾-inch tweeter these little guys are clearly designed for portability, and will likely appeal those with smaller home setups, as well as engineers who want to work with one pair of monitors but find themselves traveling between different studios. At just shy of 8 inches high and 4 inches wide, a pair can easily be thrown in a gig bag for commuting.
Though Roland is being tight-lipped about any specifics, they have announced (through a teaser video) that they are showing some love to the legendary TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines, giving them—at least—a physical makeover. The TR-808 and 909’s sounds have helped define dance, electronic, and hip-hop drums, so this could be potentially exciting news to producers around the world.
Zoom gets into the Thunderbolt interface game with their newly announced TAC-2. It sports dual combo XLR/TRS input jacks and two 1/4" TRS outs for your monitors, as well as a 1/4" headphone jack. All parameters on the desktop interface are controllable with the increasingly familiar single-knob approach. Dual 7-position LEDs display input, output, and headphone levels clearly.
The new Focusrite iTrack Dock is a recording interface that was designed specifically for the Lightning-equipped Apple iPad. It features an integrated Lightning connector that slides to accommodate iPad minis and full-sized iPads. Once attached, the iTrack Dock provides two high-quality Focusrite preamps, as well as dual XLR inputs, a 1/4” instrument input, and balanced TRS outputs to connect studio monitors. You can record digital audio directly into your iPad with the free Focusrite Tape app or the recording app of your choice.
The Zoom iQ5 is a new stereo microphone that was designed to interface seamlessly with Apple iOS devices that feature Lightning connectors. The iQ5 makes it possible to record digital audio directly into your iPhone 5, 5S, or 5C, as well as the latest iPads and 5th generation iPod touch. The microphones can be configured to capture stereo sound with a 90- or 120-degree width, as well as create mid-side recordings, which enable you to adjust the amount of ambiance you want in the recording when you use the Zoom Handy Recorder iOS app.